July 6 – Long Point and Port Burwell, Ontario

Over the weekend of July 5th I booked a day off on Monday so I could do three fun things:

  1. Ride my Harley out to London, Ontario
  2. Visit my brother and his family
  3. Venture out with my brother to Long Point, Ontario and take photos.

Although I have done my fair share of motorcycle riding around the shores of Lake Erie, this was my first visit out to Long Point Provincial Park.  It is a sand spit and medium size hamlet on the north shore of lake Erie in Norfolk County and it is also one of the southern most points in Canada.

Long Point is about 40 kilometres long and is about a kilometre across at its widest point. Lake Erie lies to the south of Long Point, and Long Point Bay lies on the north side comprise. The bay is subdivided into the Inner Bay and Outer Bay by a line that runs between Turkey Point to the north and Pottahawk Point to the south.

In addition to many sandy beaches, Long Point also features a number of protected marshlands and a bird sanctuary.  For my brother and I, it was the nature and birds that drew us there.  We packed up his van with a bunch of photo gear and ventured out for the day.

The Beaches of Long Point.
The Beaches of Long Point.

The sand spit requires a day pass and it caters to beach goers and campers.  As such, all we could expect to see are long stretches of beaches, campers and sunbathers.  Rather than wasting our time there, we decided to eschew the sand spits in favour of the conservation areas.

Marshland at Long Point
Marshland at Long Point

Being mid-summer and mid-day, the prospects for seeing animals and indigenous birds was quite limited.  However, that did not detract from a good walk and seeing the lay of the land.  After hiking through the marshlands, we went to the bird conservatory and saw only a limited number of birds.  Most were hiding in the trees and those we saw in the open were mainly common sparrows, grackles, seagulls, ducks and turkey vultures.  No doubt, a morning or sunset visit would have resulted in a much better birding session.  Despite the absence of wildlife, the walk around the area was quite pleasant, the terrain peaceful and bereft of crowds.

The real surprise of the day was an impromptu visit to Port Burwell, where unbeknownst to us we found the HMCS Ojibwa (S72) on display.  The Ojibwa entered service with the Canadian Forces Maritime Command in 1965 and was decommissioned in 1998.  In 2010, the Ojibwa was awaiting disposal, however, the Elgin Military Museum planned to preserve her as a museum vessel.

HMCS Ojibwa (S72)
HMCS Ojibwa (S72)

From Wikipedia: On May 26, 2012, the Ojibwa started her trip from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Hamilton, Ontario by way of the St. Lawrence Seaway.  She stayed in Hamilton the at Heddle Marine Dockyards being repainted and fitted with specialized transport cradles that would allow her to be moved across land.  In November 2012, Ojibwa made the final leg of her journey by way of the Welland Canal and then Lake Erie from Hamilton to Port Burwell, Ontario, where she is now open for visitors.

When my brother and I arrived, the last tour of the Ojibwa was already underway.  I think another visit to Port Burwell is in order, it would be quite the day to tour inside this retired cold war warrior.

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