Cabot Head is situated on the Bruce Peninsula, in the northeastern extremity of the former Lindsay township (now part of the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula), some five miles north of Dyer Bay, a cottage hamlet overlooking Georgian Bay.
The name is used to collectively describe the promontories of Boulder Bluff, Middle Bluff, and West Bluff, and below them the foreshore flats and cobbled ridges surrounding Wingfield Basin.
The Niagara Escarpment, here so evident, forms the spine of the Peninsula, trending north and northwest. At Cabot Head it turns abruptly west in which course the last veneer of forested talus gives way to a dramatic precipice, unbroken but for the ancient erosions of Georgian Bay.
It was an inhospitable place, of interest only because Wingfield Basin held the possibility of being useful as a harbour of refuge. But even at mid-century W. H. Smith in his Canada, Past, Present & Future (Vol. II, 1851) commented that the value of the Basin was “much diminished by the existence of a shallow bar across its entrance, effectually preventing the admission of large vessels, and rendering it at times inaccessible to even boats and canoes, especially when the wind is from the northward and westward.”
Cabot Head and the land around Wingfield Basin remained largely unknown and undisturbed, save for those events which occurred upon the waters of Georgian Bay or along the narrow beaches below the Escarpment.