port burwell ontario


Port Burwell, ON

Lat: 42° 38.369   Long: 080° 48.445

Quick Reference:

  • Port Type: Village
  • Monitors VHF: 68
  • Charts: CHS 2121, 2181
  • Customs: (888) CANPASS (266-7277)
  • Coast Guard
  • Transient Docking
  • Anchorage
  • Diesel
  • Gasoline
  • Potable Water
  • Pump Out
  • Washrooms
  • Showers
  • Laundry
  • Repair Services
  • Provisions
  • Pharmacy
  • Hospital/Clinic
  • Banks/ATM
  • Restaurants/Pubs
  • Shopping
  • Internet
  • Amenities
  Important Numbers

Area Code519
Police(888) 310-1122
Hospital(519) 842-3611
Pharmacy(519) 842-4081


Port Distance (nm) Port Distance (nm)
Port Stanley, ON 18 W Erie, PA 51 SE
Port Rowan, ON 65 E Ashtabula, OH 48 S
Port Dover, ON 58 E Cleveland, OH 85 SW


When you think of a small village on Lake Erie, you usually don't think of submarines. However, towering 5 stories and permanently berthed now in Port Burwell Ontario is HMCS Ojibwa, an Oberon-class submarine that was one of the deadliest subs in NATO's arsenal during the cold war. Port Burwell has long been an active commercial harbour for most of its existence. It was founded in 1830 by Col Mahlon Burwell who served during the War of 1812 and later helped survey and lay out the roads in Elgin County.

For many years, Port Burwell was the northern link in the decades-long importation of coal from Ashtabula OH, 48 nm south across the lake. Today, this sleepy village relies on tourism and the museums and fabulous beach to draw visitors.


Port Burwell can be a challenging port to enter due to silting in the harbour entrance. Depending on your draft, you will need to exercise a great deal of caution when entering. The approaches as clear from all directions. However, you will have to make your approach to the harbour entrance from the southeast. The west side of the harbour is bounded by a point and a rip-rap breakwater extending 1800 ft/548 m into the lake with a lighthouse at the end.

The east side of the entrance is formed by a concrete breackwater approximately 1000 ft/300 m in length. The entrance is marked with a YELLOW light indicating that there is no Coast Guard-maintained channel into the village. The mouth of Big Otter Creek silts heavily and shoals are an ever-present danger. Proceed in with caution, paying close attention to charted depths. Hold to the east side of the channel as you move in.


There are two marinas in Port Burwell. Bradfields Marina is upstream about .3 nm. North of Bradfields is a fixed highway bridge wih a clearance of 30 ft/9 m. Beyond the bridge, about .3 nm is Big Otter Marina, perhaps better suited for power vessels.

Bradfields Marina   (519) 550-1798    VHF 68
Bradfields Marina has slips on the port and a wharf on your starboard. There are 3-4 slips for transient sailors and there may also be space along the wharf for 1 boat. There is a fuel dock (gasoline only). There is no pumpout station. There are no water or power hookups nor any other services at the marina. The main street of the village is minutes away.

Big Otter Marina and Campground   (519) 874- 4034   
Big Otter Marina has about 1/2 dozen slips for visiting sailors. There is a fuel dock (gasoline only) and a pumpout station. There are water and power hookups. Washrooms and showers are available. There is a small ship's store.


There are no repair or maintenance facilities in Port Burwell Ontario.

There is a Red and White Food Store on the main street, a few minutes walk from the wharf.

There is no bank or ATM facility in Port Burwell.


There is no hospital or clinic in Port Burwell. The closest hospital is Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital (519) 842-3611 located 19 mi/30 km north in Tillsonburg, ON.

There is no pharmacy in Port Burwell. The closest pharmacy is Coward Pharmacy Ltd. (519) 842-4081 located 19 mi/30 km north in Tillsonburg, ON.


There are several restaurants on the main street in the village. Schooner's Galley overlooks Big Otter Creek and serves fresh fish daily. Phatty's Pizza is a terrific pizza and wings restaurant. Personally, I have enjoyed some of the meatiest wings I have ever eaten - and the pizza was pretty darn good too!


Port Burwell Ontario boasts 3 excellent reasons for stopping: 1.5 mi/2.5 km of probably the finest beach on the north shore of Lake Erie, an excellent marine museum and the outstanding HMCS Ojibwa. Port Burwell Marine Museum is intimately connected to the wooden lighthouse across the street. This is the oldest lighthouse on the Great Lakes and likely the oldest in Canada. The lighthouse was built in 1840. Maintained by the Sutherland family for over a century, the lighthouse went out of service in the 1950's. The museum owns what has been describe as one of the best collections of lighthouse lenses along with numerous other artifacts and models. A highlight of a visit would be a tour of HMCS Ojibwa. If you are lucky, your guide may be a submariner who served on her or in the service. The village itself is pleasant to stroll around and there are a number of century-old homes on its leafy streets.

The Port Burwell Ontario page on Elgin County's tourism website will give you more ideas on how you can enjoy your time here. By all means, visit Project Ojibwa, the website for HMCS Ojibwa. It has a wealth of information.

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