It’s claim to fame as ‘Canada’s Prettiest Town’ (dating back to Victorian times, a quote attributed to Queen Elizabeth) and part of ‘Ontario’s West Coast’ you can be certain that Goderich, in Huron County, has the beauty to back up those claims. With a population of about 7,500, the town is located about 100 km north of London on the eastern Shore of Lake Huron, Goderich is a charming heritage town built around The Square – an octagonal shaped property bordered by a traffic circle with the Courthouse and a three-acre park at its centre. Eight main streets radiate from The Square, creating a very geometric and easy-to-travel community. Well designed, it’s an early example of a well-planned community.
Modern yet steeped in history, Goderich encompasses many elements of Canadiana, such as its Huronian shorefront offering both beaches and ports; a CN Railway; agrarian and mining roots; and museums and historical sites.
A vibrant arts culture exists in Goderich, characterized by several festivals that offer spectacular opportunities to partake in and experience music, theatre, dance, crafting, art and photography.
In the summer, the Celtic Blue Highlanders Pipe Band gathers each Friday through the summer to serenade the sun out of the sky. Starting an hour before sunset, they “Pipe down the sun” while residents and tourists alike gather at Rotary Cove to enjoy. Sunsets in Goderich are magnificent. Celtic roots are also celebrated at summer festivals.
The Goderich Co-op Art Gallery is a member-run facility that encourages active participation. The Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol appeals to all. Once an active County Jail, this historic gem – an octagonal structure with a fenced perimeter and longhouses off of each façade, is as interesting for its building as it is for its exhibits.
Surrounding trails, parklands and expanses of nature draw tourists and residents, as do the boardwalk and beaches in town. Charming cafés and local eateries intermingle with many town amenities. Residential streets are lined with well-kept Victorian homes and groomed gardens – Goderich always shows well and places high in Canada Blooms, exposing the fact that Goderich has a lot of residents with serious green thumbs!
Schools are an important part of any community, and Woodstock has five high schools, including one catholic and one French: Woodstock Collegiate Institute, Huron park Secondary School, College Avenue Secondary School, St. Mary’s Secondary School (catholic) and Ecole Secondaire Ste-Marie (French catholic). Fanshawe College also operates a campus at the south end of the city, and plans to expand to almost double its current size.
Offering both public and Catholic school options, primary schools include St. Mary’s Catholic School and Goderich Public School; with secondary school options include St. Anne’s Catholic Secondary School and Goderich District Collegiate Institute. Goderich also offers adult education facilities for retraining, language skills, computer training, business related needs and assistance and services that support reentering the workforce. Two libraries serve the community.
Agriculture is one of the major factors in the economy in Huron County with livestock – hogs, both beef and dairy cattle and poultry – as well as grain cultivation and processing a significant factor.
Salt is good for this economy, and Sifto Canada relies on Goderich. The area has incredibly rich and massive fields of salt. Discovered by a local flour mill owner hoping to strike oil in the mid-1800s, he instead discovered something equally valuable. It was among the very first salt mines discovered in North America, and the extraction processes began. Modern mining practices started in the late 1950’s as mining shafts and advanced equipment were brought in.
Manufacturing – encompassing a variety of different products – as well as a diverse base of small businesses also share a large part in the economy of Goderich. And finally, tourism is a significant part of the economy. Festivals, surrounding provincial parks, fishing, hiking, lake access, restaurants, specialty shops, quaint B&Bs and Ontario tourism bring a lot of people by Goderich.
The centre of Goderich is easily walkable and taxi service is available. There is direct access to Goderich, with Highways 8 and 21 connecting it to surrounding towns. Transportation between neighbouring towns is also served by regular bus service. Goderich boasts an airport with three strips – two of which are paved and lit, meant for small aircraft of up to 15 passengers. Pivotal in WW2 for training purposes, it still remains in use and an important feature of the community. Goderich Harbor is used for freighters shipping salt for Sifto, but there are a couple of marinas for boaters to access. CN Rail runs through Goderich, again, mainly for commercial shipping purposes.
Sifto Canada offers six simple life hacks using salt:
Clean silk flower arrangements by placing the flowers in a large bag with salt. Shake the bag until the salt has removed the dust from the flowers.
Rub a moist, cloth bag containing salt on a car’s windshield to keep snow and ice from collecting on it.
Loosen soot in your chimney with a handful of salt thrown onto flames in your fireplace.
Clean brass with a paste made of equal parts of salt, flour and vinegar. Rub the paste on the brass item, leave for an hour, then clean with a soft cloth and buff.
Remove or diminish white rings on wood tables by rubbing a thin paste made of salad oil and salt on the spot, letting it stand for several hours, then wiping off.
Get rid of rough, sticky spots on an iron by running the hot iron over a piece of paper that has been sprinkled with salt.(Visit siftocanada.com for more information on salt)
Goderich at a glance
Population: 7521 (Canada 2011 census)
Major employers: Sifto
Distance from Toronto: 230 km.