The Sarnia Harbour is strategically situated at the centre of the Great Lakes, on the St. Lawrence Seaway System. It is located at the south end of Lake Huron on the eastern shore of the St. Clair River, one of the busiest inland waterways in the world. Tankers, bulk carriers, self-unloaders, foreign vessels, tugs and barges constantly traverse this waterway, often referred to as the H2O highway. The harbour is comprised of lands and water lots collectively forming the Government Wharf and Warehouse Area, the East Dock and the Cestar Dock (formerly referred to as the North Slip). These three precincts represent the principal areas of the working harbour and are depicted on the accompanying maps.
Discussions began in the Fall of 2011 regarding the transfer of ownership and responsibility for the operation of the Sarnia Harbour from Transport Canada to the City of Sarnia. On March 28, 2014 the City of Sarnia and Transport Canada completed the divestiture of Sarnia Harbour. A set of divestiture documents were executed and a large Federal contribution was made to Sarnia to aid in the operation of the Harbour.
The City has made a number of significant investments in the harbour since 2014 including replacement of the shore-side electrical supply system to improve electrical reliability and dredging to accommodate domestic or international vessels. The investments have contributed to the establishment of Sarnia Harbour as a terminus for the Oversized Load Corridor (OLC), a 26 km route connecting area fabricators of oversized modules to national and international clients.
Following a $4,000,000 donation from Cestar College in 2019, the North Slip Dock was renamed the Cestar Dock. Cestar's donation was intended to facilitate the transformation of the harbour to expand vessel capacity, allow for greater loading and offloading to ensure the Harbour is capable of contributing to the OLC.