Frying Pan Island (Henry's Restaurant) - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip
MacTier, ON, Canada
For years Iíve heard of Henryís Restaurant out on the main channel of the Georgian Bay about 6 miles north of 12 mile bay. Iíve had dozens of offers to go out with friends who have cottages and powerboats in the area over the summer. What I didnít realize is that Henrys sits on Fryingpan Island, which is a quick 5 km jaunt from Wreck Island at the western edge of the Massasauga Park. Which makes the location a possible dayís long paddle out for lunch launching from the Moon Bay Marina.
The day I picked for my paddle was perfect. It was 3 days after the big Labor Day weekend (one of the holidays the US and Canada share). Henryís is just not one of those cute fish and chips places on the water. First, itís on an island. Second, itís only accessible by water, third itís down right comfortable and friendly. It ranks in the boating and kayaking world right up there with Cabbage Key (and itís famous burgers) off of Ft. Meyers in Florida.
At Henryís on a normal summer day I am told there are dozens of Mega Yachts, almost a hundred small boaters, a dozen seaplanes, and 20 or so kayaks, all docked in front of Henrys. Five different small commercial seaplanes, one of the companies making flights from Toronto Harbour, service the restaurant. The wait can be 2 Ĺ to 3 hours on a weekend. It is that good.
Although there is a fairly robust menu, most people opt for the Pickerel platter (battered or pan-fried). The Canadian Pickerel is a fish in the US that is called Walleye. It is an excellent food fish. I should know - I ate 10 filets that day for lunch. I was a little top heavy paddling back, Iíll admit it.
The paddle can be accomplished a hundred different ways. There is only one requirement. To get out of Moon Bay one should use Captain Allan Strait to get out of Moon Bay. From there, itís about a 20 km paddle and can be done in warm weather as there are a myriad of islands that can be straddled depending on the prevailing winds. We were fortunately on the way out we had southerly wind pushing us. On the way back the wind had changed to a westerly. We averaged 7.8 km per hour without pushing ourselves. Paddling out on the north side of Sharpe Island, on the way back paddling the south side of Sharpe.
Maps of the area can be obtained at MEC downtown Toronto. For those wanting to spend the night, you can chose to leave from Peteís place (2km short of the end of Healy Lake Road) and spend a night on an island in the Ontario Massasauga Provincial Park. Youíll have a choice of 135 sites that are a modest $9.00 per person. Itíll only add about 5 km to your trip if you pick a site along your route.
Camping if one wishes in the Massauga Park. World renown "Pickerel" (what most of us call Walleye) served a few ways in various small to enormous portions.
$5 parking at the Marina if a day trip, or $9.80 a night per person includes parking for 1 car only if camping in the Massasauga Park.
Exit 189 off Hwy 400 2 hours north of Toronto. Head to MacTier, thru town, make the left on Lake Healy Road, about 20 kms end up at the Moon Bay Marina or camp in the Massasauga access through Pete's Place a couple kms short of the Marina at the end of Lake Healy Road.
Massauga Park Map - look for Fryingpan Island, Henry's is located about a km north of Fryingpan Harbor.
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