There’s lots of excitement in Port Colborne as the city is preparing to welcome an
influx of cruise ship activity beginning in May 2022; allowing those who enjoy cruising, day-trips, and onshore excursions to add Port Colborne to their list of Great Lake cities to explore.
And with the city scheduled to become one of many ports of call for several Great Lakes cruise lines, Port Colborne is expecting to see an influx of both tourism and economic benefits, thereby solidifying its place on the map.
Port Colborne Mayor Bill Steele said: “We are excited to welcome guests to Port Colborne and showcase all our city has to offer. We are working with experts in Great Lakes cruising and the St. Lawrence Seaway to prepare for this increase in activity and utilize the opportunity it provides to bring tourists closer to local businesses and the community.”
Port Colborne is located at the southern end of the Welland Canal, a major water access point connecting Lake Ontario and the Toronto market with the other four Great Lakes. This ensures all Great Lakes cruise ships heading to or from Toronto will pass by Port Colborne.
Great Lakes cruise ships typically carry between 180 and 420 guests per vessel and are designed to navigate the narrow-gauge locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway. This style of small ship cruising provides guests with a golden opportunity to explore the shoreline of the ‘inland seas.’
Though perhaps not yet well known, cruising the Great Lakes is not new. With many unique places and historical sites to explore along the vast shoreline of the largest freshwater system in the world, the Great Lakes have become a popular destination for cruise lovers over the past decade. With growth expected to continue beyond 2025, Port Colborne is poised to thrive from the expansion of Great Lakes cruising.
Mayor Steele observed: “The cruise industry has broadly accepted the logistics of using Port Colborne as a docking location to visit the Niagara region. Few ports, if any, on the Great Lakes have such a captive audience. It is fair to say that every ship visiting Niagara on the Great Lakes will eventually arrive on the doorstep of Port Colborne.”
Both Viking Cruises and Victory Cruise Lines have Port Colborne on their itinerary list, with Vantage Travel, Pearl Seas Cruises, PONANT Cruises, and Plantour Cruises also scheduled to pass through the Canal.
Stephen Burnett, executive director of The Great Lakes Cruise Association, pointed out that: “Great Lakes cruising gives people a chance like no other to explore the incredible shoreline and boundless waters of the Great Lakes.”
And Burnett added: “We are eager to help reinvigorate the tourism industry of another beautiful Canadian city. Port Colborne is worth discovering and adding it as a destination on the itineraries of some of the most popular Great Lakes cruise lines will have a positive effect on the city and the industry as a whole.”
To better leverage the benefits of visitor spending and economic impact, strategies to develop the waterfront and Welland Canal lands in Port Colborne are in progress.
This includes forming a project team comprised of Lakeshore Excursions and City of Port Colborne staff. The goal is to collaboratively create compelling rationale for cruise guests to disembark the ship and visit the attractions and small businesses in and around the local community.
For more, sail on over to www.portcolborne.ca/cruiseships .