The beauty of Ontario is not just limited to its lands. Beneath its waters lies a completely other world to explore; filled with submerged cliffs, caves and spectacular varieties of aquatic life.

READ ALSO: 12 Places In Ontario That Are Magical In The Summer

The Fathom Five National Marine Park in particular has some of the best freshwater diving and snorkeling in Canada, and a part of the reason why that is is because its waters are home to over 20 historic shipwrecks that can be viewed and explored.

Most of the shipwrecks are located in the designated dive sites throughout the area. Though they are open to the public mostly for diving purposes, some shipwrecks can also be viewed without having to scuba, as they are shallow enough to see via snorkeling and boat. If you are looking to dive, however, there are various locations throughout the park that offer diving instructionals.

Here are 12 glorious shipwrecks you can visit in Ontario's Tobermory (use the maps at the end of this article for locations):


Sweepstakes

  • #1 on map
  • Depth: 7 m

Sweepstakes is a 119-foot schooner that sank in Big Tub Harbour in 1885. It's hull is still intact, as well as the windlass and part of the original bow rail. Though entering the wreckage is not permitted, it is still open to divers, snorkelers, and boat tourers for viewing.


Photo cred - wrecksandreefs

City of Grand Rapids Steamer

  • #2 on map
  • Depth: 5 m

The City of Grand Rapids was a passenger vessel originally built in Michigan. It burned and sank in Big Tub Harbour, closeby to Sweepstakes (30 metres away). The area is available for both diving and snorkelling.


The Tugs

  • #5 on map
  • Depth: 13 m

The Tugs is a collection of four small shipwrecks. It is a great site for diving, snorkelling, and open water viewing; however, diving is limited to the area within the designated buoys.


John Walters

  • #8 on map
  • Depth: 5 m

The John Walters was built in Kingston, Ontario and crashed near Russell Island. Limited wreckage remains, but some details like glacial scours can still be seen. The site is perfect for beginner divers and snorkelers.


W.L. Wetmore

  • #9 on map
  • Depth 7 m

W.L. Wetmore was a steamer that wrecked during a large storm in 1901. The leftover wreckage includes timber from the boat, the boiler, anchor, chain and rudder. The site is suitable for divers and snorkellers of any experience.


James C. King

  • #10 on map
  • Depth: 7 to 30 m

The King was a schooner-barge built in Michigan that wrecked while being towed by the Wetmore in 1901. Though there are several beautiful features to see in this site, it is only recommended for advanced divers and not for novices or snorkelers.


Photo cred - memphin.net

Newaygo

  • #11 on map
  • Depth: 8 m 

The Newaygo is a steamer that wrecked in 1903. Several pieces of the boat were scattered throughout the bottom of the lake. Though the site is perfect for divers of all skill levels, it is only open during good weather conditions.


Philo Scoville

  • #12 on map
  • Depth: 7 to 30 m

The Philo Scoville wreckage includes the bow of the original ship. The remains are found in deeper waters east of the main wreckage. Advanced divers are recommended for this site.


Charles P Minch

  • #13 on map
  • Depth: 6 to 16 m

The Minch was an Ohio schooner that drove into shore rocks in 1898. The wreckage was scattered across Tecumseh Cove on Cove Island. It is a great site for divers and snorkellers of any level.


Arabia

  • #14 on map
  • Depth: 37 m

The Arabia wrecked near Echo Island in 1884. While the wreckage is still intact and in good condition, the strong currents of the area makes it only suitable to visit if you're part of an advanced diving group being directed by a dive master.


Forest City

  • #16 on map
  • Depth: 18 to 46 m

Forest City is steamer ship from Ohio that wrecked on the east side of Bears Rump Island. The low sank to a depth of 18 m, while the stern is at 46 m in 1904. Due to site conditions and depth, only advanced divers are recommended.


Photo cred - wrecksandreefs

Avalon Voyager II

Avalon Voyager II is a motor ship from Newfoundland that crashed in 1980. Only the bottom portion of the ship remains, but it can be seen via snorkelling.


BONUS: The Caves

The Caves are submerged areas near the Georgian Bay shoreline that lead to an open grotto. Divers and snorkelers of all skill levels are welcome (diving access via boat from Tobermory).


BONUS: Little Cove

Little Cove is a popular open-water location where you can see unique geological formations. Good for both diving and snorkelling.


BONUS: North Otter Wall

North Otter Wall is a dive site that features caves, small cliffs, and submerged rock walls. Perfect for divers of any skill level.


For more information, please call Parks Canada at 519-596-2233.

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