Pelee Island – Lake Erie

Pelee Island Lighthouse, built in 1833 by John Scott of Detroit and last lit in 1909. Ninety years later, the island Relight the Lighthouse committee was awarded a Canadian federal grant that provided the additional funding needed to complete restoration of the lighthouse, which was rededicated in August 2000.

Pelee Island, at 28 square miles (73 square kilometers), is the largest island in Lake Erie. It is also the southernmost inhabited landmass of Canada.

Pelee Island lies between the peninsula of Point Pelee National Park in Leamington, Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Erie and the Marblehead Peninsula, just north of Sandusky, Ohio, on the south shore. The island is located about 10 miles (16 kilometers)—an hour-and-a-half ferry ride—from Kingsville or Leamington, Ontario, and is a part of Lake Erie’s archipelago of 22 islands in the Western Basin. The island’s 275 year-round residents (“islanders”) swells to over 1,000 with seasonal residents (“cottagers”) during the summer months.

Expect a rural community with a fringe of shoreline cottages and two small settlements: West Dock and Scudder (aka North Dock). In 2005, Pelee Island was featured in the New York Times in a half-page story titled “An Island unto Itself, Loved for What It Lacks.” The island is indeed often loved for what it lacks: stoplights, cable television, newspapers, Wi-Fi, and lattes.

Expect to slow down. The spotty cell phone service on the island may help by keeping you in the here and now; you may find yourself really seeing what you happen to be looking at in the moment.