Advertisement 1

Friday the 13th draws tens of thousands to Port Dover

Article content

Advertisement 2

Story continues below

Article content

PORT DOVER Tiffany Short of Brantford and her 12-year-old son, James Allard, were among tens of thousands of people taking in the sights and sounds of Friday the 13th in Port Dover.

“I was probably 12 or 13 when I came down as a kid,” said Short. “I moved to Vancouver for a decade and kind of forgot that Friday the 13th existed. But I’ve been coming for the last 20 years since I moved back to Brantford.”

Allard, who likes to ride dirt bikes and quads, said he enjoys seeing the bikes and people.

And there was plenty to see.

At noon, police estimated 100,000 people already were in Port Dover, with more expected.

Norfolk County expected Friday’s rally to be a return to something like pre-pandemic normal, with street vendors, beer tents and camping for out-of-town visitors. Municipal officials discouraged attendance at the last gathering in August 2021.

The celebration took a sombre tone when police reported Friday afternoon that a motorcyclist was killed in a two-vehicle crash near Port Dover. Norfolk OPP said the crash occurred at Blueline Road and St. John’s Road shortly after 1 p.m.

The motorcyclist died in hospital.

Police said the motorcycle was travelling north on Blueline Road when it collided with a vehicle heading west on St. John’s Road. The motor vehicle driver was not injured.

West Region OPP Acting Sgt Ed Sanchuk urged drivers to be aware of their surroundings. “When you come up to a stop sign, please make sure you check twice,” he said on social media.

Advertisement 3

Story continues below

Article content

The roads around the crash site were expected to be closed for several hours.

Police also said they responded to at least three other crashes in Port Dover involving motorcycles. In a Twitter update, Sanchuk said no major injuries were reported in any of those three incidents.

Meantime, Haldimand OPP reported a motorcycle collision on Cheapside Road where a rider, who suffered life-altering injuries, was transported to hospital via air ambulance.

There was also a motorcycle crash on Riverside Drive between Rainham Rd. and East Quarter Line Rd. on Friday afternoon. The rider suffered serious injuries and was transported to hospital by air ambulance, said Haldimand OPP.

Meantime, in Port Dover, Paul McRobb of Caledon East sat on his Harley-Davidson, parked on Main Street.

Like a number of people, the 80-year-old biker said he preferred the set-up for earlier Friday the 13th gatherings when motorcycles could park and drive all the way down Main Street through the downtown.

On Friday, Main Street was closed from Nelson Street to Walker Street, with vendors’ booths and a pedestrian walkway through the town’s core.

“I do like the atmosphere,” McRobb said. “You’re on your bike so you might as well be here.”

Stephane Miousse and his wife, Chantal Leonard, of Ottawa attended Friday the 13th in Port Dover for the first time.

“People were telling us about it, but we never wanted to ride a whole day from Ottawa just for one day here,” Miousse said. “But now we have a motor home and we put the bikes in a trailer and came camping for four days.”

Advertisement 4

Story continues below

Article content

Leonard’s 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide drew a lot of attention as people walked by on Walker Street.

Miousse said he built his wife’s bike that features 250 hours worth of airbrushed artwork in the theme of the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead.

Leonard said her bike has placed eighth at a couple of bike shows in Toronto, but the couple like to drive far away in their motorhome and then explore little towns on their bikes.

“Most of our friends come here every time there’s a Friday the 13th, and this year we said we’re doing it,” she said.

“We’re so happy to get out, now that there’s less COVID. We made it to the beach, and stepped into the water. It was very cold.”

OPP had a heavy presence throughout the Lake Erie town.

This is the lone Friday the 13th of 2022. Next year there will be two: in January and in October.

bethompson@postmedia.com

Advertisement 5

Story continues below

Article content

Latest National Stories

Advertisement 1

Story continues below

News Near Tillsonburg

This Week in Flyers