Sunset, Town Island, Kenora, ON (Photo by Patty Nelson)

Sunset, Town Island, Kenora, ON (Photo by Patty Nelson)

Keep Town Island Wild

Sunset, Town Island, Kenora, ON (Photo by Patty Nelson)

Sunset, Town Island, Kenora, ON (Photo by Patty Nelson)

Town Island, Lake of the Woods

For generations, the natural beauty of Lake of the Woods has inspired campers, cottagers and residents alike. This vast wilderness, which runs through Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota, provides priceless opportunities for people to connect with the best of Canadian nature. Here, globally significant habitats and species can be found dotting the more than 14,000 islands and 105,000 kilometres of shoreline. Mature forests play host to wide-ranging mammals, like American black bear and moose, while the shores and coastal wetlands provide nurseries for fish and habitat for migratory birds.

Bald eagle (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Bald eagle (Photo by Bill Hubick)

But finding a balance for nature and people takes thoughtful consideration. Fragmented habitats and water quality issues impact both species and people. Contaminants, algal blooms and invasive species threaten the enjoyment of many lakes throughout Canada, including Lake of the Woods. Lake of the Woods is also closely connected to Shoal Lake, which supplies the city of Winnipeg’s drinking water. For these reasons and more, it’s critical that we conserve Lake of the Woods’ undeveloped islands and shoreline while we still can.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada respectfully acknowledges that Town Island, Lake of the Woods is within the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and Métis Peoples. For millennia, they have worked to protect these landscapes and the life these areas sustain. We thank these original caretakers, and acknowledge the ongoing work and presence of Indigenous Peoples here today.

Quick facts

  • Location: 7 kilometres south of Kenora, in Lake of the Woods
  • Habitat type: forest, shoreline, coastal wetlands
  • Size: 82 hectares (202 acres)
  • Total project cost: $2,850,000
  • Species: bald eagle, American white pelican, white pine

An urgent conservation priority

Campers, Town Island, Kenora, ON (Photo by Patty Nelson)

Campers, Town Island, Kenora, ON (Photo by Patty Nelson)

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is partnering with the City of Kenora, local residents, cottagers and campers to protect 82 hectares (202 acres) on Town Island. Although the island is currently municipally owned, the City of Kenora is now looking for a new owner that will continue to respect the abundant natural values of the island. NCC has stepped up to the challenge and is now trying to raise the funds needed to purchase the island.

Town Island is shared with only one other landowner the BB Camp — and is accessed by the nearby YMCA-YWCA Camp Stephens. For generations, children have experienced nature through canoeing, swimming and hiking on Town Island and will continue to do so in the future.

The island was identified as a priority in NCC’s conservation plans because of its intact forest, undeveloped shoreline and large size. Given the increasing development pressures in this section of the lake, keeping this property in a natural state for the species that depend on it is critically important.

NCC looks forward to working with the Lake of the Woods community to keep Town Island wild for current and future generations. As with all properties that NCC acquires, we will develop a property management plan for Town Island after its purchase, in consultation with key groups and individuals in the community. Our goal is the conservation of the island’s unique biodiversity, while still allowing public access.

Hear Kristyn Ferguson, NCC's conservation biologist and program director for large landscapes in Ontario, share more of what makes this place an important conservation priority.

We need your help!

The time is now. NCC must raise the funds necessary to purchase and to fund vital, ongoing stewardship work needed to keep Town Island wild by summer 2022, or we risk the property being reconsidered for private development.

Donation options

NCC is a registered charity in Canada — you will receive a charitable tax receipt for your gift. There are several donation options including multi-year pledges (Town Island Pledge Form here) and donations of stock/appreciated securities that may be of interest to you and provide you with additional tax savings and/or the elimination of a capital gains expense. Please contact us to discuss these options or make your gift online today to Keep Town Island wild!

If a U.S. tax deduction could be more advantageous to you, NCC works in partnership with a registered U.S. charity, American Friends of Canadian Nature (AFCN). Please contact us to learn more.

Donate to Grasslands

For more information or to discuss your donation options, please contact:

Laura Vaughan
Senior Development Officer, Ontario

Rena Molinari
Director of Development, Manitoba

Town Island (Photo by Patty Nelson)

Town Island (Photo by Patty Nelson)

Help spread the news #keeptownislandwild

We invite you to share your Town Island memories, old and new, to help build awareness and support our efforts to Keep Town Island Wild.

Share your Town Island memories with a photo, short video clip, or a written comment.

Note: By sharing your Town Island memories you can help build awareness for this project, NCC may use shared content in promotional materials.

A natural legacy

When it comes to conserving Canada’s most important natural areas, buying land is just the beginning. Stewardship — managing the land for the long term — is at the heart of what we do. Each and every property we protect is monitored and managed so that the ecosystems are maintained and species thrive, even if that means leaving them be. This can include mapping and removing invasive species, restoring wetlands, grasslands and forests, monitoring for species at risk, planting native species, building trails or installing signage.

To continue to care for the natural areas we protect, NCC has created a Stewardship Endowment Fund. This fund provides annual support for our priority stewardship work across Ontario. Annual benefits from the endowment fund are used to pay the costs necessary to ensure efficient and long-term, science-based management of lands under NCC’s care.

NCC may direct all or a portion of gifts committed to this project to NCC’s Stewardship Endowment Fund for Ontario. Revenue generated by the Stewardship Endowment Fund provides support for long-term management on properties across the province, including NCC conservation lands on the Town Island property. In the event that this project becomes fully funded or cannot be carried out, your gift will be allocated to the next urgent priority in this natural area.

Donations may be made by cheque, stock transfer or credit card through the link below. Cheques should be made payable to “Nature Conservancy of Canada” and mailed to 1501-365 Bloor Street E, Toronto, ON M4W 3L4. Please indicate either in the memo portion of your cheque or in a note accompanying your donation that your gift is for “Rainy Lake to Lake of the Woods.” If a U.S. tax deduction could be more advantageous, NCC works in partnership with a registered U.S. charity, American Friends of Canadian Nature, and we would be pleased to explore options with you.

Donate to Grasslands

Learn more about this vital conservation initiative in Lake of the Woods:

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Funding provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada