Dunnville is a picturesque community of 12,000 people located along the Grand River on Highway #3, between the Niagara and Hamilton regions, and less than an hour away from the U. S. border.
In 1825 an American named Salmon Minor surveyed the natural beauty of the lower part of the Grand River. The river meandered through lush Carolian forests and fertile marshlands and it was here at this natural harbour where the Grand River meets the shores of Lake Erie where Salmon Minor decided to build his first home. Mr. Minor was born in 1781 in Minortown, the family settlement near Woodbury Connecticut. Minor obtained a tract of land and settled here in 1825 with his wife and two children. A two storey frame house still stands today just 200 metres from it’s original location facing the river and converted it to a four unit apartment.
Dunnville was named after the Reciever General of Canada, John Dunn. In 1827, William Hamiltom Merritt decided this was an ideal location to build the Welland Canal Feeder. The Grand became a vital link between Lake Erie and Brantford. Lake vessels would off load at Dunnville where barges would journey the winding miles up river to Brantford. This feat was accomplished by navigating eight boat lift locks.
In the 1850’s Dunnville boasted a population of 1000, however in 1849, the Dunnville Feeder Canal was no longer needed to provide water for the Welland Canal and the area was filled in. It is located where the Main Street commercial parking lot sits today.
With the advancement of the railway by 1889 Dunnville no longer depended on the river for livelihood and the area became more of a recreational destination with a close proximity to both a lake and river.
The Grand River and nearby Lake Erie offer a host of aquatic activities from swimming, sailing, wind-surfing, canoeing and feature prime locations for fishing. Take a hike through Rock Point Provincial Park. In the fall thousands of Monarch butterflies heading south over Lake Erie converge on the area and congregate before setting off for their southern journey. Hike through Byng Island Conservation Area or enjoy a stroll along Port Maitland’s beautiful, brand-new pier. Dunnville is also the site of one of the largest expanses of provincially significant wetlands in Ontario and is perfect for bird watching and nature photography.
Rockpoint Provincial Park on Lake Erie is a short distance from Dunnville