Manitou Lake – Manitowaning, Ontario - Atlas Obscura

Manitou Lake

Manitowaning, Ontario

Lake within a lake. 


The largest of 108 freshwater lakes on Lake Huron’s Manitoulin Island, Lake Manitou is a lake within a lake. At 104 square kilometers, the lake is more than that: It’s the biggest island lake on the planet.

Over the summer months, Manitou Lake received an influx of vacationers looking to take advantage of the great fishing - Manitou boasts the largest recorded muskie ever caught - and delicious wild berries for which the island is known. The island’s distinct hawberries are so ingrained in the local culture that area residents are informally known as Haweaters. The annual Haweater Festival is a regional attraction and one of the island’s most anticipated celebrations.

An undoubtedly picturesque and serene summer getaway, the lake merits mention in this compendium of the curious, however, due to the two large unnamed islands within the lake itself. These otherwise nondescript geographic features have the unique quality of being islands within a lake within an island within a lake. Consider that each island has several fresh water ponds and that the Americas themselves form a giant island, and Lake Manitou becomes something like Mother Nature’s conceptual equivalent of Inception.

Know Before You Go

Manitoulin Island can be reached using the one-lane Little Current Swing Bridge, or via ferry during the spring and summer months.

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April 11, 2011

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