Retreat. The McKay Island Lighthouse


5J2DV4gP8KbYXluI7CuDjaVBmFw1yHtfL3KGX-v5l0S427zdW9HixbHnt2MJ-Inf1kB_4w=w1315-h511 - CopyThere is a treasure waiting to be discovered by travelers seeking to decompress, nurture their creative self, and otherwise breathe in deeply northern Ontario tranquility. Along the Lake Huron North Channel, where Bruce Mines, Ontario is found, are McKay and French Islands that sit just south of Bruce Bay. On McKay Island, you will find a Lighthouse that has been transformed into a lodging. A place where history and modern amenities come together. A place that was built in 1907, modernized for today’s traveler, and can be rented by the night or by the week. A place where the view will never disappoint. The McKay Island Lighthouse.

Since the 1960’s, McKay Island, and the Lighthouse have been owned by the Peterson family. Patsy and Larry Peterson are the innkeepers for Bruce Bay’s 8 Cottages and Lighthouse. They continue to invite travelers of all ages to come explore and share in the beauty that can be found in this nature retreat.


1907 McKay Island Lighthouse with its builders
1907 McKay Island Lighthouse with its builders

In 1902, the first navigation light at the harbour of the Town of Bruce Mines, Ontario was a relatively small lantern. The lantern was placed on the harbour’s wharf to guide the ships into the town’s new public wharf. The McKay Island lighthouse was built in 1907 by the Canadian federal government. A person can still climb the ladder to the beacon’s rampart (quaintly referred to as the ‘widow’s walk’) for an amazing panoramic view of the North Channel of Lake Huron.

The McKay Island Lighthouse is set up to accommodate 6 guests. With 3 mariner themed bedrooms, a fully equipped and functioning kitchen, 2 bathrooms, an open concept dining room area and a lovely front sitting area, there is most definitely bliss to be found in the 1907 structure.

Bruce Bay Cottages and Lighthouse have been owned and operated by the Peterson Family since the 1960’s. Larry and Pat (Patsy) Peterson are kept very busy with steady reservations for both the cottages and the lighthouse. “We have stepped into the future and added online booking” shared Pat Peterson. Pat is a Board member of Algoma Kinniwabi Travel Association, a non profit incorporated organization that works to promote travel and development in the tourism industry within the Algoma region since 1974. Pat and members of the association have been working hard to build and brand ‘Algoma Country’ as a recognizable and desirable destination.


“With an updated online booking system, I’m waking up in the morning, and there are new reservations booked.” shared Pat “That’s very exciting to see.”


The Lighthouse Lounge which sits adjacent to McKay Lighthouse is a great place to book for events including wedding receptions, family reunions, professional development workshops for organizations, and so much more. “The Lighthouse Lounge can accommodate upwards of 60 people comfortably.” said Pat, adding “with room for a few more. We have developed a partnership with The Royal Canadian Legion, who can support, set-up and operate a cash bar through their liquor license. We also have several catering specialists available that we can refer and work with, for groups wishing to have a catered affair. The kitchen in the Lighthouse Lounge is fully operational to guests who wish to self-cater.”


Now here is a Fun Fact. Bruce Bay Cottages and Lighthouse are listed in as one of the top places in Ontario and Canada to Elope. “It’s getting a bit harder to try and coordinate the use of the hall with dates that folks might want to stay at the cottages or lighthouse, especially when an elopement is part of the reason for booking the lounge.”


2RlCh1GKRFsuzJbwmBcsGlFogyLqsQmwxXxHOAdYJIDoCx0cTxgoZRz8QXLwmlXGzDE7hQ=w1315-h511 - CopyLooking around the Lighthouse Lounge, it’s no wonder. The view is amazing, the kitchen is spacious, and everything a person could want or need to create a memorable event is contained within the Lighthouse Lounge. The drive in from Hwy 11-17 at Bruce Mines, along the causeway that connects the islands together is an easy one. There certainly aren’t any large boulders jutting up and out of the roadway to play havoc on the tires. Just wonderful views of Lake Huron, and pathways cut though brush inviting a person to trek and discover this special place. There is even a private sandy beach along the route to the Lighthouse for guests of The Cottages and Lighthouse to use.

L0ASRAeq6gbp58-li1Kq7OTAiKAbG9KV-qNXYWNEVWjC1b3q49NSk186-UxLfD_7euCq4Q=w1315-h511Bruce Bay Cottages and The McKay Island Lighthouse, as well as the Lounge are open for business in early spring. “We close for the winter beginning on December 31st.” said Pat.
The McKay Island Lighthouse awaits. Shining and beaconing weary travelers to stop, take shelter, and breathe deeply. Algoma Country.
‘The harbour of Bruce Mines is horseshoe-shaped. It exists by the presence of three islands: French; McKay; Jacks. The mainland provides the north and west boundaries of the harbour. French and McKay islands provide the south boundary, and extend southeasterly. Jacks Island provides the east boundary and extends southward. The harbour’s entranceway is between the eastern tip of McKay Island and the southern tip of Jacks Island. McKay Island has had several owners: Federal Government of Canada; Montreal Mining Company; Bruce Mines Copper Ltd.; Copper Mining and Smelting Co of Ontario, Ltd.

In 1902, the first navigation light at the harbour of the Town of Bruce Mines, Ontario was a relatively small lantern. The lantern was placed on the harbour’s wharf to guide the ships into the town’s new public wharf. The McKay Island lighthouse was built in 1907 by the Canadian federal government.’ (source )
For more information about the Algoma Kinnawabi Tourism Association visit 

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