Right of Passage along the Shoreline of Lake Erie

By-law Enforcement Division staff have been asked multiple times about the rights of people who want to walk along the Lake Erie shoreline. In some cases, property owners along Lake Erie own all or part of the beach and in some cases into the Lake - this is private property and those who walk along the water’s edge on their property are trespassing. However, passersby assume that the beach is public property and that they are able to walk along the water’s edge. The issue in question is whether there are any laws permitting the public to walk along beaches located on private property. Staff research indicates that the Province has considered legislation in the past to allow the public to pass freely along the shoreline of Lake Erie but the legislation was never enacted. The City has determined conclusively that no legislative right of passage exists to walk the beach over private property. To provide access to Lake Erie for residents and visitors, the City does operate two lakefront beach parks - Cedar Bay Centennial Park and Nickel Beach. Questions? Contact the By-law Enforcement Division by email at bylawenforcement@portcolborne.ca or call 905-835-2900 ext. 207. 



Nickel Beach

Nickel Beach where Lake Erie water meets more than a mile of white sand providing great windsurfing, swimming and sunbathing. Picnic areas along with rest room facilities and volleyball courts provide visitors with a natural recreation facility.

Located at the end of Welland Street, close to downtown on the east side of the canal.


Centennial - Cedar Bay Beach

Part of Humberstone Centennial Park, with tennis courts, playing fields, and washrooms on site.
Located at the southern end of Cedar Bay Road, off Highway #3 on the east side of the canal.

Long Beach Convservation Area

Located in Wainfleet, Long Beach is part of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority parks system. An admission fee is required for entry.
Phone: 905-899-3462

Is Lake Erie Safe for Swimming?

Generally the beaches of Eastern Lake Erie are safe throughout the summer. Problems develop during periods of hot weather when warm and cold layers of water stay separate. This phenomenon deprives the warm upper layer of oxygen.

The Niagara Public Health Department 'posts' beaches as unsafe for swimming when the water contains levels of bacteria that may increase a bather's risk of developing a variety of irritations and infections. Most common are minor skin, eye, ear, nose and throat infections and occasional stomach disorders. Sometimes a beach may be posted unsafe because of floating debris, oil, scum, excessive weed growth, bad odors and general turbidity.

The status of local beaches is rated by the Department of Health each Friday during the summer.
To obtain information on the status of beaches in the Niagara Region call toll free 1-888-505-6074, ext. 7789.