Goderich is a small coastal town that overlooks Lake Huron and is known for its gorgeous turquoise shorelines and historic downtown district. Goderich underwent a growth spurt upon the establishment of its harbour and rail station, becoming a busy shipping station by the 1940s. However, Goderich’s biggest industry has been salt mining, with the first salt mines opening in 1867 after an unsuccessful search for oil instead revealed a vast rock salt bed.
Compass Minerals, the largest underground salt mine, is located 1,800 feet under Lake Huron. It has been in operation since 1959. The salt produced at the mine was largely used to keep roads safe for travel and is shipped to communities along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in Goderich, scroll down or visit the town's tourism website.
Where is Goderich?
Goderich is located on the eastern shores of Lake Huron, near the mouth of the Maitland River, in Huron County. It's just a short drive from Bayfield on the Bluewater Highway (Highway 21), approximately 74 km from Stratford and a little over 200 km from Toronto.
Things to Do in Goderich
Its position facing the west makes Goderich the ideal place to watch the amazing sunsets for which its known, and visitors have their pick of many wonderful vantage points. At the town's Main Beach, visitors can take a leisurely stroll and head to the boardwalk to access adjacent St. Christopher’s Beach and Rotary Cove Beach. These beaches are lined with playgrounds, fitness equipment, washrooms, as well as concessionaires for food and drinks. Visitors can also climb the wooden stairs from St. Christopher’s Beach to visit the Goderich Lighthouse on the edge of a bluff with a spectacular vista of Lake Huron.
Trace Goderich’s railway past by crossing the Menesetung Bridge, which extends over the Maitland River by the old Goderich Salt Mine and harbour. The bridge was once used as a passage for trains along the Canadian Pacific Railway and is now a sturdy, well-maintained walkway for pedestrians. Visitors stopping by the bridge will be treated to views of the Maitland River, as well as Lake Huron. Pressing onwards, visitors will have the option to pursue nearby trails leading into the surrounding forests. Hikers will enjoy exploring the Morris Tract Provincial Nature Reserve, a 58 hectare park filled with a plethora of wildlife, as well as plant species unique to the region. Visitors looking for a more laid-back walk among flora and fauna may want to wander around Harbour Park. Located at the top of the hill right before the Goderich waterfront, this park is meticulously maintained, with gorgeous landscaping and colourful flower beds. Filled with several picnic areas and a playground, Harbour Park is also a great place for a family picnic.
Wanderers and lovers of urban design will also appreciate Goderich’s downtown district, unique for its octagonal shape, large roundabout. Also known as the Square Heritage Conservation District, it was designed in the mid-to-late 19th century, and is a rare example of this type of urban planning in Ontario. At the heart of the octagon is Courthouse Park and the Huron County municipal office and courthouse. A few blocks north you'll find the Huron Historic Gaol, the former county jail that operated from 1841 to the 1970s and which has since been converted into a museum. Visitors with spooky inclinations can partake of guided ghost tours of the former jailhouse and National Historic Site. The Huron County Museum is another must for visitors wanting to get to know more of Goderich’s history through over 30,000 artifacts on display.
In August, locals and visitors from afar come to Goderich for the Celtic Roots Festival at Harbour Park. One of the largest celebrations of Celtic culture in North America, the three-day outdoor festival features a variety of traditional Celtic crafts, music, and dance workshops, as well as traditional Celtic food and drink.
Visitors will enjoy a tasty selection of food and drink any time of year in Goderich. Feast on locally sourced fare from Huron County beef to Lake Huron's daily catch at Thyme On 21. Get your fill of freshly-baked local bread and pastries at Culbert’s Bakery, a traditional bakery that's been serving warm muffins, tarts, cream puffs, and loaves since 1877!
Goderich Neighbourhoods & Districts
Goderich’s meticulously planned urban setup has the town divided into three heritage conservation areas, which make up most of the town’s historic, civic, arts and entertainment districts.
This district could be considered the beating heart of Goderich. The square is the centre of downtown where several of Goderich’s mainstays are located. It’s home to the historical courthouse park, and its streets branch out into the rest of Goderich.
Foodies will do well to pass by West Street, where a number of Goderich’s most beloved food establishments are located. Culbert’s Bakery is in this district, as well as a number of art galleries, and the Goderich Branch of the Huron County Library.
This district of Goderich comprises areas outside of downtown, including the Maitland Woods, as well as the beaches on Huron Lake.
Things to Know About Visiting Goderich
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to Goderich, you'll appreciate what the locals recommend around town.
Where to watch the sunrise & sunset
Main Beach on Goderich’s waterfront features a lovely boardwalk and is one of the prettiest sights in the city, especially as the sun sets over Lake Huron.
Where to go for brunch
West Street Willy’s Eatery is a casual, family-friendly setting with homey decor has an extensive menu of comfort food and drinks.
Where to take a romantic stroll
The 1.5 km scenic lakeshore boardwalk sets the stage for a romantic walk with your special someone.
Where to go for a hike
Hike the trails in Falls Reserve Conservation Area that follow a shallow river to the scenic Benmiller Falls.
Last updated: May 3, 2022