Port Maitland is a hidden little gem worth a visit. The village is just south of Dunnville with the history going back to the first settlers in the area. It was once a thriving commercial fishing village. The population of Port Maitland is approximately 100 people.
Port Maitland, Ontario is located on the North Shore of Lake Erie, at the mouth of the Grand River. At one time a canal connected the Welland Canal to the Grand River.
The lighthouse, originally established in 1830, marks the passageway from the Grand River to Lake Erie.
In 1815 the Royal Navy began building a depot on the present site of Port Maitland. Though intended in the event of war to accommodate three frigates and 1,000 men, the base actually supported only the four schooners which then made up the British naval force on Lake Erie. The Rush-Bagot Agreement (1817) between Britain and the United States severely limited naval armament on the Great Lakes, and the depot was thereafter staffed by small detachments of soldiers. The wharf and four buildings were washed away in a storm in 1827, and the remaining buildings had largely fallen into ruin by 1834 when the establishment was abandoned.
Picture from Ontario’s Historical Plaques. Plaque is located at Esplanade Park.
Read more about the History of Port Maitland here: Port Maitland Time Line
Esplanade Park A hidden gem! It has a playground, picnic benches, parking, and free boat launch. Day camping only, no overnight camping, and all facilities are free.
On any given day, (when I make frequent year-round visits to walk our miniature dachshund), no matter what the weather is like, you will find visitors and area citizens strolling the pier, dropping their fishing lines in the Grand or Lake Erie, enjoying a picnic feast on the benches, kids on the playground swings, tailgate gatherings, or just relaxing in their lawn chairs taking it as it comes. A great little park, un-spoiled, un-publicized and not commercially developed. A hidden gem!
FYI .. PLEASE NOTE No flush toilets, only Johnny on the spots (blue plastic outhouses supplied by Haldimand County) and no drinking water on tap. Bring your own everything now that Mr. Flatt has closed his business.
Flatt’s Bait and Tackle. Joe Flatt has lived in Port Maitland for over 50 years and is a well of information about the area so be sure to stop in and say hello. Located right across from Esplanade Park.
The store is closed but Mr. Flatt sells bait from his garage from mid-April to around Oct 1. “It all depends on the weather, what I have in stock, what mood I’m in,” Joe says. “If the weather’s nice, people linger.” Basically, I am open or use the self serve bait station. Joe has plenty of helpful advice for the visitors.
Joe would like to see some benches on the pier for the visitors. Once spring arrives, men, women, and children begin their pilgrimage to the port to fish and launch boats (free launch). Perch are running mid-May for a few weeks, the bass is running in July and the pickerel is plentiful.
UPDATE: Mr. Flatt no longer opens up his business but he usually has the best fishing bait available at his self serve bait station located at the side of the building.
Use Google Map to get Directions to Port Maitland.
GPS users, DO NOT use the town of Dunnville, use the town of Haldimand. (Dunnville got Lost?)