West bound we return to the waterway with official charts 2023 sheets 2 & sheets 3,
We will pick up the course north of Hells Gate west bound to Burleigh Falls at the BCS RGR bifurcation or junction buoy where the south bound course through Clear Lake and the east bound course to Stony Lake converge just above Hells Gate. After Hells Gate you can relax a bit as your course lies to the north of Kiluna Island and a set of three islets to the north then bends westward between the smaller Fuji and Action Islands along the southern shore of Horseshoe Island. CAUTION as three are rocks to either side of the channel off the southern tip of Horseshoe and to the south of the channel toward Fairy Island as you exit the been headed upstream.
Looking east from the tip of "Burleigh Falls Island" with Woods Island
to the left Falaasac Rock & Brownscombe Island in background.
For a short while you pass a large and relatively shallow bay to the north formed by Horseshoe Island then the waterway narrows again channel makes an abrupt bend to the west passing between Hurricane Point on the north tip of Fairy Island and the western tip of Horseshoe Island. This is the Hurricane Bend marked by C209 with its 4 foot shoal on the south & R C210 close off Horseshoe Island which has only 1 foot between it and the island. You make a dogs leg slightly south of west to round Butchers Island which had a Red day marker C212 on it's south point.
Once clear of Polly Cow Rock G C213 your course is pretty much straight toward Burleigh Falls. Marker C217 at mile 112 marks Falaasa Rock to south of the channel and you are clear into Burleigh Bay. As you make the turn up Burleigh Bay leaving the fast running falls asturn you pass first the Sportsman Lodge docks in a small bay then hthe Burleigh Island Lodge docks currently under construction.
You are now entering the busiest part of the waterway between her and the next 6 locks and chain of lakes.
Burleigh Falls is situated on a narrow neck of land between Burleigh Bay and Lovesick Lake . There are no facilities for the larger passing boater here with limited tie-up opportunities. In off season the Canal winters a number of maintenance barges here. The small community of Burleigh Falls is 2 miles west of Stony Lake with a population of less than 100. The year round hub of local activity with the remodeled Burleigh Island Lodge Hotel & Restaurant in 2001.
As highway 28 is our main route to Toronto or Peterborough I can guarantee you that Burleigh Falls is a dangerous stretch of highway during the summer, particularly at Burleigh Falls where vacationers have no choice but to cross the highway without benefit of any traffic control. The highway sweeps around a bend in either direction and the short section by the lock and trading post will see traffic moving at least 100 kph in spite of the speed zone. If you have to cross use extreme caution as many take this straight stretch of road as the place to pass.
There is no public dock at Burleigh Falls now ( it was sold to a private individual for $35,000) so for cruising boats your only tie-up option is the lock wall. The lower wall has a pretty section outside the blue line with a narrow grassy strip with picnic tables nestled below the steep rock walls rising above. Due to the narrowness of the channel there is NO TIE-UP on the south wall below the lock during operating hours.
If the limited space on the lower wall is full and you don't want to retrace your passage looking for a spot to spend the night you can on most nights tuck yourself north of the channel sheltered from the prevailing wind. IT is not a good spot if the wind swings to the NE or east.
Burleigh Falls from downstream is a touch intimidating with the long deep cut leading up to the lock gate.The downstream passage from the lock to the bay is VERY NARROW and you MAY NOT tie up to the lower wall on the south side even though there are bollards. CAUTION: Whether you are above or below the lock waiting to enter it is important to secure your boat well as there is a very strong current created by the lock action and the unwary will be tossed around.THe upstream exit can be tricky as well so keep you hand on the throttles as you will have to correct for the current.
As you slip into the lock , you can see the hole in the limestone where the second lock was until the current one was constructed in 1968. THe lock itself is quite well mannered as it is of the later construction and fills from the bottom rather than the side making your assent or decent much less stress full than some of the high locks.
Sportsman Hotel and Cottages (705) 654 3371 is easily recognized by its green roof and yellow walls as you approach the end of Burleigh Bay. The limited dockage is for smaller boats in site of more than adequate depth. The docks are very low lying and overly buoyant making the mooring bouncy to say the least, and wake a big problem for the marina. The primary services offered are to the day visitor or guests of the hotel. There is 15 amp power, washrooms, BBQ's and a launch ramp with a limited selection of oil and essentials.
Burleigh Island Lodge (705) 654 3441 has been extensively renovated over the last several years bringing the long standing landmark. This also applies to the log trading post from the 1940's which is now a gift shop and general merchandise store providing a good variety of souvenir's. Once again there is no overnight dockage for transients however you are permitted to tie-up when eating or staying at the hotel itself.
The docks have been completely upgraded with modern floating wooden ones. The small bay means that only smaller boats can use the docks limited to perhaps 20 feet in length. The Island Cafe is located in the hotel and does a brisk business year round with good breakfast deals as well as a full menu covering all the regular tastes. There is also a licensed lounge.
Open only during the summer on the opposite or Lovesick Lake of the highway perhaps a half a mile from the lock is the Lovesick Lake Cafe and Lovesick Lake Park. If you are passing through and feel like something sweet this is your place, not just for desert but the food is well prepared and the ambience is always relaxing. The menu is extensive and you can get anything from fish and chips to a full roast beef dinner. There is an attached gift shop with a good selection of unique items along with an ice cream bar.
Mechanical repairs if you need them can be provided by Haulton Services (705) 654 3734 who operate a mobile repair service. They are located east on highway 28 roughly 5 miles from the lock. Their business is largely confined to trailer boats but can help you with your inboards if you can find a space to tie-up.