Memories from the Goderich Waterfront: Rivermouth to Commercial Harbour

When the 1827 survey of the Menesetung/Red/Maitland River mouth was filed, “Tiger” Dunlop had already noted a problem with a treacherous bar across the mouth. It blocked the inner natural basin of some 14 feet. Yet, Canada Company officials and representatives of the Crown from York agreed that the potential for a great harbour lay within the silt-laden estuary.

1878, following damages from the spring freshet with plans for new piers and artifical river mouth top the north

1878, following damages from the spring freshet with plans for new piers and artifical river mouth top the north

As early as 1828, the Canada Company invested great funds and commenced the construction of a large steam-powered schooner to bring new settlers to this newfound wilderness wonderland. Lake Huron would become the front door to a new settlement. Goderich would become the stepping-stone for smaller boats to move settlers to new locations, especially to the north.

1881 New Harbour of Refuge

As much as they tried, the strong northwesterlies kept blowing in―a recurring delta blocked the way―and the Crown was not forthcoming with aid to do the needed annual dredging. The locals fought for funding for decades…even threatening to shut down the harbour. After a major disaster in the late 1860s, the then-owner railways refused to make repairs. The Federal Harbour was thus declared, thence funded.