The Bay of Islands is a unique and beautiful area located at the eastern end of the North Channel of Lake Huron in the north part of Georgian Bay in Lake Huron. There are hundreds of islands in the Bay, with dozens of cottages. Most of the cottages were built at the beginning of the 20th century. Before this time, the only way to access the area was by dog sled in winter, or by boat from Little Current during the rest of the year.
The Algoma Railway reached Whitefish Falls in 1911, and a gravel road was established from Espanola to Whitefish Falls in the early 1920s. But it wasn’t until Thaddeus Patten surveyed the area in 1916 when fishermen and hunters started to erect more permanent camps.
By 1931 the Birch Island railway station was built, making travel to the area by train possible and even comfortable for the entire family. The train also opened up the area to an American angling club that had been looking for a remote spot to relocate to from Severn River. The group purchased about 50 acres on Ireson Island and built Moredolphton Lodge.
Over the next generation, many of the American families who belonged to the angling club purchased islands of their own and built their own camps. As a result, the seasonal population of the Bay of Islands has evolved into a balance of Canadian and American families enjoying everything the Bay has to offer.
The Bay of Islands Community Association (BICA) was established in the summer of 1935 to begin the process of marking a channel from Whitefish Falls out to Wells Island.
From the very beginning, BICA’s mandate has been to both fun and functional, with a close conection to the local community. At BICA’s first meeting, the 18 founding members declared that the purpose of the organization would be for:
“camp owners and residents of Birch Island and Whitefish Bay to pool their interests for mutual benefits and sociability and that many things of general interest and benefit to these residents might be accomplished by a united effort.”
That same spirit is alive today amongst our approximately 150 members, all of whom are connected by their love of the Bay. Some of our members are fifth-generation cottagers whose great-great grandparents built the family cottage that they continue to visit every summer
We are a group of cottage owners and users in the Bay of Islands who have a vision to ensure the beauty of the Bay is maintained for future generations, while having fun together today.
To find out about our scheduled upcoming events, please visit our Events page.
*Website photography by Kathryn Wilkins, David Ross, John Reeves.