The most notable historic site in the village of Shanty Bay is St. Thomas Anglican Church, built in the 1800’s from mud and wood cut from nearby forests. Immediately behind this historic structure is The Church Woods, a 10 hectare stand that has been in the O’Brien family since 1832. In 2006, the far-flung descendants of this family decided to sell the Woods, and offered it at a reduced price to the Shanty Bay neighbours. A group of neighbours enlisted the Conservancy to assist and led a community fund-raising drive to collect nearly $600,000. The Townships of Oro-Medonte provided a supporting grant, and the O’Brien family generously donated the remainder of the land value.

Unique features of this property

Most of the property is densely wooded in old-growth hardwoods, with an understory of typical woodland wildflowers and ferns
Several seasonal streams cross the property, and a small wetland area and adjacent ditch provides breeding habitat for amphibians (and mosquitoes!)

Link to trail map:

We would also direct you to read our DISCLAIMER and our TRAIL USERS CODE.

Nearby towns and cities:

THE CHURCH WOODS characteristics

Length: Not known
Difficulty: Moderate (Trail classifications)
Trail surface: Natural
Trail use: Hiking
Accessibility Notes: Not wheelchair accessible
Fees: None

Flora & Fauna:

The Woods has 33 species of trees, including Butternut, which is now considered endangered in Canada because of a rapidly-spreading disease.
Among the variety of birds and other wildlife using the Woods is the Red-headed Woodpecker, another species at risk in Ontario.

Amenities: None

The Couchiching Conservancy 1485 Division Road West, Orillia, ON General inquiries Tel: 705-326-1620

Find it: From the main intersection in Shanty Bay on Ridge Road, go south on Line 2 towards Kempenfelt Bay. Turn right on Church Street; entrance to the woods is at the end of the street.

GPS Coordinates (main trailhead):
Latitude: 44.4100930
Longitude: -79.5837440