Take the road less travelled on this 100km cycling route.This tour starts and ends in the town of Port Rowan.
The route name, “Attawandaron”, acknowledges the indigenous peoples who lived here in the past.
“The Huron First Nation called their southern neighbours “Attawandaron”, meaning “People of a slightly different language.” The French labelled those same people “Neutrals,” as they remained neutral between the Huron and Iroquois. The Attawandaron or Neutrals inhabited dozens of villages in Southwestern Ontario, stretching along the north shore of Lake Erie from the Niagara Peninsula to the Detroit River, perhaps as far north as Toronto in the east and Goderich in the west. A semi-nomadic society, the Neutrals lived in villages, which would usually be abandoned after about twenty years. When the game, the soil and the wood in an area became depleted, the area would be left to regenerate and the village would relocate to a new spot.” – Marjorie Clark was published by the Museum of Ontario Archeology (archaeologymuseum.ca).
In the autumn of 1650 and spring of 1651, the Attawandaron were nearly annihilated by other tribes armed with guns from settlers in New York State. Some became captive and were assimilated into other tribes. Remaining Attawandarons fell victim to diseases like smallpox and measles which had been introduced by European emigrants.
About the Attawandaron Cycling Route
There are many places to park along the main street and in a few parking lots, including at the Country Coffee on Bay Street. Alternate places to start/end include the small village of Forestville; though there is no real parking area, this road is less travelled and parking on the side of the road is fine. Starting here would put the town of Port Rowan at about the halfway point, giving you the option of taking a breakin one of the many restaurants and coffee shops in the town.
This tour follows the waterfront for about half of the ride, making it a beautiful scenic ride, with many rolling hills and interesting terrain to spark to your wonder. Starting in Port Rowan, head west on Front Road as it turns in Lakeshore Road/County Road 42. You’ll pass by Bird Studies Canada and the Long Point Waterfowl display area before heading out of town past miles and miles of marshland in the important Long Point marsh area.
Continue following Lakeshore Road/County Road 42 and you will hit the waterfront again; in this area you will see hundreds of wind turbines that have been erected on the waterfront as a green energy project, if interested stop and check out the educational display to learn more about the project. You’ll also pass by Sandhill Park, famous for its huge sand dunes and clay lined beach.
When you hit County Road 28, turn right (north) toward Fairground. Turn right onto The Fairground Road to head into Cultus; in Cultus turn right onto Concession Road 6 and then take your next left onto Cultus Road. Cultus Road ends at Houghton Walsingham Townline where you will turn right.
Follow this road down to Concession 1, where you will turn left to continue through the countryside. When you hit Bay Street/County Road 42, you will turn left and go past the Backus Heritage Conservation Area. This is an interesting Conservation Area as it has an old grist mill from 1798 still located on its property of over 1,200 acres of forested and park land. Once you pass Backus, you will take your next left onto East Quarter Line and then your next right onto Concession Road 3. When you hit Forestry Farm Road, you have to turn right and then take a quick left onto Concession Road 1/Charlotteville Road 1.
Follow this until you hit Turkey Point Road, where you will turn left. Take Turkey Point Road across Highway 24 (be cautious crossing this busy road) until you hit Charlotteville Road 4 where you will turn right. You will then pass through the little village of Vittoria, where the famous bakery, The Good Bread Company is located (they routinely sell out of bread almost daily). Once you pass through Vittoria, you will come to Highway 24 again, turn right onto Highway 24 and take your next left onto Radical Road (again, be cautious on Highway 24 as it is very busy).
On Radical Road, take your next right onto Port Ryerse Road and pass by Hay Creek, which is an actively managed woodlot with excellent walking, hiking and biking trails. At the next stop sign, take a left onto Simcoe Street/King Street/Road 57 and follow Road 57 to Front Road, which you will turn right onto. Front Road continues to follow the waterfront, though at times you cannot see it because of woodlots. This section of the route is absolutely gorgeous with rolling hills and excellent views.
In Fisher’s Glen, you will turn left onto Fisher’s Glen Road and then follow the bend back onto Front Road. Just outside of Normandale you will turn left onto Spooky Hollow Road and then come to a stop sign and turn right back onto Front Road. Continue following Front Road past Turkey Point Road. After Turkey Point Road, you will see Long Point Eco-Adventures on your right and Burning Kiln Winery on your left. These two partner businesses are breaking ground in eco-tourism and the winery has won numerous awards; make sure you stop in and try their delicious wines!
Continue following Front Road and you will see some amazing views of Lake Erie, Long Point and the marsh. In St Williams, when you come to the stop sign at Townline Street, turn left and take a quick right back onto Front Road. Continue to follow Front Road/Lakeshore Road back to Port Rowan and your vehicle!