Port Dover, Ontario – It all started in 1981 when biker Chris Simon called a few friends and suggested they drop by the bar at the old Commercial Hotel, and theyʼd have a party. About 25 people showed up and they had bikes lined up outside. The group pulled a bunch of tables along one wall and had such a good evening they wound up saying they should do it again the next Friday the 13th. From those humble beginnings the party has grown by word of mouth between motorcyclists into an event that draws tens of thousands of visitors, and puts millions of dollars into the local economy. Local charity organizations are able to set up services for that single day and raise all their funds for the year. Extra staff is said to be put on at the border crossings at Windsor and Buffalo just to handle the visitors. On Friday June 13, 2008 an estimated 150,000 bikers and spectators showed up on Port Dover. Youtube Video about the event’s history.
Port Dover is a sleepy little Norfolk County town on the north shore of Lake Erie in Southwestern Ontario. At one time it had the largest freshwater fishing fleet in the world. Nearby communities once focused on tobacco farming but have now shifted to lavender, ginseng, hazelnuts, and wolfberries. Nearby Long Point, a 40-kilometer (25 mi) spit of land projecting into Lake Erie, is known for its bird migration. It was designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1986.
Warm weather draws the most Friday the 13th visitors. For more information on Port Dover’s Friday the 13th visit pd13.com. To make motorcycling through Ontario’s South Coast even easier, there is a “Cruise the Coast” map. The waterproof, pocket-size map is a tool to help find biker-preferred routes through the area, accommodations, events, restaurants and more. Visit www.cruisethecoast.ca to find out how to get a copy.
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Port Dover, Norfolk County, Ontario