ORCHIDS OF THE BRUCE & ALGONQUIN
Wildlife Holidays/Tours to ONTARIO Slipper Orchids and Trilliums with Greentours Natural History Holidays
Slipper Orchids are the stars of the show. Under pale green maple canopies are magnificent stands of Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper, rare red and white Ram’s-head Lady’s Slipper adorn the dunes of Singing Sands, and the vinous Moccasin Flower carpets mossy northern forests. Cypripedium parviflorum seems to be everywhere. Undoubtedly most spectacular will be the magnificent pink pouches of the Showy Lady’s Slipper and our tour finishes at Purdon where several thousand of these glamorous orchids will make for a tremendous finale.
Calypso Orchid nestles amongst mosses on scenic Flowerpot Island at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, a hundred kilometer long finger of dolomitic limestone jutting into the heart of Lake Huron. Forty-four of Ontario’s sixty-odd species of orchid are found amongst the woodlands, fens, dunes and limestone ‘alvars’ that make this such a unique landscape. Fen Orchids and Tall White Orchids join Pitcher Plants and Indian Paintbrushes in calcareous mires, whilst under shade we’ll find Striped Coralroots and both Trillium grandiflorum and yellow Trout Lily. Other treasures include lovely Iris lacustris and the regional endemic Lakeside Daisy, as well as Red-backed Salamanders, Northern Leopard Frogs, Sandhill Cranes, Pileated Woodpeckers and Eastern Bluebirds.
We’ll traverse Manitoulin Island to reach Killarney’s mountainous wilderness of sapphire lakes and jack pine ridges, considered one of Ontario’s crown jewels. There are gems amongst the flowers too with Nodding Trillium, the gorgeous Corydalis sempervirens, and the Rose Pogonia to look forward too. We’ll look for Black Bears and Moose amidst the majestic landscapes of the Algonquin Provincial Park. Otters and Beavers inhabit myriad lakes and rivers whilst in Black Spruce-dotted bogs we'll find Fringed Polygala and Trailing Arbutus, Goldthread and Hooker’s Orchid. A superb wildflower show, impressive mammals, and some very beautiful and approachable birds, all with the wonderful wild landscapes of Ontario providing a fitting backdrop.
An extension takes us to British Columbia, a land of sweeping forests, endless mountains and unspoilt rivers and lakes, and nowhere is this truer than on Vancouver Island. Marine and land mammals can be seen more easily and in higher numbers than perhaps anywhere on the continent. The island’s waters are home to a bounty of nature’s magnificence including Steller’s Sea Lions, Dolphins, Porpoises, Bald Eagles and of course Orcas. Boat trips are well-known for their guaranteed wildlife shows with pods of Orcas frequently observed at close range. This is the ideal season to see Gray Whales and Black Bears are on the agenda, and it will be a special treat to have such great opportunities to photograph beautiful Sea Otters at rest and at play.
Flowers, particularly Orchids. Also Birds and Mammals.
We will be ambling no more than four or five miles in any one day, and always at a slow pace, ideally suited to photography.
Included in the Price
All flights. All transport, accommodation and meals inCanada. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature, including insurance, are not included.
Minimum is 4 and the maximum is 15. Only one leader will accompany a group of 8 or less.
After a night in the modern Hilton Garden Inn in Cambridge we’ll move north to Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. We’ve four nights in the spacious and comfortable rooms at the Big Tub Harbour Resort. Moving across Georgian Bay we’ll spend three nights at the very fine Killarney Mountain Lodge, beautifully situated on a dramatic pink granite coastline. Next is a real treat, with four nights at the gorgeous Bartlett Lodge, a bastion of comfort in the wilds for almost a century. On the shore of Cache Lake, the lovely wooden cabins are large and very comfortable, and the restaurant serves absolutely fabulous four course dinners! Lastly we’ve one night at Clyde Hall in Lanarck, just a few miles from Purdon Fen. Clyde Hall is a large guesthouse whose main claim to fame is its superb ‘English’ breakfasts. The rooms are very comfortable too!
The first night on the Vancouver Island Extension takes us to the Qualicum Beach Inn. The inn has large airy rooms and a most unusual circular restaurant with great views out over the bay. After a night here we’ve three nights in the wonderful Blackrock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet, a truly lovely hotel that combines contemporary comfort and quality service with an amazing natural setting. As its name suggest this hotel has wonderful sea views and the hotel design, with lots of space and natural light really seems to bring the environment right into the heart of the hotel. We follow this with two nights at the Moonwater Lodge in Malahat. This lodge claims to have one of the best views in Canada and as Canada has many of the best views in the World… The lodge has been designed so that all the rooms can enjoy the same marvellous panorama in superb comfort and each has a balcony too. The restaurant features fresh caught local fish and hormone-free and organic local produce.
All rooms/cabins on this tour and on the Extension have en suite WCs/showers.
Outbound UK return flights are from London Heathrow*, London Gatwick or Manchester* direct to Toronto (returning from Vancouver if you join the Extension). Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available. *These routes may incur a supplement.
Please contact us for prices of an upgrade to premium economy which is available on some flights.
Generally warm and often sunny! Temperatures are in the range of 14°C to 28°C. Rain is likely to be in the form of showers or occasional more prolonged spells.
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information.
Flower, bird and mammal checklists are available.