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North America > Canada > Ontario > Niagara Peninsula > Port Colborne

Port Colborne

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Former bank building on West Street in Port Colborne

Port Colborne is a town of 18,000 people (2016) in Ontario's Niagara Region on the northern shore of Lake Erie and the southern end of the Niagara Peninsula.

Understand[edit]

The City of Port Colborne has plenty of great weather, ample beach front, and cultural attractions. Port Colborne has great historic shopping districts, a variety of restaurants, and good natural attractions and recreation facilities.

The original settlement, known as Gravelly Bay, dates from 1832 [5] and was renamed after Sir John Colborne, a British war hero and the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada at the time of the opening of the (new) southern terminus of the First Welland Canal in 1833.

  • Visitor Information can be found at the Humberstone Hall Visitor Information Centre at 76 Main Street West, at the corner of Main Street West and Mellanby Avenue. Visitor information can also be found at City Hall, at 66 Charlotte Street, in downtown Port Colborne. You can also call +1-888-767-8386 or +1 905-834-1668 for information.

History[edit]

In pre-colonial times, the Neutral Indians lived in the area, due in part to the ready availability of flint and chert from outcroppings on the Onondaga Escarpment. This advantage was diminished by the introduction of firearms by European traders, and they were driven out by the Iroquois around 1650 as part of the Beaver Wars.

Founded as Gravelly Bay, after the shallow, bedrock-floored bay upon which it sits, the modern City of Port Colborne traces its roots back to the United Empire Loyalist settlements that grew up in the area following the American Revolution. Growth became focused around the southern terminus of the Welland Canal after it was extended to reach Lake Erie in 1833.

Sometime during the 1880s, American tourists from the Southern states began building vacation homes on the lakeshore of the Western edge of the town. Before long, an entire gated community of vacationers from the South called Port Colborne their home during the summer months. Today, the picturesque street of Tennessee Avenue is still home to many of these original vacation homes and buildings, as well as the original stone and wrought iron resort gates. The street boasts some immaculately maintained examples of late 19th and early 20th century Southern architecture.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Buffalo-Niagara International Airport (BUF IATA) in Buffalo, New York is about a 45-minute drive away.

  • Buffalo Airport Shuttle, 716-685-2550, offers service from the Buffalo-Niagara airport to Port Colborne. A group of up to 4 can expect to pay approximately $95 each way and the drivers often have great tips on where to go and what to avoid.

Hamilton John C. Munro International Airport (YHM IATA) in Hamilton, Ontario is about a 75-minute drive away.

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ IATA) in Toronto is about a 1½-hour drive away.

By car[edit]

Port Colborne, being on the South end of the Niagara Peninsula, is primarily accessed from the Queen Elizabeth Way highway. Visitors can head south from the QEW via Victoria Ave (Hwy 24), or via Highway 406/140 to reach the town. The drive south from the QEW usually takes between 25-40 minutes depending on traffic conditions.

Visitors already on the south end of the Peninsula can access Port Colborne by following Hwy 3 which passes directly through the center of town.

Get around[edit]

By car[edit]

Traffic is typically very light within the town. A minor annoyance are the three lift bridges that cross the Welland Canal. Delays of 15-25 minutes can arise when a ship passes under a bridge, although there are usually alternate routes available to get over the canal at other points in the city.

By taxi[edit]

By bus[edit]

Public transit options are somewhat limited in Port Colborne. The City of Port Colborne has contracted with Welland Transit to operate their transit system. Port Colborne's transit service is comprised of a local community bus which operates within Port Colborne M-F 8AM-5PM, and the link service to Welland which provides 3 trips per weekday between the two communities.

See[edit]

  • Welland Canal. The Welland Canal runs through the heart of the city and allows for excellent ship watching. You can view pleasure craft off the shore of Lake Erie, or watch Lakers and Salties in the harbour and lock. Excellent views of the lock can be found at Lock 8 Gateway Park on Mellanby Ave south of Main St (Highway 3). There are three lift bridges in Port Colborne that operate as watercraft pass through the lock and canal. The canal usually operates from late March through the end of December. During the winter months, ships are laid-up in the harbour for maintenance and repairs. Welland Canal (Q14348) on Wikidata Welland Canal on Wikipedia
  • Showboat Festival Theatre, 296 Fielden Ave (Roselawn Centre, one block north of Clarence St), +1 905 834-0833, toll-free: +1-888-870-8181. It can easily be accessed from any point in the Niagara Peninsula.

Do[edit]

Events[edit]

  • Canal Days. Civic Holiday Weekend (first weekend in August). The Niagara Region's largest summer festival, The Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival offers activities and attractions that will enliven the senses. The Tall Ships gather in Port Colborne each August holiday weekend, for a four-day celebration of history and heritage. Explore the decks, try your hand at the wheel, or feel the spray as you cruise a Tall Ship on Lake Erie. The Canal Days Festival encompasses the entire community, with activities at a dozen different venues: HH Knoll Lakeview Park hosts Ontario’s largest outdoor classic car and kite show. Each year more than 300,000 people visit the festival over four days. Friends, families, and former residents return and reminisce, and Canal Days continues to grow by bounds.
  • Lions Carnival, 130 Killaly St West. mid-July. Annual summer charity carnival hosted by the Port Colborne Lions Club. Rides, food, games, and fun.

Eat[edit]

  • Minor Fisheries, 176 West St (On the harbour), +1 905-834-9232. Fresh caught fish (usually perch and pickerel) for sale. The restaurant features fish and chips, but also serves some other items. There is a small seating area inside, and an outside patio in the summer. Many visitors get take-out fish and chips, and then sit on one of the benches along the harbour, hoping that a ship will pass by. The restaurant is closed Sunday-Monday during the summer, and Sunday-Wednesday during the winter.
  • The Smokin' Buddha Restaurant & Markets, 265 King St (in the old train station), +1 905-834-6000. Tu 4:30PM-9PM, W-Sa 11:30AM-10PM. Serving feel-good foods from around the world. Has a booth at the Fonthill, Port Colborne, Ridgway, and Welland Farmer's Markets.
  • 2X4 Diner, 72004 Regional Rd 27, Wainfleet (at Regional Rd 24), +1 905-899-6339. $15 or less.

Drink[edit]

  • The Reeb House (The Reeber), 2481 Highway #3 (east of town), +1 905-834-8443. Daily 11AM-2AM. Menu is pub fare. Bands on weekends. Mains $10.

Sleep[edit]

Motels[edit]

Bed and breakfasts[edit]

Inns[edit]

  • Canalside, 232 West Street, +1 905-834-6090. 800 sq. ft. studio suite, available daily or weekly. Room includes full kitchen facilities, pullout couch and queen bed with fireplace and LCD TV. Overlooking the canal. Room service available from on site restaurant.

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

Routes through Port Colborne
St. ThomasTillsonburg  W Ontario 3.svg E  Fort ErieEND


This city travel guide to Port Colborne is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.