Follow the Footsteps of the Pioneers. Visitors to Bayfield are entranced by its idyllic charm. Its tree-lined streets, heritage buildings and village green, are reminiscent of an English country village. The 2 kilometres, “Heritage Trail” is designed so that walkers are exposed to the full menu of Bayfield’s charms. The walk begins at Clan Gregor Square, the heart of the village where generations have come together to celebrate.
During World War 1, this is where the local soldiers learned to march before going overseas. Here villagers burned Kaiser Wilhelm in effigy. This is where locals played sports against their rivals from Clinton and Goderich. Each year they pay tribute to their war veterans on Remembrance Day and anxiously wait for the Christmas lights to light up the wintery darkness.
After strolling down the charming, “Heritage” Main Street past stores and hotels that have been catering to visitors for more than a century, the experience changes dramatically at the scenic lookout at Pioneer Park.
Now instead of the idyllic charm of a well-preserved Ontario country village, walkers are stopped by one of the most spectacular lake vistas in the province. Locals boast that Pioneer Park offers the most beautiful sunsets in the world.
During the summer the horizon is dotted with colourful sailboats and if your timing is right, you may see a flock of seagulls chasing the commercial fishing fleet as it makes its way home to the harbour.
There are eight historical “storyboards” placed at points of interest along the Heritage Trail. Each tells the story of the significance of that particular location and features old photos and paintings of that exact spot.
At Pioneer Park, walkers are directed to descend the stairs to one of the area’s many beautiful beaches. After a short beachcombing walk, the most beautiful boat harbour on the Great Lakes gradually reveals itself. The colourful sailboats and the sturdy commercial fishing boats present a scene that artists and photographers have captured for decades. This is the largest recreational boat harbour on the eastern shore of Lake Huron. In addition to the hundreds of casual boaters, if you look carefully, you can spot sailors who are preparing their boats to journey all over the world. It will be difficult to tear yourself away from the activity and excitement of the harbour but the Heritage Trail path has another pleasant surprise.
This 2.5 kilometre walk terminates in Clan Gregor Square after a wooded stroll up Mara Street Hill and a short walk on village streets.