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Port Stanley

Location: Port Stanley, Ontario

Port Stanley is a historic fishing village located on the north shore of Lake Erie, south of London, Ontario.

With one of the finest stretches of sandy beach on the north shore of Lake Erie, Port Stanley has been a popular tourist destination for decades.

Take a tour of Port Stanley and you will discover treasures at many downtown boutiques and marvel at the work of the artisans that have their studios in the centre of town.

You may also be able to take in a theatre performance or an unforgettably delicious meal at a local inn.

Information

Dining

An excellent place for dining is Kettle Creek Inn, 216 Joseph Street, 519-782-3388.

A restaurant that is right on the beach is GT's Restaurant Beach Bar & Grill (see: video), 350 Edith Cavell Blvd, 519-782-4555 (blue one-storey building with grey roof).

Attractions

Stroll along Main St. and visit the many quaint boutiques, antique shops and art galleries.

Located in the centre of town, on Bridge Street over the Kettle Creek, is the historic King George VI Lift Bridge, the oldest lift bridge in Ontario. See map. Watching the boats pass under this bridge is a favourite attraction for both tourists and residents. During the boating season it opens every half hour to let through sail boats, fishing boats, and large motor yachts. Built in 1939, it is named for the ruling British Monarch of the day.

The biggest replica of a perch in Canada can be see at Glover Park, located on Bridge St, on the east side of the King George VI Lift Bridge. The perch is mounted on top of the Port Stanley Harbour sign in Glover Park. See: photo, map and street view showing its location.

And take a ride on the Port Stanley Terminal Railway. It travels between Port Stanley and St. Thomas, over a 7-mile section of the former London & Port Stanley Railway. During the summer months, there are three daily trains run: noon, 1:30pm and 3:00pm. The open-air cars are excellent for viewing the scenic railway journey; the caboose is air-conditioned. During the Easter Season, the special "Easter Bunny Train" with a chocolate egg hunt with the Easter Bunny at Union Station is a favourite among children. At the Whytes Station rest stop, you can visit many of the historic railway cars. For a special experience, book a trip on the special "Murder Mystery Train".

And go down to the Port Stanley beach and enjoy the sand and the lake view. The main beach is a wide, clean, sandy beach with shallow water close to shore. It has public changing rooms and washroom facilities. For a meal or refreshment near the beach, visit GT's Restaurant Beach Bar & Grill.

Stop by Broderick's Ice Cream Parlour for the "Best Ice Cream in Port Stanley", located at 290 Bridge St. Then for lunch or dinner, try Mickey's Boathouse Restaurant & Bar located at 187 Main St.

For live theatre during the summer months, take in a show at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre (Matinees: 2pm Wednesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays only; Evenings: 8pm Tuesdays to Saturdays). Check the theatre's playbill to see what show is currently playing.

If you want to get out onto the water, consider Latitude Charters for a 3 to 4 hour sailboat ride; you can participate in sailing the vessel as much or as little as you want. Take a daytime cruise, or take a later sunset cruise to watch the fabulous colours of the sun setting on the Lake Erie horizon.

If you are interested in the history of Port Stanley, you can also take a self-guided historical walking tour through Port Stanley that takes about 75 to 90 minutes. Download the tour brochure: Historical Walking Tour (MP3 audio also available). For more information about the history of Port Stanley, see: Port Stanley Heritage.

Map & Directions

Driving directions from Toronto: (about 2 hours 45 minutes)

  • Take Hwy 401 East (about 100 km) to Hwy 4 South at Exit #177 A (Note: not exit #177 B).
  • Take Hwy 4 South (about 24.5 km) to Port Stanley.
  • At the stoplight, on the left you'll see a large blue sign "Harbourtown" beside a cairn (rock pile monument) and the Kettle Creek Inn.
  • Go past the stoplight and park.

Contact & Address

Municipality of Central Elgin
450 Sunset Drive
St. Thomas, Ontario
Canada

Website: www.centralelgin.com

 

GPS address of City:
"Port Stanley, Ontario"

Approximate GPS addresses:

Shops of Main St:
"202 Main St, Port Stanley Ontario"
(42.665882, -81.212021)

Port Stanley Beach:
"330 Edith Cavell Blvd, Port Stanley, Ontario"

History of Port Stanley

  • Port Stanley was occupied by the Neutral Indians until 1653, when they were expelled by the Iroquois. In the 1700s many explorers and travelers would portage across Long Point and voyage along the shore of Lake Erie to the Kettle Creek. This route gave access to a short portage to the Thames River and further inland exploring. A ferry service between Port Stanley and Buffalo was established in 1832, and by 1833 Port Stanley had become well known as one of the finest harbours on Lake Erie. In the early 1900s, Port Stanley was the main tourist attraction on the lake. With its sandy beaches, casino and renowned Stork Club, people would come from all over to hear the big band sounds of Guy Lombardo and others.

  • Historical plaque at the Port Stanley Terminal Railway train station (station is near the King George VI Lift Bridge) reads: "The London and Port Stanley Railway. After the Great Western Railway reached London in 1853, local businessmen and politicians began promoting a competitive line south to Lake Erie. The London and Port Stanley Railway began operations in 1856. Like most early Canadian railways, it was expensive to build and difficult to pay off, but it contributed enormously to the local economy. Its main business was shipping coal from Pennsylvania and carrying tourists to and from the lakeshore. The City of London gained control of the L&P.S.R. in 1894 and converted it to electricity in 1913. The line prospered, carrying more freight and over a million passengers in some years before the Depression. The increased use of the automobile in the 1950s brought about its decline. -- Ontario Heritage Foundation, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation".

  • Historical plaque at the Christ Anglican Church reads: "Lieut.-Col. John Bostwick 1780-1849. Born in Massachusetts, Bostwick came as a child to Norfolk County. He was appointed high constable of the London District in 1800 and sheriff in 1805. A deputy-surveyor, he laid out some of the earliest roads in the Talbot Settlement and in 1804 was granted 600 acres here at the mouth of Kettle Creek. After serving as a militia officer throughout the War of 1812, he settled on the site of Port Stanley and founded this community. Bostwick represented Middlesex in the legislative assembly 1821-24. He donated the land for this church, which was completed in 1845, and is buried in its churchyard. -- Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board."

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