Port Dover Harbour Museum

July 15, 2013 at 8:47 pm Leave a comment

DSCN0252 Having grown up an agricultural area, away from water, I am fascinated with the sea or lake, still having a healthy respect for the power of water and the sea in a storm. We had opportunity to go to the Port Dover Harbour Museum and I found myself thinking of the F isheries Museum in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, that we’ve toured several times and always enjoyed the tour. This museum is not as far away, and it was pretty interesting, from the displays to the stories.

The museum, at 44 Harbour Street  in the little town of Port Dover, on Lake Erie, began with a small net shanty, with fishing lines, nets, buoys and weights. Our tour  guide shared some history on the place and plenty from her knowledge about the fishing industry, including what kind of net would be used at what time. There was even a method of marking the nets, so that if another fisherman found the lines, that person would know who the nets belonged to. DSCN0255

The MacDonald Net Shanty


A model of the fishing shanty as it first stood on Harbour Street

The museum has grown over time and has become more inclusive of the history of fishing and travel on the lake.  The building was expanded to include the wheelhouse of the William P. Snyder Jr.,  a lake freighter launched in 1912. See the photo of the exterior here.


There are so many stories that we couldn’t have heard them all, let alone write more than a few here, but I did enjoy seeing the wheelhouse and the equipment, also the fancy china that came from a ship used to carry tourists.  One retired captains on ships had kept a handwritten log, pages and pages of records. There were  stories of shipwrecks, unfortunately, as well as models of ships, like the one shown below, and engines, and systems for sending messages to another boat or to someone else below deck.

As we walked away, I was thinking about a particular story that was told of  the Four Brave Girls, and how W. E. Cantelon, a painter of their time, immortalized the story and the bravery of the girls. This one would make a good storytelling piece, and so I have begun to ask for direction from Andrea at the museum so that I can someday tell it myself.


Model of a schooner

We could have spent much more time there studying displays, and perhaps we’ll go back there again.


And did you know that the Maid of the Mist that navigates the Niagara River as a tour boat was built in Port Dover?

photos on this blog © C. R. Wilker


Entry filed under: artists, authors, community, culture, lifestyle, photography, storytelling, travel, travel in Canada, writing. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Making the most of her life–Annie Searam The InBetween

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