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Marine History

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Town of Saugeen Shores
600 Tomlinson Drive
P.O. Box 820
Port Elgin
N0H 2C0

T. 519-832-2008
F. 519-832-2140

As the oldest Port on the Bruce Coast the marine history in Saugeen Shores dates back to the early 1800's. During this time the main mode of transportation in the area was by water. Whether by sail or steamer on the Lake, or down the Saugeen River by canoe or raft, settlers arrived along our shores.

Since the mid 1800's there have been numerous marine disasters triggering the need to construct the Imperial Tower Lighthouse on Chantry Island in Southampton. This lighthouse provided warning to the sailors of the dangerous shoals at the mouth of the river. The restoration of the Chantry Island Lighthouse and Lighthouse Keepers Cottage was completed by the Marine Heritage Society in 2001. Today visitors can take a step into the past and take a boat tour to Chantry Island.

The front and rear Range Lights in Southampton were built in the early 1900's to guide the boaters safely into the safe haven at the mouth of the Saugeen River. The earliest industries were fishing and lumber.

The bay in the present day Port Elgin was shelter from the storms along Lake Huron for many mariners. This bay served as the chief shipping centre for the agriculture and business communities.  Today the Port Elgin Harbour is enjoyed by many boaters.

Our community remains rich with Marine activities with pleasure boating, commercial and sport fishing.