Grand Bend is a community located on the shores of Lake Huron in Southern Ontario (coordinates: 43.3167° N, 81.7500° W). The area is situated about two and a half hours from Toronto by car.
Early French Canadian settlers to the area named the present location of the village Aux Croches meaning “at the bends.” The term Grand Bend survived as a name, representing the tight turn in the Ausable River where mills had been established.
The introduction of automobiles and a growing road network near the turn of the twentieth century had a profound influence on the development of Grand Bend. Local businesses started to pop up to serve travelers along the highway and “The Bend” started to become a popular summer destination.
At present, Grand Bend’s year-round population of approximately 2,000 people can swell to over 50,000 in the summer months, in particular on holiday weekends. Families owning vacation homes in the adjacent communities of Southcott Pines, Oakwood Park, and Beach O’ Pines, are from Ontario, Michigan and as far as New York, Florida, Texas and the American west coast. The considerable influx of U.S. tourists to Grand Bend has spawned the nickname “Florida North.”
Grand Bend has witnessed considerable building and development activity in recent history, in large part due to its proximity to both the U.S. and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
As with other regions, waterfront properties are priced at a premium. Generally speaking, inexpensive non-waterfront properties begin around $200K, while similar waterfront lots usually start out at the $250K mark. A price range of $250-300K should be considered for larger cottages (2-3 bedrooms) which increases to the $300-$500K range when such a cottage is located by the water. The minimum asking price for a larger cottage (3+ bedrooms) usually falls in the $500K+ price range.
The Grand Bend area offers an array of stores and eateries, with the main strip acting as the focal point of activity. There are various art galleries in town, and the Huron Country Playhouse nearby. The Lambton Heritage Museum and the Pinery Provincial Park are located seven kilometres south of Grand Bend, and there are numerous ‘Gems of Nature’ which are accessible by groomed hiking trails.
Another popular attraction is the Grand Bend Motorplex which hosts an International Hot Rod Association race. For the more musically-inclined, there are free concerts on Grand Bend’s Main Beach as part of the Summer Sunset Sounds series. Also a Grand Bend Farmers’ Market is available for fresh locally sourced produce. For the thrill seekers there are multiple parasailing and paragliding options available. Shoppers with a discerning eye might be interested in checking out the Pinery Antique Flea Market and Dale’s Antique Market.
Did you know?
1940s Grand Bend was the centre of considerable controversy in the landmark court case of Bernard Wolfe and Annie Maude Noble versus the homeowners of Beach O’Pines. A London, Ontario merchant named Wolfe faced court-challenges when he bought property at Beach O’Pines in contravention of a controversial restriction that excluded certain ethnic groups from owning cottages. The case was ultimately settled by the Supreme Court of Canada which ruled that such a restriction was unconstitutional.
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