“The atmosphere is very relaxed,” shared Chris Lerocque. “There are beaches everywhere, just gorgeous kilometers of beaches.”
As the coordinator of Sugarloaf Marina, Lerocque knows what he’s talking about when he says his city of Port Colborne draws lots of visitors. Located in the south of the Niagara Peninsula, the community brushes world class attractions all through the Niagara area and offers exciting recreational activities of its own.
Right from the local marina, guests have access to a historic canal, famous bike trails and outstanding fishing. And that’s not to mention all the unique shops, restaurants and local arts.
Sugarloaf Marina comes fully loaded with more than 700 slips available and a list of amenities longer than your arm. It’s got all the normal ones such as a fuel dock and available wifi, but beyond that is has a newly renovated and expanded lobby, a cable wakeboard park and a 14-acre park with a splash pad and playground. This place is like a theme park.
Since Port Colborne is at the mouth of the Welland Canal, Lerocque mentioned they see numerous boats traveling the Great Loop.
“There’s a lot of larger boats like yachts,” said Lerocque, “and some are 100-foot plus.”
Speaking of which, if you have a larger boat, you won’t have to worry because Sugarloaf is a deepwater marina and can accommodate up to 130-foot boats. Plus it’s pet-friendly and within walking distance to some of the shops.
Now that you’re excited to go there, let’s talk a little bit about getting there. For large pleasure crafts, you can use the Welland Canal, which is open for navigation between March and December. The canal connects Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, and when you get closer to the harbor, you can turn your radio to VHF channel 68 for navigational and docking assistance.
Phew! Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get back to the fun stuff.
A Historic Canal
One of the greatest attractions in Port Colborne is Welland Canal. The city was first established when the Welland Canal was extended from Port Robinson to Lake Erie in 1833. The canal’s significant presence through the center of the community played a major role in the local economy. Even now, almost 200 years later, Port Colborne still relies on the canal to transport cargo and keep the major businesses rolling.
Something nice about staying at the Sugarloaf Marina is that you can tie up to the city docks on Welland Canal for the day, free of charge, and go to all the shops along West Street.
The canal is also an excellent area to watch the boats. Port Promenade runs along the side of the Welland Canal, and Lock 8 Gateway Park hosts an elevated viewing platform so you can see all the way along the southernmost lock of the canal. This lock also happens to be the second longest canal lock in the world. It’s like a front row seat to some of the best boat-watching around.
Then you’re not going to want to miss this year’s Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival. This year will be the festival’s 40th anniversary, so clear you calendars for Aug. 3 to 6. A variety of boats gather along the canal wall for the four-day celebration of the canal’s history and heritage, and the entire community gets involved.
A dozen different venues in the city provide an assortment of activities from which to choose, whether it be exploring historic vessels, learning about Port Colborne history at the Port Colborne Historical & Marine Museum or attending the Craft Show. Let’s not forget all that festival food too!
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