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Visiting Port Stanley

Why Visiting Port Stanley, Ontario Is a Must-Do

One summer’s day, we hopped into our car and decided to explore the north shore of Lake Erie. On a whim, we went visiting Port Stanley, Ontario, to check out the local history, attractions and dining scene.

The first thing I noticed as we drove down its “Main Street” (aka Bridge Street) was that it had Killer Desserts. Already sounded good to me!

Visit to Port Stanley

The desserts are really so good here…

The second thing I noticed was it had a cool looking port. This meant I had interesting scenery to photograph.  And photograph we did!

Visit to Port Stanley

Old storage silos dominate the port skyline.

A Day Trippers Destination

Nestled on the north shore of Lake Erie, Port Stanley is about a three and a half hour drive away from Toronto. While I would say it’s the perfect day-trippers destination, the area is so attractive that you may decide to stay the night.

Visit to Port Stanley

A view of the port from the lift bridge

A bit of back history: Port Stanley was once a favourite camping and landing spot for explorers and travelers in the 17th through to 19th centuries. It later became a summer vacation destination for locals from the nearby London (Ontario that is…). Port Stanley is now a favourite spot for summer tourists escaping the cities of the Golden Horseshoe and Greater Toronto areas.

The 1812 settlement was originally called Kettle Creek, and became known as Port Stanley in 1824 after Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby. He was the father of Frederick Stanley, donor of the first Stanley Cup. Yes – that Cup.

Things to Do in Port Stanley

The port was once used for the transport of coal and wood between Canada and the US. Now, its main business is a fishery that attracts visitors with its vibrant mural.  During the spring through fall you can purchase freshly caught fish including pickerel, white fish, bass, catfish and perch.

Visit to Port Stanley

The mural catches the eye and pulls you into Jackson’s Fish Market

If you take a moment to get out of your car and wander around the town, you will find local arts and crafts shops to peruse. If you fancy catching a show, there’s a theatre right in town. Hungry? You have choices including an old school diner, fine-dining options and of course, those Killer Desserts.

The Port Stanley community is positioning itself as a getaway destination for the growing number of people who want to do weekend trips.

So Many Things to Photograph While Visiting Port Stanley

During our visit, we decided to explore and take photos. We found small boats lining the shoreline and moored at the Port. Fascinating for little kids is the lift bridge which lets small boats up the river.

Old buildings renovated into inns and bed-and-breakfasts lure those who desire to linger a while longer. Inn on the Harbour catches the eye as it’s right on the water. It’s also a very cozy spot to stay overnight if you plan to explore the area.

Visit to Port Stanley

For those just passing through, at least you can get take-out!

Visiting Port Stanley warrants a few hours. It has a several dining spots, art galleries spotlighting local artists, and a 1940s rail car you can ride on. It also has its own stretch of a beach right by the town with a huge parking lot. There’s a little bit of everything for everybody in Port Stanley.

Visit to Port Stanley

Luckily there’s a “police station” in Port Stanley a few doors down from Killer Desserts

So the next time you are checking out the north shoreline of Lake Erie, Port Stanley might be just the perfect spot to stop and stretch your legs. It certainly is one of our favourite spots in this area of Southern Ontario.

What’s your favourite place to visit in Port Stanley?


  1. Great pics Margaret! Looks like a fun day trip!

  2. Couldn’t get to your review of that inn, we were looking at that online and wondering if it was worth an overnight. As it is it will be a hot day on Sept 10 so since we have the day off we might drive down there. Never been to Port Stanley but I’ve known others who’ve liked it down there. Port Dover was always the Lake Erie place for us but it’s gotten way overcrowded the last many years and not the carefree experience it once was.

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