Chatham-Kent encompasses some of the richest agricultural areas in Ontario's Bluewater regions. It is bounded by Lake Erie to the south and Lake St. Clair to the northwest, which provide outstanding boating, fishing and waterfowl hunting opportunities. The Thames and Sydenham Rivers can also be navigated for considerable distances and marine heritage sites explored at Lighthouse Cove and Wallaceburg. Chatham-Kent is Canada's Classic Car Capital, which hosts several historic vehicle festivals between Blenheim and Wallaceburg. Elegant heritage buildings, museums and galleries grace the communities of Ridgetown, Chatham, Wallaceburg and Dresden, including famous historic sites that commemorate the warrior chief Tecumseh and African-Canadian connections to the "Underground Railroad" that helped to abolish slavery in North America. Historic Downtown districts provide visitors with distinctive dining and shopping experiences. Two provincial parks; Wheatley and Rondeau as well as numerous conservation areas protect beaches, trails, rare Carolinian forests, wildlife and some of the best birding areas in Ontario.
Take a hike along one of the most beautiful old growth forest trails in Essex region. While exploring this 19-hectare Carolinian woodland, you’ll see Tulip-tree, Sassafras, Black Gum, Sycamore and Flowering Dogwood trees, as well as wildflowers such as Trillium, Jack-in-the-pulpit, May Apple, Spring Beauty and Columbine, to mention just a few. Kopegaron Woods Conservation Area is renowned for its spring wildflowers and is a great place for photographers to hone their skills in the brilliant sea of colour that lines the trails. Boardwalk trails meander through this conservation area, and beautiful warblers can be often be spotted resting before continuing their spring migration. The
The Wallaceburg & District Museum is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to preserving and displaying the cultural property of Wallaceburg and the surrounding area. There is a rich heritage to be discovered here at the museum, from one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in Canada to the Lee Enfield Rifle Prototype that was first test fired in Wallaceburg, there is a lot to see and learn! For instance, the Town of Wallaceburg purchased our building from Wallaceburg Hydro for $1.00 in 1983. The vacant Hydro Office at 505 King Street was turned over to the Historical Society by Mayor Donald Truan. The museum had a home. The Wallaceburg & District Historical Society became a
Now in its fourth year with a new name and look, James Street Eatery has a long history with Wallaceburg. In operation since 1911 (Sparta Café), and family owned since the sixties (as Fiesta Restaurant), the recent updates have included a complete renovation, updated menus and growing relationships with local farmers and vendors to bring the highest quality food to the table. Delicious meals, a warm atmosphere and a friendly service team await your arrival in one of the longest running restaurants in Southwestern Ontario. Not interested in a full meal? We have a variety of teas or fresh-ground coffee to go with one of our fresh, baked-in-house desserts. We also carry local wine
Built in 1875, the Ridge House Museum is housed in a typical Gothic revival style home with period furnishings to portray the values and lifestyles of a middle class family. The Ridge House structure and grounds have been restored and are maintained to their Victorian roots. In celebration of the museum’s 40th anniversary, the Ridge House Museum Advisory Committee is hosting a Strawberry Social on June 12. On July 9, 2016 historic characters from Ridgetown and Howard Township’s past come alive in the Ridge House Museum’s event Tales from Greenwood. The museum’s many volunteers portray lively historic tales on walking tours of our local Greenwood Cemetery.
ARTspace is a professionally run gallery operating since 2008 supporting Chatham- Kent artists through exhibitions, sales, art classes and arts related programming. ARTspace has 40 exhibiting members and hosts eight solo exhibitions and an annual member’s show every year. Each exhibition features a free public opening with the artist present and light refreshments. ARTspace is located in Chatham’s downtown core and set amidst boutique shopping and restaurants and is open from noon to 5 pm Tuesday through Saturday. Perhaps you are looking to treat yourself or someone special? We feature locally made, functional and decorative pottery, silver jewellery, turned bowls, wooden
Rondeau offers unique car camping experiences in two ecosystems that are very rare in Canada. Camping in these habitats provides park visitors with the possibility of up-close interactions with rare and interesting animals including Ontario’s only lizard, the Common Five-lined Skink, and the striking Red-headed Woodpecker. The main campground at Rondeau opens the first Friday in April and closes the last Sunday in October. It is located in the north end of the park in an Oak Savanna ecosystem, within walking distance of sandy beaches, the Park Store, prime fishing locations, and other recreational opportunities. Explore the rare ecosystems that jut out from the
Erieau is located at the end of County Rd 12, which leads through lush farmland past McGeachy Pond Conservation Area with its lookout platform and scenic shoreline trail, which is perfect for cycling or walking to Erieau's business district, sandy beach and harbour. The narrow jetty to the lighthouse is intriguing and Rondeau Bay has some of the best walleye and bass fishing on Lake Erie. The Erieau Marsh Trail begins at 17689 County Road 12 and follows an abandoned railway corridor past Rondeau Bay for excellent viewing of wildlife. The former Erie & Huron Railway was built along the dike in 1889 to transport supplies through the region.
The trail head map is located near the picnic pavilion. The cycling trails are marked with a triangle and are quite narrow. Hikers should respect cyclists' right of way on these trails to avoid collisions. The Memorial Groves and its benches provide a tranquil space ideal for quiet reflection. The Peace Garden is an area set aside south of the Memorial Groves to honour past, present and future Canadian peacekeepers. From June to early September, visitors may enjoy an evening of music and refreshments at free outdoor concerts. The Weil Stage, the only outdoor amphitheatre in the area, hosts a wide variety of top-rated musicians. This regular Sunday event has become a family favourite and
Ontario’s “deep south” provincial park – at the same latitude as Northern California. Campgrounds are situated among a tangle of creeks in a beautifully wooded Carolinian forest setting with a number of creekside campsites. Trails wind through a southern style Carolinian forest. Many migratory birds pass through and Point Pelee National Park is only 20 minutes away. The day-use area features two kilometres of sandy beach and a children's playground. Unique foot bridges over a creek system connects campgrounds to day-use areas.
The Historic Downtown Chatham Business BIA is planning its 17th annual RetroFest™ to be held May 26 and 27, 2017.Friday Night is the OLG Classic Car Cruise heading out from the CK John D Bradley Convention Centre at 6 p.m. and cruising to King Street while activities in the Tecumseh Park will include a beverage garden and musical entertainment sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters. On Saturday activities move to Tecumseh Park and downtown King Street and side streets for the Kent Historic Auto Club’s Classic Car Show. All cars must register. Pre-registration is requested through: www.downtownchatham.com. Plaques will be awarded to the first 300 registered at no cost to
Adjacent to Lake Erie, the walking trails, nature centre, washrooms and viewing towers at Hillman Marsh can be accessed from the main entrance. Swimming beaches are accessible North Beach parking lot on Mersea Rd. 2 and from South Beach parking lot located on East Beach Road. The area also has cross-country skiing, fishing, canoe and kayak launches. The nature centre is open at limited times during the spring with educational displays about flora and fauna typical to the area. Witnessing migration activity at the Spring Shore and Songbird Festival in May is one of the highlights of this area. The diverse habitats of Hillman Marsh attract and support marsh, shore and field birds such
Lighthouse Cove is a scenic port located at the end of County Rd 39 and the mouth of the Thames River. The 20-metre high stone lighthouse that was built in the 1800's, marks the location of Lighthouse Cove Conservation Area, a picturesque picnic spot on Lake St. Clair, which is known to anglers for its gigantic muskies. The Cove also has several marinas and restaurants that cater to boaters.
The Chatham-Kent Museum is the vibrant community promoter of historical Chatham-Kent that inspires a love of learning! For over 70 years we have been collecting and preserving the material heritage, and the stories associated with it, significant to the citizens of Chatham-Kent and using this material to educate and engage citizens in a stimulating environment. Highlights in the collection include a nationally designated Gray-Dort automobile, several locally-made horse drawn vehicles, and Emma Milner’s award winning art. The Milner Heritage House, which is seasonally operated, takes visitors back in time to the 1905 era with guided tours of the home by interpreters in period dress.
The Thames Art Gallery in Chatham hosts a number of exhibitions through the course of the year featuring contemporary Canadian artists. The three exhibition spaces are changed every eight weeks and each exhibition features a free public opening with the artist present and light refreshments. The Thames Art Gallery is open 7 days a week from 1-5 PM; admission is free. If you are interested in behind the scenes photographs, installation photographs of past exhibitions, links to our artist in residency program and upcoming classes please follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tagck and Twitter: https://twitter.com/TAG_CK or visit us online at www.chatham-kent.ca/thamesartgallery.
Visitors to Downtown Chatham can sample an eclectic mix of food, fashion and fun while browsing through stylishly restored heritage buildings that lend the downtown its old fashioned charm. The riverside walkway is a lovely promenade that parallels downtown King Street and Tecumseh Park makes a great place to have a picnic. Perry Molema Garden is a nice spot to relax beside the fountain at the corner of William & King Streets.The first big event for downtown Chatham is RetroFest™, the 17th annual festival of classic cars with two full days of nostalgic fun on May 26th and 27th, 2017 from 11 a.m.-11 p.m.On the 3rd Friday of the month starting in warmer weather, Chatham hosts a
Ridgetown is known as “the friendliest town in Ontario” and is home to many visitor services and the Ridgetown Agricultural College, whose gardens and facilities may be toured. The nearby shores of Lake Erie offer a number of attractions: Built in 1875, the Ridge House Museum is housed in a typical Ontario style home with period furnishings to portray the values and lifestyles of a middle class family. The Ridge House structure and grounds have been restored and are maintained to their Victorian roots. Ridge House Museum also presents exhibitions at the Mary Webb Centre community and performing arts venue in Highgate. Rondeau Provincial Park, on Rd 17, has many unusual
Chatham has the distinction of having an historic downtown shopping sector with an abundance of heritage architecture that is easily accessed by road or public dockage and riverside promenade along the Thames River that parallels downtown King Street. Tecumseh Park and Chatham Cultural Centre's museums, galleries and theatre provide fascinating diversions that are all within close walking distance of the downtown. Chatham-Kent is Classic Car Capital of Canada since it has the largest concentration of car festivals, car clubs and industries in the country. RM Classic Cars is located north of Blenheim, just off Hwy 40 beside Hwy 401 exit 90. The shop is one of North America's leading
Wheatley is Ontario’s fishery capital where most of Lake Erie’s commercial fish harvest is processed. Wheatley Provincial Park is located just east of Wheatley off Rd 3. It has beaches, campsites and trails through lush forest that contains sycamores, sassafras, hickory and tulip trees. Hillman Marsh Conservation Area is one of the premier areas for viewing birds in Essex County. The 850-acre marsh contains trails and a beach, at 1826 County Rd 37 & Mersea Rd 2 at the extreme east shore of the county. A fascinating nature display centre, lookout tower and picnic area are located at the northwest corner of the park. The diverse habitats of Hillman Marsh attract over 100
The Wallaceburg & District Museum, located at 505 King St., reflects the colourful history of Wallaceburg. The Glass House Gallery shows off an impressive collection of hand-blown pieces and whimsies from the Wallaceburg glass factory. Displays include an Industrial Exhibit, Baldoon Mystery, Sports Hall of Fame, Marine Room, Streetscape, Legion Room featuring original 1878 prototype Lee Enfield rifles, and changing gallery exhibitions. A favourite exhibit is the world’s largest brass faucet, one of only two made by the Waltec company. Hours are 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Mon. - Sat. Boat dockage is available adjacent to Wallaceburg’s downtown core, from where boaters can
Boat dockage, launches, beaches, picnic areas with shelter pavilions and playgrounds are available at Mitchell's Bay. The extensive marshlands along Lake St. Clair draw anglers and hunters for the chance to bag trophy fish or waterfowl. The area is also prized for its excellent kite boarding and wind surfing conditions, and it has a growing following of surf culture enthusiasts who participate in events and competitions for the water sports every summer.
Dresden is home to a prominent historic site that is part of the African Canadian Heritage Tour: Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site commemorates the work of Josiah Henson who helped runaway American slaves start new lives after following the "Underground Railroad" to freedom. An interpretive centre and pioneer homestead, located at 29251 Uncle Tom's Road, present the story of this international hero. The OLG Slots at Dresden Raceway is a popular entertainment venue for wagering and slot machine gaming.
Blenheim is in the heart of the Carolinian zone where tender fruits such as cherries, plums, peaches, apricots and grapes grow. The orchards are spectacular when they burst into blossom during early May. When harvest season and the Blenheim Cherry Festival arrive in mid-July, delicious fruit becomes plentiful throughout the region. The Blenheim Freedom Library & Military Museum, located at 27 George St., preserves a treasure trove of stories, memorabilia, artifacts and archives from local military personnel with service from WW1 to the present. Summer hours are Tue.- Sat., 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.. Erieau is located at the end of County Rd 12, which leads through lush farmland past McGeachy