Being invited down to the Port Colborne Canal-side by Gail Todd, a local shop owner, was both a privilege and a delight. I headed down to West Street uncertain of what I would find (it has been many years since last going to the area) and I have to say I was glad to have visited and learn more about this unique area.
West Street is on the edge of the Welland ship canal at Bridge 21. South of this bridge the canal becomes much wider and here is a marina. It is an almost forgotten part of the city, but a thriving community of distinct small businesses that are well worth the visit..
My host, Gail, runs Something Else Gallery and Boutique which has some interesting finds as soon as you walk through the door, including this antique looking lady dressed in something mare than a few years old, she is something else.
Something Else is an art gallery and a boutique all rolled into one store. In the window on West Street (facing the canal). Gail is proud of her visitor’s book with visitors from around the world. I saw names from China, England, Germany, South America, as well as local visitors from Fonthill and St Catharines. I loved the trinkets she has for sale all around the store. She is also very active with encouraging local business and activities like the Art Crawl held every year on the 4th Saturday in June.
West Street has a wide variety of stores to delight the visitor, most you will not find anywhere else. Each gives the area a pleasant sea-side feel, that makes you feel that you are away on holiday. The interesting part of this block starts at Something Else, continues past Candy Safari, Treasure, the Canal-side Kitchen Store, and to the rest of the street.
I loved the feel of the hardware store, called The Picket Fence, having its private courtyard, set back from the street, with all the good visible at the gate.
Grant’s Gifts, next door also has many interesting delights, such as Maple Leaf Handmade Cookies, painted mugs, cook books. Take a look at their Facebook page.
If you wish to treat you body, you will find a manicurist, a massage therapist and a yoga place, while you have left your dog to be groomed at Laundro-Mutt. Pop into The Honey Bee Store for a variety of healthy products. I was intrigued by the Peppermint Fudge Flavoured Honey and the Mānuka Honey Face Mask.
Time to Eat
There are several places here you can eat at, including:
- Jay the Pie Guy – having an interesting collection of fresh pies, look for the daily specials. Gail recommended this place to me. Asking, I found they also have pies for the vegetarian visitor.
- Minor Fisheries – The local fish and chip shop. Don’t expect to find cod and chips here though, they fry locally caught lake fish.
- Lotus Garden – a Chinese restaurant
- Canal Boathouse Restaurant – has an interesting lunch and dinner menu.
- Downtown Dolche – on King Street, which offers breakfast (8 till 10) and lunch.
- Eh Amigos Cantina – on Clarence Street, offering a variety of Latin American dishes.
King Street & Clarence Street
King Street runs parallel to West Street. Both King and Clarence are going through changes, some older stores have closed and new ones are yet to move in. There are still plenty of places to see and visit though. The stores here are targeted more towards locals, but you will still find an eclectic variety here, Like Alinson’s – a small sized department store. JB Fashions at the corner of King and Clarence Streets has a variety of ladies and men’s fashion.
Clarence Street has many stores including Simplicity Paper Arts, Taste of Wines, Arlies Florist and Gift shop, Tuck Jewlers are all in the block between West and King Streets.
Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade shop that offer a variety of products and handmade products from around the world.
I enjoyed my visit to Port Colcorne’s Canal-Side and would like to return there soon.