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Elgin County Ontario
Artists, Foodies, a Train, and a Submarine

Elgin County Ontario is an area on the north shore of Lake Erie, with beautiful beaches and fabulous farms set in green rolling countryside. It's also home to artists' workshops, fine food, and Port Burwell and the Elgin County Naval Museum with its largest(and my favourite) exhibit, HMCS Ojibway, a Cold War diesel-electric submarine.

Elgin County Ontario is on the Talbot Trail, which is always worth driving, the Waterfront Trail for hiking or cycling, and includes one of Lake Erie's best beaches at Port Stanley.

Away from the lakeshore it has a thriving arts and food scene with places like Pinecroft Pottery and Rush Creek Winery, which makes incredible fruit wines. If, like me, you've always been wary of fruit wines, Rush Creek will help you to a better appreciation.

Elgin County Ontario -- Art Places

Green Frog at Pinecroft Pottery Elgin County Ontario, Canada

This is the Green Frog at Pinecroft Pottery where you can wander through the property between different buildings, such as kilns, art studio, potters wheels, and gift shop, and also have lunch at their Green Frog Cafe, where they do light, delicious, local, and therefore seasonal food.

The Green Frog is a century-old carved stone frog set in a wooded copse. Originally used as a horse mounting block (when the horse was the way to travel) and door ornament, it has suffered some wear-and-tear and repair down the decades but it's still a recognizable frog.

Click on any photo to see them in a larger gallery.

Winter Wheat art stop in Elgin County, Ontario. Canada

Another interesting artists' studio and showroom is Winter Wheat, which is also set in woodland. Among the trees that surround the showrooms are a number of outdoor art displays of vintage farm implements turned into modern sculpture and a host of angels made from other unlikely materials. 

Winter Wheat also includes lots of unique art gifts from around the world, not just those of the resident artists, so there's a wide selection of things to buy. 

Port Burwell and HMCS Ojibway

HMCS Ojibway at Port Burwell in Elgin County Ontario

At the outset, I mentioned the Naval Museum at Port Burwell and its largest exhibit, HMCS Ojibway, a diesel-electric submarine used for clandestine and surveillance operations during the Cold War. The Museum offers guided tours through the boat during the warmer months and its well worth taking one. 

If you ever thought being a submariner might be a nice life, the tour should cure you! Even with the boat resting on dry land, on a warm day in spring, and a group of people only one-third the size of the boat's crew when she was at sea, it's cramped and close -- but fascinating. A glimpse into an experience most of us will never have, except through movies and tours such as this one. 

Port Stanley

Moore's Water Gardens at Port Stanley, Elgin County, Ontario, Canada

Moore's Water Gardens in Port Stanley is a place to buy your water lilies and ornamental fish as well as a great place to wander around admiring the colours of all the different species of both -- even if you aren't looking to buy something for your garden pond.

Speaking of Port Stanley, the town has a great beach, a busy summer bar scene, and restaurants and shopping. What more could a visitor want? A heritage railway would be good and there is one, the Port Stanley Terminal Rail (PSTR), which takes visitors from the town, north through the country, to St. Thomas.  

You can see more of Port Stanley at our page here.

St Thomas

PSTR station at Port Stanley, Elgin County, Ontario, Canada

Speaking of St. Thomas, the Railway City Craft Brewery runs tours through its premises and sell its wares on site. You can also buy their products in many restaurants and Brewers Retail shops throughout Ontario. This is a small brewery, so phone ahead to book a tour, operating out of premises on the edge of town.

Their most famous product, Dead Elephant, is named for 'Jumbo' the circus elephant of long ago who captured the English-speaking World's affection and whose life with Barnum's Circus was sadly ended by Jumbo's death in St. Thomas in 1885. The town erected a giant statue of Jumbo on the centenary of his death (1985).

An elephant statue, a heritage train, a submarine, a beautiful beach, and as much food, wine and beer as you can take. What is there not to like about Elgin County Ontario?

For more about Elgin County, visit their website here.

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