Port ElginPort Elgin, Ont, urban area, population 7555 (2011c), 6880 (2006c). Port Elgin is located on the shores of Lake HURON in Bruce County at the mouth of the Saugeen River, 48 km southwest of Owen Sound. A town from 1949 to 1999, it is now the administrative centre of the town of Saugeen Shores, which resulted from the amalgamation of Port Elgin with the town of Southampton and Saugeen Township.
The first settlers in the area arrived after 1849. Most were of German descent, although Lachlan McLean, a Scot, is credited with building the first residence on the future site of Port Elgin. By 1857 a village was surveyed and a store and post office were established. The village was initially named Normantown, and it was not until 1878 that the name of the community was changed to Port Elgin, in honour of Governor General Lord ELGIN.
A number of industries were located in the village in the mid-19th century, including a foundry, a brickyard and a woollen mill. A pier, built in 1858, also enabled lake shipping to stop at the village, which soon became a shipment point for grain and other exports.
Major employers are ONTARIO HYDRO, which operates the nearby Bruce Nuclear Power Development, and the tourism industry, which relies on Port Elgin's beaches, sportfishing and canoeing on the nearby Saugeen River and harbour. Nearby are national and provincial parks, a bird sanctuary for migratory birds and the NIAGARA ESCARPMENT, a world biosphere reserve.