Today, Norm Goldman Editor & Publisher of Sketchandtravel.com is pleased to have as our guest Sam Gundy Director, Bayfield & Area Chamber of Commerce and he is here to tell us more about this beautiful destination.
Good day Sam and thanks for participating in our interview.
Could you tell our readers something about your role with the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce?
Hi Norm, I am a Director on the board of the Bayfield and Area Chamber of Commerce. My job is to facilitate the more the 60 business which dot the Main Street. Currently we are going into our high tourist season and we have many events the chamber members are organizing for our visiting friends
Where is the Bayfield Ontario?
Bayfield is located one hour north of Sarnia/Port Huron, one north of London, Ontario and just over two hours from Toronto, Ontario. The great thing about Bayfield is that it is a beautiful drive to get here. From all directions, visitors travel through Ontario's most agriculturally productive area. There are many stops along the way, from niche food producers, roadside antique stands or neat little villages which typify the good rural Ontario life!
As a follow up, could you tell our readers something about the history of the area and if you were to choose 6 of the most unique historical sites, which ones would they be and why?
The Village of Bayfield has a storied history starting from a wealthy Dutch Nobleman's vision of a settlement with the perfect natural harbour. As a result of the natural harbour, the village expanded quickly. The railroad bypassed Bayfield and the little village began to prosper as a getaway for cottagers, tourists and the adventurous. The same spirit remains today, many visitors are daytrippers, Inn-to-Inn hoppers or boaters putting in for a visit when heading north for more vacation or on their way home.
The six most unique and historical sites are:
*** The Main Street: In 1982, the Ontario provincial government approved the Main Street as a significant Heritage District. What this means is that the Main Street looks very much today as it did in 1850's. Actually, the Main Street is in the middle of a Black Walnut grove. Black Walnut's are very tall trees and noted for the unique straight trunk giving the Main Street some leafy shade!
*** The Harbour: The Bayfield harbour is the largest small craft marina on the Canadian side of Lake Huron. It is also home to one of the last commercial fisheries on Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. The long piers which lead the mouth of the river are perfect for sunset walks. A point of fact, Bayfield was noted by National Geographic in having one of the best sunsets in the world!
*** Folmar Windmill: A real gristmill located just outside of the village. The Folmar windmill is an actual working mill and an exact replica of the kind you would find in Holland. Tours are available and very worthwhile.
*** Touring the Huron County Highways and byways: Huron County is known for the fresh produce we supply the world. There are many artisanal food producers in the area, from berry farms and cheesemakers to local butchers and farmers markets. Our restaurants in Bayfield always like to use as much local food as possible. It is a difficult aspiration in the winter, but more than easy in warmer weather.
*** Pioneer Park: the park is very unique being private land yet fully public to all. The name says it all; Pioneer Park was the site of the first building in Bayfield, a surveyor's office. Currently the park overlooks the lake, just off the Main Street. During the summer there are many events held at Pioneer Park such as movie nights and big band groups.
*** The Little Inn of Bayfield: The historic Inn is currently celebrating its 175th anniversary. The Inn was built with nine rooms and now has 28. The Inn has been meticulously maintained over the years by each owner. Currently The Inn is known as one of Ontario's finest and offers gourmet dining, luxury accommodation and full spa services.
What is there to do in Bayfield?
There are some many things to do, I will give you several things to Do in Summer:
*Build a sandcastle.
*Enjoy the best sunset in Canada.
*Glide down Long Hill Road on a bike
*Foraging at Farm Gates and other local producers.
*Sip fresh cider at the Berry Farm.
*Visit Goderich, known for its unique Main Street
*Check out world renowned theatre in Stratford
*Visit a local gourmet shop and select a fine wine to enjoy with your evening hors d'oeuvres.
*Watch the commercial fisherman unload in the morning.
*Sign up for a guided flyfishing adventure through Flyfitters all gear included.
*Rent bikes and cruise Orchard Line.
*Take a guided horseback ride through green woods and meadows.
*Visit the Folmar Windmill, an authentic Dutch Wood Mill
*Pamper body and soul with soothing spa treatments.
*Nibble on an award-winning at the Montefort Dairy near Stratford
*View Bayfield's famous parade, last weekend in August
*Wander through antique shops looking for that special treasure.
*Tour organic farm.
*Tour back roads to Stratford and dine in a great restaurant.
*Take a day tour to Goderich and Kincardine along Highway 21.
*Cross your fingers and hope to see deer while you're here.
*Sample local microbrews at one of the pubs.
*Visit our local fine art galleries.
*Fine tune your skills with a sailing excursion.
*Create your own masterpiece at a paint-it-yourself pottery studio.
*Tour the Goderich Gaol and Huron County Museum
*Go to Canadian Theatre in Blyth.
*Go hiking at the Hullet Marsh
*Try Chef Chappuis' menu at The Little Inn Dining Room
If you were to choose 8 of the most romantic venues and wedding destinations in your area excluding lodging establishments, which ones would you choose and why?
*** Pioneer Park: a wedding at sunset overlooking Lake Huron is unsurpassed
*** The pavilion on Pavilion road: The old building was used for dances in the yesteryear and know can be used for weddings and parties
*** Bayfield Town Hall: no longer used for government, rather it is a unique venue in our turn of the century town hall. The Hall was recently overhauled with renovations and is quite popular each weekend for a wedding
*** Beachside Bayfield: has sandy beaches and 100% available for use by the public.
*** On a charted boat on the Lake: intimate with beautiful breezes and sun
*** In one of our Churches: we have four beautiful churches in the village, each with their own unique and historically significant architectural styles
What kind of restaurants can visitors to your area expect to find?
There is something for everyone! There are 12 restaurants, eight of them along the Main Street. You can find a cozy pub for burger and fries, a comfortable bistro serving comfort food and even high end restaurants rivaling the best in the world.
Could you share with our readers some of the cultural events that take place in your area throughout the year?
There are many events in the Bayfield area. We have our very popular Fall Fair which is held on the third Saturday in August. There is Christmas in Bayfield, the second weekend in November as well our popular Sail and Canvas weekend, the third in June.
For the Sail and Canvas event, Bayfield will host more than twenty artists stationed along the heritage designated Main Street. On Saturday and Sunday, visitors can watch the artists paint land and streetscapes and browse samples of their portfolio.
Main Street has more than 40 shops, boutiques, restaurants, artisanal producers and will be open for the expected busy weekend.
Bayfield has Lake Huron's largest small craft marina on the Canadian side of the border. Harbour celebrations include a dingy poker rally, complimentary Power Squadron marine safety inspections and boating regulations workshops facilitated by the Canadian Coast Guard.
There are many events in Bayfield throughout the year, keep an eye on Our Site for our updated events listings!
How easy is it to travel to the Bayfield and once there, to get around the area?
Most visitors tend to drive to Bayfield because once they are here they want to explore the countryside as well. That being said, I do know that a few of the Inns offer a pickup service from the London and Toronto airports as well as the London and Stratford train stations.
Is there anything else you wish to ad that we have not covered?
Well, I like to tell people that Bayfield is great to visit every season of the year, it depends what you are looking for. For romantic getaways, visit in February. Should you like shopping with the village buzzing with activity, then July is the best time to visit. Personally my favourite months are September and October, the village is still busy but the pace is a little slower!
To find out more about Bayfield CLICK HERE