St Joseph Island is 28 km south-east of Sault Ste. Marie. It is the most westerly Canadian island on the North Channel, and is accessed by a toll-free bridge opened in 1972 from highway 17 E. St Joseph Island sovers about 140,000 acres, and is 28 miles long, and 15 miles long. The Island wa originally called Anipich, the Ojibway word for “place of the hardwood trees.” The Island was renamed by the Jesuits who were building a new church to serve the Indians.
St Joseph Island is home to Ontario’s largest maple sugar producer, and is known for its deposits of pinkish jasper conglomerate (pudding stone). There is also great fishing, with especially walleye and pike in the
streams around the island, and perch and bass in the waters around it.
The island’s small town and rural atmosphere attracts artisans and vacationers alike. the major communities are Richards Landing on the north shore, Hilton Beach on the northeast, and Kentvale on the southwest. The town even has a private airstrip at Gawas Bay.
Art at the Dock (Hilton Beach, mid-July), Cornfest (Richards Landing, mid-August), maple Syrup Festival (Gilbertson’s Pancake House early April), Sault Youth Festival (Richards Landing, mid-July)
St Joseph Island Attractions
St Joseph Island Museum
2395 I Line Rd, Richards Landing, ON P0R 1J0
(3.5 miles from bridge)
A four building complex houses over 2,000 artifacts from the Island’s past over the past 300 years since since the first fur traders.
Adcock’s Woodland Gardens
4757 5th Side Rd, Hilton Beach, ON P0R 1G0
South on Highway 548, just north of U Line and the Fifth Side Road
Adcock’s offers both gardens and mature hardwood forests. The gardens include borer, rock, water and bog gardens. The forests include deer and moose, often with tracks. The Garden is open from May 15 to September 30th, form 10 am to dusk. Admission free or by donation.
Fort St Joseph
185 Fort Road Hilton Beach, Ontario P0R 1G0
Built in 1796 on the southeast shore of the island became the most westerly military post in British Upper Canada, and also helped protect fur trading routes until 1812. The Americans destroyed the fort in 1814, in retaliation of the British occupancy of Fort Michilimackinac. A modern interpretation centre is built on the site of the ruins, and depicts military, Indian and fur trading themes, as well as provide background on the area’s natural history. Canadian heritage site open Victoria Day (mid-May) to Canadian Thanksgiving (mid-October).