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Municipality of Chatham-Kent
Nickname(s): The Maple City, The Classic Car Capital of Canada, C-Town
Coordinates: 42°24′00″N 82°11′00″W / 42.4°N 82.1833333°W / 42.4; -82.1833333
Country Canada
Province Ontario
Established 1998
Government
 - City Mayor Randy Hope
 - Governing body Chatham-Kent Council
 - MPs Bev Shipley (CPC)
Dave Van Kesteren (CPC)
 - MPPs Pat Hoy (OLP)
Maria Van Bommel (OLP)
Area
 - City 2,458 km2 (949 sq mi)
Elevation 198 m (650 ft)
Population (2006)
 - City 108,589
 Density 44.0/km2 (114/sq mi)
 Urban 59,242 (Chatham)
11,114 (Wallaceburg)
5,100 (Blenheim)
  (Ranked 45th)[1]
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC−5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Website www.chatham-kent.ca
Population data by Statistics Canada

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent (2006 population 108,589) is a city-status single-tier municipal government in Southern (Southwestern) Ontario, Canada. The municipality is mainly rural and agricultural, with industry in the larger urban areas.

Contents

History

The former city of Chatham began as a naval dockyard in the 1790s, as it straddles the Thames River. The town was named after Chatham, Kent, England, which was also developed around a naval dockyard. In England, the name Chatham came from the British root ceto and the Old English ham thus meaning a forest settlement.[2] Following the American Revolution and the Gnadenhutten Massacre, a group of Christian Munsee Indians settled in what is now Moraviantown.

In the War of 1812, the Battle of the Thames took place between Moraviantown and Thamesville on October 5, 1813.

During the 19th century, the area was part of the Underground Railroad. As a result, Chatham-Kent is now part of the African-Canadian Heritage Tour. Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site is a museum of the Dawn Settlement, established in 1841 by Josiah Henson near Dresden as refuge for the many slaves who escaped to Canada from the United States.[3] John Brown, the abolitionist, planned his raid on the Harpers Ferry Virginia Arsenal in Chatham and recruited local men to participate in the raid. The small village of North Buxton, part of the African Canadian Heritage Tour, also played an important role in the Underground Railroad.

Kent County consisted of the townships of Camden, Chatham, Dover, Harwich, Howard, Orford, Raleigh, Romney, Tilbury East and Zone. In some of Canada's earliest post-Confederation censuses, some residences in Kent County were incorrectly reported as being in Bothwell "County", which was a separate electoral district comprising parts of Kent and Lambton counties but not a distinct county in its own right.

In 1998 the County of Kent and the city of Chatham were amalgamated to form the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.

Chatham Kent Has many historic festivals through out the year such as the battle of longwoods reenactment, which takes place on labor day weekend at Fairfield Museum on Longwoods road.

Chatham Kent is also home to many historic buildings which are part of an annual ghost tour offered each year at Halloween. The participants go on a guided walk of downtown while the guide informs them of various ghost stories tied to the local buildings in which they pass. Chatham Kent plays host to so much paranormal activity, that numerous books have been published on it.

Chatham Kent was a major part of the underground railroad and as such hosts the Buxton Homecoming each September. This celebrates the areas rich black culture and the roots laid by early black settlers in the Buxton area.

Communities

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent currently consists of the communities of Appledore, Arkwood, Bagnall, Baldoon, Bates Subdivision, Bearline, Beechwood, Blenheim, Botany, Bothwell, Bothwell Station, Bradley, Briarwood Estates, Cedar Springs, Chatham, Clearville, Coatsworth, Croton, Darrell, Dawn Mills, Dealtown, Dover Centre, Doyles, Dresden, Duart, Eatonville, Eberts, Electric, Erie Beach, Erieau, Fargo Station, Fletcher, Florence, Glenwood, Grande Pointe, Guilds, Highgate, Holiday Harbour, Huffman Corners, Jeannette, Jeannette's Creek, Kent Bridge, Kent Centre, Lake Morningstar, Louisville, McKay's Corners, Merlin, Mitchell's Bay, Morpeth, Muirkirk, Mull, New Scotland, North Buxton, North Thamesville, Northwood, Oldfield, Oungah, Ouvry, Pain Court, Palmyra, Pinehurst, Port Alma, Port Crewe, Prairie Siding, Quinn, Raglan, Renwick, Rhodes, Ridgetown, Ringold, Rondeau Bay Estates, Selton, Shrewsbury, South Buxton, Stevenson, Stewart, Thamesville, Thornecliffe, Tilbury, Troy, Tupperville, Turin, Turnerville, Valetta, Van Horne, Vosburg, Wabash, Wallaceburg, Wheatley, Whitebread and Wilson's Bush.

Geography

At 2,458 square kilometres, Chatham-Kent is the twelfth-largest municipality by area in Canada and the largest in southwestern Ontario. Over 59,000 of the 110,000 residents live in the former City of Chatham. Other population centres in the municipality include Wallaceburg, Blenheim and Tilbury, Ridgetown and Dresden.

The Lower Thames River runs through Chatham-Kent to Lake St. Clair in the west, while the Sydenham River flows through Wallaceburg and Dresden. The municipality has several kilometres of shoreline along lakes Erie and St. Clair.

The Indian reserves of Moravian 47 and Bkejwanong (commonly referred to as Walpole Island) border Chatham-Kent.

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Adjacent counties and municipalities

Language

Although most of the population of Chatham-Kent is English-speaking, a few of its communities and Catholic parishes were settled by francophone (French-speaking) farmers in the mid-nineteenth century. These include Pain Court, Tilbury and Grande Pointe, where French is still spoken by a significant percentage of the population. These communities are designated French language service areas under Ontario's French Language Services Act.

Appoximately 8,500 residents of Chatham-Kent have French as a mother tongue and 1,500 have French as their home language. Essex County also has a relatively large francophone population, especially in the municipality of Lakeshore. Together, Chatham-Kent and Essex Counties make up one of the concentrations of Franco-Ontarians in the province of Ontario.

Both elementary and secondary francophone schools exist across the municipality. A French cultural organization, La Girouette, which is based in Pain Court, promotes French-Canadian culture and language in the area.

Economy and industry

Chatham-Kent's economy has a base in the agricultural and automotive sectors. The municipality and senior levels of government are keen to promote continuing diversification.

Located in the "industrial heartland", Chatham's roots in the automotive sector go back to Gray-Dort Motors Ltd., one of Canada's earliest automobile manufacturers. (Chatham was also the birthplace of Hank Chrysler,[4] father of Walter P. Chrysler, founder of the Chrysler automobile company).[5] Today, a heavy truck plant operated by Navistar International Corporation (NYSE symbol NAV) was one of the largest employers in the city. Established in 1912, the operation was threatened with closure in 2002, but remained open thanks to $65 million in government grants and a new collective agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers local representing the workers.[6] Other auto industry plants in the municipality include AutoLiv Canada in Tilbury (airbags), Mahle in Tilbury (emissions controls and plastics).

Blenheim is home to RM Auctions, the world's largest vintage automobile auction house and RM Restorations, the world's largest vintage automobile restoration company. The nickname "The Classic Car Capital of Canada" comes from the company's position in the industry and abundance of classic car events in the community.

Chatham-Kent is the headquarters for Pioneer Hi-Bred Limited (a division of DuPont), a major agricultural seed breeding and biotechnology company. Omstead Foods, founded in Wheatley in 1911 is now the largest fresh fish producer in Canada and second largest frozen vegetable processor.[7] In 1996, Chatham became the home of Commercial Alcohols, which is the largest ethanol plant in Canada, and one of the largest in the world. It produces ethanol for industrial, medical, and beverage uses. In January 2005, the plant was named as one of Canada's 50 best managed companies. There are plans to double the size of the current Chatham facility. The plant faced criticism in the past due to corn mash odour from its stack, but has installed technology to eliminate the problem. However, these efforts need to be readressed, due to the fact that this technology has been discovered to be faulty by many of the local residents.[8]

There are many farms in the municipality, and a number of vineyards have been opened in the last few years.

Many international workers come to Chatham-Kent, especially in the warmer seasons, to do farm labour. In the past there have been allegations of low pay and poor living and working conditions for these agricultural labourers.[9] 'El Contrato', a film by The National Film Board of Canada, addresses these issues in depth.

Chatham is home to the headquarters of Union Gas, a natural gas utility and Spectra Energy company. Other energy related activities include wind farms near the shores of Lake Erie.

Chatham also serves as a retail centre for the municipality and surrounding area. This has included the development of large big-box stores particularly at the north end of Communication Road in Blenheim, and at the north end of St. Clair Street in Chatham.

Mallory Industries is a third generation family owned business started in 1891 by George W. Mallory at his home in Guilds. The factory moved Blenheim in 1914 in order to secure electricity, and moved to its current location on Communication Road south of Blenheim in 1957. Their international operations in Blenheim, ON and Sioux City, Iowa supply squeegees and wash brushes to many top retailers across North America. [1]

Thompsons Limited, formerly known as W.G. Thompson and Sons, Limited, is a third generation family owned and operated business headquartered in Blenheim serving the agricultural industry [2]. Thompsons has a network of modern elevators located across southern Ontario and the United States that receive, process and ship grain and edible beans for domestic and export markets. In addition, the regional grain handling facilities serve as retail centres for seed, fertilizer, crop protectants and other farm services. It also researches and sells seed under its Hyland Seeds brand [3] as well as packages and sells edible bean products and its own popcorn.

Chatham is home to technology companies as well. For example, TekSavvy Solutions Inc. provides high-speed internet, telephone, and other advanced telecommunications services across Canada.

Attractions

Capitol theatre.

The long, white sandy beaches, the fabulous fishing, convenient water access, hiking trails and conservation areas make Erieau an ideal vacation getaway and a fantastic place to live.

On May 5, 2009, it was announced that the Wheels Inn would be closing and downsizing into a Holiday Inn Express.

There are two Provincial Parks in Chatham-Kent, Rondeau Provincial Park and Wheatley Provincial Park, and Point Pelee National Park is nearby. There are also numerous local conservation areas.

Downtown Chatham is home to the annual "Retrofest" organized by the Historic Downtown Chatham BIA, in partnership with the Kent Historic Auto Club.[10] Hundreds of classic car enthusiasts travel to Downtown Chatham to showcase their classic cars and vintage vehicles.

Downtown Chatham is also home to the Chatham Capitol Theatre, a community-based theatre that, when it opened in 1930, was the largest in the region. The current renovation of the theatre is run under the auspices of the Chatham Capitol Theatre Association, a not-for-profit corporation with registered charitable status. The theatre is scheduled to reopen in 2010.[11].

The Chatham Municipal Airport is home to ROCKSTOCK, an annual rock and roll concert. 2008 was the inaugural concert, with headliners such as Finger Eleven, Sloan, The Trews and Thornley. 2009 will see ROCKSTOCK 2, planned to be a 2-day event with one day devoted to Rock and one day devoted to Country. The country day was cancelled due to extremly poor pre ticket sales.

Wolfe Creek BMX is a non profit BMX dirt race track located off of Creek Rd behind The Chatham Compost Depot. Wolfe Creek BMX is affiliated with The Ontario Cycling Association (OCA) and runs sanctioned races including The Provincial O-Cup Series. www.wolfebmx.com Local citizen Tom Maciejowski along with the help of family friends and generous volunteers and contributors are responsible for the upkeep of the facility.

Health care

Chatham-Kent is served by the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. The Public General Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital in Chatham were moved to a single campus in 2004, while the former Sydenham District Hospital remains in Wallaceburg. The eastern portion of the municipality is served by the Four Counties Health Services in Newbury in nearby Middlesex County.

Research published in 2002 by the Heart and Stroke Foundation cited Chatham-Kent as a hotspot for heart disease in Ontario. [12] Further research is underway to determine the reasons for this and other hotspots. Chatham-Kent Public Health launched a campaign in fall 2007 to tackle other ailments prevalent throughout the community, including asthma, chronic allergies, sinus problems, many types of cancer, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, alcoholism, and obesity.[13]

In October 2008, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance was named one of "Canada's Top 100 Employers" by Mediacorp Canada Inc., and was featured in Maclean's newsmagazine.[14]

Chatham-Kent features one of the 14 provincial Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN). The Erie St. Clair (ESC) LHIN services the Chatham-Kent Community as well as Sarnia/Lambton and Windsor/Essex. The ESC LHIN is located in the town of Chatham.

Media

Television stations

  • CHWI (A): a CTVglobemedia television station. The station operates out of Windsor and has offices in both Chatham and Wheatley (where it is licensed). This television station has been operating since October 19, 1993 on channel 16.

Chatham-Kent is also served by stations coming from London, Detroit, Toledo, and Cleveland.

Radio broadcast stations

  • CKSY 94.3FM: an adult contemporary music station on the air since July 1, 1986. In 2002, CKSY swapped broadcasting frequencies with CKUE. CKSY can be heard regularly in the Cleveland, Ohio metro area.
  • CKUE 95.1FM: The Rock, a rock music station established on October 6, 1999. In 2002, CKUE swapped broadcasting frequencies with CKSY. CKUE operates a repeater station in Windsor, Ontario, formerly on 95.1 FM (now moved to 100.7 FM), and thus the broadcast day originates from both the Chatham and Windsor studios.
  • CFCO 92.9FM and 630AM: A news, sports, Country music station. The original AM broadcasting station was launched in 1926; the repeater FM signal, meant to improve the station's reception in office buildings in Chatham-Kent, was launched in 2000. CFCO boasts a large daytime signal that covers much of Michigan, including Metro Detroit, and some of Ohio and Indiana in addition to southwestern Ontario.
  • CBEE 88.1FM: the radio rebroadcast station for CBC Radio One (CBE) out of Windsor, Ontario.
  • CKGW-FM 89.3 FM: Christian music/news/talk station. CKGW is part of the UCB Canada family of stations. Originally planned as repeater of Belleville's CKJJ-FM 102.3 FM, it was reorganized into a stand-alone station before its launch in 2007 and operates at 89.3FM. It includes some programmes from Belleville, plus local standalone programming.
  • CKXS-FM 99.1 FM: The newest radio station in Chatham-Kent, based in Wallaceburg, ON, is operated by Five Amigos Broadcasting. The station began broadcasting in October 2009, and offers an Adult Contemporary music format. It provides a minimum of 91 hours of local programming per broadcast week, with the remainder consisting of syndicated programming.

CKSY, CFCO and CKUE are owned by Blackburn Radio. In addition, some stations out of Detroit, Windsor/Leamington/Sarnia, London/Woodstock, and Cleveland also reach the area.

Print media

The Chatham Daily News is the only daily newspaper in Chatham-Kent. There are several weeklies located in Chatham and the various communities in the municipality, including the Blenheim News Tribune, Chatham This Week, the North Kent Leader in Dresden, Ridgetown Independent News, Tilbury Times, the Wallaceburg Courier Press and the Wheatley Journal.

The Chatham Daily News, Chatham This Week, Wallaceburg Courier Press, Wallaceburg News, and Dresden's North Kent Leader are all owned by Quebecor through their Osprey Media Group and Bowes Publishers Limited subsidiaries.

Online Media

The Chatham Kent Daily Post is the only daily online newspaper in Chatham-Kent that provides coverage of local news, sports, entertainment, and cultural events as well as a number of regular contributing columnists.

Education

Elementary and secondary

There are two anglophone school boards in Chatham-Kent. These are the Lambton Kent District School Board (headquartered in Sarnia) and the St. Clair Catholic District School Board (headquartered in Wallaceburg). The LKDSB is a public school board, and consists of 13 secondary and 53 elementary schools. The St. Clair Catholic board consists of three secondary schools, one in Chatham and two in Sarnia, and 16 elementary schools. There are also independent schools, such as Wallaceburg Christian School and Chatham Christian Schools—an elementary and secondary school in the same building.

Every year in September, Chatham-Kent hosts a "Red Feather" weekend. It is a charity event in support of the local United Way, and runs from Monday-Sunday, but the weekend is the focus of the event. All of the local high schools compete in different competitions. The weekend culminates in a huge dance, but has also faced criticism from locals due to drinking, noise, drug use, and vandalism. In August 2007, the local school board revamped Red Feather due to the above mentioned problems. The traditional dance, the annual parade and broomball and other minor events, have been suspended indefinitely. Although the event has not been completely cancelled, the weekend will only be a shadow of what it once was. It is unknown whether or not it will return in the foreseeable future.

Post-secondary

Chatham-Kent is the home of two colleges - St. Clair College and University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus, popularly known as Ridgetown College.

St. Clair College is a satellite of St. Clair College of Windsor. There are two campuses located in the municipality - Thames Campus (located in Chatham) and the Wallaceburg Campus (located in Wallaceburg). More than 5,000 full time and 12,000 part time students attend the college each year.

Ridgetown College offers diplomas in agriculture, horticulture, and veterinary technology. It was formerly known as Ontario Agricultural College and then Ridgetown College of Agricultural Technology.

Sports

Ice hockey

Chatham has a team in the Ontario Hockey Association Western Junior B league:

  • Chatham Maroons

There are also four teams in the Great Lakes Junior C Hockey League

As well as the Chatham Jr B Maroons, there is also the Chatham Girls Hockey Association, and the Chatham AAA Cyclones, as well as the Chatham Maroons and St. Clair College Saints (Chatham Thames Campus).

Canadian football

In 2006 Chatham entered a team into the inaugural season of the Allstar Peewee Football League, and in 2007 entered a team into the Jr. Ontario Varsity Football League.

  • Chatham-Kent Cougars

Rugby Union football

Founded in 2001, Chatham has a rugby team in the Southwest Rugby Union:

Association Football/Soccer

Chatham-Kent does not have a professional or semi-pro football/soccer team, but there are many leagues for young children to adults that operate in Chatham-Kent.

Transportation

Road

Chatham-Kent is situated just off Highway 401 (also known as "Carnage Alley" because of a string of fatal accidents[15] ), connecting Montreal, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, and Windsor, Ontario; and Detroit, Michigan via the Ambassador Bridge. Blenheim, Chatham and Wallaceburg are linked with Sarnia, Ontario and the Blue Water Bridge to the United States by Highway 40.

The sections of Highway 2 and Highway 3 (the Talbot Trail) in Chatham-Kent were downloaded by the province in 1998, becoming local roads 2 and 3, but they remain significant through routes and are still locally known by their old names.

The first gas station in Canada to sell E85 fuel to the public is located on Park Avenue East in Chatham.[16]

Rail

Chatham station is served by VIA Rail passenger services between Toronto and Windsor, part of the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor with four trips in each direction daily, and the community is served by both the Canadian National Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway for freight transportation.

Bus

Within Chatham public bus services are provided by CK Transit. Chatham-Kent has an intercity bus service, also provided by CK Transit, between all communities in the municipality except Blenheim.

In addition, Chatham-Kent also has intercity bus services, with Greyhound Canada services to and from Windsor, London and Toronto, and through Detroit, Michigan to Chicago, Illinois. These services stop at Thamesville, Chatham and Tilbury.

Air

There is a municipal airport located 14 km south east of Chatham featuring a 5,000-foot (1,500 m) paved, lighted runway, with refuelling facilities (Esso), tie-down services, pilot training and chartered flights. The nearest airports served by regional carriers are Windsor and London.

Famous people from Chatham-Kent

References


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