Bayfield Ontario is a quaint little village that sits perfectly on the shores of Lake Huron. Part of the Bluewater municipality, Bayfield has a population of about 1200 people, and the entire village was designated a heritage district in 1982. It has a long history belonging to early Canadian settlers who travelled here along the Great Lakes, initially by ship and later also by stagecoach during the 1800s.
Today beautiful Bayfield is a popular tourist destination for its historical value, its many eateries, and its quaint and pretty main street. It reminds me a lot of Niagara-on-the-Lake about twenty years ago. It has the same flair and ambiance, but on a smaller and less touristy scale than NOTL now.
One of the best parts about Bayfield is that the Bayfield Historical Society has maintained and continues to celebrate the history of this beautiful place. A walk down Bayfield Main Street will reveal modern day businesses behind the original facades and structures.
Here is a list of some things to do and see in Bayfield Ontario.
The Little Inn
There is no better place to experience the history of Bayfield than a stay at The Little Inn. This historic inn which has housed travellers since the mid 1800s is a beautiful place to stay and experience all that Bayfield has to offer. Its location towards the end of the main street is absolutely perfect. You can read my post about The Little Inn here and it will provide you with all the details about this gorgeous place.
The Lakehouse Restaurant
Don’t miss out on the delicious offerings at The Lakehouse of Bayfield Restaurant. No, this is not the Lakehouse in Niagara so ensure you choose the correct restaurant when making reservations. Our waitress told us a story of a former guests’ faux pas when she learned we were from Niagara. Thankfully, the story had a happy ending.
Sitting on the outdoor patio was a delight on this warm summer evening. The front patio is smaller than the backyard which holds many tables under twinkling patio lights, but I enjoyed people watching from this vantage point on the main drag while I savoured my Grilled Peach Salad and my coconut curry dish.
Service was impeccable even if a little slow due to the rush of people now experiencing the freedoms of reduced pandemic restrictions. Personally, I appreciated the slower pace, it allowed me to linger over the ambiance of this beautiful place on Bayfield’s main street.
Rosie’s Ice Cream Shop
Steps from The Lakehouse, right across from The Little Inn is Rosie’s Ice Cream Shop. This pretty place with an old-fashioned feel offers a delectably varied selection of ice cream. You could experience a lineup on busy summer days, but the wait isn’t long and definitely worth it. They also offer frozen yogurt as well as vegan and gluten free options. The perfect place to pick up a cone before heading off to watch the sunset at Pioneer Park.
Turn right from The Little Inn towards the Lake Huron Shore and you will find Pioneer Park. This is a privately owned park offered for public use by the Pioneer Park Association which was founded by then resident Lucy Woods in 1945.
Here you can watch glorious Huron sunsets, and there are plenty of benches that face the shoreline. Just before sunset you’ll notice a large number of tourists and residents emerge to watch the sun as it sinks into Lake Huron.
There is also a set of sturdy wooden steps that lead down to the shore. Unfortunately, the gate was locked, and we were unable to use the stairs, but I’m certain it would have been a beautiful experience. Five minutes away you’ll find the marina and pier, that offers another way to get down to the water’s edge.
Clan Gregor Square
At the other end of Bayfield’s main street is Clan Gregor Square, a large greenspace that includes picnic benches, a gazebo, and play equipment with a splash pad. A cenotaph to honour World War I heroes stands proudly in the centre and is decorated during Remembrance Day services. Clan Gregor Square is a beautiful place that is a lovely entrance to this heritage village just off highway 21. This is a pretty place to spend a summer evening for a bit of relaxation as the lights hanging in hundred year old trees illuminate the twilight hours.
Along Main Street
All along Bayfield’s Main Street you will find boutique shops, plenty of dining choices and the original Rutledge House that now houses professional offices. Andrew Rutledge was a grain and wool merchant who had the house built in 1867. He was instrumental in early commerce and education during the settlement and incorporation of Bayfield.
The Town Hall of Bayfield is an eye-catching historic structure that looks like a church due to its bell tower frontage. The building is used for hosting a variety of events.
The Black Dog Pub and Bistro was originally the Edwards Cash Store from the 1880s until 1938, a general store and the first place to have gas lights in all of Bayfield. The Black Dog Pub has been operating in this space since the early 2000s and offers a menu of casual fare along with a variety of beverages including craft beers.
For truly casual fare and a fun environment check out Captain Harry’s or indulge in fish tacos at Copenhagen’s stand and order side window. Both are unmissable on Main Street.
Beyond Main Street
You’ll find beautiful homes that are each unique with perfectly manicured lawns and rambling gardens. The residents of Bayfield certainly appear to be proud homeowners that are consciously aware of the beauty within which they live.
I hope you enjoyed this little virtual tour of Bayfield, Ontario. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in this pretty little place along the Huron Shores, with plenty to do and see.
If you want to learn more about the Huron Shores and Southwestern Ontario I’ll have more posts coming. In the meantime, my friends over at Back Roads and Other Stories have plenty of information on the Huron area. I was lucky to find their blog just before my trip along the Huron Shores.
Check this video to roam around Bayfield with me!
I always love exploring the history of the places I visit. Bayfield truly is a place that celebrates the history of Ontario. When you travel do you enjoy the history of the place or do you look for something else in your getaways?