For most people, the passing of Labour Day means a big change in our day-to-day lives. It marks the time when the kids go back to school, when fall starts unofficially, and Canadians collectively lament the frigid winter months that they know lay just beyond the horizon. Brr. On Pelee, we feel change in the air as well. Here, the kids are back to school, just like on the mainland. Not only have those attending Canada’s Most Southern School on Pelee Island began their fall semester, but so, too, have many of the summer students that became key facets of the community over the summer. Many have left to continue their education elsewhere. Some of the summer residents have also begun to fortify their cottages, pack up and ship out. While it’s sad to see some of our friends go, this is not to say that this is by any means a lonely time on Pelee Island. Autumn, in fact, is one of the most exciting seasons on Pelee.
Despite the fact that we know winter is coming, we also know that fall weather brings a welcome reprieve from the heat and humidity we were feeling only days ago. Cooler air makes it more comfortable to enjoy the beautiful outdoor spaces we have here, especially on the many sunny, breezy days we have this time of year. This weather also brings on the beautiful colours associated with the changing of the leaves at this time of year, and on Pelee we are fortunate to have about 2,000 acres of protected spaces where these colours can be enjoyed at their best.
The waning of the summer crowds and cooler weather also means that these are some of the best days for viewing wildlife on the island! Fewer people visiting the trails here means that those who do are much more likely to come across some of the more elusive animals that we take pride in on Pelee. This is also the time of year when birds are migrating south for the winter and the Pelee Island Bird Observatory is busy every morning catching, cataloguing and banding the hundreds of species of birds that will stop by on their long journey to their overwintering habitats. More than 100 species of birds had already been observed by the end of August, including hummingbirds, warblers, flycatchers and many others, making this an exciting time for anyone with even the mildest interest in birds. Monarch butterflies are also making their way past the island on their migration to Mexico, and can be observed in numbers greater than 100 at Fish Point, though it is common to see them all over the island.
Overall, there may be fewer people on the island these days, but that doesn’t mean that the season is over. All the businesses on the island are still open – eager to serve the people that will come to visit during the autumn months before closing up shop for the winter. Fridays and Saturdays remain busy, with the fun continuing long into the night around campfires and at the island’s restaurants. Soon, it will be time for the pheasant hunts, and the island will experience another great influx of people continuing into November. So yes, winter is coming. Winter is always coming. But for now, there’s lots of time left to Explore Pelee and enjoy all that the island has to offer this fall.
For more information about things to do on Pelee this fall, visit the websites of the Pelee Island Bird Observatory, the Municipality of Pelee, or, better yet, give us a call at Explore Pelee, and we’ll make sure you have the adventure of a lifetime on Pelee Island!