3 minute read
Port Colborne is Booming!
Yes, it is! The city, located on Lake Erie, at the southern end of the Welland Canal, sure has a lot to boast about these days and Mayor Bill Steele isn’t shy about bragging rights.
“There’s so much happening right now. It’s a very exciting time,” he says. “We’re gearing up for our second Canal Days event since Covid restrictions were lifted. It will be as good, if not better than last year. We have some great entertainment that hasn’t been released yet, but people will be really surprised.” As in the past, there will be many things to see and do, including bands at Lakeview Park, vendor set-ups, local shopkeepers and restauranteurs opening their doors, an antique car show, fireworks, and lots of activities for kids and seniors alike.
Canal Days is something not to be missed!
Speaking of the Welland Canal, for the last few years
Port Colborne has been a stop for large cruises ships. In the past, roughly 12 ships would stop in over the year, but that number has grown exponentially. “Last year, 66 ships stopped in. This year, we are expecting 72 and in 2024, we are scheduled for 122! It’s getting bigger and bigger! The Viking Octantis is being joined by her sister ship, the Viking Polaris where passengers will be disembarking to enjoy our city. We are one of many stops in Niagara. Passengers will also be seeing the Falls, the wineries – lots of things in the region. Port Colborne is part of Niagara and I’ve always said what’s good for Niagara is good for Port Colborne!” says Mayor Steele. “The entrepreneurship of our community is working with Viking to offer all kinds of experiences for shore excursions. Could be renting bikes, beach day at Nickel Beach, golf afternoon, fishing trip on Lake Erie for Walleye or Bass, shopping downtown, dining in our restaurants, walking tours, hiking tours, Lighthouse Theatre – these are the things we want to offer, and that Viking’s customers are asking for.”
Not only is Port Colborne a tourist destination, but it is also a growing municipality. “We’ve just received two subdivision applications. Houses are going up everywhere. We’re looking at roughly 2800 homes! It’s good growth –infilling within our urban area. The services and roads are already there minus a few upgrades here and there. The pieces of the pie don’t get any smaller unless you have development.”
As far as a Strategic Plan goes, Mayor Steele is eager to get it up and running, having just won another term in the Fall of 2022. “We’ve expanded on our previous Strategic Plan. The pillars are development in town, our tourism, how we keep our parks and beaches, how we deliver our services – as we move forward and develop our new Strategic Plan
and mold it a little bit more – economic development is our priority. We’re working well with the St. Lawrence Seaway. We’ve just announced the revitalization of Wharf 18. It’s been out of use for about 15 years now if not longer. It’s about creating jobs. Our future is bright! We’re back on track!”