Wolfe Island (Ontario)

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For other uses, see Wolf Island (disambiguation).
Wolfe Island
Wolfe island canada.jpg
NASA image of Wolfe Island. Kingston, Ontario is in the upper left of the image and upstate New York is the landmass in the right corner.
Geography
Location Lake Ontario
Coordinates 44°10′N 76°22′W / 44.167°N 76.367°W / 44.167; -76.367Coordinates: 44°10′N 76°22′W / 44.167°N 76.367°W / 44.167; -76.367
Area 124 km2 (48 sq mi)
Country
Canada
Province  Ontario
County Frontenac County
Township Frontenac Islands
Largest city Marysville
Demographics
Population 1,400
Vehicles loading onto the Wolfe Islander III at the ferry docks in Kingston harbour.

Wolfe Island is an island at the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River in Lake Ontario near Kingston, Ontario. Wolfe Island is part of Frontenac County, Ontario and the Township of Frontenac Islands. It is the largest of the Thousand Islands. The largest community on the island is Marysville. The island was part of the traditional hunting lands of the Tyendinaga Mohawk people and the original name of the island is Ganounkouesnot ('Long Island Standing up'). It was called Grand Ile by the French, but was later named after British General James Wolfe by British settlers.[1]

The island is about 29 km long, with its width varying from around 9 km to a few hundred metres at some points; it has an area of approximately 124 km2 (48 sq mi). The resident population is approximately 1400 people, but this number can double or triple during the summer months. Wolfe Island has its own post office (K0H 2Y0) and telephone exchange (+1-613-385-).

Wolfe Island can be reached by ferry from both Canada and the United States. The ferry from Kingston (Wolfe Islander III) is operated by the Ministry of Transportation and is free of charge. This ferry operates from two locations: the Summer Dock located in Marysville and the Winter Dock located at Dawson Point. This route includes a bubbler system that stretches to the Barrack Street Dock in Kingston, Ontario.[2] This ferry service is currently being examined in an ongoing transportation study.[2] The seasonal Horne's Ferry (May to October) toll ferry[3] to Cape Vincent, New York, first licensed in 1802, is still operated by the descendants of the first licence-holder and is one of the rare Canada-US international border crossings to be privately operated (the others are the Windsor-Détroit's Ambassador Bridge and Sombra–Marine City (Bluewater) Ferry).

A third ferry runs seasonally to join Wolfe Island to Simcoe Island.

Flora and fauna[edit]

Snowy owls are frequently seen on the island during winter. It is also an important stopover location for migrating waterfowl including swans in spring and fall. Wolfe Island is also home to a growing population of wild turkeys, and well as deer and other fauna. It is designated an Important Bird Area.[4]

The Big Sandy Bay Management Area on Wolfe Island is a 404-hectare property, classified as a provincially significant life sciences Area of Natural and Scientific Interest.[5] Sand dunes and wetlands allow rare plant species to flourish here. Rare trees and birds deemed to be significant either regionally or provincially are also found here. The environmental area is protected and no motorized vehicles are allowed, though there is ample free parking provided at the entrance. A well-marked and level walking trail leads to a large, secluded sand beach with shallows reaching out well into Lake Ontario. The beach is safe and family-friendly, but there are no services, so visitors are encouraged to bring their own refreshments and must carry out all garbage and recyclables to dispose of at home.

Recreation and other facilities[edit]

There is one golf course on Wolfe Island, a corn maze and three marked bicycle routes and country roads. The town of Marysville includes a bakery, restaurants and various other shops and services, as well as the largest church in the Thousand Islands (Sacred Heart of Mary Church). A new medical clinic opened in the spring of 2010. There is a volunteer fire and ambulance service on the island.[6] Additionally, Wolfe Island has Big Sandy Bay Management Area.[7] During the summer months in Marysville the Old House Museum is in operation. There are two elementary schools on the island: Marysville Public School that is part of the Limestone District School Board [8] and Sacred Heart Catholic School that is part of the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board.[9]

In Marysville, the Township operates a tourist information centre seasonally.

The limestone Wolfe Island Town Hall is a National Historic Site of Canada.[10]

Development[edit]

Wolfe Island Wind Farm

Wolfe Island is the site of most Kingston radio transmitters; CKWS TV and radio, CKLC, CIKR and CFRC transmit from the island. It also had historically been the site of various cheese factories, including one once operated by Kraft Foods.

A feature of Wolfe Island is the Wolfe Island Wind Project, a wind farm developed by Canadian Hydro Developers and now owned and operated by TransAlta. The 197.8 MW wind plant consists of 86 wind turbines,[11] which have been in commercial operation since June 26, 2009.[12] This is currently the second largest turbine project in Canada (the first being the Melancthon EcoPower Centre, located at Shelburne, Ontario).

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]