This page relates to a sandspit in Norfolk County, Ontario. For other places called Long Point, see Long Point (disambiguation)
Long Point is a sand spit located on the north shore of Lake Erie, located in Norfolk County in the province of Ontario, Canada. It is approximately 40-km long and is about a kilometre wide at its thickest point. On the South side of Long Point is Lake Erie, on the North side is Long Point Bay. Some of the towns that border the bay include Port Rowan, Turkey Point and Port Dover. Long Point is directly north and across the lake from Erie, Pennsylvania.
It has an all year population of somewhere between 400 and 500 people, but in the summer it can have a population of as many as 5,000 because of all the cottagers and campers. Long Point is a popular boating, swimming, fishing, duck-hunting and canoeing area, and sees over a hundred thousand visitors each year. A large portion of Long Point is owned by The Long Point Company, a private organization which does not allow the general public onto its private land. Therefore, the vast majority of the properties on Long Point are within the first few kilometres.
In the 19th century, a huge storm created an opening (which has become known as "The Old Cut") that went right through the middle of Long Point separating the east and west sections of the peninsula. A Lighthouse was built alongside it, which was the first of several on the Point. The Cut has since shrunk and no longer cuts right through Long Point.
During the mid-1800's some of local residents saw an opportunity to make easy money by 'blackbirding'. Blackbirding consisted of erecting errous lighthouse during times of low visibility. Ships attempting to enter the old cut would run aground. When the crew abandoned the ship the blackbirders would loot the ship of her cargoes and other valuables. With law enforcement centred in London, Ontario. These pirates would then cache their loot on the many hiding spots that Long Point offered.
Another famous story about Long Point concerns Abigail Becker, a woman in the 19th century who waded into stormy waters to save the crew of a boat that had run aground. Long Point is a hotbed for shipwrecks, with many of the more fascinating wrecks being right off the tip. In an area designated "The Lake Erie Quadrangle", there have been over 400 shipwrecks.
The region is an important location for bird migration in both spring and autumn, including half of the eastern North American Tundra Swan population. In 1960, Long Point Bird Observatory was established to monitor migrant birds on the Point. It is North America's oldest bird observatory. In 1998, as a result of a growing national focus, the organization was renamed Bird Studies Canada. Its national headquarters overlooks Long Point Inner Bay on the western limits of Port Rowan.
Long Point is an outstanding example of sand dune and sand-spit formation in the Great Lakes region. In 1982, Long Point National Wildlife Area was recognized as a wetland of international significance under the Ramsar Convention. It was designated as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1986. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources classifies Long Point as a Macrosite, an area which contains numerous ecological or geological provincially-significant zones, such as Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest.
Long Point is the location of an Ontario provincial park, Long Point Provincial Park, a popular warm weather destination for day visitors and campers.
Lore and Legends of Long Point, Harry B. Barrett, Burns and MacEachearn 1977, ISBN 0-887168-075-5
Long Point Last Port of Call, David Stone, Boston Mills Press, 1988, ISBN 0-919783-39-7
Waters Of Repose, Dave Stone and David Frew, Erie County Historical Society 1993, ISBN 1-883658-19-5