Wolfe Island (Ontario)
|Area||124 km2 (48 sq mi)|
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 Island (Grande île) by the French. In a proclamation by the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada John Graves Simcoe on 16 July 1792, the island was renamed from Grand island to Wolfe island, after British General James Wolfe.
The island is about 29 kilometres (18 miles) long, with its width varying from around 9 kilometres (6 miles) to a few hundred metres at some points; its area is about 124 square kilometres (48 square miles). The resident population is about 1400 people, but this can double or triple in summer. 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 an underwater air bubbler system that stretches to the Barrack Street Dock in Kingston, Ontario, whose purpose is to prevent ice buildup along the ferry's route in winter. This ferry service is currently being examined in an ongoing transportation study. The seasonal Horne's Ferry (May to October) toll ferry 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-Detroit's Ambassador Bridge and Sombra–Marine City (Bluewater) Ferry).
A third ferry runs seasonally to join Wolfe Island to Simcoe Island.
Flora and fauna
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.
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. 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
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. Additionally, Wolfe Island has Big Sandy Bay Management Area. 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  and Sacred Heart Catholic School that is part of the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board.
In Marysville, the Township operates a tourist information centre seasonally.
A scheme to ship goods from Cape Vincent, New York to Kingston in the mid 19th century by connecting Canadian and American railway systems required a canal to be dug across the island. Since there was no direct railway link across the channels to the north and south of the island, boats were needed to ship the goods. A system of steamships towing barges carrying railway cars across the channels and through the canal was planned. Construction started in 1852. Although completed, the canal did not serve its intended purpose and stopped being used by 1892.
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, which have been in commercial operation since June 26, 2009. This is currently the second largest turbine project in Canada (the first being the Melancthon EcoPower Centre, located at Shelburne, Ontario).
- Ontario Highway 95 and 96
- List of wind farms in Canada
- Populated islands of the Great Lakes
- List of townships in Ontario
- Thomson, Hugh C.; Macfarlane, James (1831). The Statutes of th Province of Upper Canada Together with such British Statutes, Ordinances of Quebec, and Proclamations as Related to the Said Province. Kingston, U.C.: Francis M. Hill. pp. 24–25.
an island at present known by the name of Grand island, to be called Wolfe island
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- Wolfe Island Wind Project (197.8 MW) - Wolfe Island
- "Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. - Green, Renewable, Sustainable, Energy". Archived from the original on February 10, 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
- Wolfe Island News, August 2006