Attending the Bruce Peninsula Orchid Festival -- 2003-May31--June01

by John Neufeld and Eugene Reimer - original with 76 slides;
with notes from shorter 50-slide version by Doris Ames

BruceSlideshow group-on-GeorgianBay-shore
00 - group: John Neufeld, Doris Ames, Peggy BainardAcheson, Eugene Reimer on Georgian Bay shore
s01. Introduction:  In 2003 one of our board members, John Neufeld, suggested that we attend the annual orchid festival held in the Bruce Peninsula and four of us, who could get the money and the time together, decided to go. I'm glad we did because we learned a lot about orchids in our sister province of Ontario and about how they manage these orchids in such a wonderful and popular tourist location as the Bruce Peninsula. This area has some of the most dramatic scenery that you are likely to see anywhere in Canada and has thousands of visitors each year. Parks Canada has a difficult job of managing and protecting this delicate ecosystem and preventing people from loving it to death. They insist that you keep to the trails, and respect the plants and animals that you encounter.

Driving Hamilton to the Bruce Peninsula on 2003may30:

BruceSlideshow Map3-SouthernOntario
01 - map of SouthernOntario
s02. Map of Southern Ontario showing the Bruce Peninsula

BruceSlideshow lunch-in-guelph
02 - lunch in guelph
s04. Lunch in Guelph. John and Peggy figuring out the route to Tobermory.

BruceSlideshow Map+Directions-YahooTravel
03 - Map+Directions from YahooTravel
s03. We thought the navigating would be easy, since highway ON-6 would take us all the way from Hamilton to Tobermory, but we often "lost" highway ON-6. After getting back home, we looked at these directions from Yahoo-Travel, and they show that following ON-6 is not as easy as one might think.

BruceSlideshow LargeFloweredTrillium
04 - LargeFloweredTrillium
s05. Large-flowered trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) Ontario's provincial flower. The large white flowers turns pink as they age. In mixed hardwood forest of beech, maple and birch. Found along the highway south of Alvany.

BruceSlideshow LargeFloweredTrillium
05 - LargeFloweredTrillium

BruceSlideshow shore-GeorgianBay
06 - shore of GeorgianBay
s06. Georgian Bay in Lake Huron showing the fossilized underwater coral reefs of the Bruce Peninsula. These reefs were more resistant to the ice than the surrounding sea floor sediments which were scraped away by the glaciers, thus forming the picturesque bays and coves along the shore. The Niagara Escarpment rises abruptly out of Georgian Bay and slopes westward into Lake Huron. In 1990 the NE was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

BruceSlideshow group-Tobermory
07 - group in Tobermory

Car-caravan Orchid Tour to Crane River & Cyprus Lake on 2003may31-am:

BruceSlideshow JackInPulpit
11 - JackInPulpit
s11. Jack in the pulpit (Arisamea triphyllum) on Crane River Trail. Much larger and more common than in Manitoba.

BruceSlideshow NoddingTrillium
12 - NoddingTrillium

BruceSlideshow YellowLadySlippers-clump
13 - YellowLadySlipper-clump
s12. Yellow lady's-slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens?) clump along the Cyprus Lake Trail.

BruceSlideshow Ramshead-clump
14 - Ramshead-clump
s13. Clump of Ram's-head lady's-slipper (C. arietinum) on Cyprus Lake Trail.

BruceSlideshow HorseHoofFungus
15 - HorseHoofFungus
s14. Horse's hoof fungus, a type of bracket fungi.

BruceSlideshow MarshMarigold-or-cowslip-in-ontario
16 - MarshMarigold - known as "Cowslip" in Ontario

BruceSlideshow SpruceOnStump
17 - SpruceOnStump

Hiking the Escarpment Trail near Cyprus Lake on 2003may31-pm:

BruceSlideshow sign-trail-map
21 - sign trail-map
s15. Bruce Peninsula National Park sign at Cyprus Lake Head of Trails parking lot. This is the access point to the Bruce Trail on its last leg to Tobermory, where the Niagara Escarpment is at its most extreme - the highest cliffs, the oldest trees, and the most dramatic evidence of geological changes over time.

BruceSlideshow Dolostone-with-striations
22 - Dolostone with striations
s16. Dolomite formation. The whole area is made up of dolomite (MgCaCO3), which is easily hollowed out by water. Note the surface covered with round holes (pitkarren) and striations caused by the glacier dragging stones along with it at the end of the last ice age.

BruceSlideshow sinkhole
23 - sinkhole
s17. This is a sinkhole near Horse Lake where water is sucked down into a hole in the Karst formation and comes up again 90 minutes later at Marr Lake.

BruceSlideshow John-with-tripod
24 - John with tripod

BruceSlideshow group-on-GeorgianBay-shore
25=00 - group on GeorgianBay-shore
s10=s01. Here we are hiking part of the Bruce Trail. The Bruce Trail, established in 1967, is a 780 km footpath that extends the length of the Niagara Escarpment, starting at Queenston Heights on the Niagara River, going north to Little Tub Harbour in Tobermory. It is Ontario's longest and most popular hiking trail. We were at the north end of it. We didn't hike the whole 780 kms, but by the end of the day it sure felt like it. This is for ordinary mortals. People like Jack Wellington, in charge of Visitor's Activities in the Park, who was 89 years at the time, scrambles around on these trails at least once a day all summer! People like that make me sick! We'll show you a picture of Jack later on.

BruceSlideshow people-on-rocky-trail
26 - people on rocky trail
s18. Group members hiking up the onto the escarpment. The trail is uphill over loose rock very close to the bay and usually extremely windy. Even though the athletic young tour guide told us the level of difficulty was easy to moderate, you can see that, in fact, it's moderate to difficult, especially without proper hiking shoes and a walking stick.

BruceSlideshow EasternWhiteCedar
27 - EasternWhiteCedar

BruceSlideshow WhiteCedar-old-stunted
28 - WhiteCedar old stunted
s20. Eastern white cedar growing out of the rock. This particular one is estimated to be about 500 years of age. On Flower Pot Island one was determined to be 1860 years old but it was only 1.5 m tall. They grow out of the cracks of rocks with very little soil, extreme wind, and falling rocks, and yet they persist. The largest ones are not necessarily the oldest. Professor Doug Larson has done a lot of research on the plants of the Niagara Escarpment and says the "rocks are literally alive" because there are green algae and fungi inside the rock face. This is an extremely rare plant habitat.

BruceSlideshow Land-bridge
29 - Land-bridge
s19. This is the famous land bridge at Indian Head Cove formed by hollowing out of the limestone and a feature of Karst formation. Lake Huron and Georgian Bay are connected by an underwater passage whose entrance is an underwater cave called "the grotto". Scuba divers have gone all the way through it, but it is not recommended.

BruceSlideshow John-on-outcrop
2A - John on outcrop

BruceSlideshow Doris+Peggy-listening
2B - Doris+Peggy listening
s21. Doris and Peggy listening to Julia, the Parks Canada tour guide, telling us about the 500 year old Eastern White cedar up in a crack of the cliff face. At the time we were standing on loose rock where the trail narrowed to about a 3-ft ledge between a huge drop off to the lake and the face of the cliff.

BruceSlideshow BirdsEyePrimrose
2C - BirdsEyePrimrose
s22. Bird's eye primrose (Primula laurentiana) growing out of a crack in the rock.

BruceSlideshow BirdsEyePrimrose
2D - BirdsEyePrimrose

BruceSlideshow MenziesRattlesnakeOrchid-leaves
2E - MenziesRattlesnakeOrchid-leaves
s23. Leaves of the Menzies rattlesnake-orchid (Goodyera oblongifolia). The white stripe in the centre of the leaf is distinctive. Fall blooming.

BruceSlideshow MenziesRattlesnakeOrchid
2F - MenziesRattlesnakeOrchid

BruceSlideshow Columbine
2G - Columbine
s24. A familiar Columbine.

BruceSlideshow StripedCoralroot
2H - StripedCoralroot
s25. Striped coralroot (Corallorhiza striata), a rare plant of the Bruce Peninsula. The Bruce has 44 native orchid species compared to our 36 species, but the number in each population is small.

BruceSlideshow SpottedCoralroot-bud-stage
2I - SpottedCoralroot-bud-stage

At our cabin in Dyer's Bay on 2003may31-pm:

BruceSlideshow BigKahuna
31 - BigKahuna
s07. This was the" Big Kahuna" at Dyer's Bay. It was a 5 bedroom [5-room?] cottage overlooking Georgian Bay with wrap-around deck, Franklin stove, full kitchen and bath, electric heat. All this for $100 per night in the off season. The cottage is owned by a nice Irish couple, Ken and Marilyn Finucan. They have a huge property including a maple syrup farm. He is a talented sculptor and she makes fancy candles and crafts that they sell on the site. The only negative thing is that there was an overly large, low hanging light fixture in the kitchen. Certain tall people bashed their heads on it repeatedly or else they used it as an excuse not to go into the kitchen and take their turn doing dishes.

BruceSlideshow Periwinkle-in-backyard
32 - Periwinkle in backyard
s08. Periwinkle (Vinca spp.) behind the cottage in full bloom.

BruceSlideshow Periwinkle-in-backyard
32b - Periwinkle in backyard

BruceSlideshow Wasp-on-deck
33 - Wasp on deck

BruceSlideshow Seagull-soaring
34 - Seagull-soaring
s09- This is Eugene's Jonathan Livingston seagull shot.

Photography Workshop on 2003jun01-am:

BruceSlideshow RamsheadLadySlipper
41 - RamsheadLadySlipper

By boat to Flowerpot Island on 2003jun01-am:

BruceSlideshow LittleTubHarbour-lighthouse
51 - LittleTubHarbour lighthouse
s26. Little Tub Harbour Lighthouse in Tobermory, from where we took the boat trip to Flower Pot Island. The town was nicknamed Tober Moray by immigrant Scottish fishermen who thought the harbour looked like one on the Isle of Mull where they came from. The name is Gaelic for "well of the Virgin Mary", and evolved into Tobermory

BruceSlideshow LittleTubHarbour-sunken-wreck
52 - LittleTubHarbour sunken wreck
s28. Underwater wreck in Fathom Five, Canada's first national marine park. There are twenty-three sunken ships in the park, from sailing ships to steamers. This is the Sweepstakes, a 2-masted schooner that sank in 1895. I guess you could say that "its number came up". The water is so clear that you can see the details of the wrecks even though some are in deep water.

BruceSlideshow Captain-Doris
53 - Captain Doris
s27. Here's Doris driving the Seaview III, the glass-bottom tour boat. Doris is grimacing because John made a snide remark about the danger of her piloting the boat! But the captain looks relaxed enough.

BruceSlideshow group-in-zodiac
54 - group in zodiac
s29. Before we could get to Flower Pot Island, we had to transfer from the large boat to a 12-man zodiac. This was an exciting experience for those of us who had never been on a zodiac before, especially when we found out we had to make the transfer out on the water because of the reefs around the island.

BruceSlideshow Calypso
55 - Calypso
s30. Fairy-slipper orchid (Calypso bulbosa) along the Marl Lake Trail on Flower Pot Island. This is a species that is particularly threatened here.

BruceSlideshow Morel-mushroom
56 - Morel-mushroom
s31. Morel mushroom (Morchella esculenta) Tasty mushrooms seen along the trail.

BruceSlideshow LesserRattlesnakeOrchid=DwarfRattlesnakeOrchid
57 - LesserRattlesnakeOrchid or DwarfRattlesnakeOrchid
s32. Lesser rattlesnake-orchid (Goodyera repens) and an obliging snail functioning as a scale object.

BruceSlideshow HeartLeavedTwayblade
58 - HeartLeavedTwayblade
s33. Heart-leaved twayblade (Listera cordata). We saw only this one example at the edge of the trail.

BruceSlideshow StripedCoralroot
59 - StripedCoralroot

BruceSlideshow NorthernWatersnake
5A - NorthernWatersnake
s34. Harmless Northern watersnake by the dock seen while we were waiting to be picked up by the zodiac.

BruceSlideshow group+Jack+Julia
5C - group+Jack+Julia
s35- Here we are with Jack Wellington and Julia, the Parks Canada tour guides. Jack wrote guides to the Bruce Peninsual National Park and the Fathom Five National Marine Park. He was a well-known interpreter, artist, and writer. He was a wealth of information about the plants of the Bruce. Unfortunately he passed on in December 2004

BruceSlideshow Eugene-waiting-for-boat
5D - Eugene waiting for boat

BruceSlideshow zodiac-to-boat
5E - zodiac to boat

BruceSlideshow Solitary-large-flowerpot
5F - Solitary large flowerpot
s37. These flower pot formations were formed less than 2,000 years ago. On the top of the flower pot there's a thick cap rock that resisted erosion, but as lake levels dropped wave action ground down the rock, shaping it as though it had been turned on a lathe. The Eastern white cedar you see growing in these rocks are part of the oldest forest east of the Rocky Mountains.

BruceSlideshow 2flowerpots
5G - 2 flowerpots
s36. As the Great Lakes evolved the water carved the soft dolomite bedrock of the island into many strange shapes, including the shoreline caves and grottos, and the famous "flower pots".

BruceSlideshow Flowerpot-on-FlowerpotIsland
5H - flowerpot on FlowerpotIsland

BruceSlideshow lighthouse-on-FlowerpotIsland
5I - lighthouse on FlowerpotIsland
s38. For lighthouse buffs, this is the lighthouse on Flower Pot Island. This part of the island is a fossilized coral reef. There has been a light there since 1897.

BruceSlideshow FlowerpotIsland-light-station
5J - FlowerpotIsland lighthouse

Emmet Lake Road on 2003jun01-pm:

BruceSlideshow LakesideDaisy-solitary
61 - LakesideDaisy-solitary
s39. Lakeside daisy (Hymenoxys herbacea) also known as Rubber-weed. This is a very rare species, only found on the shores of Lakes Huron and Erie. The name Rubber-weed is likely due to the feel of its waxy, spongy leaves, a typical adaptation to dry, hot and windy habitat. This one was found on the Emmet Lake Alvar formation. Alvars are areas of thin soil over large flat limestone formations. They have neutral to high pH, depressions which collect water when it rains, and are home to many rare plants.

BruceSlideshow LakesideDaisy-and-Paintbrush
62 - LakesideDaisy and Paintbrush
s40. Lakeside daisy with Indian paintbrush, or, as the locals call it, "Painted cup". Note the intense colours often found in dry areas. In this area there was a lot of standing water on the Alvar from the rain the day before and there were swarms of biting blackflies that plagued us while we were trying to take pictures!

BruceSlideshow LakesideDaisy-with-Paintbrush
63 - LakesideDaisy with Paintbrush

Catherine Wishart Tract on 2003jun01-pm:

BruceSlideshow sign-CatherineWishartTract
71 - sign CatherineWishartTract
s41. Trailhead of the Catherine Wishart Alvar formation near Dyer's Bay.

BruceSlideshow boardwalk
72 - boardwalk
s42. Boardwalk through the Nature Reserve installed to keep people from trampling and compacting the soil while viewing the rare plants here.

BruceSlideshow AlvarPavement+LakesideDaisies
73 - AlvarPavement+LakesideDaisies

BruceSlideshow Gaywings
74 - Gaywings
s44. Beautiful specimen of gaywings (Polygala paucifolia) also found on the alvar, and common elsewhere.

BruceSlideshow DwarfLakeIris
75 - DwarfLakeIris
s43. Dwarf lake-iris (Iris lacustris), a VERY rare plant, found only on the shores of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. Very tiny - only 3 inches high!

At our cabin on 2003jun02-am:

BruceSlideshow Doris-the-birder
81 - Doris-the-birder

BruceSlideshow RingBilledGull
82 - RingBilledGull

BruceSlideshow Gulls-being-fed
83 - Gulls-being-fed

BruceSlideshow HerringGull-trapped
84 - HerringGull-trapped
s45. Herring gull trapped on the deck at the Big Kahuna. He came to get some leftover pancakes and couldn't figure out how to get off the deck. Instead of flying up, for about 20 minutes he tried to force himself through the bars.

BruceSlideshow HerringGull-mocked-by-RingBilledGulls
85 - HerringGull mocked by RingBilledGulls
s46. Here he is being mocked by smaller ring-billed gulls until he finally figured out how to get away.

BruceSlideshow group-at-BigKahuna
86 - group at BigKahuna

At Cabot Head near our cabin on 2003jun02-am:

BruceSlideshow lighthouse-at-CabotHead
87 - lighthouse at CabotHead
s48. Lighthouse at Cabot Head. There has been a lighthouse here since 1895. The light was replaced with an electronic beacon in 1971 and the station restored to its former glory. It is one of many lighthouses built to help sailors navigate this extremely dangerous rocky shore. Lighthouse keeper is volunteer who stays for free most of the summer and opens it up for visitors and does light maintenance work.

BruceSlideshow view-from-lighthouse
88 - view from lighthouse

BruceSlideshow NiagraEscarpment-at-CabotHead
89 - NiagraEscarpment at CabotHead
s47. Cabot Head. North of Dyer's Bay at the end of Dyer's Bay Road, notice the switchbacks on the road. You can also see the caves used as nesting places by the turkey vultures.

On the road back to Hamilton on 2003jun02:

BruceSlideshow Doris-greets-WiartonWilly
91 - Doris greets WiartonWilly

BruceSlideshow group-with-WiartonWilly
92 - group with WiartonWilly
s50. The group posing with Wiarton Willy, the groundhog that predicts spring in our part of Canada. You can see Willy was hit by a truck when they were removing snow and he's a little worse for wear. When we're done with orchids, we may start a native groundhog conservation organization!

BruceSlideshow Doris-with-Teasel
93 - Doris with Teasel
s49. Doris holding dried stalks of Teasel, often used in floral decorations. This pretty weed was growing everywhere along with Queen Anne's lace - something people often pay money for.

Conclusion:  The orchid festival is run jointly by The Friends of the Bruce Association and Parks Canada. In 2005 the orchid festival will be held May27,28,29 in case you want to attend. Check their website,