Often called Canada’s prettiest town, the author believes in this case the bragging is justified. Goderich has a magnificent natural location, on bluffs above the vast inland sea of Lake Huron, and it is surrounded by some of Ontario’s handsomest farmland. The town square – actually an octagon with streets radiating out – has the special quality of feeling both sophisticated and cozy. There are genuine historical houses and institutions – an early stone jail, a remarkable county museum, a beautiful library, a small amateur theatre, and even a town square movie theatre still operating – combined with the presence of the world’s largest salt mine drawing huge ships from many points.
The Maitland River in season has fishermen in hip-waders casting in the water. The courthouse, on an island of grass and trees at the centre of the square, has a clock which chimes out the time with Big Ben’s tune. A number of fairs are held regularly, and the farmers’ market, with some unique local produce, is held each Saturday of the summer under tents on the square. Most of the old streets feature tree-lined boulevards, and there are many handsome private gardens. Goderich has not yet been ‘spoiled’ the way places like Niagara-on-the Lake have with their swarms of rude tourists, gimmicky seasonal shops, and bored shopkeepers. It is a real town with nice people.
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