Point Pelee: Small But Mighty Gem of Windsor-Essex


There is nothing quite like the feeling of standing on a strip of sandy beach that narrows to a point in Lake Erie and knowing, for a brief moment, that you are the southernmost person in mainland Canada. It brings new meaning to the words from our national anthem, “We stand on guard for thee.”

July 26, 2023

There is nothing quite like the feeling of standing on a strip of sandy beach that narrows to a point in Lake Erie and knowing, for a brief moment, that you are the southernmost person in mainland Canada. It brings new meaning to the words from our national anthem, “We stand on guard for thee.”

This October, when you come to Windsor-Essex, Ontario to attend Vision 2023, CPS-ECP’s National Conference and Annual General Meeting, do not miss the opportunity to visit the region’s crowning glory—Point Pelee National Park. Mainland Canada’s most southern destination, the park lies on the 42nd parallel north, making it the same latitude as northern California, Barcelona and Rome.

Canada’s second smallest (15.2 km²) and most ecologically diverse national park, Point Pelee is a mosaic of habitats including marsh wetland, lush forest, cedar savannah and 20 km of sandy shoreline. It is home to a wide range of plants and wildlife, including at-risk species.

Point Pelee was the first national park established for conservation. It is known as a birder’s paradise with over 390 species identified, and major bird migration events held each spring and fall. The park also is a stop for migratory monarch butterflies.

More than 300,000 people from across Canada and around the world visit annually to bird watch, camp, hike, bicycle, paddle, swim, picnic and stargaze.

The marsh at Point Pelee is not to be missed! Measuring 1,000 hectares (2,000 football fields), it covers two-thirds of the overall park. One of the largest remaining marshes in southern Ontario, it is one of the few large marshes left in the Great Lakes system.

A lookout tower and extensive floating boardwalk allow visitors to explore the marsh habitat, which has been designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Significance due to its “unique features and role in conserving biological diversity,” according to Parks Canada.

It takes about an hour to leisurely traverse the 1 km marsh boardwalk loop—an experience that will stay with you a long time.

Another park highlight is its designation as a Dark Sky Preserve, which means Point Pelee is one of the best spots in Canada to explore the night sky. Weather permitting, special nights for stargazing are held until midnight during the new moon. One of these evenings, hosted by the Windsor Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, is October 14, 2023, near our CPS-ECP conference dates.

Point Pelee also hosts camping at Camp Henry. Stay in comfort and convenience under the canopy of the Carolinian Forest. An oTENTik is a unique Parks Canada accommodation that provides a relaxing, comfortable and easy camping experience with heated permanent shelters available all year round. There are 24 oTENTiks, including four accessible and two pet-friendly sites.

One other great note about Point Pelee is that it is an ideal location for those seeking to complete CPS-ECP Navigator courses to take their sights as many have done in the past.

Words of caution: Never swim alone, please supervise children when swimming and never swim at the tip of Point Pelee. Check here for popular swim areas and follow all instructions for a safe and fun swim experience. September is the height of stable fly season, which lasts until the first hard frost (usually mid-October). Check here for tips to make your visit bite-free. Even on a bad fly day on the beaches, you are almost guaranteed a fly-free experience at the marsh boardwalk.

Point Pelee National Park is open daily 7 a.m. to dusk from September to mid-April. The Visitor Centre and shuttle service are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily October 10 to 29, 2023. For further information on special events or regular programs, call 519-322-2365, ext. 0 or email pelee.info@pc.gc.ca


Vision 2023: CPS-ECP Conference Registration and Hotel Reservations
For further information, conference registration and tickets.

Hotel reservations at Caesars Windsor: Discounted rate of $175 (Sunday through Thursday) and $195 (Friday and Saturday) + HST and local taxes per night if booked before September 19, 2023 (subject to availability – book early).

Reservations by phone: 1-800-991-8888. Quote Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons group code ACP1016.

Online reservations
(Be sure to select the week of October 17, 2023)

Vision without a task is only a dream.
A task without a vision is drudgery.
But vision with a task brings a dream fulfilled.
What is your vision?

Aerial photo: Ontario Southwest
Marsh photo: Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island

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