Goderich, Ontario is a small community in a part of the province known as Ontario’s west coast. Those who speak of it typically have travelled up the coast of Lake Huron from Grand Bend to Sauble Beach, and talk about the tornado of 2011 that devastated the downtown core, or bring up the historic Gaol or the unique downtown square. There is so much more to the town that is celebrating its 190th this year though, and if you are looking for a relaxing weekend getaway, here’s what you need to know about what is often referred to as the Prettiest Town in Canada.
Where To Stay: Goderich offers plenty of accommodations to choose from, from the contemporary Dreamz Inn located just outside the town, to the historic Hotel Bedford in the heart of the downtown square. There are also plenty of options for cottages to rent for the weekend, although you really need to plan well in advance if you want the best views. The Hotel Bedford is right in the thick of things though, and offers a great central point for your exploring of the area. It was built in 1896, and offers 35 rooms spread across its 3-story walk up interior. The design of the building, including the staircase that you see as soon as you enter, is an excellent example of classic architecture seen throughout. While the WiFi and TV may not be what you are used to if you are coming from a big city, you really don’t find it mattering so much because you spend more time out of the room exploring the town than in it.
What To See: Goderich is rich in Ontario history, and as mentioned earlier, one of the things most people think about when they go there is the historic Huron Gaol. You really don’t want to miss exploring the building that acted as the County Jail from 1841 to 1972. Full of artifacts and interesting historical tidbits, you’ll quickly discover why the building was named a National Historic Site of Canada. Part of the tour includes the Governor’s house attached to the complex, which in itself is an entirely new museum to explore. If you are looking for a day trip, you may want to consider checking out the Blyth Festival. This festival is located about half an hour outside of Goderich in the small town of Blyth. It runs annually from the end of June until late September, and every year it features a selection of original plays by local and regional artists. Of course, one thing you can’t miss are the beaches . There are three public use beaches located in the town. You can pick the beach of your choice and drive to it, or park at the main beach and walk the mile-long boardwalk to explore all three. For the hiker, there are several scenic trails located around the outskirts of Goderich as well, including the Menesetung Bridge and Maitland trail, which are part of the Tiger Dunlop Tomb Trail. This route offers amazing views of the Maitland river, and is a perfect way to get some fresh air. And if you are looking for something to do in the evening, you simply must check out the old-style movie theatre in the square. The Park Theatre may not offer the megaplex experience you are used to, with Imax and AVX screens, but there is a charm to it that screams small town and it adds to your overall experience of the area. And of course, you will want to check out the Goderich Square. An octagonal one-way street is at the heart of downtown, with a county courthouse and park set in the middle. The park consists of 166 trees of 46 distinct species. Most of the trees are new, as the 2011 tornado devastated the park and all but 8 of the trees were destroyed. If you come on a Sunday, you can walk the courthouse park arboretum and view the wares during the weekly flea market where you will find items from local merchants, from books, to smoked meats and candies, and other little surprises. One word of warning though, if you are not used to visiting a small town, a lot of things close early. By six at night, most people are at home spending time with their families.
What To Eat: If you are used to chain restaurants and city eating, you are in for a treat in Goderich because the food there is so much better than that. Restaurants in the town really care about the food they feed you, and it shows in the delicious choices you are offered. For breakfast, you simply must try Pat and Kevin’s on the Square. One of the first things you’ll notice is that the owners are celebrities, having starred in a TV series called Dash and Dine. If you are lucky, you’ll also meet one of the owners, Kevin Morrison, who also happens to be the mayor of the city. He’s a straight shooter that tells it like it is, and who you can tell is passionate about the town he runs. The decor of the place feels like a greasy spoon diner of days long past, and even has a toy train track hanging from the ceiling and a stuffed gorilla by the door. If you are looking for what to try, we just loved the Sun of a Beach breakfast with the farmer’s sausages, although the back bacon is an incredible option as well. For dinner, well there is a reason Thyme on 21 is ranked #1 out of the Goderich restaurants by Trip Advisor. The building is an old Victorian Mansion that is kept in great shape by the owners of the place, Peter and Catherine King, including the amazing garden out front. You can tell the duo put their all in the place, especially when Peter greets you when you enter and takes you to your seats. You simply must take a quick look around the four different dining spaces in the building before you go as well, because the pair have done a great job keeping things as original as possible, from the unique stained glass windows to the antique fireplaces. As for the food, there doesn’t seem to be anything on the menu that you don’t want to try. The crab cakes appetizer really only whets your appetite for what is to come. The pecan crusted breast of chicken comes served in a mustard, tarragon cream sauce that you really wish they would share the recipe for, but at the very least they tell you the location of the local butcher shop where they got the meat from for the delicious maple pork tenderloin. Even their kids’ menu was so good that the pasta and cheese appeased our fussy eleven-year-old. As good as their main courses were though, you simply cannot leave Thyme on 21 without trying their desserts. After trying a flourless chocolate cake, a perfectly made crème brûlée, a double chocolate brownie and an Italian chocolate raspberry ice cream, we left so completely satisfied that we found ourselves wanting to come back for more at a later date.
All in all, Goderich is a town you’ll want to visit when you need a little time to unwind, and when you want to explore a little bit of Ontario history. The people are friendly and willing to answer any questions you may have, and you will never have to worry about being stuck in a rush hour commute. As the mayor told us during our breakfast, it’s more like a “rush couple of minutes.”
Activities For First-Time Visitors To Montreal
As first time visitors to Quebec’s most popular destination, Montreal, you might be wondering what to see, where to eat, and what to do. Well, we’ve created a list of local-approved activities and destinations for you to get the authentic Montreal experience. Why not brush up on your french while exploring the old city and inhaling french fries drenched in gravy and cheese curds? Check out the list below for some of the best views, foods, and architecture in the French Canadian city.
Visit Mont- Royal
Take a stunning walk up Mont-Royal for beautiful views of downtown Montreal. It’s a great place to catch the sunrise, sunset, and have a photo shoot. Don’t be surprised to find a wedding shoot or hordes of teenagers dressed for prom posing for pictures at the Belvedere Observatory. You won’t find better views of the south bank of Montreal from any other spot in the city.
Eat Classic Montreal Foods
Montreal boasts an impressive number of restaurants. In fact, the French Canadian city is home to more restaurants per capita than NYC. Check out Patiti Patata on 4177 St-Laurent Boulevard for some of the best poutine the city has to offer. Shwartz’s is just a stone’s throw away at 3895 St-Laurent Boulevard and is a go-to for smoked deli meats. Before your visit is over make sure to pop into one of the many bakeries, like Dizz’s Bagels at 6160 Chemin de la Cote-Saint-Luc, for some classic Montreal bagels, the crème de la crème of the city’s cuisine.
The architecture and cobble stone roads on Saint-Paul Street is often said to transport people to the European streets of France. The buzzing atmosphere among restaurants, art galleries, and pubs is a great way to enjoy Montreal for a fair price. However, the old city is known to draw in large crowds, so keep that in mind if you’re planning on dinning at a restaurant nearby.
Tour the Basilique Notre-Dame
This Gothic chapel from the 1830s is absolutely breathtaking and most definitely worth putting on your itinerary. The massive church features colorful stained glass that stand out as true works of art. The tour of the chapel located at 110 Notre-Dame Street West won’t take too much time out of your day and will leave you with a potent memory and a couple photos to return home with as free souvenirs.
Visit the Urban Beach
Montreal’s first urban beach is located at the Old Port. This small escape from the city bustle is the perfect summer destination. Take the day off to sunbathe, catch a bite to eat, or stroll down the boardwalk. Although swimming is not permitted, there is a misting station to cool down from the sun’s heat.
The Four Most Underrated Ontario Museums
Photo: sciencenorth on Instagram
Ontario has some amazing museums for curious minds looking to explore the past and the present. These museums feature magnificent art, ancient artifacts, and interactive exhibits for people of all ages to expand their knowledge and delve into history. Museums are a particularly great activity for rainy summer days, which we seem to have a lot of in Ontario. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery when you’ve been cooped up in the office or the kids need to burn off some steam and a museum is an educational way to do so. If you live in Ontario or are planning a trip in the near future, you’ll definitely want to visit at least one of the four museums listed below.
Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa
The Canada Science and Technology Museum located in Ottawa on 1867 St. Laurent Boulevard is the largest of its kind. The museum, which is open throughout the week from 9 am – 5 pm provides visitors with a first-hand experience of science and technology. The museum aims to show people Canada’s technological transformation from the earliest days of exploration to today. Many of the exhibits feature communication technology, space technology, computers, and both land and water transportation vehicles. Admission costs range from $11-$17. However, for a few extra dollars visitors are granted access to The Art of the Brick by Nathan Sawaya. This exhibit features recreated famous art work such as Van Gogh’s Starry Night through the use of the most recognizable toy in the world, LEGO blocks.
Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto
If you can relate to Carrie Bradshaw’s love for shoes, than this is the museum for you. In fact, the Sex in the City character’s favorite shoe brand currently has an exhibit on display until January 6, 2019 called Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes. The exhibit, which is open to everyone visiting the museum, will allow visitors to see the 45-year evolution of the Spanish fashion house up close. The five-floor award winning structure designed by Raymond Mariyama houses over a thousand shoes ranging from Chinese bound footwear and ancient Egyptian sandals to bedazzled stilettos worn on the red carpet. For $14 you can see over 4,500 years of history at 327 Bloor Street West in Toronto.
Photo: batashoemuseum on Instagram
Canada’s Design Exchange
Canada’s Design Exchange Museum situated in downtown Toronto showcases Canada’s wealthy design heritage. The museum, which is open Wednesday – Sunday with varying hours, is located on 234 Bay Street. The permanent collection features designs from 1945 to current day which demonstrate beauty, innovation, and the historical relevance of Canadian design. Peggy Sue, the winner of the 2017 Emerging Designer Competition currently has her work on display. Stop by to see the exhibits for free or pop in on the last Friday of every month from 12 pm – 1 pm for a tour.
Science North in Sudbury
Sudbury is home to one of the largest science centres in Canada, Science North. The museum located at 100 Ramsey Lake Road features a butterfly gallery, digital planetarium, IMAX theatre, and many other exhibits including an escape room. Currently, Engineering Earth presents a mix of engineering and science for visitors to explore. The exhibit allows visitors to walk through time as they explore replicated mining tunnels throughout the years to see the evolution of mining. General admission tickets range from $18-$50, escape room tickets range from $22.50-25.00, and theatre tickets range from $5.40-$15.00.
Adventurous Vancouver Summer Bucket List
Are you planning a trip to Vancouver this summer? If not, then maybe you should because we’ve created the perfect bucket list filled with must-do summer activities such as flying, kayaking, and bungee jumping all within an hours drive from the Canadian west coast city. Sometimes the heavy traffic, fast pace, and flashing lights of the city become overwhelming. A nature submerged adventure is a great cure for the city blues. These activities are for those who are true adventurers at heart as they offer blood pumping experiences that are sure to leave you physically exhausted but aching for more.
1. Camp on Vancouver Island at Free Spirit Spheres
Although vacation spots such as Bali, Paris, and New York might be cluttering up your Instagram feed, none compare to the stunning tree-houses nestled among the trees on Vancouver Island. Each of the three uniquely handcrafted tree houses comfortably holds 1-3 guests and provides a cozy atmosphere. The giant skylights and sounds of nature truly create a one with the wilderness vibe. Depending on the time of year and which treehouse you choose to stay in the prices ranges from $175.00-$314.00 a night.
2. Go Bungee Jumping and Tree Top Trekking in Whistler
Bungee jumping is voted by Whistler locals as one of the most extreme activities in the area and is guaranteed to provide thrill seekers with an unforgettable adrenaline rush. The 160ft. fall over Cheakamus River is breathtaking and only a one-hour drive from West Vancouver. Whistler Bungee allows you to jump solo, tandem, or in a wheelchair year round (weather permitted) for the price of $140.00 per person. There are also memberships and group rates available.
If you prefer climbing to jumping, embrace your inner Tarzan at The Adventure Group’s treetop trekking adventure in Whistler. The courses, which offer over 70 elements ranging from mild to wild, are great for kids, friends, and families. There’s no need to worry about safety because everyone gets harnessed in and given helmets. This fun aerial course starts at $39.00 a head for the kids course and goes all the way up to $339.00 a person for an adult personalized adventure.
3. Fly in a Seaplane
Get an aerial view of the stunning Vancouver Islands in a Harbour Air Seaplane. Choose to fly between Vancouver and Nanaimo or Victoria for a fee ranging from $59-$99. There’s no better way to view British Columbia’s beautiful west coast then from among the birds in the sky. The water landing adds an invigorating end to a jaw-dropping experience.
4. Kayak Around Deep Cove and Hike Quarry Rock
North Vancouver provides a slice of nature only minutes from the city. The escape from the hustle and bustle can be a welcome de-stress from work life. Deep Cove Kayak offers boat rentals for kayaks, paddle boards, surf-skis, and canoes. Prices, which vary based on hourly rates, range from $39-$189. You can also book an instructor-led lesson in a Dragon Boat for the ultimate Deep Cove Olympic experience.
5. Join a drum circle on Galiano Island
Galiano is the magical Gulf Island closest to Vancouver and is home to rocky cliffs, ancient forests, pebbled beaches, and gorgeous scenery. Take part in water-sports, whale watching, art shows, or even join a drum circle.
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