Three's a Charm in Ontario

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is named for a series of mesas built of sedimentary rock and covered by more resistant igneous rock that make up what resembles a huge stone figure in repose. Here, the gently sloping eastern lowlands are juxtaposed against the high cliffs of Lake Superior's western shore. Interspersed are valleys, inland lakes, and quick-running streams.

Sibley Peninsula, home of the Sleeping Giant, became a protected area in 1944, when the Ontario government established sections as Sibley Provincial Park. The park was created to preserve a few remaining stands of virgin forest after decades of logging and was renamed Sleeping Giant in 1988. Today it occupies almost 150 square miles.

The park's wildlife has undergone a pronounced transition since the turn of the century. Up until the 1900s, woodland caribou roamed the forests, but logging led to the destruction of their habitat and virtually eliminated the animals. In their place came moose and white-tailed deer, finding forage on the growth of new trees and shrubs. The moose population eventually declined as the forest matured, and the white-tailed deer became more populous. Other large animals found in Sleeping Giant include the elusive timber wolf and black bear. Lynx, red fox, and porcupine make up the list of smaller animals. Birdwatchers have recorded over 190 species of birds here, with good viewing available at Pickerel Lake, the south end of Marie Louise Lake, and the shores of Silver Islet. At the tip of the Sibley Peninsula is the Thunder Cape Bird Observatory, where you'll find a 20-meter observation tower overlooking Lake Superior. This is a good place to watch the fall migration of birds, which typically begins in late July and lasts through October.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 2 Jun 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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