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About Central Manitoulin

The Municipality of Central Manitoulin is at the heart of Manitoulin Island. It offers a lifestyle and experiences you won’t find in many other places these days. Authentically rural, small-town life still happens here. Pristine lakes are abundant and proud family farms dot the countryside.

Community spirit is alive and well here. Celebrations, festivals, and community suppers are always coming up soon. Golf, hiking, local live music, food, and events attract people from across the Island and beyond. More than anything else it’s these friendly events that build the memories that keep people coming back for more.

We remember our history here.

The Central Manitoulin Historical Society welcomes visitors to the 19th century at the Pioneer Museum. Visit the Pioneer Museum and Welcome Centre on Hwy. 551 in Mindemoya. Pioneer Park Museum preserves artifacts and history of the pioneer life in Central Manitoulin. Many of the exhibits feature the history and culture of farming, fishing and lumbering in our area. The museum is open every day in July and August from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

The Discovery Centre preserves artifacts from the early history's of Providence Bay and Spring Bay. The artifacts and information is preserved by the Providence Bay and Spring Bay Historical Society. See the displays in person at the Discovery Centre 24 Mutchmor Street in Providence Bay. The museum is open every day in July and August from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm or by appointment.

The Municipality of Central Manitoulin was created in 1998 with the amalgamation of the Township of Campbell, the Township of Carnarvon and the Township of Sandfield.

The Township of Campbell

The unorganized township of Campbell Township was surveyed in 1867 and named for Sir Alexander Campbell. He was the commissioner of Crown Lands from 1864 to 1867 and Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario from 1887 to 1892. The area known as “Old Spring Bay” was actually in Carnarvon Township. The community of Spring Bay was originally known as Cavemount. Its post office was established in 1897 when Benjamin Bock became the first postmaster of Spring Bay (Cavemount). Until that time, the first settlers got their mail at Providence Bay. Benjamin Bock acted as mail carrier and postmaster for the first five years and was then succeeded by Thos. Ritching kept the office until it was moved to Spring Bay corner. The hamlet of Lonely Bay was founded when the Evans and Phillips families established shingle and sawmills in the fall of 1880. Between Lonely Bay and Spring Bay lies Grimsthorpe, named for Samuel Grimes, its first postmaster in 1889.

The Township of Carnarvon

Carnarvon Township was organized in 1879 with pioneers Francis (Frank) Wagg as Reeve and his brother Colman as Clerk. The first business in the Providence Bay area was lumbering. The first lumber company to come to Providence Bay were Messrs. Garland, Johnston, Munro and McNevin. Later, Mr. Ralph Mutchmor became a partner of the Providence Bay Milling Company and in time took over the whole business. The majority of the streets in Providence Bay are named after these pioneers and their families. Settlers began arriving in the Mindemoya area around 1875. In the latter part of the 19th and early part of the 20th century, timbering was an important industry of this community. At the time, the Mindemoya River was a rushing turbulent river down which floated railroad ties and logs to Providence Bay.

The hamlet’s future was secured in 1879 when John Morrison established a general store. Alexander Howell also opened a grist, saw and shingle mill 5 km to the southwest. By December 1880 the hamlet was dubbed ‘Morrisonia’ by the local paper. In 1881 Coleman Wagg became the owner of the store property. The settlement then became known as Hopetown.

In 1880, a post office was opened in the Frank Wagg home and was named “Mindemoya”, an

indigenous word for “Old Woman”. The name Mindemoya stuck.

Mindemoya is the home and birthplace of Manitoulin’s dairy industry, founded by A. J. Wagg (1875-1960). The Mindemoya Creamery was built in 1901 and operated by the Wagg family until 1981. After that the business was purchased by Farquhar’s Dairy.

The Township of Sandfield

Named after Sir John Sandfield Macdonald and was surveyed in the year 1870 by J.W. Fitzgerald. Sandfield Township became organized in 1880. The First Reeve was William Marshall McDonald with the first Council meeting held on May 24, 1880.

The Sandfield post office was established in 1880, with William McDonald, a flour and sawmill owner, as postmaster. In 1880 Sandfield was a bustling community with grist, saw and shingle, carding, and woollen mills as well as several lime kilns in the vicinity. Samuel Watson and Lucinda Gough Watson started he general store in Sandfield in 1886. The store was operated by five generations of Watsons. By 1880 the community of Silver Bay on Lake Manitou consisted of 35 families. In 1903 a fish hatchery was built in Sandfield and was in operation for many years. Farming, sawmills, woolen, grist mills and tourism were the major industries in the area.

Cellular Service

Most of Central Manitoulin is covered by all major Canadian providers.

Commercial Services

You can find just about everything you need for trades, professional and retail services in our business directory for Central Manitoulin.

Health Care

First class health cares services. A hospital, family health team, pharmacy, dental care and more. 

Internet and Phone

Eastlink provides internet and landline phone service to Manitoulin Island. The town of Mindemoya has Eastlink fibre internet. Rural areas have four options for internet. Eastlink Starlink and Xplornet or a cellular system.


Manitoulin Island has one large modern Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) station in Little Current, ON with a sub office in Gore Bay, ON.

For emergency assistance, DIAL 911
You can also call 1-888-310-1122
24 hour toll free, anywhere in Ontario

Non-emergency calls for service
24 hour toll free, anywhere in Ontario
1-888-310-1133 (TTY)


The Municipality of Central Manitoulin has 440 lane km of roads.

Water and Sewer

Water and sewer systems were constructed in the village of Mindemoya in 1996. The water intake plant is on the east shore of Lake Mindemoya and the sewage treatment plant is to the south of the village at Mud Lake. Six-inch water and ten-inch sewer mains service Mindemoya except for the Hodgins-Nelder subdivision. The system is currently running under capacity with much room available for expansion. The Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) currently maintains the system.

Statistics for Central Manitoulin 

Population, 2021


Total private dwellings


Private dwellings occupied by usual residents


Population density per square kilometre


Land area in square kilometres




Municipal Roads

440 lane km

2021 Census Profile for Central Manitoulin 

Close to 2200 folks call Central Manitoulin home, with a summer population four times that. Mindemoya is the village at the heart of Central Manitoulin, and it’s where you’ll find the best businesses on the Island. Groceries, hardware, clothing, healthcare, trade and professional services. Mindemoya is the place to find what you need. Providence Bay is a scenic village with an amazing two kilometer long sand beach on the Lake Huron coast. The beach is open to the public and never crowded. Great little places to eat within walking distance of the surf. Providence Bay is also home to the famous Providence Bay Fair started in 1884. The fair is the third weekend in August each year. We also have hamlets and villages that haven’t changed much since the old days. Places like Big Lake, Britainville, Dryden's Corner, Perivale, Providence Bay, Sandfield, Silver Bay and Spring Bay have earned a spot in the hearts of long-time residents and visitors.

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