One of Ontario's prettiest town, Goderich, that sits on the shore of Lake Huron

Goderich – One of the Prettiest Towns in Ontario

Sitting on the edge of Lake Huron in southwestern Ontario is the charming historic town of Goderich. So charming, that it was once described as “the prettiest town in Canada” by Queen Elizabeth II. Ontarians seeking a day trip destination need to look no further and plan your next road trip here. Goderich offers visitors a great mix of sandy beaches, vibrant downtown, friendly locals and a thriving arts & cultural community.

Early Beginnings

One of Ontario's prettiest town, Goderich, that sits on the shore of Lake Huron

After the War of 1812, John Galt and a group of investors formed the Canada Company. The British government granted the Canada Company 1,100,000 acres of land stretching from Lake Huron to Guelph. The location of the proposed town was cleared of its dense trees and a log cabin was erected. When John Galt arrived by boat to the shores, it was celebrated as founder’s day – June 29, 1827.

He then drew up the town plan. Similar to the design of the charming village of Bayfield it includes a central square and streets fanning out from it. Very different than the usually grid patterns you seen in most towns. 

The Heart of Goderich

Stroll the Downtown

The historic downtown Goderich Ontario features mid-1800 architecture buildings

Like any small town in Ontario, the heart of the community can be found in its historic downtown. Goderich’s downtown is surprisingly large. At the centre sits Courthouse Park, an octagonal shaped public space with eight streets radiating out from there. You will hear locals refer to it as ‘Market Square’ or just ‘The Square’. It’s the location of the County Courthouse built in 1857. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by a fire and replaced in the 1950’s by a modern Art Deco style. Most of the buildings around The Square were built in mid to late 1850s and were inspired by influences of Georgian, Italianate and Second Empire styles and detailing. 

Peruse the Shops

The historic downtown Goderich Ontario features mid-1800 architecture buildings

There are almost 200 unique shops that line the historic downtown. Everything from antiques to art galleries to specialty shops. 

Join the locals at the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings in The Square. 

Check out a Museum

The historic town of Goderich, founded in 1827 sits on the shores of Lake Huron

If you are looking to learn about the history of Goderich and surrounding area head to Huron County museum. Did you know that the last public hanging in Canada took place in Goderich? Also, did you know, you can visit the Huron County Jail from 1842 to 1972? It’s now a National Historic Site. 

Watch a Local Theatre Production

The Livery in Goderich Ontario, is a active theatre production company

Goderich has a thriving arts community. It also has one of Canada’s longest running community theatre groups that put on productions out of the Goderich Little Theatre. As well, The Huron County Playhouse offers musicals, comedies and dramas. 

Attend a Festival

Goderich Ontario features a thriving arts, culture community full of year round events and festivals

This family-friendly community offers year-round festivals. A highlight in the summer is listening to the local highlanders pipe band ‘Pipe Down the Sun’ every Friday evening. And, in the winter, don’t miss the Tree lighting ceremony followed by a holiday parade and festival of lights. 

Grab a Bite

The historic downtown Goderich Ontario features mid-1800 architecture buildings

The best eatery in Goderich is definitely Cait’s Café – a Parisian inspired café. A must-try are their butter croissants. For breakfast, it’s the decadent chocolate croissant and for lunch it turns into a delicious sandwich with your favourite toppings. Their delicious croissants can stand up to any boulangerie in Paris- they are that good!

The Shores of Lake Huron

Head to the Beach

Goderich Ontario sits on the shores of Lake Huron and offers 3 beautiful beaches for visitors

There is no doubt that one of the biggest draws to this town is to spend some time on the beautiful shores of Lake Huron. Goderich offers visitors three beaches to choose from. There’s the Main Beach – perfect for families or Rotary Cove Beach – a shallow sandy beach. Then, there is St. Christopher’s Beach – a dog-friendly beach – this is where I go with my dog.  

Walk the boardwalk, stretching 1.5-kms along the beach front. With the beach on one side and green space on the other. Bring your bikes for a fun coastal ride with epic views. 

Goderich Lighthouse

The Goderich lighthouse, sits on the shoreline of Lake Huron in Ontario

The Goderich Lighthouse is the oldest Canadian light station on Lake Huron. Built in 1847, it only stands at just over 6 metres (or 20 feet). As it sits on a hill above the shoreline, it has a focal plane of 46 metres (or 150 feet).

As a holidaymaker…

The entire shoreline of Lake Huron have been recognized as one of Canada’s best beach areas. And, beyond the beach it’s in close proximity to some other amazing small towns – check out Bayfield, Kincardine and Sauble Beach. This is now becoming the new hot spot for Torontonians to come for the weekend. 

Goderich - one of Ontario's prettiest towns sits on the shores of Lake Huron #Ontario #Goderich
Goderich - one of Ontario's prettiest towns sits on the shores of Lake Huron #Ontario #Goderich


  • Jeff Albom

    This town looks very cute. I like the town square and radial street design. I guess you can do a lot when the town is planned and didn’t just spring up and grow from commerce.

  • Sue

    What a beautiful place! I had never heard of Goderich but it looks like the perfect place to get away from the city.

  • Sarah

    This town is beautiful! It definitely deserves the name of “prettiest town” and the beaches look fantastic. Looks like yet another place to add to my list for when I eventually visit Canada!

  • Suzanne Jones

    I’d never heard of Goderich before reading this. I love a beachside town – there’s always so much to see and do and if there’s a lighthouse even better!

  • Linda (LD Holland)

    I am loving all the new Ontario gems you are introducing me to. I do love small Ontario towns like Goderich to just wander. And as the summer weather comes we are definitely looking for new ideas for a beach. We will definitely be heading that way this summer.

  • Raksha

    I love visiting lighthouses and the Goderich lighthouse is the first place I will go when I visit Goderich. The town definitely looks beautiful and every corner is pretty. I would love to visit Lake Huron shores as well as it looks amazing. I am adding Goderich to my list of places to visit.

    • Yukti

      Goderich looks rustic laidbook place with lovely things to do. I would love to visit museum and book some show at local theatre. Even Goderich lighthouse looks very interesting as it is oldest Canadian lighthouse at Lake Huron.

  • Riana Ang-Canning

    What a cute little town! This is exactly how I’d like to spend a long weekend – eating, shopping, festivals, the beach! Bagpipers and a butterfly mural sound so lovely too. All of your spotlights on Ontario’s small towns are giving me lots of inspiration for our honeymoon in case we can’t travel into the US or the Maritimes.

  • barry

    Well, if it’s good enough for her majesty … it’s good enough for me! It looks a perfect weekend getaway – if only it was closer to me,lol. It certainly fits the “prettiest town” category.

    Love the effect of the rays of pink/purple with the butterflies on that building – very creative.

    I never thought that there were beaches on the Lake but then …. why shouldn’t there be. Makes the getaway even better.

  • Saurabh

    Goderich indeed looks like such a pretty town. A place where one would want to lose oneself 🙂 I would like to attend the festival and paid my visit to the local theatre.

  • Sherianne

    I love that the town square is the focal point with everything spanning from it, cities set on grids aren’t as pretty. Looks like a great downtown to wander, lunch in a café and take the butterfly selfie. A bike ride on the boardwalk next to Lake Huron sounds like the perfect end to the day

  • Ha

    Goderich looks so lovely! I can picture how to spend a weekend here. I’d love to visit the Huron County Playhouse for musicals and comedies, then wander around the art gallery and shops in the historic downtown. Of course I wouldn’t miss the Goderich Lighthouse and spend a lovely evening at the beaches.

  • Aradhana

    Seems like a quaint find, I’d visit for the Lake Huron coastline, a big draw for me. The arts scene too looks quite vibrant. You mention some interesting facts as well about the historic town, which have piqued my interest.

  • Candy

    What a gorgeous quaint town in Ontario. The museum sounds pretty interesting and I’d be curious to know what the charge was for the last public hanging in Canada. I’ll have to visit the museum to find that out 🙂

  • Umiko

    Goderich reminded me of historic downtown in America. A courthouse in the middle with other buildings surrounding it, occupied by different businesses. I like admiring the old buildings when visiting historic town like this, and visiting local’s favorite cafe or antique stores.

  • Kevin

    Having just moved to Chicago, Canada (and Ontario in particular) is on my travel wish list once borders reopen. I love small towns, so naturally I have to bookmark “Canada’s Prettiest Town”! The layout sounds interesting with the courthouse at the very center with the eight streets surrounding the circular park. It looks small enough to be very walkable as well. I would love to check out the historic center, and the waters of Lake Huron look so pretty and bright blue in Goderich!

  • Natascha

    This town looks like the perfect place to get away for a few days: Cute and walkable with a lot of history and a lot of things to do. I would start with the Huron History Museum and then browse the small shops until I get hungry. And in the evening I would visit one of the small theater performances. I have the feeling it is easy to get into contact with the people in Goderich.

  • Emma

    This is a really pretty town, although I might have to visit to really appreciate how pretty it might be. With the quaint shops and lighthouse out might take some beating. That butterfly artwork is gorgeous. So stunning

  • Shireen

    Loved learning about Canada’s prettiest town! I can even tell from your pictures how gorgeous it looks.

    Lake Huron sounds right up my street and would love to visit this place while there.

    Also, I didn’t know that people from Ontario are called Ontarians until this post!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *