In Ontario, the name Killarney is synonymous with striking natural beauty.
The clear, sapphire blue waters of Georgian Bay lap up against a rocky, granite shoreline that illuminates in a soft pink hue at dusk. The vast, mixed forest wilderness of the provincial park with which it shares the same name transforms in dramatic colour from season to season, under the shadow of the white, quartzite ridges of the La Cloche mountain range, part of the Canadian Shield.
Nestled in the centre is the village of Killarney, one of the oldest communities on Lake Huron’s North Shore. Strategically positioned at the entrance of the North Channel, the village first served as a fur trading post, and its sheltered harbour was a significant stop along the popular water route. Killarney was originally called ‘Shebahonaning’ in Ojibwe Anishinaabemowin, meaning ‘safe canoe passage’.
Georgian Bay’s sparkling, and sometimes turbulent waters, windswept pines and glistening mountain peaks are iconic landscapes depicted by Canada’s Group of Seven artists, such as Arthur Lismer’s ‘Bright Land’ and ‘A September Gale’. Killarney continues to lure boaters, paddlers and anglers, as well as photographers, artists and nature lovers.
Where is Killarney?
The municipality of Killarney, Ontario is located on the north shore of Georgian Bay, under 100 km southwest of Sudbury and almost directly adjacent Little Current on Manitoulin Island across the North Channel.
The main road accessing the town is Highway 637 west from the Trans Canada Highway. Killarney is also accessible by boat, floatplane or private aircraft into the Killarney Municipal Airport.
Scroll down to learn more about Killarney or visit the area’s tourism website.
Things to Know About Visiting Killarney
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip, you'll appreciate what the locals recommend.
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Killarney Neighbourhoods & Districts
Despite being such a popular destination for tourists, the village of Killarney is a small community. Its municipal boundaries include several neighbouring townships and marinas.
Located directly across the channel from the Killarney harbour, George Island is mainly wilderness mixed coniferous and deciduous forest and a natural habitat for birds and wildlife. Explore the western end of the island along the George Island Wilderness Trail. Camp George Island Marina provides dock and anchorage service to yachters.
Things to Do in Killarney
Killarney serves as a launch pad to endless outdoor adventure.
Just east of the village, the Killarney region is home to one of Ontario’s most treasured parks, Killarney Provincial Park. Open year-round, Killarney is classified as a wilderness park and offers extensive backcountry hiking, paddling, camping, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Some of its most popular trails include the La Cloche-Silhouette Trail which takes between seven to ten days to complete. The Crack is a steep, six km round trip hike to a ridge overlooking the forest and Georgian Bay coastline in the distance.
Cruise or paddle the breathtaking Baie Fine, one of the largest freshwater fjords in the world to ‘the pool’, a popular anchorage spot. From this location, you can follow hiking trails to Artists Lake and Topaz Lake.
Another highlight of the area is the excellent dark sky viewing conditions. Stargazers are in for a celestial treat at the astronomical observatory located at the George Lake campground in the park.
For over forty years, Killarney Outfitters has been helping visitors explore the surrounding waters and wilderness with full equipment and gear rentals as well as the best expertise and advice on trip planning.
Peer into the past from the fur trade era to the region’s fishing, logging, mining and tourism industries at the Killarney Centennial Museum located just a couple of blocks from the waterfront at 29 Commissioner.
Places to stay in town include the Sportsman’s Inn Resort & Marina, a contemporary all-season inn featuring harbour view suites, an upscale restaurant and waterfront patio. There’s also the local landmark, Killarney Mountain Lodge, with a variety of accommodation options from lodge rooms to full cabins, as well as a restaurant, café and lounge, swimming pool, fitness centre, boat charters, rentals and fun excursions.
Your visit to Killarney would not be complete without indulging in the succulent white fish and fries from world famous Herbert Fisheries down at the dock. Sit at one of the picnic tables facing George Island and Georgian Bay and enjoy what Canadian Living Magazine has hailed one of the top 10 fish and chips in Canada.
Last updated: August 22, 2023