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Port Hope, Ontario

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Port Hope is a municipality in Southern Ontario, Canada, about 109 kilometres (68 mi) east of Toronto and about 159 kilometres (99 mi) west of Kingston. It is located at the mouth of the Ganaraska River on the north shore of Lake Ontario, in the west end of Northumberland County. Port Hope's nearest urban neighbour (7 km to the east) is the Town of Cobourg, while between them and surrounding Cobourg is the Township of Hamilton. Since 1868, the town has been home to Trinity College School (previously located in Weston, Ontario).


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Port Hope, OntarioBesides Port Hope other communities within the municipality include: Campbellcroft, Canton, Dale, Davidson's Corners, Decker Hollow (ghost town), Elizabethville, Garden Hill, Knoxville, Morrish, Osaca, Perrytown, Port Britain, Rossmount, Thomstown, Welcome, Wesleyville (ghost town) and Zion.


Ganaraska was attributed to the area by the First Nations natives of the region and is what they called the river that flows through the town. The name originates from Ganaraske, the Cayuga village first located at the current townsite. The Cayuga, part of the Iroquois Confederacy, had migrated there from New York in 1779, after suffering extensive damage as British allies at their homeland in New York state during the American Revolution.

In 1793, United Empire Loyalists became the first permanent settlers of European heritage in Port Hope, which they called Smith's Creek after a former fur trader. Mills and a town plot were developing by the turn of the century. After the War of 1812, more British settlers were wanted, and a better name was required. After a brief fling with the name Toronto, the village was renamed in 1817 as Port Hope, after the Township of Hope of which it was a part, which in turn had been named for Colonel Henry Hope, lieutenant governor of the Province of Quebec. In 1834 Port Hope was incorporated as a town.

Relatively slow growth from 1881 to 1951 resulted in much of the town's original architecture not being demolished in the name of progress. Port Hope's downtown is celebrated now as the best-preserved 19th-century streetscape in Ontario. The town's local chapter of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and the Heritage Port Hope Advisory Committee are very active and advise on the restoration and preservation of architecturally or historically significant buildings. With over 270 heritage-designated buildings throughout the municipality, Port Hope has a higher per capita rate of preservation than any other town or city in Canada. Downtown businesses are regulated by the municipality to maintain the town's unique character. On January 1, 2001, the original town amalgamated with Hope Township to form the Municipality of Port Hope and Hope, which was renamed to its current name in November of that same year. Prior to amalgamation, the town's census population was listed as 11,718 while the township's was 3,877.


Downtown Port Hope is well known as a shopping destination for antiques and other specialty items and is widely regarded as one of the best-preserved main streets in Ontario. Port Hope is served by a Via Rail station. It has a medical centre, a walk-in clinic, and a community health centre. It has had its own daily newspaper since 1878, the Port Hope Evening Guide, which was, until 2007, a part of the Osprey Media chain and subsequently a part of the Sun Media organization; in 2009 the newspaper was amalgamated with the Cobourg Daily Star and renamed Northumberland Port Hope's Economic Development Strategic Plan aims to increase job growth at least as fast as population growth.

Port Hope has a variety of industries. It is known for having the largest volume of historic low-level radioactive wastes in Canada. These wastes were created by Eldorado Mining and Refining Limited and its private sector predecessors, as a result of the refining process used to extract radium from uranium ore. Radium was used in "glow-in-the-dark" paint (such as aircraft dial paint during the Second World War), and in the early treatment of cancer. The Eldorado plant also produced uranium, which may have been used in the Manhattan Project that created the first nuclear weapon. It continues to produce uranium fuel for nuclear power plants, now under the ownership of Cameco. The Ganaraska River (affectionately known as "The Ganny"), is well-known to area anglers for annual salmon and trout runs. It has caused many historic floods, the most recent having been in 1980. Port Hope Transit is the local public transit service operated within the urban area by the municipality.

Major employers

  • Cameco Corporation, which recently (2006) bought out another local industry Zircatec Precision Industries Inc.
  • ESCO Limited
  • Viceroy Homes Ltd.
  • Chemcraft International Inc.
  • Curtis Chicks
  • St Elizabeth Health Care
  • Gilmer's Home Hardware Building Centre
  • Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit
  • Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority
  • Northumberland Package Handling
  • Sterling Truss Company
  • Quantrill Chevrolet Cadillac
  • Bromely Fabricators
  • Gorsline, F. Manufacturing Co. Ltd./Unitrak
  • Wakely Cartage Ltd.
  • B&H Tedford Machining


The Capitol Theatre is Canada's last functioning atmospheric theatre. The theatre's main auditorium is styled after an outdoor medieval courtyard where rolling clouds are projected onto the ceiling. The town spent in excess of three million dollars renovating and upgrading the theatre in 2004/2005.

Port Hope hosts many attractions and events throughout the year, including:

  • Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny (a "race" commemorating the flood of 1980)
  • Ganaraska Forest Centre
  • Ganaraska Trail
  • Port Hope Public Library
  • Canadian Firefighters Museum
  • Port Hope Yacht Club
  • Vintage Film Festival
  • Port Hope Festival Theatre
  • Port Hope & District Agricultural Fall Fair
  • The All Canadian Jazz Festival
  • Port Hope Farmers' Market (May to October)
  • Port Hope Olde Tyme Christmas (includes Festival of Trees, Candlelight Walk and Carol Singing, Candlelight Christmas in Memorial Park and the Santa Claus Parade)
  • The Port Hope Drive-In (Built in 1952, it is among the oldest Canadian drive-ins still in business)
  • ACO annual house and garden tours


  • St. Anthony's Elementary School, Catholic JK-8
  • Ganaraska Trail Public School, Public JK-6
  • George Hamilton Public School, Public JK-6
  • North Hope Central School, Public JK-6
  • Beatrice Strong Public School, Public JK-6
  • Dr M. S. Hawkins Senior Public School, Public Gr 7-8 (same building as Port Hope High School)
  • Port Hope High School, Public Gr 9-12
  • Port Hope High School Student to Work Transition Program (SWOT Campus), Public Grade 9-12
  • Trinity College School, Private Gr 5-12


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Toronto Office
2273 Dundas Street West
Toronto ON  M6R-1X6
(416) 534-3511