Windsorites rediscover Peche Island after two-year pause on city boat rides

·2 min read
Passengers headed to Peche Island will board a boat at Lakeview Park Marina in Windsor. (Mike Evans/CBC - image credit)
Passengers headed to Peche Island will board a boat at Lakeview Park Marina in Windsor. (Mike Evans/CBC - image credit)

Passengers on board the first boat tours to Peche Island say they were reminded of the spot's hidden beauty.

On Wednesday, the City of Windsor started its boat tours to the island after a two-year pause due to COVID-19. The first boat took off at 10 a.m., with the last ride to the island at 2 p.m.

"It was very nice, nicer than I expected it would be," said Mary Gallagher, who had taken the boat to the island.

She said she had been to the island once before, about 50 years ago.

"It was nothing like this, there was none of this at all. We made our own trails," Gallagher said.

On the island, some passengers told CBC News that they explored the trails, took in the sights of nature and discovered the ruins belonging to buildings owned by businessman Hiram Walker.

According to the City of Windsor's website, Walker purchased the island in 1883 and used it as a summer getaway, including a stable, large home, greenhouse and icehouse.

The property was sold in 1907 and the City of Windsor eventually took over the land from the province in 1999.

During the pandemic, the island was still available for people to visit, but the boat tours operated by the city were temporarily suspended.

"Most of us go to Point Pelee, but we forget about Peche Island, I don't know why but it's very convenient," said John Tomlinson, who was also out enjoying the greenspace.

Shaumbin Rexhepi took the boat across with his nieces and nephews. He said he has lived in Windsor for a while but had yet to explore the island.

"The trails was really cool. Seeing all the interesting trees and the wildlife, there's a lot of really cool dragonflies and stuff like that here," he said.

"You're kind of encompassed by it and just to see the different stuff growing within one another it's really, really cool."

Six passengers can travel on each crossing. It costs $7.75 per person round trip and children under three ride free.

The city recommends people sign up in advance for their trips..

Pets, bikes and other large equipment are not permitted on the boat due to safety precautions.

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