Located about an hour east of Toronto on the north shore of Lake Ontario you’ll find Port Hope. With a population of just over 16,000 Port Hope is a lovely little town where the importance of stopping to smell the flowers has not been forgotten.
Celebrated as one of the best-preserved 19th century streetscapes in Ontario the town boasts over 270 heritage designated buildings throughout the municipality. Making it so wherever you walk you feel as if you are surrounded by reminders of the past. While the architecture make evoke historic nostalgia the feel of Port Hope is definitely taking modern strides. Here is how I would spend my perfect weekend in Port Hope:
1. Start your visit by stretching your legs and getting a breath of fresh air at the Linwood Acres Trout Farm. Open year round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Linwood Acres has a retail store to stock up on all the trout your heart desires, ponds where you can cast a line and educational tours of the farm! They hit all of our favourite points when visiting somewhere: education, hands on activities and of course something tasty to eat!
2. When you’re looking for a bite to eat, look no further than The Social Bar + Table in downtown Port Hope. As a Feast ON certified restaurant The Social brings in great food from the area so you’ll get an authentic taste of what the community has to offer. They have a great tap list as well if you’re looking to wet your whistle. Their smoked trout salad is a signature dish!
3. After getting your fill of local fare at The Social how about a little retail therapy? My favourite spot to shop till I drop is Primitive Designs. This import store brings in the best and beautiful from around the world. You can find everything here, petrified wood sinks, beautifully carved coffee tables or and everything in between. The store itself is two stories in a large barn on a rural property, meaning there are all kinds of nooks and crannies to explore and find forgotten sculptures and curiosities.
4. If you want to rest your feet for a bit while taking in some of Port Hope’s history visit the Capitol Theatre. Having opened on August 15, 1930 the Capitol is the last fully restored atmospheric movie theatre still in operation in Canada. It was also one of the first theatres in Canada built expressly for talking pictures. The Capitol was build to look like a walled medieval courtyard surrounded by a forest, there is a “soft top”, or the illusion of no ceiling as it is designed to look like a twilight sky. You can catch an array of entertainment here including concerts, theatre and film, including TIFF movies. The Capitol also broadcasts operas directly from the Metropolitan Opera at the Lincoln Centre in New York!
5. By far my favourite event that takes place in Port Hope is the annual Float Your Fanny Down The Ganny. If you happen to be in the area around April 16th make sure you don’t miss it! Commemorating the flood of 1980 Float Your Fanny involves locals and tourists alike taking part in different categories of water craft competitions that run their course along the Ganaraska river. If you’re there to watch safely from the shores there is Fannyville, the event village at the finish line where you can enjoy live entertainment, food and activities for all ages. Why not take a chance on a crazy craft this year at Float Your Fanny Down The Ganny?
So grab your fishing rod and a paddle and head to Port Hope, where historic charm and modern past times give you the best of both worlds!
Want to learn more about Port Hope? Check out their tourism website!