Lakeshore, Ontario

Lakeshore is a town on Lake St. Clair, in Essex County, Ontario, Canada. The town was incorporated in 1999 by amalgamating the Town of Belle River with the townships of Maidstone, Rochester, Tilbury North, and Tilbury West. It is part of the Windsor census metropolitan area.

Lakeshore has a significant concentration of French Canadians and is one of only three communities in Southern Ontario (excluding Eastern Ontario) in which more than 5% (the provincial average) of the population is francophone. The others are Welland and Penetanguishene). In the 2011 census, 7.7% of the population reported French as their mother tongue, and 17.2% reported knowledge of both official languages.[2] Lakeshore also has a historic black community, along the Puce River, made up of descendants of refugee slaves from the South in the United States who emigrated to Canada for freedom.[3]

Town of Lakeshore
Ville de Lakeshore
Lakeshore Municipal Office
Lakeshore Municipal Office
Official seal of Lakeshore

Lakeshore is located in Southern Ontario
Coordinates: 42°15′N 82°41′W / 42.250°N 82.683°W
Country Canada
Province Ontario
 • MayorTom Bain
 • MPTracey Ramsey (NDP)
 • MPPTaras Natyshak (NDP)
 • Land530.33 km2 (204.76 sq mi)
 • Total36,611
 • Density69.0/km2 (179/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)


The Town of Lakeshore comprises the communities of Belle River, Comber, Deerbrook, Elmstead, Emeryville, Haycroft, Lighthouse Cove, North Woodslee, Pike Creek, Pleasant Park, Puce, Ruscom Station, South Woodslee, St. Joachim, Stoney Point, and Strangfield, as well as the far eastern section of Tecumseh.

A small portion of the township's easternmost area is considered by some to be part of Tilbury, although Tilbury proper is located in the neighbouring municipality of Chatham-Kent.


Although incorporated as a town, the vast majority of Lakeshore is rural, being made up of cleared farmland predominately used for the cultivation of cash crops such as soybeans and winter wheat. The Comber Wind Farm is also located here.

As in the rest of Essex County and Chatham-Kent, the terrain is extremely flat and regular. The terrain slopes very gently from the southern border of Lakeshore on Highway 8, with an average elevation of 188m, to the shore of Lake St. Clair at 176m. The highest land is in the southwestern corner of the town, near the town of Essex, at an elevation of 193m.[4]

The area is drained by a series of slow-moving rivers and creeks, all of which flow northward into Lake St. Clair: from west to east, these are Pike Creek, the Puce River, Belle River, the Ruscom River, and finally Big Creek and Baptiste Creek, which form the northeastern border of Lakeshore at their junction with the Thames River.

The major transportation arteries through Lakeshore, including Highway 401, the Tecumseh Road, and County Roads 22, 42 and 46, all follow an east-west parallel toward Windsor and Detroit in the west and toward Chatham-Kent in the east. The only significant exception is Highway 77, which connects Leamington to Highway 401 via Staples.


Areas along Lake St. Clair and the Puce, Belle, and Ruscom rivers were originally occupied by the Huron and Wyandot First Nations. Some French colonists associated with Fort Detroit and the fur trade settled in this area in the 18th century. Their descendants are known as Fort Detroit French. They also came from Sandwich, where colonists had developed farms at what was known as Petite Côte, a bend in the Detroit River.

The coast of Lake St. Clair and lots fronting the Puce, Belle, and Ruscom rivers were first surveyed in 1793 by Patrick McKniff. The area was not fully divided into concessions and lots, however, until the rear lines of the townships and the Middle Road (today County Road 46) were surveyed by Mahlon Burwell in 1823. Land speculation was endemic in Essex County at that time, as in many other parts of Upper Canada. Much of the present town of Lakeshore was once owned by a single speculator, the fur trader John Askin: by 1797, he held 80 lots, concentrated primarily along the Pêche (Pike) Puce, Belle, and Ruscom rivers.[5]

From the 1840s, the town received numerous Irish immigrants, fleeing the Great Famine. Later additional waves of French Canadians migrated from Quebec. Development was slow until the construction of a series of railroads through the area. These include the Great Western Railway, opened in 1854 and passing through Belle River, and the Canada Southern Railway (later owned by New York Central and Michigan Central), opened in 1872 and passing through Comber. These stimulated the settlement by new migrants from the East.[6]

Following the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act that abolished slavery in most of the British Empire, the Lakeshore region became one of several end points of the Underground Railroad, an informal network running from the South of the United States to help refugee slaves gain freedom. In 1851, the Refugee Home Society was founded in Detroit by Michigan and Ontario abolitionists. Under the direction of Henry Walton Bibb, the society purchased scattered lots in and around Maidstone, Puce, and Belle River to resettle refugee blacks. Although Michigan was a free state, slavecatchers operated in Detroit to capture refugees for the high bounties offered under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.[7]

The two oldest communities in Lakeshore are Comber and Belle River. Comber was settled in 1837 by John Gracey and William MacDowell, two Scotch-Irish Presbyterians from Comber, Ireland. It was named after their home town in 1848 or 1850 when a post office was opened there in Gracey’s home.[8][9]

Belle River, named for the river where it developed, was incorporated as a village on November 26, 1874, but its origins can be traced to the Jesuit Mission of St. Jude. The mission was founded in 1834 to serve the religious needs of the local population of French Catholics. The mission did not receive a resident pastor until 1857, after the Great Western Railway opened the area to large-scale immigration. Over the course of the 1870s, the town’s population was tripled by an influx of settlers from the province of Quebec, sometimes referred to as Canadian French, in contrast to the Fort Detroit French.[10] The earliest industries in the town were operated by Luc and Denis Ouellette, who established a sawmill and gristmill on opposite sides of the river.[11]

In 1881, the population of Comber was 250 and that of Belle River was 650.[12]

Stoney Point was settled by 1851 and incorporated as a village in 1881, at which time it had a population of 375.[13] The church of St. Joachim, which became the centre of the village of the same name, was completed in 1882 and enlarged in 1891. It was established to serve the needs of French Catholics in the area along the Ruscom River, who were distant from the existing parishes in Belle River and Stoney Point.[9][14]

Belle River was well known for bootlegging during Prohibition in the United States. The Wellington hotel, once located on Notre Dame, the town's main street, exported alcohol to the United States. Owners and residents of many American-owned cottages on Charron Beach Road also participated in bootlegging liquor.

In the 1920s, James Scott Cooper, a well-known local entrepreneur and bootlegger, built mansions from his profits in Walkerville and Belle River. The Cooper Court Motel and Bar in Belle River, built in 1920, still operates today. Cooper was a philanthropist and contributed greatly to the construction of Belle River's first high school 1922, St. James High School; it was named informally to honour Cooper's generosity. The building still stands today, housing the local Canadian Legion on Notre Dame Street.[15]


Lakeshore’s economy is based primarily on agriculture and manufacturing. Over 27% of the workforce is employed in the manufacturing sector. The prominence of manufacturing is an outgrowth of the town’s proximity to Windsor and Detroit, the historic centre of North American automobile production. The economy of Lakeshore remains closely tied to that of Windsor: more than 50% of the Town’s total workforce is employed in Windsor.[16]

In recent years important developments in renewable energy, particularly in wind power, have taken place in the town. It is the site of the 72-turbine Comber Wind Farm.


The community's hockey team is the 2018 Stobbs Division Champions Lakeshore Canadiens, who play in the Provincial Junior Hockey League.

The youth sports teams are Belle River Jr. Canadiens (Hockey), Lakeshore Lightning (Girls Hockey), Belle River Braves (Baseball) and Belle River F.C. (Soccer).

Belle River is the birthplace of retired NHL player Tie Domi, and NHL player Aaron Ekblad was raised in Belle River.

Since 1989, Belle River has been known as the "Jet Ski Capital of Canada" due to the numerous personal watercraft riders and racers in the town, many of whom are American visitors. In the past, the community's racing team was named after the URL: To this day there continues to be an annual event hosted by The Midwest Watercross tour in honour of the sport in conjunction with the town's annual Sunsplash festival.



Thames River Lighthouse in Lighthouse Cove

St Joachim ON

St. Joachim

Woodslee United Church

Church in South Woodslee


South Woodslee Cemetery

See also


  1. ^ a b "Lakeshore census profile". 2016 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  2. ^ Statistics Canada. "Census Subdivision of Lakeshore". Focus on Geography Series. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  3. ^ Brown, Alan L. "Puce River Black Community". Ontario's Historical Plaques. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  4. ^ "The Atlas of Canada - Toporama". Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  5. ^ Clark, John. Land Power and Economics on the Frontier of Upper Canada. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press. pp. 66, 73, 631 note 156. See 339 for map of Askin's land.
  6. ^ History of Belle River, 1874-1974 (Histoire de Belle Rivière, 1874-1974). Tecumseh, Ont.: Tribune Print. and Pub. Co., 1974. pp. 7–9.
  7. ^ O’Farrell, John K. A. "Bibb, Henry Walton". Dictionary of Canadian biography. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  8. ^ Scott R. Duquette; Debbie J. Griffin; Victoria Hornick; Maxine Gardiner. The Tilbury Story: Celebration of a Century 1887-1987. Tilbury Ont.: Corporation of the Town of Tilbury. p. 13.
  9. ^ a b Map of "Tilbury West Township, Essex County 1880"
  10. ^ Jack D. Cécillon, Prayers, Petitions, and Protests: The Catholic Church and the Ontario Schools Crisis in the Windsor Border Region, 1910-1928, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2013, pp. 16-41
  11. ^ History of Belle River, 1874-1974 (Histoire de Belle Rivière, 1874-1974). Tecumseh, Ont.: Tribune Print. and Pub. Co., 1974. pp. 12, 9, 49.
  12. ^ Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Counties of Essex and Kent. Toronto: H. Belden and Co. 1880–1881. pp. 11, 14.
  13. ^ Brown, Alan L. "The Founding of Stoney Point". Ontario's Historical Plaques. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  14. ^ Stewart, Peter. "Heritage Assessment of St. Joachim Church, its Rectory, and Monument". Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  15. ^ Gervais, Marty. "James Scott Cooper". The Walkerville Times 33.
  16. ^ "2009 Community Profile: Town of Lakeshore" (PDF). Windsor Essex Development Commission. Retrieved 8 February 2014.

External links

Comber Wind Farm

The Comber Wind Farm is a 165.6 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Lakeshore, Ontario, consisting of 72 2.3 MW Siemens SWT 2.3 wind turbines with 101 meter diameter rotors. Construction was completed in January 2012. It is adjacent to the Gosfield Wind Project.


Elmstead may refer to:

Elmstead, Essex, a village in Essex, England

Elmstead Market, a hamlet in Essex, England

Elmstead, London, an area of Greater London, England

Elmstead Pit, a geological SSSI

Elmstead Wood, a woodland

Elmstead Woods railway station

Elmstead, Ontario, an area of the town of Lakeshore, Ontario, Canada


Etobicoke—Lakeshore (formerly known as Lakeshore and Toronto—Lakeshore) is a federal electoral district in Ontario, Canada, that has been represented in the House of Commons of Canada since 1968.

It covers the southern part of the Etobicoke portion of Toronto on the shore of Lake Ontario including the former 'Lakeshore Municipalities' of Mimico, New Toronto and Long Branch.

This riding has been a destination for Slavic immigrants. The percentage of native speakers of Slavic languages in this riding (primarily Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, Serbian, and Croatian is 15.0%, the highest in Canada.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore (provincial electoral district)

Etobicoke—Lakeshore is a provincial electoral district in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It elects one member to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

It was created in 1987 from Lakeshore.

From 1987 to 1999 the district included all of Etobicoke south of a line following the CP Railway to Kipling Avenue to Bloor Street.

In 1999 the border was moved up to a line following Dundas Street to the 427 to Burnhamthorpe Road to Kipling Avenue to Mimico Creek to the Canadian Pacific Railway to Dundas Street.

In 2007, the borders were not altered.

John Bowen (bishop)

John Bowen LL.D. (November 21, 1815 – June 2, 1859) was an Anglican bishop in Sierra Leone.

Bowen, son of Thomas Bowen, captain in the 85th regiment, by his third wife, Mary, daughter of the Rev. John Evans, chaplain to the garrison at Placentia, Newfoundland, was born at Court, near Fishguard, Pembrokeshire. At twelve years of age he was sent to school at Merlin's Vale, near Haverfordwest, and in 1830 continued his studies at the same place under the care of the Rev. David Adams.

He emigrated to Canada in April 1835, and took a farm at Dunnville, Ontario, on the shores of Lake Erie, where, during the rebellion of 1837–8, he served in the militia. On Sunday, 6 March 1842, he heard a sermon in the church at Lakeshore, Ontario, which made a great impression on his mind, and ultimately led to a desire to prepare himself for the ministerial office.

A favourable opportunity having occurred for disposing of his farm advantageously, he returned to England, and in January 1843 entered himself at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated B.A. in 1847, and became LL.B. and LL.D. ten years later.

John Freeman Walls Historic Site

The John Freeman Walls Historic Site and Underground Railroad Museum is a 20-acre (81,000 m2) historical site located in Puce, now Lakeshore, Ontario, Canada, about 25 miles east of Windsor.

To some the Underground Railroad is thought to be just that, a series of underground railroads that were built to hide and transport former slaves that were seeking to escape from the southern areas of the United States. In actuality it was a web of hidden, interconnected, man-made paths that were shrouded by forests and brush which assisted in the concealment of former slaves until they could reach a Refugee Terminal. These routes had two things in common. They all headed north and towards the free soil of the northern United States and Canada; and at various points along the way they all intersected with Refugee Terminals where runaway slaves could take shelter and would be given food and clothing. Despite the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which stated that "any federal marshal who did not arrest on demand any person believed to be a runaway slave could be fined $1000. As for the runaway slaves themselves, they would be arrested and stripped of any and all civil rights". During the era of the Underground Railroad, the site was among one of several major termini in Southwestern Ontario for fugitive slaves. These locations represented the end of a slave's long journey to freedom where he/she could receive shelter and support until they were ready to move on and begin their own new lives in Canada. As it developed, the site became an important nexus for both the local black community and newly arrived fugitive slaves from the southern United States. Today, many of the original buildings remain, and in 1985, the site was opened as an Underground Railroad Museum. The site forms part of the African-Canadian Heritage Tour in Southern Ontario.

Lake St. Clair

Lake St. Clair (French: Lac Sainte-Claire) is a freshwater lake that lies between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Michigan. It was named after Clare of Assisi, on whose feast day it was navigated and christened by French Catholic explorers in 1679. It is part of the Great Lakes system, and along with the St. Clair River and Detroit River, Lake St. Clair connects Lake Huron (to its north) with Lake Erie (to its south). It has a total surface area of about 430 square miles (1,100 km2) and an average depth of just 11 feet (3.4 m); to ensure an uninterrupted waterway, government agencies in both countries have maintained a deep shipping channel through the shallow lake for more than a century.

List of Members of the Canadian House of Commons (I)

Tony Ianno b. 1957 first elected in 1993 as Liberal member for Trinity—Spadina, Ontario.

David Iftody b. 1956 first elected in 1993 as Liberal member for Provencher, Manitoba.

Michael Ignatieff first elected in 2006 as Liberal member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore, Ontario

James Lorimer Ilsley b. 1894 first elected in 1926 as Liberal member for Hants—Kings, Nova Scotia.

Andrew B. Ingram b. 1851 first elected in 1891 as Liberal-Conservative member for Elgin East, Ontario.

James Innes b. 1833 first elected in 1882 as Liberal member for Wellington South, Ontario.

David Irvine b. 1831 first elected in 1881 as Liberal member for Carleton, New Brunswick.

George Irvine b. 1826 first elected in 1867 as Conservative member for Mégantic, Quebec.

John Alfred Irvine b. 1912 first elected in 1963 as Progressive Conservative member for London, Ontario.

William Irvine b. 1885 first elected in 1921 as Labour Party member for East Calgary, Alberta.

Aemilius Irving b. 1823 first elected in 1874 as Liberal member for Hamilton, Ontario.

Ron Irwin b. 1936 first elected in 1980 as Liberal member for Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Thomas Irwin b. 1889 first elected in 1957 as Social Credit member for Burnaby—Richmond, British Columbia.

Joseph Gaston Isabelle b. 1920 first elected in 1965 as Liberal member for Gatineau, Quebec.

Gordon Benjamin Isnor b. 1885 first elected in 1935 as Liberal member for Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Peter Ittinuar b. 1950 first elected in 1979 as New Democratic Party member for Nunatsiaq, Northwest Territories.

William Bullock Ives b. 1841 first elected in 1878 as Conservative member for Richmond—Wolfe, Quebec.

List of numbered roads in Essex County

In Essex County, Ontario, odd-numbered county roads are north-south, the numbers increasing from west to east. Even-numbered roads are generally east-west roads, the numbers increasing from north to south, but there are exceptions to the rules. County roads are also no longer signed within the city limits of Windsor. There are several roads named "Malden Road", which are not related or connected directly to each other.

The Essex By-Pass (current Highway 3) was built in stages, from 1977 to 1981. The first stage was to just south of Essex, where it was routed along Malden Road to its former alignment (now CR 34). It was extended to Ruthven in 1981, and then routed around Leamington in 1997.

In 2002, the City of Windsor and the Town of Tecumseh swapped land with Windsor. Windsor gained land west of Banwell, which contained the Windsor International Airport and ironically the Tecumseh Mall. While Tecumseh received in exchange land directly south centred around the community of Oldcastle. Portions of several county roads within the land given to Windsor lost their status as county roads and only exist in name. None of these roads have been renamed as of 2016.


Mississauga—Lakeshore (formerly Mississauga South) is a federal electoral district in the Peel Region of Ontario, Canada. It has been represented in the House of Commons of Canada since 1979.

Mississauga—Lakeshore (provincial electoral district)

Mississauga—Lakeshore is a provincial electoral district in Ontario, Canada. It elects one member to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. This riding was formerly known as Mississauga South prior to 2015.

Patrick Michael Hayes

Patrick "Pat" Michael Hayes (October 26, 1942 - May 2, 2011) was a politician in Ontario, Canada. He served as a New Democratic member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1985 to 1987, and again from 1990 to 1995.

Rochester Township

Rochester Township may mean any of the following places:

In Canada

Rochester Township, Essex County, Ontario (historical, now part of Lakeshore, Ontario)In the United States

Rochester Township, Sangamon County, Illinois

Rochester Township, Fulton County, Indiana

Rochester Township, Cedar County, Iowa

Rochester Township, Kingman County, Kansas

Rochester Township, Olmsted County, Minnesota

Rochester Township, Andrew County, Missouri

Rochester Township, Cass County, North Dakota

Rochester Township, Lorain County, Ohio

Rochester Township, Beaver County, PennsylvaniaSee also

Rochester (disambiguation)

Saint Paraskevi

Saint Paraskevi (Greek: Παρασκευή, pronounced [paraskeˈvi], literally "Preparation" as the day of preparation for Sabbath, i.e. Friday) can refer to one of several saints.

In other languages this name is: Greek: Αγία Παρασκευή, Agía Paraskeví; Albanian: Shën Premte; Bulgarian: Света Петка Параскева; Romanian: Sfânta Cuvioasă Parascheva; Russian: Святая Параскева-Пятница; Serbian: Света Петка Параскева / Sveta Petka Paraskeva. Variations of the name include Petka, Paraskeva, Praskovia, Praskovie, Pyatnitsa, Pyetka, Paraskevoula, Paraschiva Voula, Vivi and Evi.

Saint Petka Serbian Orthodox Church

Saint Petka Serbian Orthodox Church (Serbian: Црква Свете Петке), built in 1962 as the Maidstone Central Public School, is located in Lakeshore, Ontario, Canada.The school was one of the many buildings constructed across Canada in the early and mid-1960s in commemoration of the upcoming Centennial.

Stoney Point (Trepanier) Aerodrome

Stoney Point (Trepanier) Aerodrome, (TC LID: CRJ2), is located 2 nautical miles (3.7 km; 2.3 mi) southwest of Stoney Point in the township of Lakeshore Ontario, Canada.

Places adjacent to Lakeshore, Ontario
Attractions and parks

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