The Shipwrecks of Tobermory

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The Shipwrecks of Tobermory
Tobermory, Ontario Canada
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Divers' Den is a popular full-service scuba-gear and charter service in town.

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  • Check out a map of the shipwreck locations.
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Tobermory, ON: Canada's most haunted

The Shipwrecks of Tobermory

At the very tip of Ontario's Bruce peninsula, some 180 miles north of Toronto, is Tobermory, the self-proclaimed "scuba diving capital of Canada"—boasty stuff for a wee former fishing village with two main streets and a year-round population in the high three figures.

And yet, close to 10,000 divers make the trek every year to explore its crystal-clear, icy (and we do mean icy) depths: Due to a maze of islands and dangerous reefs, many vessels passing through in the late 19th and early 20th century didn't make it.

There are 26 shipwrecks near Tobermory—and those are just the ones that have been discovered. All of which makes this spot, home to Fathom Five, Canada's first National Marine Park, a haunting place indeed.

You'll learn all about the vessels' histories: The 214-foot steamer W.L. Wetmore went down right before Christmas 1901, during a storm. In 1885, a two-masted schooner named the Sweepstakes sank in water just 20 feet deep and sits, quite visible from the surface. And while the barque Arabia perished even earlier than that off Echo Island, the lack of current and the fresh water's temperatures—they start at 35F in May, when diving season opens—have left the wreck remarkably well-preserved. Three of the shipwrecks remain unidentified.

And in April 1912, the wireless station that had just replaced Tobermory's old telegraph line picked up the distress calls of a sinking ship: the Titanic.

If cold-water diving leaves you, well, cold, you can explore some of the wrecks from the comfort of a glass-bottom boat.

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