Most Ontarians probably know Port Hope only by the exit signs for this small town as they drive by on the 401, but that’s just what most residents love about it. It’s a quiet community tucked along the shore of Lake Ontario on the Eastern side of the GTA.
It’s not shocking that home buyers have been flocking to this small town in Ontario to try to escape the home prices in Toronto without straying too far from the city. Many of the town’s residents are there because it’s quiet, choosing it for it’s tranquility for retirement.
Although home prices are keeping pace with the rest of the GTA, this bedroom community by the lake is still a great place to settle.
Read on to discover what it’s like to live in Port Hope and whether it’s the city you’ll want to call home.
With a population of less than 20,000, Port Hope is by all accounts a small town. It’s best known for its quaint beaches and the Trinity College independent boarding school.
Located at the centre of Lake Ontario’s North coastline, Port Hope hasn’t been instrumental politically or economically since the 19th century and the War of 1812. Because of its waterway location on Lake Ontario and Ganaraska River, the town held strategic importance during Canada’s early years.
Interestingly, the name Toronto was briefly considered for this community before the name Port Hope was settled on.
The area known today as Port Hope got its name from Henry Hope, a prominent political and military figure in the 1780’s. Known as the Hope Township, the settlement covered approximately 69,000 acres and was originally settled by just six families who arrived from the United States. More Americans who were loyal to England made their way North to Port Hope seeking free land through the early 19th century. Each immigrant was offered 200 acres in exchange for completing settlement duties.
Over the next 100 years the waterways which today serve as an idyllic setting had economic value, and the town became a hub for trade and transportation. Although it never grew to the size or scale of Kingston or Toronto, residents around Port Hope cultivated farms, orchards, and even built summer estate homes serviced by newly built railway lines.
Development slowed in the region by the turn of the 20th century as Toronto became to take hold as the industrial centre. Depleted forests and a lower demand for Ontario agriculture slowly transformed Port Hope into a historic community left with a bit of manufacturing and not much more.
Following globalization, Port Hope residents turned their attention towards historical preservation and community development. Today the town enjoys a reputation as a sleepy rural town not too far from the big city.
Visitors to Port Hope are most likely to be exploring the quaint beaches on the shores of Lake Ontario, coming into town to enjoy a meal, or visiting to explore the Trinity College campus for their children.
Farmers markets and conservation projects are also a common attraction, and it’s also a popular wedding venue during the warmer months.
Most of the properties in Port Hope are single-family residences. As a rural town, there aren’t many condos, complexes or apartments, meaning homeowners have plenty of space to stretch their legs.
Thinking of making Port Hope your home? Browse current real estate listings in Port Hope, Ontario or keep reading about the real estate market in Brantford.
In addition to the historical buildings and homes near the city centre, the outskirts of Port Hope are lined with more modern suburban developments. These new homes are an answer to the increased demands for housing across Ontario. Since Port Hope borders the highway and is located close to Oshawa and the GTA, demand has been relatively high for homes in the area.
Low inventory is just part of the reason real estate prices have been surging to historical highs in the township. Being a relatively small, rural county, Northumberland’s relatively low listing inventory is credited as contributing to the rapid increase in housing prices.
Regardless of market conditions, our team can help buyers find the perfect property. Reach out to us online and by phone and we’ll leverage 30 years of experience to help you find the property that’s right for you.
The appeal of Port Hope comes down to privacy, proximity to nature, and convenience for most buyers. The qualities make Port Hope a popular option for retirees and remote workers. Some working age homebuyers who work in a neighbouring city settle in Port Hope and commute to work.
Granted, Port Hope doesn’t provide the amenities of a larger city or major metropolitan area, but for those content with peaceful rural living it’s one of the best options around.
Neighbouring Coburg offers a bit more in terms of culture and entertainment for those residents who really want to get out of the house, but nature lovers will have no trouble finding happiness in Port Hope.
Farmer’s markets and other activities associated with rural communities abound in the town. There are several conservation areas in the near vicinity, and several Provincial campgrounds are just a short drive away.
With just over 16,000 residents, Port Hope is home to several elementary schools both public and Catholic. For post secondary education, the town has 1 school called Port Hope High School. Nearby Coburg has further options for education.
Trinity College School is the town’s best known education institution which serves as a good option for parents looking for a boarding school.
What to Do in Port Hope
The town is a great place for biking, hitting the beach, or even enjoying activities like zip lining through the Ganaraska Forest. Community groups and the local government also put on a host of recreational events throughout the year at libraries, recreation centres, and outdoor venues throughout the area.
Popular annual events include the Port Hope Fair, Candlelight Festival, and the Delicious Dates event which invites residents to try special menus from local restaurants throughout the winter.
Expectations aren’t high for transit in towns the size of Port Hope, yet residents have access to local bus service with two routes around the town as well as a third which connects the municipality to Coburg.
VIA rail service and GO Transit are also available for inter-city commuters heading to work in another city or for convenient access to neighbouring amenities.
Remote workers, retirees, and young families who can make life work outside of the big city will feel right at home in Port Hope.
The small tight-knit community feeling goes along way, especially with Toronto nearby on one side, and Kingston not far on the other.
You can also browse current MLS real estate listings in Port Hope or reach out to one of our specialists to conveniently find the type of property you’re looking for in the area.
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