The highlight was the town centre shaped like the spoke of a wheel. Apparently, Walt Disney's grandparents lived in Goderich for a time and he used to visit them. Walt liked the town square design so much that he patterned Disneyland after it. In the centre of the square was the town hall and courthouse, a huge stone building where Steven Truscott stood trial for murder back in 1959. Artists sometimes displayed their paintings on the courthouse lawn which was covered in large century-old maple trees. Around the courthouse was an octoganal traffic circle and around the traffic circle were several shops including a drugstore, clothing stores, restaurants, inns and an old-fashioned movie theatre with a marquis.
I remember stopping for picnics near the old Huron County Gaol, now a museum, on my way to Silver Lake Camp in Kincardine. My Mom would bake Magic Cookie Bars for the occasion. The picnic tables overlooked the harbour complete with the world's largest salt mine. The harbour water flowed into Lake Huron where the sunsets were unparalleled. Yes, I can see why Queen Victoria called Goderich "The Prettiest Town in Canada".
So I was shocked to read the headline today: "Tornado touched town in Goderich. Town square obliterated." Thirty-nine residents were injured and a mine worker from Lucknow perished in the storm which registered as an F3, Ontario's worst tornado in 15 years. A state of emergency has been declared and Dalton McGuinty has promised the town 5 million dollars in aid. A Facebook page has been set up offering support, supplies and prayers for the victims of the tornado. May Goderich be restored to its former glory.
Photo courtesy www.historicplaces.ca