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Goderich, Ontario

Goderich is a charming town in the heart of Huron County, Ontario. It is known for its picturesque architecture and stunning natural beauty.

Founded in 1827, Goderich has a well-preserved downtown area with historic buildings such as the Huron Historic Gaol and the Huron County Museum.

Where is Goderich?

Goderich is located on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, approximately 120 miles southwest of Toronto. (Somewhat confusingly, it is one of the small towns included in the marketing for Ontario's West Coast.)

Goderich is the county seat of Huron County and is home to more than 7500 inhabitants, with the population increasing substantially when the summer season arrives.

Goderich Lighthouse, Ontario
Goderich Lighthouse

The town is located at the mouth of the Maitland river and Goderich harbour is an important loading point for the freighters servicing the local salt mine.

How to get to Goderich

Nearest airport to Goderich

Hamilton and London airports are the closest to Goderich but are more suitable for internal flights within Canada (with connections to Toronto and Calgary). The 'International' in their name comes from the vacation charter flights offered during the summer season.

Those flying long-distance will probably find the airports at either Toronto or Detroit to be of most use.

Distance to London International Airport: 66 miles
Distance to Hamilton International Airport: 116 miles
Distance to Toronto Pearson International Airport: 127 miles
Distance to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport: 157 miles

Driving to Goderich

The ON-21 state highway runs north and south along the shoreline of Lake Huron, connecting to Sarnia (and the US border) to the south and Kincardine and other Lake Huron destinations to the north.

The ON-8 state highway leads southeast from Goderich in the direction of Hamilton.

History of Goderich

The town of Goderich dates back to the early 19th century. It was established as an indirect result of the War of 1812-14.

After the war, there was a need to develop settlements away from the frontier, which led to the establishment of communities in the interior, including Goderich.

The Canada Company, a British land development company, was instrumental in the development of the town. Goderich was designed by John Galt, the Canada Company's first superintendent, who envisioned a town with a unique octagonal shape.


A view from one of the parks in Goderich to the industrial harbour
A view from one of the parks in Goderich to the industrial harbour

The Canada Company purchased land known as the Huron Tract from the Chippewa First Nation and began to develop the area, with Goderich serving as the administrative and judicial centre for the newly created Huron District in 1841.

By 1850, Goderich had become the social, economic and cultural centre of the region, thanks to the influence of the Canada Company.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Goderich developed with a growing population and the establishment of various industries, including salt mining and agriculture, which remain important to the local economy today.

Things to see and do in Goderich

First time visitors should stop by the Goderich Tourist Information Centre. It is located at 91 Hamilton Street in downtown Goderich and is open every day.

Visit the beach

Or rather beaches.

Goderich has three beaches close to town. The boardwalk runs for just over a mile and connects all of them. The beaches all have washrooms and play equipment.

Main Beach is the most northerly - the large sandy beach is located near Goderich Lighthouse.

St Christopher's Beach is more shaded with plenty of rocks to sit on and take in the scenery.

Rotary Cove Beach is the most southerly and is a sandy shallow beach popular with families.

Goderich Lighthouse

The lighthouse is the oldest on the Canadian side of Lake Huron. It was constructed in 1847 and is located 100 steps above Main Beach on the bluff. There is a small park area around the base of the lighthouse with seating for those who wish to enjoy the views.

Huron County Museum

The Huron County Museum houses a variety of historical and cultural exhibitions, both permanent and temporary, that showcase the history of Huron County. The museum's collections include thousands of artifacts that illustrate rural life, the founding, and the settlement of the area.

One of the unique features of the Huron County Museum is that it is housed in one of the oldest public buildings in both the town of Goderich and the province of Ontario, constructed in 1856.

Huron Historic Gaol

The Huron Historic Gaol is a historic museum that offers a glimpse into the past of the criminal justice system. It was the location of the last public hanging in Canada.

This octagonal building served as the county jail from its opening in 1841 until it closed in 1972. The gaol's design reflects the penal reform movements of the 19th century, which aimed to improve the conditions and treatment of prisoners.

Today, it stands as a National Historic Site of Canada, recognizing its historical importance.

History of Goderich | HuronCountyTV

Visitors to the gaol can explore the cells, the governor's residence, and the exercise yards, which have been preserved to provide an authentic experience of what life would have been like for inmates and staff. The site often features reenactments and has interpretive displays that tell the stories of some of the people who were once held within its walls.

Other Lake Huron Towns in Ontario

Grand Bend, ON

Grand Bend

Founded in the mid-19th century, Grand Bend has grown into a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from across Ontario and beyond. The town's main beach, Grand Bend Beach, stretches for nearly two miles and offers a variety of activities including swimming, sunbathing, volleyball and kiteboarding.

Kincardine, ON

Kincardine

Kincardine is a small town located on the shores of Lake Huron in Bruce County, Ontario. It is known for its beautiful beaches, picturesque lighthouse and Scottish heritage. Founded in 1848, Kincardine has maintained its small-town charm while offering visitors a variety of attractions and activities.

Sauble Beach, ON

Sauble Beach

Sauble Beach is known for its sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and lively summertime atmosphere. Established in the late 1800s, Sauble Beach has grown into one of the largest freshwater beach destinations in the world, stretching over seven miles.

Tobermory, ON

Tobermory

Tobermory is a picturesque village located on the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, Canada. It is an important link to Manitoulin Island and remains an important center for commercial fishing, diving and ecotourism. Visitors can hike along the rugged coastline or take a boat tour to see Flowerpot Rock.

Goderich Links

Explore Goderich : exploregoderich.ca
Huron County Museum
: www.huroncountymuseum.ca