Region1: SouthWestern Ontario: District SunParlour
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Surrounded by water, this is Canada's southern most reaches. Both the southern most mainland (Point Pelee) and the most southern point of land period (Pelee Island), reach the latitude of northern California. The warm, moist and extended summer season feeds an agricultural bumper crop; the roadside stands filled to overflowing with an abundant harvest. The intense summer heat and sun provides a compelling reason to sample the numerous beaches, and variety of water sports.
The climate produces Canada's only Carolinian forest. Point Pelee National Park is one of the two sandspit parks in the area. Its preserves feature many plant and animal species found nowhere else in Canada. Jutting like a finger into the lake it points the way to Pelee Island and the chain of Islands that progress like stepping stones across the lake to the American side. From its sanctuary Monarch Butterflies launch themselves in their flight south to Mexico. So dense, in some years these migrations make the trees seem alive. The Pelee passage is an ancient reef structure that witnessed the death agony of many a ship, and now furnishes recreational scuba diving adventures borne from these historical tragedies.
The rightmost theatre of the War of 1812 this strategic location has the scattered ghosts of these times in fortresses, villages, and museums bringing to life the glories and horrors of war, and the salvation of escaped slaves seeking "Canaan".
Cities such as Windsor thrived on the quintessentially Canadian railway, and boomed on the automobile. The glittering lights of the metropolis of Detroit form a towering backdrop to the low and tree-strewn landscape of Windsor. From parks, museums, restaurants, art galleries and the imposing new Casino Windsor offers all the big city attractions in an an almost suburban package.
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Millions of people pour through this International Gateway every year. Its history stretching back to the 17th century, Windsor grew from a series of small communities blending together as they expanded. The railways reached the area in 1854 and the city blossommed. Industry arrived with Hiram Walker's Distillery; the history of prohibition rum-running part of the cities folklore now. The auto industry became the cities trademark in the early days of the century, fueling a growth that now has the city boasting a population of 200,000. A garland of parks wend their way along the river front, the colossal skyline of Detroit a twinkling fortress of light on sultry summer nights. Visit the City of Windsor web page.
After the Revolutionary War, British forces ceded Detroit to the United States. Needing a new military base, Fort Amherstburg was established near the outlet of the Detroit River. It was the logical choice, the river being narrow enough for the guns to command the channel. The fortress served as the focal point for British and Indian operations in the SouthWestern theatre during the War of 1812, most notably for the capture of Fort Detroit. Today the rich history of the town is preserved in the fortifications, houses, parks and museums that pepper this river-side gem.
This pretty town features a number of historic houses, B&B's and wineries. In the heart of greenhouse county the summer produce is excellent. The town features one of the three dive shops within the county, and numerous other attractions.
Famous as the tomato capital of Canada, the Heinz factory presents an imposing edifice on the way to the lake. Not surprisingly the towns symbol is a large tomato that stands proudly on the way into town. The towns new marina and ferry service to Pelee Island make it an excellent gateway to Lake Erie. Passing through town to the east provides access to Point Pelee and Hillman Marsh which offer plenty of natural beauty and quiet beaches.
The gateway community to Essex County. This small town on the edge of the county is quickly accessed from the 401.
Founded in 1794 Chatham is one of the older settlements in SouthWestern Ontario. Located on the mouth of the Thames River it was one destinations on the famous Underground Railway that saw escaped slaves reach sanctuary in Canada.
The southern most point in Canada this lush Island produces some of Southern Ontario's finest wines. Served by the new Ferry Jimaan the Island offers an excellent and accessible day or multi-day trips. Part of an ancient reef structure, the only rock outcroppings in Essex County can be found here. The south end of the Island yields up Alvar Pavement, and glacial markings usually found much further north. The Island is a bird watchers paradise, and offers miles of beaches, forest and trails.
Built as a replacement for Fort Detroit which was surrendered to the US at the end of the Revolutionary war, Fort Maldens guns command the narrowest section of the Detroit river prior to its emergence in Lake Erie. The earthworks and three buildings: an interpretive centre, museum and barracks provide a living glimpse into Canada's military and civilian past. The museum has a very complete collection of military weaponry and fine displays of artwork and artifacts. The barracks offers hands on experience in a lovingly recreated environment. Soldiers display period drill and musketry. The Fort Malden Tatoo in August brings together numerous historic re-enactors for an encampment and mock battles. The park itself is very picturesque with an unusual display of trees and beautiful view of the Detroit River. It is a favourite place for newlyweds seeking the perfect portrait.
This easily missed treasure is tucked away in the rural centre of Essex County. A quiet village of Historic structures was created as these buildings were saved and moved to this site. The result is very interesting collection of buildings and sites that can be enjoyed without the noise and confusion associated with many tourist facilities. Associated with the village is a automotive museum.
The area boasts two national parks. Fort Malden, a national historic site, and Point Pelee, one of the three sandspit parks in Lake Erie. This fragile environment was nearly destroyed, and huge efforts have gone into removing the destructive traces of the carnival lifestyle that prevailed here, and to returning this vestige of Carolinian forest to its former glory. It offers vistas of nature not normally associated with Canada. Hillman Marsh Conservation area further to the east also sports quiet beaches backing onto the marsh. Wheatley provincial park provides the only camping other than Holiday Beach Conservation Area, which is definitely the local favourite. Rondeau Provincial park offers an experience similar to Point Pelee
© M. Colautti 1998, 1999, 2000>
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