Nothing has been more amazing than the opportunity to represent Southwestern Ontario through my preparations for Miss World Canada! There are so many areas within Southwestern Ontario that have been the setting for many great memories for me. If I were to write about each and every one of them I would be better off writing a novel, rather than a blog! I have written about some gems that hold childhood memories, and places I still revisit on a yearly/regular basis. If you have not been to any of these places, please take the time to hop in your car and experience them. I promise they will not disappoint.
Port Stanley – Childhood Memories
The adorable lake-side village of Port Stanley, located in Central Elgin, is just 40 minutes South of London. It has an amazing stretch of sandy beach on the north shore of Lake Erie. Back in high school, this was one of my favourite places to visit in the summer, as I lived just 15 minutes away. This is one of the best local beaches to spend your summer days, especially back when I was in high school. This lake-side haven has the famous “Mackie’s” restaurant located right on the beach, and there is always beach volleyball going.
The village of Port Stanley itself, is extremely popular for people looking for a nice little beach day trip, or even for those wanting to spend a weekend. In addition to Mackie’s restaurant, Port Stanley is also famous for its Shaw’s Ice Cream location, and the historic King George VI lift bridge, which happens to be the oldest in Ontario!
People travel to Port Stanley in hopes that they will get to witness the George VI bridge lifting for the boats to pass by. I, myself, have been lucky enough to have caught that moment a handful of times!
Mackie’s is Port Stanley’s original beach front fast food restaurant! People have been going to Mackie’s for over a hundred years to enjoy their famous secret sauce and orangeade! I remember traveling here, even as a child, with my grandparents. The orangeade has not changed in the 20 years I have been going to Port Stanley. This restaurant is MUST, if you are looking for an sandy beach with great food! Port Stanley will always be my favourite spot with plenty of memories! After going to Mackie’s, it was always tradition for myself and grandparents to drive 10 minutes up the road towards St. Thomas to the world famous Shaw’s Ice Cream! I still remember the stories my Papa used to tell me, when he and his brother would cycle up to Shaw’s when they were a child. When I was just a child myself, he would take me up there, and tell me stories about all the old-time cars in the parking spots. Shaw’s has been around 1948. The location, authentic tasting ice cream, and the people have always remained amazing. The only thing that has changed is the sign.
Elora – Picture Perfect Community
Elora is one of the CUTEST little communities I have visited. Elora is in the township of Centre Wellington, just 30 minutes North West of Guelph.Elora is well known for its 19th century limestone architecture, and of course, the Elora Gorge. Elora is one of the most picturesque areas in Ontario. It is surrounded by the Elora Gorge, Grotto and beautiful Mennonite farmland.
The Elora Gorge is famous for its 80 ft. limestone cliffs with the Grand and Irvine rivers running though them. The gorge is frequently visited by nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts, and boasts amazing hiking trails around the sides of the cliffs. Not to mention, there is river tubing available with amazing views of the gorge. I have personally hiked and river tubed in Elora, and enjoyed every minute. I try to get out to gorge at least once in the summer, and once in the fall, to experience the area in its seasonal states.
The downtown core of Elora is made up with the original stone buildings from the 1800’s. This community takes pride in maintaining its old-world charm, and century old buildings. When you visit this amazing hidden gem, you will immediately see and feel the cultural haven it is. It is rich in visual arts, live music, culinary flavours, architecture, and up-scale boutiques. I am sure you will love this area as much as I do. There isn’t anything I don’t adore about it. Some of my top favourite things about Elora are the unique galleries, artist’s studios, and the charming little restaurants!
Port Dover – Friday the 13th
Home of FRIDAY THE 13TH ! Growing up, I was lucky to attend every “Friday the 13th” with my father from the age of 10 to 21. Every Friday the 13th festival, crowds of people flock to Port Dover where the streets are lined with motorcycles of all shapes, sizes and colours – some looking absolutely amazing!
When I was growing up I never understood the point of Friday the 13th, but as I got older I began to learned that it was a community of motorcycle enthusiast from all across Ontario that come together for one single day, just like a family gathering.
Dover is home to many other amazing things, but Friday the 13th was, and will always be, something close to my heart and something I highly recommend that everyone experience at least once in their life time!
Small towns and villages are some of my favourite places to explore, they always seem to hold the best hidden gems and contain some of the most unique and beautiful communities. I would LOVE to hear about some of the hidden gems you enjoy!. Please follow me on social media, and send me some new places that I have to explore!
I cannot wait to hear about some of your favourite places, and where I will have to explore next!