Visiting Grand Bend: Bracing Winds on the West Coast of Ontario, Popular With Many Americans
From relaxing in wide open spaces to high tension pursuits
The term 'West Coast' in a Canadian context often conjures up images of bracing winds and rocky shores along the coastline of British Columbia. Well, this is an accurate image.
But I am speaking of another West Coast, still in Canada, and with its own bracing winds and attracting sun seekers. This is the West Coast of Ontario, along its sandy shore with Lake Huron.
Grand Bend is noted for its colourful houses on its Main Street, providing for picture postcard scenes along a thoroughfare which leads to the sandy shoreline, the beaches of which extend to 20 acres.
It is most definitely part of Cottage Country. The year round community of 2000 is multiplied many times over in the summer: some estimate put its high season population at 50,000, some of whom are visitors from the United States, the border of which lies less that 80 kilometers (50 miles) distant; these American visitors pay Grand Bend the ultimate compliment: they keep coming back, again and again! This most salutary, local aspect of US-Canadian relations thus involves a strong element of voting with one's feet!
For visitors who are not faint of heart, Grand Bend Airport (1) offers skydiving and parachuting opportunities. Adjacent to the Airport is a motorsports facility known as the Motorplex.
Grand Bend is in the Municipality of Lambton Shores, in Ontario's Lambton County, and is included in the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex electoral district.
October 15, 2012
(1) This Airport had its origins in World War Two as a Royal Canadian Air Force emergency aerodrome; after the War, it was used for air training by both the RCAF and the Canadian army.
Also worth seeing
Near Grand Bend (7 kilometres south) is Pinery Provincial Park; as well as the pine trees which have given the 25 square kilometre Park its name, other species of tree present include the Juniper and oak.
Port Huron , Michigan, USA (distance: 78.4 kilometres) at the southern end of Lake Huron, Fort Huron has Michigan's first lighthouse, Fort Gratiot Light; built in 1829, now a museum.
How to get there: Air Canada flies to London International Airport, from Toronto Pearson Airport, from where there are wide North American and other connections. Car rental is available at London International Airport. VIA Rail serves London (distance to Grand Bend : 66.8 kilometres), connecting with Windsor and Toronto, and other cities. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada