Goderich, Ontario

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Town (lower-tier)
Town of Goderich
Skyline of Goderich
Motto: Canada's Prettiest Town
Goderich is located in Southern Ontario
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Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
County Huron
Founded 1827
Incorporated 1850
 • Mayor Kevin Morrison
 • Deputy Mayor Jim Donnelly
 • Federal riding Huron—Bruce
 • Prov. riding Huron—Bruce
 • Total 7.91 km2 (3.05 sq mi)
Elevation 213 m (699 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 7,521
 • Density 950.8/km2 (2,463/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Postal Code N7A
Area code(s) 519 and 226
Website www.goderich.ca

Goderich (pronounced either God-rich or God-er-ich) is a town in the Canadian province of Ontario and is the county seat of Huron County. The town was founded by William "Tiger" Dunlop in 1827.[2] First laid out in 1828, the town is named after Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich,[3] who was British prime minister at the time. The town was officially incorporated in 1850.

As of the Canada 2011 Census, the population is 7,521. The area of the town is 7.91 square kilometres.

Located on the eastern shore of Lake Huron at the mouth of the Maitland River, Goderich is notable for its sunsets. Queen Elizabeth II once commented that Goderich was "the prettiest town in Canada" although no reigning monarch has ever visited Goderich.[4] The town indicates that tourism is among its important industries.[5]

The town participates yearly in the Communities in Bloom competition; and has won awards in many categories. In 2012, Goderich was a National Finalist in the competition,[6] and was also part of the Circle of excellence.[7]

The Square

Huron County Courthouse

Goderich's downtown has an octagonal traffic circle known as 'The Square'. The county courthouse stands in the middle of The Square. This is where, in 1959, Steven Truscott was convicted of murdering Lynne Harper.

Contrary to a popularly held belief, plans for The Square were not intended for Guelph. It is thought this rumour started when Goderich was founded, as town planners the Canada Company originally wanted their community to be called Guelph after the Royal Family, eventually resigning to Company Superintendent John Galt's wish to keep the name Goderich.[8]

2011 tornado

Felled trees and demolished buildings along a road in Goderich after the tornado.

On the afternoon of August 21, 2011, an F3[9] tornado touched down in the town, after coming ashore as a waterspout as the mesocyclone thunderstorm cell moved across Lake Huron. It was the strongest tornado that had hit Ontario since the Arthur, Ontario tornado of April 20, 1996, though on average, F3 tornadoes occur in Ontario every eight years. The devastating storm downed power lines, tore roofs off houses, and left cars and trees scattered along city streets. Hundred-year-old trees surrounding the Goderich Courthouse were uprooted in seconds. The tornado killed one person: Norman Laberge, 61, of Lucknow, who was working on a dock associated with a salt mine on the coast of Lake Huron when the storm hit. 37 people were injured. The Environment Canada weather forecast office in Toronto issued a tornado warning for Goderich and southern Huron County 12 minutes before the tornado struck.[10] The town does not have a tornado siren unlike some other Ontario cities.


Salt mining is an important economic activity in Goderich.

The salt mining industry in Goderich is one of the oldest in Ontario. In 1866, petroleum exploration crews found a massive ancient salt deposit about 300 metres (980 feet) under the surface.[11]

To date 150 million tonnes of salt has been produced from the mine and by 2012, after recent investments, it will be able to produce 9 million tons a year[12] This all started in 1866 when prospector Sam Platt was searching for oil and instead discovered rock salt 300 metres beneath Goderich Harbour. Just over 50 years ago harvesting of the salt began, and continues today by Sifto Canada. The mine itself is 1,750 feet (530 metres) below surface,[13] extending 7 km2 (2.7 sq mi) under Lake Huron - roughly the size of the town itself. The mine extends under Lake Huron and is the largest underground salt mine in the world.[12]

The salt deposits at Goderich are from an ancient sea bed of Silurian age, part of the Salina Formation. The halite rock salt is also found in Windsor, Ontario, both located on the eastern periphery of the Michigan Basin, on the southeastern shores of Lake Huron.[14]

Heavy Equipment

Volvo once operated a road grader manufacturing plant in Goderich, one of the world's oldest manufacturers of road equipment.[15] The plant was first started in 1910 as American Road Machine Company of Canada, later called Dominion Road Machinery and finally Champion Road Machinery (source: William Barlow: Everything for the Road Maker, published in 1991 by Possibilities, Auburn, Ontario, Canada). The plant was acquired by Volvo AB in 1997.[16] In September 2008, Volvo announced plans to close all operations in Goderich and move operations to Shippensburg, PA.[17] Production ceased in 2009.


Silos at Goderich Harbour

Goderich Airport (known unofficially as Sky Harbour Airport)[18] is a community airport with three runways: two are paved, with runway lighting, and one is grass.[19] It is located directly north of the town, and is accessible via the Bluewater Highway north of the community. During WWII, The airport was the site of an Elementary Flying Training School as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.[20] In addition to flight services, several industries are located in the immediate area of the airport to provide the full range of services that aviation requires, including interior and exterior re-finishing, and mechanical repairs.

Goderich Harbour is owned by the town, but is operated under contract by Goderich Port Management Corporation.[21] It is an industrial harbour, used primarily to load salt from the Sifto salt mines onto lake and ocean freighters.

Snug Harbour is a marina located within the industrial harbour basin; Maitland Valley Marina is also located near Goderich.


Historic CPR station

The Goderich-Exeter Railway currently operates freight service to Goderich. The line was built by the Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway in 1859.[22] The railway was soon taken over by the Grand Trunk Railway, later CN. In 1992, the line was sold to the GEXR.

CPR built a second railway into Goderich in 1907.[23] Passenger service ran until the 1960s. The entire line was abandoned in 1989.[24] The trestle crossing over the Maitland River was converted through public fund-raising into a public walkway, offering views of the harbour, Maitland Valley golf course and the river valley itself. The Ontario West Shore Railway started to build a railway from Goderich to Kincardine in 1909, but it was never completely opened.[25]


The Huron Historic Gaol is a National Historic Site of Canada. It served as the region's gaol (old English form of jail) from its opening in 1842 until 1972.[26] It is open to the public between April and October. This is the site of the last public hanging in Canada. James Donnelly Sr. of the Black Donnellys also spent time here before his trial. As well, Steven Truscott was held here for some time.

Huron County Museum

The Huron County Museum is a community museum which offers modern exhibition galleries. Permanent exhibits depict the early settlement and development of Huron County, including a full-size locomotive, A World War II Sherman tank, an extensive military collection, and an exhibit related to salt mining in the area. The museum also collects and maintains the Huron County Archives.

The Marine Museum, which is open in July and August, is dedicated to the lifestyle and culture of those who made a living on Lake Huron, highlighting The Great Storm of 1913. Admission to this museum is included in the entry fee for the Huron County Museum.

Goderich features 3 public use beaches which can be reached by car following signage in town to the beach hill, also known as West Street. After parking, beach users can also walk along a wooden boardwalk over a mile in length. The main beach, at the north end of the walkway is a sand and fine gravel beach where swimmers and sunbathers can watch lake freighters loading up with salt on the other side of the pier. Further south is St. Christopher's beach and at the far end of the boardwalk is "Rotary Cove", a family-friendly sand beach with lifeguards and playground equipment. Of interest as well, are the man-made groynes along the beach, put in place to control sand migration from the action of water currents.

Sports teams

Besides school teams, during the winter season, hockey is prevalent in most Canadian small towns, Goderich being no exception. The town supports both the Sr. A Pirates and the Jr. C Goderich Flyers, much of the talent on both teams being of local origin.


Goderich is home to two elementary schools and one high school. Goderich Public School, which is an amalgamation of Victoria Public School and Robertson Memorial Public School,[27] and St. Mary's Catholic separate school are the in town elementary schools. More elementary schools serve the rural areas outside of town, including Colborne Public School, and Hullett Central Public School.[28] Goderich District Collegiate Institute (G.D.C.I.), the local high school, was founded in 1841, and stood at the corner of Waterloo St. And Britannia Road, until the present building was completed.[citation needed] The Huron County Museum now occupies the original Central School structure and grounds, on North St.


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1841 659 —    
1871 3,954 +500.0%
1881 4,564 +15.4%
1891 3,839 −15.9%
1901 4,158 +8.3%
1911 4,522 +8.8%
1921 4,107 −9.2%
1931 4,491 +9.3%
1941 4,557 +1.5%
1951 4,934 +8.3%
1961 6,411 +29.9%
1971 6,813 +6.3%
1981 7,322 +7.5%
1991 7,452 +1.8%
2001 7,604 +2.0%
2006 7,563 −0.5%
2011 7,521 −0.6%
  0-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70-79 80+ Total  % of population
Male 400 445 365 385 500 595 360 305 195 3,555 47
Female 335 485 405 375 585 630 435 400 360 4,010 53
Total 735 930 770 765 1,085 1,220 795 710 550 7,565 100
Source: Stats Canada [29]



Radio stations

  • CIYN-FM-1 99.7 "myFM" - classic hits
  • CHWC-FM 104.9 "The Beach" - local news and adult contemporary
  • CKNX-FM 101.7 "The One" - local, regional and national news and adult contemporary music
  • CIBU-FM 94.5/91.7 "The Bull" - local, regional and national news and classic rock music


Goderich has its own official flag which was adopted in 1977 for the town's 125th birthday celebration.[30] A contest was held, open to all Goderich schools and residents which was won by Judge Carter of St. Vincent St., Goderich. The flag shows the royal crown centered in an octagon (representing the 1/4 mile octagon 3 lane town square) with 3 waves at the bottom on a blue background representing Lake Huron and the Port of Goderich.[31] The Town also has a full town crest.[32]

Notable people

A female figure skater wearing a red dress, in profile as she lands a jump, extending her arms away from her perpendicular to the ice sheet for balance
Jennifer Robinson skating during an exhibition at the 2004 Canadian Stars On Ice show in Hamilton, Ontario.

Sister city

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Goderich, Ontario (Code 3540028) census profile". 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2012-08-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "historic plaque". ontarioplaques.com. Retrieved 2008-05-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "historic plaque". ontarioplaques.com. Retrieved 2008-05-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Huron Stewardship Council". Stewardship Network of Ontario. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Statistics on Goderich". Town of Goderich. Retrieved 2008-05-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. . Communities In Bloom http://www.communitiesinbloom.ca/goderich-2012-national-finalist/. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. . Communities In Bloom http://www.communitiesinbloom.ca/symposium-awards/2012-2/. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Heritage Goderich
  9. Pope, Alexandra; Andrea Stockton (August 23, 2011). "F3 tornado aftermath in Goderich: Like a war zone". The Weather Network News. Retrieved 23 August 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Goderich residents had 12 minutes warning before tornado struck". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Archived from the original on August 22, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. CBC-TV, Canada. "The Great Lakes: Goderich, Ontario". CBC Radio Canada. Geologic Journey. Retrieved 14 December 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 12.0 12.1 Boa, Heather (October 23, 2012). "Feature: Goderich's salt mine positioned for the future". Huron News Now. Retrieved 14 December 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Sifto's Goderich Mine". Sifto Canada Corp. Retrieved 29 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Geology Ontario, MNDMF (2000). "Ontario Geological Survey Open File Report 6029. Mines and Wines: Industrial Minerals, Geology and Wineries of the Niagara Region - Field Trip Guidebook" (PDF). Queen's Printer for Ontario. Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. p. 22. Retrieved 20 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Get in touch with us". Retrieved 2008-03-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Van Alphen, Tony (2008-10-01). "Volvo plant closure takes toll on Goderich". The Star. Toronto.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Volvo says to move grader business, cost $45 mln". Forbes. 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2009-05-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  18. "photo of terminal building sign". Waymarking.com. Retrieved 2008-05-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "entry on Nav Canada site". Nav Canada. Retrieved 2008-05-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "historic plaque". Waymarking.com. Retrieved 2008-05-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Statistics about Goderich". Town of Goderich site. Retrieved 2008-05-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "The B&LHR". Retrieved 2007-04-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Stops along Lake Huron". Retrieved 2007-04-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Informational plaque along the Goderich to Auburn Rail Trail.
  25. The Signal (Goderich), January 4, 1912.
  26. "historic gaol site". Huron County. Retrieved 2008-05-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Howe, Steve. "Goderich Public School Celebrates Official Opening". iAM Education. Retrieved 30 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. "Avon Maitland District School Board". Avon Maitland District School Board.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. "Goderich community profile". 2006 Census data. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2011-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. Flagspot.net Goderich,Ontario
  31. Port of Goderich Flag
  32. Town of Goderich Crest

External links