Blenheim, Ontario

Infobox City
official_name = Blenheim, Ontario
nickname = Heart of the Golden Acres
motto =


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subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = Province
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name = Canada
subdivision_name1 = Ontario
subdivision_name2 = none–Single-tier municipality
leader_title =
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established_title = Incorporated
established_date = 1885
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 4.36
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population_as_of = 2001
population_note =
population_total = 5100
population_density_km2 = 1096.3
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timezone = Eastern (EST)
utc_offset = -5
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latd=42 |latm=20 |lats=03 |latNS= N
longd=81 |longm=59 |longs=52 |longEW=W
postal_code_type = Postal code
postal_code = N0P 1A0
website =
footnotes = Population data by Statistics Canada

Blenheim is a community located in south-central Chatham-Kent, in Ontario, Canada, with a population of 5100.

History

By 1783, there were French settlers in Detroit and Windsor. There were also settlers in the Niagara and Kingston region, but no real settlers to speak of in the Kent County region. In 1790, Alexander McKee negotiated a treaty with Native Indians to acquire what is now Southwestern Ontario. With this area now being British owned, settlers began moving rapidly into this new land area, and eventually, the County of Kent, and Blenheim.

Land began being surveyed in 1791 in Harwich township under the order of Lt.-Col. John Graves-Simcoe. Joining his crew was a man named Thomas Talbot who expressed great interest in this land, and Simcoe granted him any plot of land he so desired. He decided on a plot where present day Fingal resides. Being a man with great finances, he set out to begin road building in Southwestern Ontario in 1800. His main road was designed to go all the way to Detroit. It consequently ran directly along a ridge of high land, and on that ridge is where present day Blenheim stands. The great Talbot Project was put on hold until the completion of the War of 1812.

After the war, North American settlers began arriving to this area to live peaceful lives after a violent war, as did settlers who came from England after a European war with France. After timber clearing, this land was ready for growth. Blenheim itself was established in 1825-1850. It was amidst convert|10|mi|km of dense forest, and its development lagged behind other close by settlements. Albert Robertson purchased this land, and after the real estate traded hands over a few years, Harvey Halstead, Thomas Lynch, and George Hughson were the first three lot tenants who built homes.

This “Ten Mile Bush” was a dense Carolinian forest with wild elk, bear, wolves and eagles inhabiting the region. [Hamil, Fred Coyne. (1951)."The Valley of the Lower Thames: 1640 to 1850".Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 15, 258, 310.] When the forests were cut down for farming, the bush became a “patchwork quilt of farms.” [Armstrong, Alvin. (1985)."The First 200 Years of Blenheim and South Harwich". Blenheim: Blenhiem News Tribune. 10.] Even a minor inspection of the contemporary area reveals acres of farms still in operation, but the elk, bear, and wolves are now long gone.

Blenheim was named after Blenheim Palace in England, and had a general store by 1845. However, it was not incorporated into a town until 40 years later. In 1837 James W. Little, a militia officer and land speculator of neighbouring Raleigh Township, purchased land at the intersection of Ridge Road and Communication Road, the latter planned by Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe to connect the town of Chatham with Lake Erie. The area consisted of fertile farmland noted for sugar beets, tomatoes and corn. Blenheim's primary resource was timber. Once the bush was cleared adequately in about 1900, farming took over as the key resource of Blenheim, with its rich soil and ideal climate.

By 1874, Blenheim had a full list of occupants varying in professions from dentistry to carpentry. In 1866, a town hall was built, fit for a village, ready to emerge as an important voice in Kent County. Blenheim became an official town in 1885.

In 1888, a church for the large Methodist population was built. The telephone was introduced to Blenheim in 1885 by Bell. Electricity came in 1888. A full-fledged fire department arrived in 1891. A railway arrived in 1894 and traveled through Blenheim to Windsor. The first high school was built in 1900.

As cars became more and more popular, Blenheim paved its first street in 1920, opening a period of enormous growth. Prohibition gave Blenheim a chance to grow as many men were involved in illegal rum running operations for larger centres. In 1924, W.G. Thompson opened a grain mill for local farmers, still present today.

Blenheim proceeded to grow through the "Starving 30s", and the "War-Torn 40s". The period of 1950 to the present time has seen Blenheim mature into a town of 4,800.

Today Blenheim’s claim to fame is the RM Classic Car Exhibit. A guided tour gives a close up view of more than 50 classic automobiles from the past century.

Economy & Industry

Blenheim is rich in agricultural industries including Rol-land Farms, Platinum Produce and Thompsons Limited. Blenheim has a diverse industrial base, which is focused in Blenheim's Industrial Park and surrounding area. Major employers in the area include:

* Inergy Automotive Systems (194 employees), manufacturers of plastic fuel systems
* Thompsons Limited (125 employees), processors of agricultural grain and corn products
* Mallory Industries Inc. (127 employees), producing snow and car wash brushes and window cleaning products
* Konal Engineering & Equipment Inc. (87 employees), designers, manufacturers and installers of rim metering systems.
* Erie Architectural Products Inc. (55 employees) manufacturer of aluminum architectural framing
* Woodbridge Foam (42 employees), manufacturer of headrests for the automotive industry.
* Joycor Inc (30 employees)an ISO 9001:2000 ISO 14001 (pending) manufacturer of wood pallets and crates Certified heat treated for shipments worldwide.Lumber,Corrugated CTPAT
* Roger's Industries (approx. 30 employees), manufacturers of quality stainless steel parts

Demographics

According to the May 2001 census, the population of Blenheim was 4.780 people, compared with a resident population in the province of Ontario of 11,410,050 people.

In 2001, 16.7% of the resident population in Blenheim were 65 or over compared with 13.2% in Canada. The median age is 39.0 years compared to 37.6 for all of Canada. 48.2% were male and 51.8% were female. Children under five account for approximately 5.9% of the population. This compares with 5.8% in Ontario, and almost 5.6% for Canada overall.

In the five years between 1996 and 2001, the population of Blenheim declined by 1.9%, compared with an increase of 6.1% for Ontario as a whole.

Religion

*Protestant: 59.0%
*Catholic: 26.1%
*Other Christian: 3.6%
*Other religions: 0%
*No religious affiliation: 11.2%

Language

*English: 93.4%
*French: 1.3%
*French and English: 0.2%
*Other: 5.1%

Immigration

*Canadian-born population: 91.4%
*Foreign-born population: 8.1%
*Non-permanent residents: 0.5%

Education

Blenheim's elementary and secondary schools are under the control of two school boards, the Lambton Kent District School Board and the St. Clair Catholic District School Board.

Elementary schools

*Harwich-Raleigh Public School
*St Anne Catholic School [Grade 4-8]
*St Mary Catholic School [Junior Kindergarten-Grade 4]
*W.J Baird [Junior Kindergarten-Grade 8]

Secondary school

*Blenheim District High School

Media

*"Blenheim News Tribune": A weekly newspaper published every Wednesday.

Sports

Ice Hockey

* Blenheim Blades

Golf

* [http://www.blenheimgolfcourse.com/ Blenheim Community Golf Course]
* [http://www.deerrungolfcourse.com/ Deer Run Golf Course]

Martial Arts

*Dynasty Martial ArtsBlenheim United Church
* [http://www.dynastymartialarts.ca

References

External links

* [http://www.blenheimontario.com/ Blenheim Web Page]
* [http://theweatherchannel.ca/weather/cities/can/Pages/CAON0064.htm/ Blenheim Weather]
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rls=DVFA,DVFA:1970--2,DVFA:en&q=%22blenheim%20ontario%22&oe=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl/ Google map of Blenheim]
* [http://www.southkent.net/~bdhs/ Blenheim District High School]
* [http://harwichraleigh.lkdsb.net/ Harwich Raleigh Public School]
* [http://www.st-clair.net/schools/anne/ St. Anne Catholic School]
* [http://www2.st-clair.net/schools/school.asp?loc=98 St. Mary Catholic School]
* [http://wjbaird.lkdsb.net/ W.J. Baird Public School]
* [http://www.blenheimblades.com/ Blenheim Blades]
* [http://www.blenheimrotary.com/ Blenheim Rotary Club]


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