|Open:||MAY to OCT daily. |
|Fee:||Park Admission: Adults CAD 17, Children (5-17) CAD 13, Seniors CAD 15. Groups (20+): Adults CAD 16, Children (5-17) CAD 12, Seniors CAD 14, Schools CAD 11. |
|Address:||Scenic Caves at Blue Mountain, PO Box 215, Collingwood, Ontario, L9Y 3Z5, Tel: +1-705-446-0256. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|17th cty||used by the Huron Natives as a fortress.|
|1950||opened to the public.|
|1975-1978||excavations by archaeologist Charles Garrad.|
The Scenic Caves are situated at the highest point on the famous Niagara Escarpment from which you can view the town of Collingwood, the spectacular shoreline of Georgian Bay and several thousand square miles of unsurpassed scenery. They were carved millions of years ago by the glacial ice. The caves are a wonder of nature that attracts and fascinates visitors of all ages from around the world. It is one of Canada's six UNESCO biosphere reserves.
Set against the backdrop of sheer limestone cliffs, these caves plunge hundreds of feet into the depths. They have been given fancy names: Fern Cave, Bear Cave, Ice Cave, Natural Refrigerator. They open out into passageways and reveal rock formations from another era. One cave is so deep that snow and ice remain here all year round defying summer's hottest days.
The earliest written records of this area were by the Jesuit missionaries, who, in the first half of the 17th century, lived with the Hurons. The Hurons were the largest First Nation in North America at one time. Over 30,000 Natives lived, farmed the land and hunted here. The area around the Scenic Caves was the home of the Petun tribe or "Tobacco Nation", who used to grow tobacco for trade.
The Huron Natives used these rock formations as a fortress for protection from their enemies around the year 1650. Later the Hurons made their way south-west where today a remnant of the tribe known as the Wyandottes is found near Sandwich.
Excavations from 1975 to 1978 by archaeologist Charles Garrad, confirm the historical writings, that this area was once visited by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain and is the historic site of the Hurons' village of Ekarenniondi, which is named after its famous rock, which they used to worship.
Visitors are invited to stay and enjoy themselves for the day. Picnic/Sitting areas, overlooking pond with fountains), nature trail, Minigolf, new gemstone mining, playground, snack bar, and gift shop all go to make this the best little day trip around.
Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.
The caves are part of the park, there are no regular tours, the caves are visited on a self guided round trip through the park. The visit includes many other attractions rock formations, ponds, viewpoints and of course the newly built suspension bridge. This bridge is definitely impressive, allowing an extraordinary view across Georgian Bay. On the other side the entrance fee nearly doubled in two years (2002: $9.50, 2005: $17), which is not really an improvement.