Huron County contains some of the most charming communities that Ontario has to offer. First to mind is often Goderich, the once named “prettiest town in Canada,” but just south of that, Bayfield, Ontario is a fine contender. Nearby to the Bayfield River, Lake Huron, and the Bluewater Highway, the Village of Bayfield is an attractive community in the Bluewater Municipality. The village is a draw for anyone visiting the waters of Lake Huron and a beautiful place to call home.
Bayfield, Ontario is a community right on the eastern shore of Lake Huron. The former village is located on Kings Highway 21 between Goderich to the north and Grand Bend (Lambton Shores) to the south. Bayfield is in the northwestern corner of the Bluewater Municipality, a lower-tier municipality in Huron County right on the border with Lambton County to the southwest. Bayfield is defined by the curve of the Bayfield River as it flows into Lake Huron and the path of Kings Highway 21, also known as Bluewater Highway. Other iconic features of the area include Pioneer Park and Clan Gregor Square. Overall, nearly 60,000 people live in Huron County. Within that, 7,136 live in the Bluewater Municipality, with 1,112 specifically in Bayfield. As with many lakefront destinations, vacationers and cottagers in the spring and summer months create a big boost to the region’s population. Lake Huron also has an impact on the weather of the region, influencing rain and snow in those communities closest to the shores.
Home sale numbers for Bayfield are tracked within the statistics for the large region of both Huron County and Perth County. The average price of a residential property in that area crossed into the $400,000s in 2019 and has continued to climb. In the beginning of 2020, the average price began approaching an average of $420,000 with reports of increases in new listings, prices, and total number of sales. As of early 2020, the region remains a sellers market where new listings don’t sit for very long before being sold.
Bayfield is a popular market for people curious about cottages or looking to move close to the water. Empty lots, cottages, and year-round residences are just some of the more common listings that pop up in the area. Older properties appear every so often listed under the regional average of $400,000. Many older cottages have been updated or remodeled to have more modern conveniences. New, larger homes can be listed as high as double the local average and contain even more modern upgrades and amenities. Listings in Bluewater Municipality, while some are quite a ways outside of Bayfield, tend to offer a wider selection of properties. In the municipality, there are several more listings below $400,000 and even a few lower than $300,000!
The Village of Bayfield is very well equipped to meet the needs of its residents and the community as a whole. Before the amalgamation of Bluewater Municipality, Bayfield’s historic town hall was the seat of the former village government. These days, the site is used as a community space for weddings, concerts, fitness classes, events, and all manner of functions. Many sites in Bayfield offer a look at local heritage and culture including the Main Street Gallery, the Bayfield Historical Society & Archives, and the Bayfield Branch of the Huron County Public Library. The Bayfield Arena provides the community with ice space for organized and pickup hockey, classes, and public skating as well!
Goderich is the county seat for Huron County, the largest community, and one of the nearest service hubs to Bayfield. If an amenity or service is missing from the village, the next town over is never far away. For example, the nearest Hospital to Bayfield, the Alexandra Marine & General Hospital, is 20 minutes north in Goderich. The general hospital also offers an emergency department that is open 24 hours a day.
The Village of Bayfield doesn’t have a physical school in the community, but both the Avon Maitland District School Board and the Huron Perth Catholic District School Board have schools throughout other communities in the Bluewater Municipality. An alternative option is one housed in Bayfield, but accessible all over the world. Both the Virtual Elementary School and Virtual High School, online learning programs based on the Ontario curriculum, have their main office in Bayfield. The online private schools are recognized institutions by the Ministry of Education in Ontario and offer programming for all ages.
- Huron Centennial School (JK to Grade 8), Brucefield
- Bluewater Coast Elementary School (JK to Grade 6), Hensall
- Central Huron Secondary School (Grades 9 t 12), Clinton
- South Huron District High School (Grades 7 to 12), Exeter
- St. Boniface Catholic School (Kindergarten to Grade 8), Zurich
- St. Anne’s Catholic School (Grades 9 to 12), Clinton
Founded in 1832, Bayfield was originally purchased by a Dutch nobleman named CarelLodewijk, Baron van Serooskerken. In the early days of the hamlet, it was a hub for the nearby farmland in the County. While the settlement started out with only a few shops and distilleries, it gradually grew, adding a harbour, and eventually attracted a large enough population to be incorporated as a Village in 1876. The Bluewater Municipality was created in 2001 when Bayfield merged with Hensall, Zurich, Stanley, and Hay.
Bayfield was named for Henry Wolsey Bayfield, a British naval officer and notable nautical surveyor who would be tasked with the surveying of Lake Huron among many other iconic Canadian waters.
A walking tour provided by the Bayfield Archives & Historical Society guides history-buffs through the local heritage of the Village of Bayfield. An accompanying online video series highlights heritage houses, historic shops, inns, shipwrecks, and ghost stories throughout the village. The archives and artifacts are open to the public on Fridays while collections and records are also available online.
In the 1983s, Bayfield received both national and international attention when the Village’s local show-carriage builder, Penhale Wagons, was contracted by Walt Disney World to prepare a wagon for their appearance at that year’s Calgary Stampede.
Outside of community activities, Bayfield has a lot recreational opportunities to continue your hobbies or find new pursuits. As soon as warmer weather reaches Bayfield, the marinas are open for business. The Harbour Lights Marina offers 250 docking spaces for boats and a repair shop all nearby to the Cottage Colony and dining. Bluewater Marina has earned the Blue Flag designation for its clean and accessible waters. This marina has a public spot for boat launching, picnic tables, and washrooms. Living in Bayfield makes another popular summer pastime, golfing, easily accessible. The Bluewater Golf Course and Campground is closest to the village, but there are many nearby, including the Oakwood Resort, White Squirrel Golf Club, The Maitland, and the Goderich Sunset Golf Club, all along Lake Huron’s eastern shore. Nature lovers can enjoy exploring Bayfield’s five trails and The River Flats natural area or spending time camping at one of the many campgrounds just outside of Bayfield.
One of Bayfield’s greatest strengths is the community’s beauty. These attractions bring tourists from far and wide to see the historic charm of the village or to relax on Lake Huron beaches. For residents, these are just more things to love about their home! Bayfield’s four beaches, Main Beach, South Beach, Houston Heights Beach, and St. Joseph’s Beach are all popular with families. Main Beach is the closest beach to the village’s restaurants and amenities while Houston Heights boasts a pavilion and play area for kids. Further inland, Windmill Lake Wake & Eco Park is a different way to experience the water. The water park offers lessons and courses for all ages and abilities to try wakeboarding, paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, pedal boating, and a large inflatable aquatic obstacle course.
Bayfield’s local festivals, events, and traditions really are at the heart of the warm community. One of the oldest traditions is the Bayfield Fair, put on annually in August by volunteers with the Bayfield Agricultural Society. Residents can look forward to great local food, music, and competitions, as well as a parade and midway. Another way to enjoy local products is at the Bayfield Farmers’ Market which is set up in Clan Gregor Square for a season between May and October. Another community favourite, the Beer, Wine, and Food Festival takes place in May at the Bayfield Arena. This festival gives folks the chance to sample local flavours and craft beer while enjoying some local music, too.
Speaking of local flavours, Bayfield’s restaurant scene plays a big role in the village’s popularity with tourists. For residents, sometimes you want to treat yourself and eating out is always better when you have great local restaurants right outside your door! In no particular order, here are 5 must-try restaurants in the Bayfield area.
This list starts off with quite the view! Imagine sitting down to dine and looking out to Bayfield River and the marina instead of a busy street… That’s exactly what you get at The Docks, a casual sit-down restaurant offering a packed lunch and dinner menu daily. The burger selection alone offers beef patties, chicken, turkey, whitefish, or a veggie patty, showing off the restaurant’s wide range and commitment to a variety of dietary options.
Feeding the family? Renegades Diner has your back any time of day! With their breakfast, lunch, and dinner options and their classic diner atmosphere, Renegades has something to offer just about every customer. Enjoy your eggs any way you like them: omelettes? Eggs Benedicts?Side of Fries?Beans? Breakfast is anything but boring, here. Lunch and Dinner options include loaded salads, burgers, sandwiches, and pizza alongside classic steak, pasta, stir-fry, and fish & chips entree plates!
Looking for fast food without the chain name? Copenhagen’s has been a staple of the village since it opened in 1995. Famous for their Lake Huron fish tacos, this restaurant is great for families in need of a quick bite to eat before a day out on the town (and beaches!). They serve a huge variety of seafood fusion dishes as well as foot-long hotdogs and french fries with decadent toppings! Already eaten? Copenhagen’s Ice Cream Counter is open even longer than the restaurant itself!
Located on Bayfield’s Main Street, Black Dog Village Pub is actually in the refurbished and repurposed General Store building from way back in 1850! A warm and cozy classic pub experience, Black Dog pairs its menu with a huge selection of beers and cocktails from behind the well-stocked bar. In addition to their regular lunch and dinner, Black Dog is also open for special events like the Scottish-inspired Annual Robert Burns Supper (that means Haggis!), Jamaican Cuisine on Bob Marley’s Birthday, and special holiday selections on Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s Days.
You don’t have to be from out of town to enjoy some rest and relaxation at a local Inn. Whether you are visiting Bayfield’s Little Inn for a staycation or just for dining, this local jewel will not disappoint. The Inn offers two different dining experiences, the Willow Room and the Four in Hand Taproom. Both are open to the public as well as to guests of the inn, but reservations are strongly recommended! The Willow Room is open for Sunday Brunch and daily Dinner while the Taproom is open for Lunch, Dinner, Snacks, and drinks from the Inn’s extensive wine cellar and collection of spirits. Both offer a menu that changes daily and seasonally depending on the available local ingredients.
Living in Bayfield, Ontario could be just the right fit for someone looking for a chance of pace. Tourists enjoy the community for its marinas, beaches, golfing, but residents get to experience all that and more of the warm community’s year-round hospitality. If you are exploring properties in Huron County, be sure not to skip Bayfield and the Bluewater Municipality!