Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre
Get up close to Ontario’s other raptors at Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre. Wye Marsh is a 1214 hectares conservation wetland area that is home to some of Ontario’s vulnerable wildlife, including majestic birds of prey like hawks, eagles and owls, also known as raptors.
Wye Marsh also serves as an outdoor classroom brimming with fascinating information about the local habitat, ecosystem and wildlife conservation programs. Guests are invited to enjoy various outdoor activities like interpretive walks, hiking and paddling throughout the scenic reserve.
Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre is located on the south shore of Georgian Bay, on the outskirts of the coastal town of Midland. Highway 12 west from Highway 400 will deliver you to the front gates of the Wye Marsh property.
Seasonal educational events and workshops held at Wye Marsh range from maple syrup demonstrations to nature tours and birdwatching workshops. There are also special March Break activities designed to connect children with nature.
Visit the sugar shack each spring for a close-up and hands-on display of how maple syrup is made, taste maple taffy in the snow and enjoy a delicious pancake breakfast. Maple syrup isn’t the only sweet treat at Wye Marsh. Check out the Bee Hotel to learn all sorts of fascinating facts about bees and honey production (hint: pick up locally produced honey at the gift shop). In the autumn, workshops focus on the amazing bird migrations, a favourite among budding bird watchers.
For up-to-date information and details on the Wye Marsh, we recommend you visit their website. For information about other places of interest to explore nearby, keep scrolling to see what Destination Ontario recommends.
More about Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre
The provincial and federal government co-own this designated wetlands and nature reserves. Through a lease agreement with Environment Canada, the non-profit charitable organization, Friends of Wye Marsh was awarded responsibility for the daily operations of Wye Marsh. Friends of Wye Marsh is committed to fostering local environmental stewardship for this significant natural site, as well as educating guests on the importance of the wetlands ecosystem.
Over 25 km of maintained and groomed trails await you at Wye Marsh, many that are accessible for wheelchair and strollers. Some feature boardwalks across wetland areas make it easy to look down and peer into the marsh waters. Friendly chickadees will fly into the palm of your hand to feed on sunflower seeds. Dispensing machines filled with sunflower seeds are provided, so be sure to bring loose change.
Climb the steps that lead to the top of the observation deck to get a bird’s eye view of the reserve. In the winter, guided snowshoeing tours will explore areas of Wye Marsh not typically travelled. In the summer, canoe or kayak the marsh channels for another unique perspective. Equipment rental is available onsite.
Due to successful conservation efforts, wildlife viewing is a key attraction at Wye Marsh. Look for the industrious beaver and osprey nesting in the tall Osprey Tower. You may also see at-risk wildlife, like snapping turtles, barn swallows or the eastern fox snake. Wye Marsh is a designated Important Bird Area (IBA) so expect to be delighted with sightings of feathered friends.
The Wye Marsh Trumpeter Swan Program is a news-worthy success story. Native to Ontario, this distinctly loud bird is the largest of the swan species and was on the verge of extinction not too long ago. A dedicated biologist named Harry Lumsden spearheaded a program that slowly reintroduced the Trumpeter Swan. Wye Marsh became the breeding ground for one of the earliest wild nesting swans named Pig Pen. Since then, the Trumpeter Swan population in Wye Marsh has flourished, and are tagged and monitored for tracking and analysis. Wye Marsh’s Animal Ambassadors program cares for creatures unable to survive in the wild on their own.
Photo credit: Amanda Swick