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1850 - 1900 History Detail
The Common School Act lays the groundwork for the Ontario School system of today, establishing School Sections (S.S.) in areas from three to five miles square. Subsequently in the Lakeshore region, the Separate School Act, passed nearly 50 years later, leads to all Public Schools in the Town of Belle River being replaced by Roman Catholic Separate Schools from 1899 to 1931. After this, non Catholic students are taught in classes in private homes until a small Public Grade School is opened in 1953, followed by a larger Public School in 1972. North Essex High School is established in Belle River in 1958.
The Great Western Railway opens the region to the people and commerce of eastern Canada and the United States, running along the Lake St. Clair shoreline through the entire length of the present Town of Lakeshore. The railway provides dramatic relief from the inconvenience of land travel and new communities are established along its route. Waterways also play an increasing role. The shipping of lumber and agricultural products from Belle River to other locations along the Great Lakes, especially in the adjacent United States, increases dramatically.
Henry Ford crosses the Detroit River and establishes The Ford Motor Company of Canada Ltd. at Walkerville, which is only 20 km (12 miles) from Lakeshore. This is a prominent part of the automotive revolution which changes the entire character of life in the communities which are now included in Lakeshore. Senior and local governments show an increasing concern for the providing of paved roads and a reliable highway system linking community with community.