30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay - The Largest Freshwater Archipelago

Just north of Toronto lies one of the most beautiful regions in Canada commonly referred to as Cottage Country.  A big part of it is called...

Just north of Toronto lies one of the most beautiful regions in Canada commonly referred to as Cottage Country.  A big part of it is called Muskoka, a well-known weekend gateway and a popular vacation destination for people from all over Canada and the northeastern US. Most people who come to Muskoka are from Toronto though, because every Torontonian seems to love Muskoka. And you know exactly what I mean if you happened to get stuck in heavy traffic on summer long weekends on Highway 400 that connects Muskoka and Toronto. But today, I'm going to show you another place called 30,000 islands of Georgian Bay, a little less known yet even more beautiful comparing to Muskoka.  

Red rocks, sparkling water and beautiful windswept white pines ensure you'll have breathtaking views wherever you go in the 30,000 islands region.
For those who think that 30,000 islands is a joke, take a look at the aerial view map below.  
Because those are real islands, albeit some of them are as small as a few big rocks, you'll likely need a boat or at least a kayak or a canoe if you want to explore any of those islands. 
I believe the best way to visit the islands it to reserve a backcountry campsite on one of the islands at Massassauga Provincial Park. Many campsites are on small islands, so you'll literally have your own private island during your stay.
On the 2016 Thanksgiving long weekend in October, I decided to go camping at Killbear Provincial Park located just north of Parry Sounds, Ontario. Canoeing to one of the uninhabited islands at Massassauga Provincial Park would be a little bit too adventurous in subzero overnight temperatures. 
I've been to Killbear Provincial Park before, and always felt refreshed after my visit. It's such a nice place with beautiful scenery and plenty of wildlife, which always makes me want to come back.
Not only does the park have hiking and biking trails, beaches, picnic areas and campgrounds, but also you can enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets in your life as the park is known for its unforgettable sunset viewing. 
Park's staff promotes a wildlife awareness among visitors as not everyone realizes they are in a black bear country where a bear encounter is possible. Unfortunately, some people still don't know how to properly store food to ensure it does not attract bears. Not only is it life-threatening when a bear comes for food to a campsite, but also once a bear has tried a human food, it'll want to come back which often means that that bear has to be tranquilized and relocated to a wild place, or even killed. Hence, I guess, the name of the park. The bear trap pictured below has some smelly food inside, so it's supposed to catch a bear that has already tried a human food. But one of the rangers mentioned that this bear trap is sitting there mostly to raise awareness.
Besides enjoying the nature, putting up a campfire or doing some activities, Killbear Provincial Park offers you a chance to get to know a little bit about exciting geological features and rich natural history of the 30,000 islands region where the park is located. 
As the name of this article suggests, 30,000 islands of Georgian Bay is the largest freshwater archipelago in the world. Out of other Great Lakes (Georgian Bay is a bay on Lake Huron), only Georgian Bay and Lake Ontario have archipelagos (the archipelago on Lake Ontario is called 1,000 islands). To answer the question why there are archipelagos only in this part of Great Lakes, I'll first need to explain to you what the Canadian Shield is.
Canadian Shield is biggest of the six geological regions in Canada and covers over half of the country. One of the distinct features of the Canadian Shield is an exposed igneous rock with a thin layer of soil. 
Canadian Shield forms an old geological core of North America. It's hard to believe, but the Canadian Shield used to be a high mountains region, similar to the one in Himalaya. 
So why are there so many islands where the Canadian Shield reaches the Great Lakes? The answer is gneiss (pronounced 'nice'). 
Gneiss is a metamorphic rock which means that it was formed deep underground under an enormous pressure. You can easily distinguish gneiss from granite and other rocks by its unique mixture of dark and lights layers.
One of the unique features of gneiss is that its dark and light layers have different resistance to erosion: lights layers are more durable while dark layers erode faster, making pits that are filled with water. With mostly flat topography, this creates multiple islands. 

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