Port Hope, Ontario, is one of the most enchanting small towns, with its rich history, preserved main street, and picturesque downtown with a river running through it.
Its allure has caught the eye of many film and television producers, and the town has appeared as the backdrop for countless films and tv shows.
Located an hour east of Toronto near Cobourg, Port Hope is the perfect destination for a day trip or getaway, full of natural beauty and hidden gems.
Here are some of the best things to do and see in Port Hope.
Stroll through downtown Port Hope
Port Hope’s downtown is a designated Heritage District, with stunning examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture everywhere you turn. The town is also nationally acclaimed for having the best-preserved main street in Ontario.
Walk down Walton Street and explore the many boutiques, cafes, and galleries. Be sure to stop by the Capitol Theatre, a beautifully restored 1930s movie palace that now hosts live performances and events.
Grab a TV-famous hamburger
Head to Olympus Burger to try one of the delicious burgers that were featured on the Food Network’s “You Gotta Eat Here”.
From the Zeus burger which is topped with peameal bacon, onions and mushrooms, to the Aphrodite’s juicy pineapple rings, you can’t go wrong.
Take a walking tour of Port Hope’s famous filming locations
Port Hope has appeared in various films and television series, including Murdoch Mysteries, Schitt’s Creek, and Stephen King’s It films.
Filming for the It movies took place in various locations downtown, and there’s now an It Film Walking Tour you can partake in to see some of the film’s most iconic settings.
Visit the Port Hope Fish Ladder
Port Hope is a popular fishing destination, bordering both the Ganaraska River and Lake Ontario. People often come just to watch the trout and salmon running up the Ganaraska by the thousands in the fall.
Corbett’s Dam, or more commonly known as the “Fish Ladder”, allows visitors to see salmon and trout swimming upstream to spawn. The dam is located in the heart of town and is a great place to learn about the importance of preserving local ecosystems.
Check out a massive upcycled T. Rex
Five minutes north of downtown will bring you to a one-of-a-kind art shop that will blow your mind. Primitive Designs covers two acres, and the parking lot is filled with massive upcycled robots, dinosaurs, a giant octopus, and more.
The roadside attraction and shop is a massive two-level experience, with many art pieces made from recycled motor vehicle parts. You can also shop for unique home decor sourced from the family’s travels around the world.
Hang out with Dwarf goats and alpacas
Just outside of Port Hope, you’ll find Haute Goat Farm. Here, you can get up close and personal with adorable alpacas and goats. Play, feed and even walk these fluffy four-legged farm animals.
There’s also offer goat yoga, overnight experiences, and have an onsite café serving farm to table food with sweeping views of the property.
Explore the Ganaraska Forest
Just outside of town, the Ganaraska Forest is a 12,000-acre nature preserve that is popular with hikers, mountain bikers, and birdwatchers.
The forest is Southern Ontario’s largest, and features numerous trails that wind through pine and hardwood forests, as well as wetlands and meadows.
Walk along the beach
There are two main beaches in Port Hope on the shores of Lake Ontario. The more popular of the two is East Beach, a large stretch of white sand located just a short walk from downtown.
The second beach is West Beach, which is noticeably the quieter of the two. The shores are also rockier than East Beach.