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Your guide to Port Stanley
Welcome to Port Stanley
A small harborside community on the shores of Lake Erie west of Toronto, Port Stanley is a lovely setting for a holiday by the lake. In addition to the main beach in town, there are several provincial parks with lake beaches within a 20-to-75-minute drive, including Port Burwell, Port Bruce, and the particularly pretty Long Point Provincial Park. The professional Port Stanley Festival Theatre presents plays, primarily by Canadian playwrights, and you can check out several art galleries in and around town. Inland, the areas surrounding Port Stanley are agricultural. Farm stands sell fresh berries and sweet corn in the summer, and a local sugar shack makes maple syrup and hosts maple-rich pancake breakfasts in March. From Port Stanley, you can explore other communities in southwestern Ontario, including London, which has a great art museum, and Chatham, where you can learn more about the legacy of the Underground Railroad and the region’s Black communities at various historical sites.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Port Stanley?
Like most Canadian beach communities, Port Stanley comes alive during the summer months, particularly in July and August, when the weather is warm and (usually) sunny, schools are on holiday, and everyone heads for the lake. Spring and fall can be pleasant across southwestern Ontario, although the weather in spring can be more variable. During the fall harvest season, as the temperatures begin to cool, farm stands overflow with apples and pumpkins. Spring and autumn are also good times for birders to book of the area’s cottage rentals, since the region is on the migratory path for various bird species. In this part of Ontario, winters are cold and quiet.
What are the top things to do in Port Stanley?
Long Point Provincial Park
One of southwestern Ontario’s most picturesque beaches extends along the Lake Erie shore for more than 1.5 kilometers (nearly a mile) in Long Point Provincial Park, an hour-and-15-minute drive east of Port Stanley. It’s a hot spot for birders, with more than 300 species migrating through the area every spring and fall.
For art and craft beers, head to Ontario’s London, 40 minutes north of Port Stanley. In a distinctive contemporary building, Museum London is known for hosting intriguing exhibits. The gallery has a cool café, too. London is also home to a beloved brewery that offers tours to the public, and the city has several up-and-coming microbreweries. When you’re ready for a snack, browse the food stalls at Covent Garden Market.
Many formerly enslaved people who made their way north from the United States via the network of safe houses known as the Underground Railroad settled in Ontario. The Chatham area, about an hour’s drive west of Port Stanley, has several sites related to this heritage. The Buxton National Historic Site and Museum tells the story of the Buxton Settlement, which was once Canada’s largest Black community, and both the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society and the Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site provide insights into the region.