The Fitz Hostel: The Peninsula's first (and only) hostel on the Bruce Peninsula

Sep 08, 2017
If you’ve ever travelled internationally, you’ve probably stayed at a hostel. On my first overseas journey in Australia, hostels were the key to my social network (you know back when social networks included face-to-face interaction). The hostel staff were the gatekeepers; the ones with the inside information you needed about the community you’d just arrived in.
But surprisingly, Canada doesn’t offer the same extensive web of hostels travellers know so well from Europe, Asia, and beyond. One young business owner and Lion’s Head local is looking to change that. Megan Myles opened The Fitz Hostel back in the spring of 2016 and has been offering shared and private accommodation to price-conscious travellers ever since. She’s learned a lot from her first two summers and she’s got a unique perspective on tourism on the Bruce Peninsula.
When you walk through the door of The Fitz Hostel, you’re met with a casual, friendly vibe. There’s a sitting room with great window light, a blackboard with a weekly schedule of community events (and the coveted wifi password) and a map of the Bruce Peninsula that highlights must-see attractions in the area—things to do above and beyond visiting The Grotto. There’s a shelf that’s full to the brim with tourism brochures, maps and information. But the most valuable resource may well be Megan herself. A lifelong Lion’s Head resident, she’s passionate about the Peninsula and has endless ideas to share about things to see and do. She’s also got some great insight on how to experience this epic land in a sustainable way—before you’re even inside the door there’s a basket of reusable shopping bags to take to the local grocery store.  



In a time when many on the Peninsula are panicking about the influx of tourists, Myles is advocating for a different approach. Her focus is on educating visitors, helping them connect with the land and the people here and teaching them to respect the region during their visit. Myles began working with the Bruce Peninsula Environmental Group back in high school and now serves as the chair. This summer BPEG released a visitor manifesto meant to kick-start education on sustainable tourism on the Bruce Peninsula. It’s just the beginning for the group who is currently working with BruceGreySimcoe to undertake a destination management plan for the Peninsula with a focus on sustainable tourism. In a perfect world, Myles would like to see more young families move to the Bruce to open businesses and build the community; and with a sustainable tourism plan, that dream may well become a reality.
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Beyond her work with BPEG, Myles has obtained a silver certification from Green Tourism for The Fitz. She’s put many sustainable practices into effect at the hostel like adhering to dark sky lighting bylaws, providing information about environmental practises to visitors and using low flow toilets, showerheads and faucets.


On the day of my visit, there’s a crockpot of chili simmering in the kitchen and we sip endless pots of chamomile tea while we chat about the business and the Peninsula. A pair of German backpackers come in the front door, loaded with heavy backpacks and relieved to have been picked up by a Lion’s Head local while hitchhiking in Springmount. In addition to the two Germans, there’s a guy from Switzerland staying, a dad and his three kids in another dorm, a British traveller who is working at the hostel for a few weeks in exchange for board, and a couple from Quebec who’ve booked last minute to avoid setting up their tent in Tobermory in a downpour. Wondering if there are international backpackers on The Bruce? All the proof you need is right here at The Fitz.
Staff show the new arrivals around. They spend time going over maps and brochures, looking at the blackboard and making plans for their time on The Bruce. The German backpackers take a break before heading out to hike the Lion’s Head loop of The Bruce Trail.
The other vision Myles has for The Fitz is as a community hub. That part of the equation starts bubbling up around 5 p.m. There’s a band playing tonight, Frank Deresti and the Lake Effect, who will now have to take over the living room instead of the backyard due to the rain. (It’s been that kind of summer) The concert is admission by donation, and the crowd is a mix of Lion’s Head locals, hostel guests and visitors. It’s a cozy, intimate show—one that you really won’t get anyplace else.  As I prepare to leave, I spot Myles leaning on the door frame, watching the band and the crowd, and I hope she knows that what she’s created here at The Fitz is truly unique.

If you’re heading to the Bruce Peninsula and you want to experience an off-the-beaten path adventure, start it at The Fitz. Find out more at