Just 30 minutes drive south of London, Ontario, on the south shore of Lake Erie, is a gateway to Canada that was once important to landed immigrants.

Windjamming in Port Stanley
Windjamming in Port Stanley

Settlers arrived in southwestern Ontario between 1825 and 1875 – Port Stanley. In 1804, his friend, Colonel Thomas Talbot, granted John Bostwick 100 acres of land at the mouth of Kettle Creek. He settled in the area in the early 1820s and ran a large warehouse and mill. Bostwick may be called the founder of Port Stanley, but there were many other early settlers; like Zavitz, Minor, Smith, Stephens, Price, Begg and Mason. Port Stanley was a hub as Canada’s gateway to the 19th century. In 1822, a highway was opened between the port of St. Thomas and London. In 1856, the railroads London and Port Stanley were put into operation, the Port Stanley associated with the huge North American railway network.

In 1844, a record number of 148 ships arrived in the small bustling harbor. Large quantities of merchant ships carrying bulk materials have arrived with the crowd. like wood, grain, minerals and coal. The largest of these sailing ships was known as a windjammer. They had between three and five large square masts. Legend has it that these ships were called “windjammers” because of the sound of the big sails. They are designed for long trips and can travel all over the world.

Samuel Shepard, a well-known businessman, was an engineer, designer, builder and commander of Windjammer, the “captain” of some of the best ships that adorned Port Stanley harbor. Every year, he honored the Shepard Top Hat at the first harbor boat in the spring, a tradition that continues today.

Shepard built in 1854 on a corner lot in the southwestern part of Port Stanley, about half a kilometer from Lake Erie, a beautiful, iconic house. Today, there is a beautiful representation of Victorian life and a true expression of the influences of early settlers. The inspiration of his house reflected his wealth. It contained classic details like a sloping roof and a central fireplace. Interestingly, the post at the foot of the stairs and the fireplace in the dining room left one of Shepard’s ships. The family projects included 4 to 5 bedrooms, including a washroom upstairs over the kitchen (a flight of stairs).

Today there are three bedrooms and a garage. Much of our Canadian history, this historic site, is now a bed and breakfast with a contemporary dining room that can match the size of the large suburban table.

For availability, please contact Windjammer Bed & Breakfast, Port Stanley, Ontario.

Windjamming in Port Stanley

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