Paddling their canoes since early July from Montreal, French priests Dollier and Galinee were determined to reach the Ohio Valley before winter set in. But numerous setbacks had befallen them, and now — in mid October 1669 — the weather had turned.
Imagine a fierce southwesterly blowing them against the shore of Lake Erie, as they left the mouth of the Grand River and headed west. They would soon come upon a bay, an inlet, that took them up a narrow river sheltered by the canopy of trees turning colour.
And so, on or about October 17, 350 years ago, Dollier and Galinee decided to stay for the winter in what today is called Port Dover, Norfolk County.
Their arrival was noted in Dollier’s journal: “a spot which appeared to us so beautiful with such an abundance of game … “The earthly paradise of Canada” … “There is assuredly no more beautiful region in all Canada.”
- October 27, 2019: 1pm, Author John Ayre speaks about Dollier & Galinee, Port Dover Harbour Museum
No formal celebrations are scheduled this year, but we welcome you to Norfolk County. Visit the National Historic Site on Donjon Boulevard. Walk the pier and experience the elements Dollier and Galinee would have endured. Explore the Port Dover Harbour Museum and learn more. Eat a meal in a cozy restaurant and raise a glass to these adventuresome spirits.