History


The Town of Lakeshore was established in 1999 by the amalgamation of the former Town of Belle River and the former Townships of Maidstone, Rochester, Tilbury North and Tilbury West.

Lakeshore involves an area bordered on the north by the shoreline of Lake St. Clair, so the region was among the first in the interior of Canada to be explored and then settled by people of European descent.

The land occupied by the Town has a long and colourful history, and here are a few highlights from the past three centuries.

A Brief History
 

1701
Cadillac's soldiers were the first Europeans to explore what is now Lakeshore
1754
Two lanterns and a wooden structure stood on the banks of Lake St Clair at the mouth of the Thames River guiding the paths of Fur Traders, Merchant Boats and pioneers looking to discover a new land. This structure has come to be known as The Lighthouse Cove Lighthouse. Over time the Lighthouse has been upgraded and maintained and today it remains, leading mariners into the historical Thames River. In the years since it was erected, details of the Lighthouse are rich with history.
1793
A British surveyor maps out the northern part of the future Town of Lakeshore.
1796
The French Connection. Jay's Treaty clears the way for increasing settlement of Lakeshore by French and also some English speaking colonists.
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1800
Early industries include the lumber trade, agriculture and grain milling
1833
The Slavery Abolition Act outlaws servitude in the British Empire. Many Black people flee the United States and join those who have already come to Lakeshore.
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1850
The Common School Act establishes the first School Sections (S.S.) in Upper Canada (today's Province of Ontario).
1854
The Great Western Railway opens the region to rapid settlement from the continent's eastern seaboard.The future Town of Lakeshore also begins to see the development of a shipping industry, transporting lumber and other commodities to ports on the Great Lakes and especially to such nearby United States communities as Detroit.
1904
Henry Ford establishes Ford of Canada in nearby Windsor. The automobile further and dramatically links the five original Lakeshore communities to the commerce and industry of this part of the Canada and United States border region.
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1919
Ontario votes for a modified version of Prohibition; it forbids the public consumption of alcohol but ironically, not the manufacture or export of it. So Lakeshore's extensive water access makes it a favourite locale for the transport of liquor to the U.S.A. The time becomes one of the most storied eras in Lakeshore's history.
1920's
1930's
The region develops inventive and Roaring 20s style entertainment enterprises (how about a combination dance floor and sports venue out of doors?). It also attracts new industrial and agricultural interests; but after Black Tuesday, October 29th, 1929, the Lakeshore communities and much of the rest of the world are plunged into the
decade of the Great Depression.
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1939 to 1945
Canada's participation in World War II shapes a generation, redefines sacrifice and brings a wrenching end to a desperate financial period.
Lakeshore people join in newfound prosperity but also share in the inevitable heartaches of wartime.
1950's
1960's
1970's
Post war reorganization and progress. Placing the Lakeshore communities on a peacetime footing brings with it the inevitable but promising challenges of population shift, booming development and an increased awareness of shifting economic priorities.For much of the Lakeshore region, agriculture remains predominant, but a trend toward industrial and commercial enterprise gains influence and acceptance.

1980's & 1990's

All five Lakeshore municipalities experience the growth which comes from confident and increased investment, new technologies and
even more mobile populations.
1999
New efficiencies. Amalgamation transforms five urban/rural municipalities into the new Town of Lakeshore.
The Present
Lakeshore continue to lead as one of Canada's fastest growing and most progressive communities.
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Date edited: 11/17/2017