Last week we were lucky enough to make a trip to Main Duck Island. This is a 600 acre island in the middle of Lake Ontario, (so close to the American/Canadian border that my cell phone welcomed me to the US.) We made the trip with a small group of historians and birders and a film maker documenting the last lighthouses on Lake Ontario. It was a glorious September day, the lake calm and turquoise with little wind. The trip out on a commercial fish tug took almost two hours. We walked the 1.5 miles across the island to the lighthouse keepers’ house, abandoned now that the light is automated, and the stunning lighthouse. After lunch on the shore of the lake I opened my sketchbook to document the weathered house and the famous light, hoping to capture their elegance and tenacity.
The island was once owned by John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State under President Eisenhower. However, in 1976 the Nature Conservancy of Canada carried out the negotiations to purchase from then owner, Robert Hart, and resold it to the Canadian Government. The island is now a National Park, a haven for birds and wildlife. We saw hundreds of Monarch Butterflies on their way south and many migrating birds. With its abundance of natural beauty, as well as excellent docking facilities and trails, it is truly a Canadian treasure.