Port Burwell, Ontario Canada

Discovering Port Burwell, Ontario: A Community Rich in History and Natural Beauty

Nestled on the north shore of Lake Erie, Port Burwell, Ontario is a community that boasts a rich history and stunning natural beauty. This charming community is located in the Municipality of Bayham in Elgin County, Ontario, Canada. It is situated at the mouth of Big Otter Creek, a waterway that stretches more than forty miles north through Bayham to Tillsonburg and Otterville. The harbour at Port Burwell played a significant role in the development of landlocked Oxford County.

The Historical Journey of Port Burwell, Ontario

In 1810, Mahlon Burwell (1783–1846) was tasked with surveying the vacant land between Houghton and Yarmouth townships. This led to the creation of two townships, Malahide and Bayham, which were incorporated into the county of Middlesex in 1811. Burwell selected a block of land in Bayham at the mouth of Big Otter Creek, the site of what would later become Port Burwell.

Despite the government's lack of action, Burwell and his family maintained interest in the development opportunity at the mouth of Otter Creek. This interest was particularly strong as Mahlon Burwell served as the elected representative for Oxford and Middlesex from 1812 to 1820. In 1830, he opened up a town plot on his land that became known as Port Burwell.

Over time, Port Burwell evolved into a shipbuilding and fishery harbour and became the export point for lumber and farm produce from the surrounding townships and a large portion of Oxford County. This growth was facilitated by the construction of roads and railway lines.

A Chronological Journey Through Port Burwell, Ontario's History

The first settlers arrived in what was originally known as Otter Creek in 1812. The post office was established in 1829, and the village plot was surveyed by Mahlon Burwell in 1830. The Port Burwell Harbour Company was formed in 1832 to improve and operate the harbour. The first shipyard opened in 1834, and the lighthouse was constructed in 1840.

The Ingersoll and Port Burwell Plank and Gravel Road Company was formed in 1849 to construct a toll road. The first steam-engine sawmill was established in 1851, and the railway line linking to Tillsonburg and Brantford was completed in 1895. Port Burwell was organized under the Ontario Municipal Act as a police village in 1900 and was incorporated as a village in 1949.

In recent years, Port Burwell has become the home of a windmill development feeding electricity into Ontario's power grid. In November 2012, HMCS Ojibwa—a retired Canadian Navy 'Cold War' submarine—was placed in a permanent site in Port Burwell as part of plans for a Museum of Naval History.

Historic Churches in Port Burwell, Ontario

Port Burwell, Ontario is home to several historic churches, including Trinity Anglican Church, Baptist Church, St Paul's United Church, Free Methodist Church, Free Presbyterian Church, St Joseph's Catholic Church, John Paul II Cultural Center, and Lighthouse Gospel Church. These churches have been extensively studied and documented by the Elgin County branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society.

In conclusion, Port Burwell, Ontario is a community that offers a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and cultural richness. Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or a cultural enthusiast, Port Burwell has something to offer everyone.