There are 18 towns on Manitoulin, which includes 6 Ojibwa reserves. During the summer months the population on the island grows by more than a quarter of its usual size due to the popularity of boating and other activities offered to tourists.
The Island is generally considered to be an above water rising of a geological structure running south into Niagara Falls and further towards the Carolina forests of the United States.
Year-round motor vehicle access to the island is via a one lane swing bridge that crosses the North Channel at Little Current. From late spring to early October, a daily passenger-vehicle ferry, the Chi-Cheemaun, travels between Tobermory on the tip of the Bruce Peninsula and South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island.