If you live anywhere within 100 miles of Port Dover, you know about this phenomenon. Every Friday the 13th, regardless of the season, motorcycle riders from all over flock to Port Dover. It is THE place to go if you have a bike. The event, which started in 1981 by a local biker arranging a get together with some of his buddies, has now become Canada’s largest motorcycle gathering.
The visitors are mostly your average motorcycle officianado, but there will also be many ‘bikers’ there too. The atmosphere is friendly, and rarely gets out of control, even though there are typically around 120,000 visitors on any given 13th. If you plan on staying overnight, you’ll need to arrive Thursday to secure a campsite or motel room. And if you arrive by car, you’ll be forced to park outside of town, and take the shuttle bus.
In a town with a population of around 5,000, this one day is a substantial money-maker. The locals spend much time in advance of the influx of visitors, preparing food and beverages, and arranging for thousands of port-a-potties (as you can imagine!)
316 St. George St., PO Box 1313, Port Dover, N0A 1N0, Canada
Good for: Couples
The restaurant is in the main hub of Port Dover, right on the beach with lovely views of the lake to accompany your dining experience. The menu offers somewhat of a variety of dishes, but focuses on the local favourite: fish and chips! I had the tuna steak, which was delicious, but I was eye-balling fellow diners' plates of fish and chips, which looked equally tantalising.
Located just a short 10 minute drive from beach and boat busy Port Dover, are the sleepy little villages of Fisher's Glen and Normandale. While there is no stores in which to shop (only a general store in Normandale), these tucked away places are more for people who want to relax, walk the shoreline without the crowd.
Largely only occupied by the people who own cottages and trailers here, visitors are more than welcome to make use of the tinier beaches and walk along the shoreline collecting shells, building sandcastles and the alike. No lifeguards are on duty, so use at your own risk.
You can also visit the historical marker of Canada's first cast-iron furnace in Normandale. I wish I could offer more info but I wasn't able to find anything on Normandale on the internet! But I can assure you, these little places do exist and are for the more relaxed paced.
What is so great about little fishing villages and beach areas, is that in the off-season there are opportunities for some of the most amazing photography - especially for city dwellers.
If you're looking for great photo ops, go in the off season (Jan-Apr) & (Oct-Dec) when parking will be free or a small nominal charge, and an abundant availability. Bring small chunks of bread for the Canadian Geese and Mallards - but watch out for those pesky seagulls - if they get a piece they invite several dozen of their friends!
There is a lighthouse which makes for some good photo ops, but don't forget about the simpler things to take pics of that you might miss - like the way the light reflects and creates shadows on wet sand and rocks like in this pic I took. So, while National Geographic might not be enlisting me anytime soon - these little treasures are not to be missed.
Extra tip: take your own film as the shops down here charge a little too much for film. Seafood lovers rejoice - there are plenty of places to eat in Port Dover.