IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME
excerpt from the book ‘Reminisce Port Elgin 1874-1974’
From the very beginning, the fine beach area has been one of Port Elgin’s most valuable assets.
Early on, the good harbour facilities put the town on the map as a bustling port of call for lake steamers. In later years, the vast expanse of sandy beach and refreshing waters of Lake Huron have attracted ever-increasing numbers of summer visitors. As early as 1887, its potential as a resort area was recognized.
A Times editorial noted that a large number of tourists “presently enjoy the beautiful lake breezes at Port Elgin” and “fishing, boating & bathing are freely indulged in”. It wasn’t, however, until the advent of the motor car and the improvement of access roads, that Port Elgin really began to flourish as a tourist town.
With the development of tourism came a host of attendant changes. The beach area burgeoned with new life as cottage after cottage sprang up. Harbour facilities were improved. More lodges, and in recent years, many fine motels appeared. A campground was developed and later a trailer park. A Casino was built. Business boomed as everywhere the people of Port Elgin extended their warm hospitality to one & all.
In the 1880’s, US passenger boats such as the “Cambria” called & picked up parties for a cruise around Chantry Island and along the North Shore.
The “Restless II”, one of the cruise boats, in later years, operated out of Port Elgin‘s harbour.