Wallaceburg, Ontario

Infobox City
official_name = Municipality of Chatham-Kent, Ontario
nickname = Chatham - The Maple City & The Classic Car Capital of Canada
nickname = Wallaceburg - Glass Town of Canada
motto =

imagesize =
image_caption =


mapsize =
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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 = City Mayor
leader_title1 = Governing body
leader_title2 = MPs
leader_title3 = MPPs
leader_name = Randy Hope
leader_name1 = Chatham-Kent Council
leader_name2 = Bev Shipley (CPC)
Dave Van Kesteren (CPC)
leader_name3 = Pat Hoy (OLP)
Maria Van Bommel (OLP)
established_title = Established
established_date = 1998
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 2458
area_total_sq_mi = 949
area_land_km2 =
area_land_sq_mi =
area_water_km2 =
area_water_sq_mi =
area_water_percent =
area_urban_km2 =
area_urban_sq_mi =
area_metro_km2 =
area_metro_sq_mi =
population_as_of = 2006
population_note = (Ranked 45th) [ [http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/data/popdwell/Table.cfm?T=301&SR=749&S=1&O=A&RPP=100&SRCH=1 Population and dwelling counts, for Canada and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data ] ]
population_total = 108177
population_density_km2 = 44.0
population_density_sq_mi =
population_metro = 108589
population_density_metro_km2 = 44.0
population_density_metro_sq_mi =
population_urban = 59242 (Chatham downtown),
11114 (Wallaceburg),
5100 (Blenheim)
timezone = Eastern (EST)
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST =
utc_offset_DST =
latd=42 |latm=24 |lats=00 |latNS= N
longd=82 |longm=11 |longs=00 |longEW=W
elevation_m = 198
elevation_ft = 650
website = [http://www.chatham-kent.ca www.chatham-kent.ca]
footnotes = Population data by Statistics Canada
Wallaceburg is a community (pop. 11,114) located in the municipality of Chatham-Kent [http://www.chatham-kent.ca/default.htm] , in southwestern Ontario, Canada. Originally a small settlement, it was recognized for its significant contribution to the lumber and boat building industries and strategic location along the banks of the scenic Sydenham River. In more recent years the town was known for its glass making industry. For that reason many peoplewho around the country referred to Wallaceburg as the “Glass town of Canada." The town was founded in the early 1800s and named after Scotland's national hero, William Wallace. Wallaceburg is home of WAMBO (Wallaceburg Antique Motor and Boat Outing), an annual antique car and boat show that began in the mid-1980s.

Wallaceburg History

The Baldoon Settlement

The first settlers to the Wallaceburg area came in 1804. They initially settled along the Snye River at a location they called the Baldoon Settlement. Lord Selkirk, a Scottish Lord, provided an opportunity for poor farmers and peasants from Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland to what is now known as Wallaceburg to build better lives for themselves. He is often considered a great philanthropist for his efforts working with his poor countrymen. Unfortunately, the early Baldoon settlers faced a plethora of difficulties: malaria, harsh winters, marshland, lack of food, and American invaders during the War of 1812. By the 1820’s the settlement was deemed a failure by Lord Selkirk and other interested parties. The Baldoon settlers, however, did not give up, many of them contributed to the early success and development of the town of Wallaceburg. [Campey, Lucille H. The Silver Chief: Lord Selkirk and the Scottish Pioneers of Belfast, Baldoon, and Red River. Toronto: Natural Heritage Books, 2003, 51-60]

The Baldoon Mystery

The Baldoon Mystery is one of Ontario's greatest haunting stories, handed down by word of mouth [http://www.visualheritage.ca/kent/baldoonmystery.htm] . The strange events of this case are alleged to have occurred between 1829 and 1840, within a few kilometers of Wallaceburg, Ontario. [http://www.visualheritage.ca/kent/baldoonmystery.htm] .

Wallaceburg Industrial History

The town's first major industry was the lumber trade. It was highly successful during the mid to late nineteenth century. The most notable business that developed during this era was known as the Wallaceburg Cooperage Company. It was opened by David Alexander Gordon and his uncle Captain James Steinhoff in 1887.By the end of the nineteenth century it was difficult to make large profits off of a declining hardwood supply. Industrialists needed to find other business ideas to sustain the local economy. [ Mann, Alan and Frank. "Settlement on The Sydenham: The Story of Wallaceburg." Wallaceburg: Standard Press, 1984, 2-4. ] When historians think of Wallaceburg they often remember its three major modern industries: glass, brass, and sugar [http://www.visualheritage.ca/kent/sugar.htm] . In 1894 the Sydenham Glass Company began. The glass making industry in Wallaceburg lasted over 100 years. The factory closed in 1999. This left approximately 1000 workers unemployed. Another notable industry was the Canadian and Dominion Sugar Company. It was opened in 1901. The company was known for producing raw sugar from sugar beets. It closed in 1960. The Wallaceburg Brass Company was the third staple industry. It opened in 1905 and was famous for creating brass faucets and plumbing supplies. The company later became known as Waltec. The factory stopped manufacturing in Wallaceburg as late as 2006. [Ibid. 10-14]

The Lee Rifle Prototype

In 1878, James Paris Lee (1832-1904) and his brother John perfected a rifle with a box magazine in Wallaceburg. [ [http://www.visualheritage.ca/kent/rifle.htm Chatham-Kent: Lee-Enfield Rifle ] ] This rifle later became an antecedent to the famous Lee Enfield rifle. A well trained gunman could fire approximately 15-30 shots a minute. The prototype was tested successfully in Wallaceburg and is currently housed at the Wallaceburg and District Museum [http://www.kent.net/wallaceburg-museum/flashindex.html] . [ [http://www.visualheritage.ca/kent/rifle.htm Chatham-Kent: Lee-Enfield Rifle ] ]

Tourist Attractions

Wallaceburg is home to a number attractions and yearly events. Tourists come to Wallaceburg to experience great fishing, hunting, golf, and pleasure boating. Fisherman enjoy a great variety of species that include, bass, walleye, perch, pike, muskie, trout, and panfish. Hunters take pleasure in searching for the area's abundant population of water fowl, deer, and rabbits. Baldoon Golf Club attracts tourists from around North America. It is an attractive and challenging 18 hole course that is located near the mysterious Baldoon Settlement. Boaters enjoy a vast array of rivers and lakes. There is still water for knee boarders and wake boarders. There is also open water near by for those who enjoy sailing and scuba diving.

Rifle. The dates back to 1878 and was invented/perfected in Wallaceburg by James Paris and John Lee. The first shots of the rifle were believed to be taken at the Lee Foundry on the banks of the Sydenham River. [Myszkowski, Eugene. The Remington-Lee Rifle. New York: Excalibur Publications, 1994, 11-15.] The community also hosts a number of annual events that attract people from around North America. WAMBO is the most notable and is commented on at length below. Live theatre can be experienced at various times during the year. The Oaks Inn hosts a popular dinner theatre seasonally. The Jeanne Gordon Theatre also puts on at least two productions annually.

Wallaceburg is also only minutes from Uncle Tom's Cabin, and is within an hour's drive of [http://www.rmauctions.com RM Auctions (Blenheim)] , Point Pelee National Park, and Rondeau Provincial Park.


WAMBO is an acronym that stands for the Wallaceburg Antique Motor Boat Outing. It is Wallaceburg’s largest annual summer festival and was started in 1988. It takes place on the second weekend of August every year. The event attracts approximately 30 000 visitors to see the antique boats, cars, motorcycles, airplanes, fire trucks, tractors, and other various antique vehicles [http://www.kent.net/wambo/] . In addition to antique vehicle exhibitions, WAMBO also includes a number of other significant events: A car dream cruise, soap box races, a toy show, art in the park, live bands, food vendors, art and craft vendors, pioneer crafts at the museum, camping in Crothers Park, and free admission to the Wallaceburg and District Museum. [ [http://www.kent.net/wambo/ Wallaceburg Antique Motor and Boat Outing, WAMBO, one of Canada&#8217's foremost transportation displays of antique, classic and specialty vehicles ] ]


Wallaceburg is a small community that has a strong education system. The town has seven elementary schools, a large highschool, and a college.

The catholic elementary schools include: St. Elizabeth, Holy Family, and Christ the King. The public elementary schools include: D.A. Gordon, H.W. Burgess, and A.A. Wright. There is also Wallaceburg Christian School.

Wallacburg District Secondary School is the town's highschool. It accommodates children from Wallaceburg and the surrounding rural communities.

Wallaceburg is also home to an affiliate campus of St. Clair 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.


Wallaceburg and Chatham-Kent as a whole are 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 Sydenham District Hospital was opened in 1957 after many years of lobbying. Wallaceburg is one of the few smaller communities in Ontario that has a fully functioning facility. It has an E.R., surgical department, x-ray, laboratory, and several qualified doctors and surgeons.


Wallaceburg is home to an assortment of semi-pro and amateur sports teams. The Wallaceburg Lakers are a local Junior C hockey team. The Wallaceburg Red Devils are a local Junior B lacrosse team. Other teams include the Wallaceburg Warriors, men's and women's baseball teams, and the Wallaceburg District Secondary School Tartans. In 2001, the Wallaceburg Red Devils won the Founders Cup, Canada's national Lacrosse Championship.


Wallaceburg is linked to Chatham, Blenheim, Sarnia, Ontario and the Blue Water Bridge to the United States by Highway 40. It is also known as Canada's inland deep water port. The Sydenham River runs through the town of Wallaceburg. It connects the town via water to Lake St. Clair and the rest of the Great Lakes water basin.


* [http://www.wallaceburgcourierpress.com/ The Wallaceburg Courier Press] : The current paper of record in Wallaceburg, it's a local paper owned and operated by Bowes Publishers Limited. Owned by Gary O'Flynn from its debut in September 1972 to 1991. O'Flynn was a former mayor of the town (1989-1991).
* [http://www.thewallaceburgnews.ca The Wallaceburg News] : a local paper owned and operated by the Osprey Media Group. The Wallaceburg News was the oldest paper in Wallaceburg. It first closed in 1996. It later reformed in 1999 as the Wallaceburg Community News. The Wallaceburg News merged with the Chatham Kent Citizen in October 2007, and closed their office.

First Nations

Walpole Island is a community in southwestern Ontario, Canada, on the border between Ontario and Michigan in the United States [http://www.bkejwanong.com/] . It is located in the mouth of the St. Clair River on Lake St. Clair, approximately thirty miles (50 km) northeast of Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario. It is unceded territory and is inhabited by the Chippewa, Potawatomi, and Ottawa peoples. According to one tradition, Tecumseh's grave is on the reserve there. The population as of the 2001 census was 1,843. It is part of Lambton County, and adjoins the city of Chatham-Kent and the township of St. Clair. Across the St. Clair River to the west are the city of Algonac, Michigan, and Clay Township, Michigan, in the United States.Walpole Island is only minutes away from Wallaceburg. For this reason many of their children attend Wallaceburg District Secondary School.


In the November 2006 municipal election Tom McGregor and Sheldon Parsons were elected as Ward Five Chatham-Kent councillors. These two men are responsiable to constituents in the Wallaceburg area. Go to Chatham-Kent Council for a list of other municipal politicians.

Previous Representatives:
*2003-2006 Chip Gordon and Tom McGregor
*2000-2003 Chip Gordon and Tom McGregor
*1997-2000 Chip Gordon and Jeff Wesley

Following is a partial list of Wallaceburg Mayors prior to amalgamation into Chatham-Kent:
*1991-1997 Jeff Wesley
*1989-1991 Gary O'Flynn
*1981-1989 Don Truan
* ? - ? Lou Stonehouse

People who are from Wallaceburg are affectionately known as "Wallies."

Community organizations

Wallaceburg is home to a number of strong community organizations. The list of groups include: the Wallaceburg & District Chamber of Commerce, the BIA, the Rotary, Knights of Pythias, Knights of Columbus, Royal Canadian Legion, Kinsmen, and others

The community is also home to the Wallaceburg and District Museum.

Famous people from Wallaceburg

*Brad MacArthur - Toronto Rock player
*Shaun Suisham - Washington Redskins kicker
*Sean Pollock - Minnesota Swarm player
*Doug Shedden - NHL player, EV Zug head coach
*David Corrente - Syracuse Chiefs AAA Baseball
*John Lee - Co-Inventor of the Lee Rifle 1878
*Ruby (Jeanne) Gordon - Metropolitan Opera singer
*James Wynard Steinhoff - Wallaceburg's First Mayor and Sydenham Glass Company Co-Founder
*David Alexander Gordon - Liberal Party M.P., Wallaceburg Mayor, Co-Founder of Sydenham Glass Company


External links

* [http://www.kent.net/wambo/ WAMBO website]
* [http://www.blindeyemovie.com/ Blind Eye Website] - a 2006 movie filmed in part in Wallaceburg
* [http://www.kent.net/wallaceburg-museum/flashindex.html Wallaceburg & District Museum]
* [http://www.wallaceburgchamber.com/index.html Wallaceburg & District Chamber of Commerce]
* [http://www.visualheritage.ca/kent/index.htm A Multi-Media History of Chatham Kent]
* [http://www.uncletomscabin.org/ Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site]
* [http://www.chatham-kent.ca/default.htm Chatham-Kent Municipality Website]

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