Driving tour takes in Sarnia-Lambton’s top attractions

Elders from the Kettle & Stony Point First Nation will be available to talk about the history of the kettle concretions, like these near Ipperwash, on the June 9 driving tour. Photo courtesy, Tourism Sarnia-Lambton

Cathy Dobson 

The dedicated folks who promote Sarnia-Lambton as a tourist destination have come up with a new event to showcase some of the area’s best attractions.

It’s for everyone, but organizers anticipate it will primarily attract local people who can discover what they’ve been missing in their own backyard.

Tourism Sarnia-Lambton is hosting the new UnLock Lambton Driving Tour on Saturday, June 9 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Nineteen sites featuring art, history and nature are on the tour with a number of special events planned for participants.

It’s fun and it’s free.

Maps with directions to the 19 sites are available online at www.ontbluecoast.com or at the tourism information centre on Venetian Boulevard.

“People can visit as many sites as they like,” says TSL’s Beverley Horodyski.  “Arts and culture are really growing in our region.”

A barbecue has traditionally been held for about 700 people at this time of year to help mark Ontario’s tourism week.

“We thought it was time to switch things up,” said Horodyski. “We want to get people out to experience their own community.”

The driving tour includes stops at the Bluewater Angler Hatchery in Point Edward, Stones ‘n Bones Museum, the JNAAG art gallery and Canatara Park in Sarnia, and downriver at the Moore Museum, Sombra Museum and Brander Park.

A few stops have features not available any other day. For instance, elders from Kettle & Stony Point First Nation will be at 9722 Lake Road in Kettle Point from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. to talk about their culture and the history behind the kettle concretions in that area.

The unique Corey room will be open to the public at CEE (Bluewater Health) in Petrolia. Once used as the hospital’s boardroom, it is furnished with original pieces chosen by Jacob Englehart when he built it to be his study in 1866. The rich furnishings and wood trim reflect his status as one of Imperial Oil’s founding fathers.

The Arts Council of East Lambton is holding an art, music and food festival all day at 5305 Nauvoo Rd., which is an historic building on Watford’s main street and the council’s community arts centre.

“One of my favourite stops is the Kineto Theatre in Forest,” said Horodyski. “It’s one of the longest-running theatres in Canada and just remarkable in how it’s been restored.”

Area beaches are also on the tour, including Canatara beach and Grand Bend’s beach, both of which have blue flag designations that reflect their high water quality and safety.

Refreshments will be available during UnLock Lambton at TSL’s offices at 1455 Venetian Blvd. and at the Grand Bend Visitors Centre on Crescent Street.

Tourism ranks third among the region’s economic drivers, behind only industry and agriculture.

“We see 85,000 visitors a year at our tourism information centre and the number from the U.S. continues to increase, said TSL’s interim general manager Joy Sim-Robbins.

“There’s obvious growth in our industry,” she added, pointing to new wineries in Lambton, new craft breweries and a new hotel under development (Holiday Inn Express).

“We want everyone to see all that there is to do here and how beautiful it is.”

IF YOU GO:

WHAT:  UnLock Lambton Driving Tour

WHERE: 19 sites throughout Sarnia-Lambton

WHEN: Saturday, June 9.   10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

TICKETS:  Free. Maps available at TSL on Venetian or online at www.ontbluecoast.com.