A diverse group of settlers, which erupted in southwestern Ontario by a winding tributary on the shores of Lake Erie in the early 1800s, and created a thriving small community called Port Stanley. This small but bustling harbor was founded in 1804 by John Bostwick, who created and operated the mill and warehouse. Today, this thriving fishing village is rich in charm and history, offering generous hospitality at the resort all year round.
The drawbridge of King George VI
Port Stanley has some very unique attractions. Most notably, in the heart of the city is the oldest drawbridge in Ontario – the drawbridge of King George VI. The bridge is the essence of elegant simplicity and engineering splendor.
It is known as the Basque Bridge – meaning that it is so finely balanced that in the event of an emergency it can be raised and lowered manually (1). During the navigation season, a parade of high-mast sailboats, luxury cruisers and commercial vessels takes place under the bridge. The copper plaque on the east tower attracts the attention of tourists, revealing the tragedy of 1937, when 8 out of 13 working men died during construction.
Port Stanley Railway Station
The road connecting Port Stanley with neighboring cities was built in 1822 to accommodate the sweat of immigrants who landed on the north shore of Lake Erie. In 1844, 148 boats were recorded in the bustling little harbor. Until now, there was a wide railway network in history, which spread across North America, and in 1856 Port Stanley was connected with a new company – London and Port Stanley Railways (L&PS). L&PS prospered and brought to the village about a million vacationers a year. Today, tourists can revisit the past and ride on a real completely rebuilt and repaired L&PS car around 1940. Working as volunteer crews overcame a barrage of obstacles, a group of railroad defenders rescued an abandoned railroad after the 1982 blur. Today, there are more than 400 departures a year, starting in March and running through December with various special trips; including, the Easter Bunny Express, rides on mysterious trains and tours of Santa’s workshops.
Port Stanley Festival Theater
For those who want to take their experience in Port Stanley to a whole other level, the Port Stanley Festival Theater offers a wide selection of theatrical treats. Canadian performances, which compete with the best theaters in major cities, celebrate the artistry of drama, comedy, musicals and many other events throughout the year. It is located on the main street in the old Town Hall building. The Port Stanley Festival Theater shares a building with a local library and tourist spot, a center of interpretation. The building is also home to many visual artists and craftsmen, as well as a stork club museum. The once-famous Busel Club was a swing dance club that boasted the largest dance floor in the area and attracted several names from major groups in the early 1950s. For almost 50 years, the entertainment magnet flourished until a fire completely destroyed the building. The museum is dedicated to the history of the club “Busel” and demonstrations of memorabilia from big bands.
Exceptional main beach
Undoubtedly, one of Ontario’s greatest treasures are the beaches of Port Stanley. The main beach is a real star. A fully trained life patrol in the summer months and a treasure trove of activities is available to all – both young and old. This beach has been recognized as the only shoreline of Lake Erie that has received “Blue Flag” status, meaning it meets strict international criteria; including quality, safety and environmental practices. Take a walk along the seemingly endless shores or spend quality time doing recreational activities. In the city and on the beach there is a fitter who can help you enjoy the spacious freedom of cool open water. The municipality has upgraded the east coast of the main beach with a boat descent, two pier piers, a large children’s playground and benches. Countless people have witnessed spectacular sunrises or sunsets in the summer months and often stay to take the starry sky to a clear hot summer night. Whether you’re relaxing under the soothing waves that are applied to the best sandy shores of this pure Blue Flag beach award, or enjoying a competitive game of beach volleyball, you’ll enjoy your time here.
In the eastern part of the city is almost completely out of sight “Little Beach”. Well protected shallow water with ample parking and can easily accommodate hundreds of sun seekers. It is best suited for families with young children with shallow water and a large swimming area. There are no lifeguards here other than an ambulance area with several rescue devices for emergencies.
Erie Beach Vacation
Another hidden treasure worth hunting for is “Era Holiday Beach”. This beach is suitable for those who want a little privacy and relaxation. This beach is located a few hundred meters west of the main beach. 250 meters wide and a beautiful sandy beach with a gradual fall into the water. There is a portable bathroom and there are no lifeguards, but the benefit – loneliness.
Accommodation and food immersed in history
Hotels, beds and breakfasts and fully equipped cottages – this is one of the exquisite options for overnight stays in Port Stanley. Imagine the lake wind kissing your cheek out of the room as you permeate the atmosphere of the lively nightlife. First-class service, calm modern atmosphere and peaceful sleep.
On the corner of the bridge and the main street is the Kettle Creek Hotel. It is located on two plots of land, which originally belonged to Colonel John Bostwick, who sold them in 1849 to Justice of the Peace Squire Samuel Price. In 1918, the Price family sold their home to Williamson, who opened Garden Inter. At this time, two frogs were sculpted and placed on the sidewalk in front. The Kettle Creek Inn was founded in 1985 and is now open year-round. Guests can relax on the outdoor patio, which has a delicious selection of delicious menus.
Samuel Shepard’s home is at 324 Smith Street on the southwest corner of William and Smith Streets in Port Stanley. This magnificent house of the century was built in 1854 by Samuel Shepard, who was an insurance agent and trader specializing in grains and products. Samuel Shepard was also the designer of wind tunnels – they were considered the best boats that ever sailed into the harbor. He began a tradition known as the “Shepard Hat,” handing the cylinder to the first captain to arrive in Port Stanley, after the spring breakup. The Shepard House remained in the Shepard family until 1947, today it is a bed and breakfast called Windjammer. It is also a great restaurant where you can dine under a screened veranda or inside where you will find a lot of character. In the village on the farm there are 21 excellent food establishments that will delight your taste buds. Most restaurants have special perch recipes from fresh Lake Erie.
Stroll the streets of Port Stanley and you’ll find a bunch of treasures in lovely family boutiques and antique shops. Showcases, hunting for souvenirs, searching in a chic style or accumulating decor in the house is something for everyone. You will find imported gifts, quality clothing, jewelry, homemade candy and unique art samples.
One of the oldest structures in Port Stanley, Livery, was, among other things, a blacksmith shop, and is now known as the Darbyshire House. It also served the community as a pastry shop, and the village hall as a temporary one. Today it is a shopping store on the main street, where the original panel pine doors and large shop windows are still preserved on the main level.
Another central building is the Russell House on Main Street. Built by John Sweeney, shortly after his arrival in the early 1870s, Russell’s house was built of locally made strawberry bricks. It was one of the first hotels to cater to early travelers who arrived on lakes, railroads and stagecoaches in Port Stanley. For many years it served as a butcher shop, plumbing and offices for doctors, lawyers and insurance agents. It was also a bank, a sterling bank. Several employees lived in rooms on the second floor, including a young banker named Mitchell Hepburn, who later became Ontario’s prime minister. Today it is a retail store.
Other interesting attractions
Colonel John Bostwick donated one hectare of land in 1826 for the erection of a place of worship. In 1845, Port Stanley’s first place of worship, Christ Church, was built using a combination of British classical and American colonial styles. The most outstanding architectural feature is a tower and a spire. Almost ten years after its construction, in 1854, a 400-pound bell was purchased and aligned with what it has today. The church was an important part of religious and social life for the early settlers in the young village. Today, when the church is open, you can go in and view the magnificent memorial stained glass windows and stroll around the grounds. There are tombstones of famous members of the church, the tomb of Colonel John Bostwick and a historical plaque of the province, which tells in detail about his life.
Down South Street, to the south, is another church on the right, St. John’s Presbyterian Church, built in 1852 by the Congregation. This is a great example of pioneering architecture – white classical forms, Gothic and Romanesque windows. In 1854 a Presbyterian community was established, which rented a room in a newly built church. By 1871, they had been able to purchase the building for $ 420. Today, the church continues to worship and provide community services as well as joint ventures with the United Church of Port Stanley across the road. Originally, the United Church of Port Stanley was a Methodist church, erected in 1889 by the Congregation, which existed as early as 1836. Complete with a rectory on the north side and canopies at the back, the front vestibule was completed after the building became United. the church.
There is a very well-preserved one-story white house on the corner of Hattie and Colborn streets, which has largely remained unchanged since its construction in 1840. It is known as the Thomson House. Built in the Greek Renaissance style with cornices and pilasters, this one-story house with white paneling was once the home of Eliza Thomson, who served as librarian. At about the turn of the century, the south extension of her house served as the Port Stanley Library for four decades, and the house was her residence. He later served as Dr. Clinton A. Bell’s office.
Port Stanley was and still is home to a thriving industrial fishing fleet. In 1910, 22 fishing tugs operated from the harbor. An interesting part of the unique architecture is the Cork Furnace, built around 1915 during the heyday of the fishing industry in Port Stanley. Located near the end of the main street and built towards the hill, this design provided natural dry heat for the cork used for swimming fishing nets. To the north, a few steps away, is a large gray building located at 194 Main Street. The East Side Fish Factory once lived here and was built around 1917. The unique design had a series of windows that exposed the eastern, southern and western symmetrical facades. which provided natural heat from the sun. It was used as a place where networks could be repaired and stored.
Colonel John Bostwick’s original residence is also on Main Street. When a catastrophe occurred and his house burned down, Manuel Payne acquired the property and used yellow brick to build an early Victorian-style house on the remaining original foundation in 1873. Architectural lovers can still learn the mix of Gothic Renaissance pediments, Italian stylistic style and style. Manual Payne was a landowner, a railway agent, a telegraph and telephone operator, a customs officer, an express, issued a marriage certificate and the first postmaster in the village.