Lake of Bays is the largest lake in the Dorset area with over 100 miles of shoreline. The shoreline and numerous bays offer endless beautiful vistas and the lake remains a perennial favourite for tourist from all over the world. The water is crystal clear with a depth of over 200 feet and supports many fish species including lake trout. A huge lake trout specimen caught in Lake of Bays is on display in Robinson’s General Store. ) The towns of Dorset, Dwight and Baysville ring the lake and each town offers its own unique attractions. One of the most popular is the fireworks in Dorset ever Canada Day weekend. Flocks of boats come in at dusk to watch spectacular display. It’s a magical sight.
Lake of Bays has been a popular tourist destination since the turn of the century, combining endless recreational opportunities with dining and many forms of accommodation around the lake. Historic “Bigwin Inn”, founded in 1920, is probably the most famous of the lodges and inns on the lake. It was popular with royalty and the Hollywood crowd in its day but gradually declined in the late ‘40s until it fell into total disrepair. However, it has recently undergone an immense revitalization. It now offers world class dining once again as well as a fabulous golf course. (www.bigwinisland.com)
Boating of all types is a popular lake activity. There’s an active Sailing Club near the Glenmount area (www.lbsc.ca) and “hot boaters” can be seen regularly at the wharf in Dorset. There are numerous areas to canoe or kayak as well, a popular one being the river that leads to Marsh’s Falls from Ten Mile Bay. The lake is well marked for boating hazards and with all the marinas around the lake, fuel and service (or treats!) are readily available. Once the lake is frozen, you’ll see clusters of ice fishing huts and loads of snowmobilers enjoying a run down the lake.
The continuing character and quality of the lake is in no small part thanks to the very strong, well organized group of individuals that make up the Lake of Bays Association. They monitor everything from lake quality to development proposals (www.loba.ca) and maintain constant liaison with municipal government. The Association works hard to maintain the integrity of the lake. A more recent addition is the historical society www.lakeofbaysheritage.ca which not only provides fascinating history surrounding the lake but works to maintain and restore historical sites and structures.
There are numerous public access points on Lake of Bays, with boat ramps and docks and great swimming. There’s a stunning beach on Dwight Bay and a lovely little used beach and dock near the Baysville end of South Portage Road. Dorset has several launch points as well as a quiet little beach at the end of Trading Bay just off Main Street.