Sand, sun, surf and soon shopping coming to Goderich, Ont.'s waterfront

Goderich’s waterfront is going to look a lot different this summer.

First, there will be a brand new boardwalk spanning the entire 1.8 km shoreline.

Second, it will cost out-of-town visitors to park at Goderich’s beach this summer, for the first time ever.

Third, shopping will make its first appearance at Goderich’s beach come June.

“We’re turning this area here beside and behind the Beach Hut into a little retail village,” says Goderich Mayor John Grace.

As a first-time pilot project, Goderich will put in 'tiki-huts' near the Main Beach for six to eight retailers to set up shop for the summer.

“This will be convenient for those that want to stay at the beach and buy a bathing suit, or beach ball, or rent a paddle board. It really brings our merchants from the downtown, right to the customers, here at the waterfront,” says Grace.

“The idea of this is really to push the people from here at the beach, to downtown, and to go experience what we offer there,” he says.

Grace envisions mostly downtown merchants or locals that may sell goods from their home, filling up the new beachfront business area.

It's an area where Denata Stanbury, from 360 Bikes and Boards in Goderich, has been renting and selling watersport equipment for the past seven years. She loves the idea.

“Perhaps some businesses could collaborate, maybe they could share staffing or put their products together. I could imagine there being a nice variety of products down there to show people what Goderich has to offer,” she says.

“We hope to grow it substantially over the years, but this is something new and innovative and creates a destination at a waterfront venue for shopping,” says Grace.

Grace expects the first beach businesses to start selling their goods on the town’s shoreline sometime in June. Paid parking will likely start in June as well, he says.

The boardwalk will be completed no later than July 1.