View from the old Government Dock looking North

Welcome to Cockburn Island

Our beautiful island is located comfortably between Manitoulin Island to the east and Drummond Island to the west. Roughly 40 km across the Lake Huron North Channel by boat.

2024 Township of Cockburn Island Newsletter

Read important information and learn about all that's happening on Cockburn Island this year.

Download the Newsletter (PDF)

About Cockburn Island

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Aerial view of Cockburn Island

In 1881, with a growing constituency of homesteaders, fisheries workers, logging and saw mill workers, ‘Cockburn Island’ became a township. Early in the 1900’s, in its hay day, it boasted over 1000 residents. Four generations later it was considered a ghost town. (See Ghost Towns of Ontario).

When the islands remaining store shut down in the 1960’s and the ferry service stopped most of the remaining residents were leaving. The ‘Cockburn Island’ first nation residents left as well to a new reserve on Manitoulin Island. However, today they still have land and a spiritual centre on the western edge of Cockburn.

News & Advisories

Updated Fees & Charges Bylaw

At the following link you will find the township's 2024 rates for such things as docking, gravel purchases, backhoe use etc.

Click here to download the updated bylaw and list of fees (PDF)

Building Permit Applications

Interested in a Building Permit Application?
Please see the Building Permit Application Form (Editable or PDF) below. Complete the application and email it directly to Dan Osborne, the Building Inspector for Cockburn Island Township. He can also answer questions about Building Permit fees.

Dan Osborne, Building Inspector
Phone: (705) 282-2629

Did you know?
  • Although a Building Permit is not required for a shed that is 160 sq ft or less, a Zoning Compliance Application is required to be obtained as these structures are an accessory use and cannot be placed on properties without a primary type of structure on the property first.
  • A building permit is valid for 2 years and can be renewed for an additional year for $50.
What do I need to apply for a permit?
  • A completed application, including schedules #1, 2 and Energy Efficiency Design Summary (SB-10 or SB-12 if applicable)
  • A site survey plan showing the location of all existing structures and proposed new construction.
  • Construction drawings (from a qualified designer) with sufficient detail (foundation plan, floor plan, cross sections, elevations, details) to determine if the proposed construction will meet the minimum requirements of the Ontario Building Code.
  • Septic Approval from the Sudbury District Health Unit if required. PLEASE NOTE Building Permits cannot be issued prior to Septic Approval (If applicable).
How long does it take to get a permit?

A Permit can usually be issued in 10 business days, provided the application is complete, the drawings are adequate, and all other required approvals have been issued. More complex projects may take more time. The Ontario Building Code stipulates the time frame to process an application for construction once all required documents have been supplied and all required fees have been paid.

Download Application (PDF) Download Application (DOC)


In the weeks ahead, ratepayers will have an opportunity to review an early draft of the updated Cockburn island Zoning By-law (ZB) which will implement the Official Plan specifically for our township. Your comments are invited as Council considers updates to the current ZB. The current version has been in place since the 1980s so work on this important land-use plan may impact our community for decades. Email your comments and questions to the Clerk at

Click here to download