Several distinct habitats make up this unique land area. Because the park is a tombolo, the mainland is attached to the island by a sandbar — one of the largest in Canada. That means more than two kilometres of sandy beaches to explore.
The area also contains a large expanse of marsh, accessible by a boardwalk. The 1.2-km Marsh Trail includes 800 metres of boardwalk, complete with two viewing towers and a teaching platform. Sixteen interpretive panels illustrate the marsh’s story and the wildlife inhabiting the land.
Dunes are also present. Pannes (wetlands between the dunes) contribute to the area’s biodiversity. In the spring, these pannes are full of singing chorus frogs. These pannes dry out each summer, supporting wildflowers and other flora for pollinators.
The diverse range of landscapes means a wide variety of wildlife. There are 13 species of amphibians and 10 species of reptiles. Dozens of species of mammals have also been recorded, many of them small and nocturnal. During the day, expect to see eastern chipmunks and black and red squirrels. At dawn and dusk, white-tailed deer, red fox, eastern cottontail rabbit and little brown bats are out.
Constructed in 1840 on Presqu’ile Point, the lighthouse was designed by Nicol Hugh Baird, who also designed parts of the Trent-Severn Waterway and the Rideau Canal. A Lighthouse Interpretive Centre has many displays about the building’s history.
Presqu’ile Provincial Park and surrounding areas continue to be significant to many Indigenous peoples including Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Huron-Wendat. It is situated in the Johnson-Butler Purchase, also known as the “Gunshot Treaty” (one of the earliest land agreements between representatives of the Crown and Indigenous Peoples in Upper Canada), and the Williams Treaties.