Goderich, Ontario is known for a few notable things. It was once named the “prettiest” town in Canada by Queen Elizabeth ll and, oh, Walt Disney has familial roots here.

About a three-hour drive from Toronto is Goderich, Ontario. It’s home to three turquoise-blue beaches and a very charming historic downtown. It is situated on bluffs with a gorgeous view of Lake Huron.

Despite its stunning landscapes and ample amenities, we’re here to talk about the Disney family.

Yes, THE Disney family, as in Walt Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse. Goderich Tourism shared the fun fact via Tiktok, as Mr Disney himself spoke about his father living in the Ontario town, in an undated interview.

“Yes, he was born in a little town… they call it Bluevale, it’s right out of Goderich,” shared Disney. “They migrated over there in the 1830s, and my father was born there, he was raised there, went to school there.”

To get into specifics, according to the Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol, on March 18th, 1858, “Kepple Disney (Walt’s grandfather) married Mary Richardson, whose family were also early Goderich Township settlers near Holmesville.”

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They then purchased a farm in Morris Township near Bluevale. They had 11 children of which Elias Charles Disney, aka Walt’s father, was the oldest.

Though the children did go to school in Bluevale, since “Kepple did not really enjoy farming” and loved to travel, the family moved to Lambton County for two years before finally moving to Goderich.

“It appears the Disney’s left Goderich and moved back to the homestead in Morris Township sometime before 1869,” shares the museum.

But the moving doesn’t stop there. Kepple left for California in 1878 with his two eldest sons and eventually sold his property in Morris Township.

Eventually, Walt’s father met his wife (Walt’s mother) in Kansas and had Walter Elias (Walt) Disney in Chicago. Talk about travelling!

Though Walt Disney was born in Chicago and stayed in the U.S., he did share that he managed to visit the Ontario town, alongside his wife.

“We got up there, she really fell in love with Goderich, beautiful little town,” shared Disney in the video.

@goderichtourism Did you know Walt Disney had connections to Goderich Ontario? #ontario #waltdisney #summer #smalltown ♬ original sound – Goderich Tourism

Per the museum, they made the trip in June of 1947. He stopped by the Bluevale Post Office to learn where the Disney homestead was located and drove there.

“Walt drove on to Holmesville to visit the cemetery where his Disney great uncles and aunts, and his Richardson great grandparents are buried,” shared the museum.

“Walt also visited Central School in Goderich and took some time to draw some cartoons for the students. He stayed the night in Goderich before travelling to Detroit and flying home.”

This would be the last time, that’s on record, the Disney would visit the town.

But the Disney magic didn’t end there. In July 1999, Goderich happened to be the host of the first and only Canadian Hometown Disney Parade with Mickey Mouse, friends and characters.

Only five North American towns were chosen that year.

“Doug Fines, who was the President of the Goderich Chamber of Commerce at the time, submitted the winning essay to the contest to host the parade,” shared the museum.” The essay needed to convey true Mickey community spirit but of course having ancestral roots in Huron County helped as well.”

Organizers expected 50,000 people to attend the 2.5 km route but to their surprise, it ended up being closer to 100,000.

There’s no doubt that the town is full of history – and an amazing one at that.

So whether you’re eager to visit Goderich for its natural beauty, charming downtown or its Disney background, you’re surely in for a fun time.

A summer road trip is a must!