Welcome to our Big Backyard!

A Walkable Port Hope

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Cultivate Big Backyard

Hi, my name is Jeff Bray and I am the co-founder of Cultivate Festival. That's me and my daughter doing the tour right up there. 


Our festival was born out of our appreciation for what is going on in our “ Big Backyard”. We are surrounded by wonderful farms, great restaurants, award winning breweries and world class markets. It’s also one of the most beautiful places on the planet during the fall. So here we are - celebrating greatness. Thank you so much for supporting! 


You probably want to get right to your tour, but I thought I would share some valuable information before hand. 


I think this is a great way to take in Dowlntown Port Hope! Take your time, take in the sights, pop into shops and soak up the most historically preserved downtown in all of Ontario.


At some point you are going to make your way over the Ganaraska River, home to the spectacular salmon and trout runs. At the right time, it’s unlike anything you’ve seen before. It’s also been crossed on tightrope by the world famous Port Hopian, The Great Farini. Check out the plaque on the Northeast side of the Walton Street bridge. 


You'll probably come across the Capitol Theatre as well It is one of the last remaining atmospheric theatres in North America! Go say hi and see what’s on tonight. World class theatre in the heart of Port Hope! 


On the east side of the Ganaraka River, straight across the road from Ganaraska Brewing is iconic Canadian author Farley Mowat’s Boat Roofed House


Being that it's cold outside, don't feel like you need to check out all of what the great outdoors has to offer. Downtown is filled with incredible shops, so pop in and shake out the shivers. Some must see shops along Walton Street are Ganaraska Art and Framing, Tall Birches, Bibelot and Holton Flowers, just to name a few. 


While I have a lot of great suggestions and some wonderful routes, but this is all about you. Take my advice or experiment on your own! Try new things and get what works for you. Gather along the way and finish it all off with big spread at your dining room table, or cozy up in is many places as you'd like as you go. There are many ways to enjoy it.


However you decide to do it, let us follow along. Share your tour with us on social media for a chance to win. Tag Cultivate Festival on Facebook or Instagram with the #cultivatesbigbackyard for your chance to win monthly prizes including tickets to our secret winter concert series an overnight staycation and plenty more. 


Have the best time and say hello to everyone for me along the way. 




A Walkable Port Hope

Cultivate Big Backyard

Happenstance Coffee Pub - 135 Peter St, Port Hope

$15 Gift Card


Happenstance filled a void in Port Hope a few years back. We were desperate for freshly baked bread and espresso based beverages. They have delivered. If you are hungry the pretzels are amazing! As is the ham and cheese croissant - that is my go to.


We're trying to stay cozy here, so I thin you should try the Maple & Spice Latte. Sweetened with maple syrup and all the warming spices you could ask for. It's the perfect accompaniment to the next stop!


On the weekends, grab one of their famous breakfast sandwiches (downtown Port Hope only). If you are feeling really adventurous, put together a pizza kit with their sourdough pizza dough and homemade sauce. We do this weekly and our kids LOVE it.


Little known fact - While I don’t want any credit, I pushed owners Nick and Erin to open a coffee shop for ages when they first moved here. You’re welcome!



Suntree Marketplace - 19 Ontario St, Port Hope

$15 Gift Card


Previously called Tradewinds, Suntree Marketplace has been a staple of downtown for decades. Owners Karen and Jules took over about 8 years ago and brought into 2021 in style. My kids love coming to shop there and taking the tiny carts through the isles. I am a huge fan of Campbellford’s own Empire cheese and Suntree has the best selection around. I go for their award winning extra old cheddar or, depending on my mood, a bag of fresh curds. You can also stock up on Millstone (Cobourg’s finest bakery) bread on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays as well as  Headwaters Farm bagels on Thursdays and Fridays. These are the best bagels this side of Montreal! Do not miss these bagels! 


Little known fact - Jules does some acting on the side - you can see his finest work in this classic KFC commercial here


Food Inspired - 33 Walton St, Port Hope

$15 Gift Card


Food Inspired is pretty new on the scene and they have already made themselves a pillar of Port Hope. They have an interesting selection of cheese and charcuterie as well as takeaway meals. If you have scored the bagels from Suntree, I suggest you not miss  the Smoked Trout prepared by Marr-Velous Smoked Fish, a local company. What a treat!


If you're feeling something a little more sweet, the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are where its at. Made by the owner, Terry, herself!


Little known fact: This is perhaps the most beautiful bit of Port Hope architecture. The Gillette building was built in 1845 and has been home to many law offices, a coroner and a grain merchant, just to name a few. 


Ganaraska Brewing Company -  33 Mill St South, Port Hope

$10 or two cans of beer.


Ganaraska Brewing Company just opened. It’s been years in the making! They have plenty of of great options at this point. They have a little something for everyone, including food, so don’t feel like you need to have a beer - but, it sure sounds good to me! All of the beers pay homage to the history of Port Hope. I would suggest the Hazy Rapids New England IPA, but it certainly wouldn't be a bad decision to get a flight and try a few!


Olympus Burger - 55 Mill St S, Port Hope

$15 Gift Card


Olympus Burger is on fire. Once awarded the “best burger in Canada”, the place is always busy and never disappoints. The service is friendly and the options are unique and fresh and the owner, Giorgos, is the king of hospitality. My daughter loves the Junior Olympian - a burger just her size, and of course the milkshakes. The fact that it's winter out doesn't seem to matter. As a family, we happily make our way through the burger menu, but we ALWAYS get the Olympus Fries - hand cut fries, Greek dressing and feta cheese - a Greek poutine! Count me in. 


Little known fact. When I was a kid, this place was Scott’s Chicken Villa (KFC). We had many picnics from here! The once rotating chicken bucket still stands above the signage. I’ve been encouraging Giorgos to start serving buckets of burgers as an homage. Maybe you could do the same?


I hope you had the best time! Don't forget to share your experience for a chance to win monthly prizes! Tag Cultivate on Facebook or Instagram and use the hashtag #cultivatesbigbackyard. 


Disclaimer - We recommend taking the tour between 11am - 2pm, Wednesday through Monday. Having said that, the certificates don't expire. You can do this at your own pace! However we strongly urge you to check out the participating businesses hours of operation. These places are small and independent, so things can change quickly.

There is no g
uarantee that my suggestions will be available. These are small, independent businesses and things change. They will always have delicious options though. 

Cultivate's Big Backyard is proudly sponsored by: