Georgina Island Neighbourhood Guide: Pristine Life on the Reserve

Georgina Island, Georgina

Image of Georgina Island

Neighbourhood At a Glance:

Average Commute Time to Toronto

The ferry ride, including the trip from downtown Toronto, will take an hour and a half.


Living is easy when you rent a cottage during the summer to fish, hike, and explore.

The Housing Market

Renting a cottage is your best bet for staying at Georgina Island.

What You’ll Love

A peaceful environment secluded from society with a unique heritage on display.

What Not To Expect

Don’t expect many amenities like grocery stores or restaurants for long-term visits.

Ever wonder what it’s like to visit an Indigenous reserve? Georgina Island is the nearest reserve to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and offers an incredible experience for those interested in different cultures and immersive outdoor experiences. After a short ferry ride to the island, you’ll be amazed by the wonderful trail systems and rich culture that inhabits this island. Natural elements like creeks and trails will win your heart over as you explore this magical island. The island also makes a perfect destination for a quick stop on your boating journey from Georgina proper throughout the Lake Simcoe area.

Neighbourhood Review


The Chippewas of Georgina Island, the governing body in charge of the area, exerts strict protection over its lands, making it difficult to find any opportunity for buying a home, let alone leasing a property. There are some vacant lots available for lease, but homes for sale are not available. Major structures were not erected on Georgina Island save for the simply constructed marina, a church, and the Georgina Island Administration Office, to name a few. In 2001, the Indian Act was repealed and Indigenous people such as the Chippewas of Georgina Island regained control over the use of their land and funding.

georgina island first nation

Things to Do in Georgina Island

Arts & Culture

Each year the Georgina Island Intertribal Powwow is held at the Georgina Island community centre. The powwow includes drumming, dancing, food, and craft vendors and is open to anyone who wants to join in.

The Chippewas of Georgina Island have succeeded in maintaining their culture and values that European settlers attempted to eliminate using Christian indoctrination and tactics of cultural assimilation. The cultural heritage is preserved in their oral traditions, as well as through traditional structures spread out around the island. Scenic, educational-historic trail systems run through the island and are designed for both tourists and locals alike. Additionally, in 2002, an outdoors group was hired to construct a neighbourhood of five traditional wigwams to use for teaching young students.


There’s scant opportunity for shopping on Georgina Island. One way that tourists can support the economy is by staying at one of the Bed and Breakfasts run by the cottagers living in the area. For example, Heron’s Landing Resort offers cottages for rent. These cottages are detached single and multi-storied buildings with insulated walls so tourists can enjoy the island at all times of the year.

southern tip

Restaurants & Dining

There is a small restaurant on the shoreline called Eagles Nest where travellers can stop for simple fare with a view of the water. It’s a good idea to stop over here on your boating journey around Lake Simcoe to grab a beer, say hello to the locals, and take a moment to appreciate the beautiful scenery found on Georgina Island. Otherwise, travellers can stop by the Boondocks Eatery. It’s near Virginia Beach Marina, where you’ll go when taking the ferry or boat launching from Georgina.


Nanabush trails are a major attraction on the island. The trailhead is located just 400 metres away from the ferry landing. You’ll be mesmerized by the gorgeous, wooded area, which is carefully managed as an educational environment for younger members of the community. The trails are broken into four sections that are colour-coded for ease of access. The trails are also dotted with informational cards that provide insight into the flora and fauna of the landscape. The Nanabush trails offer safe viewing points where visitors can observe the biologically diverse wetland, and the Wigwam village is located on the Sweetgrass trail.

first nations


Public beaches on Georgina Island are limited. On the other hand, the Neezh Meegqwunun Campground has a beautiful beach and picnic area that tourists can use after paying a day fee. Georgina Island also has a skating arena called the Buzzy Big Canoe Memorial Arena. The volunteer-run facility is a hub for community events such as ball hockey, ice hockey, day camp, family skating events, and garage sales. In 2018 the arena received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to add washrooms and adjust some of the rooms in the facility.

Transit & Commute Times

Getting to Georgina Island involves travelling to Georgina itself and then hopping on the Aazhaawe Ferry, which departs from Virginia Beach. The ride takes around half an hour and leaves from Virginia Beach every two hours. A punch card is required to travel on the ferry. These cards can be purchased from the Virginia Beach Gas Station, which currently closes at 8 PM. If you are not travelling by car, there is the other option of travelling by the smaller water taxi, which leaves Virginia Beach on a similar two-hour schedule. No public transit routes run on Georgina Island. Most commuting is done by vehicle unless you’re daring enough to try hitching a ride from one of the locals.

three islands

An Island of Wonders

Being the closest reservation to the GTA, Georgina Island is a rare find for people looking to escape the culture of urbanity and city living. There’s a well-designed trail system that will teach you about the environment, and a well-established marina where you can dock and have your boat serviced. People looking to rent cottages will be amazed by the buildings they can choose from, and the serene environment of the forest and Lake Simcoe will make the visit unforgettable. While you’re there, make sure to chat up the locals to get a feel for their hard-earned culture, which is part of Canada’s culturally diverse fabric.

georgina island first nation

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Georgina Island, Ontario, known for?

Georgina Island is a popular destination for people looking to rent cottages facing the beautiful Lake Simcoe. The area is also highly popular for boating and fishing enthusiasts.

Why is it called Georgina Island?

Georgina Island is located off the coast of Georgina, which was named after King George III by Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe in the 1790s. 

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Georgina Island, Ontario


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