This article contains wording that promotes the subject in a subjective manner without imparting real information. (December 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Heart of the Golden Acres
|o Total||4.45 km2 (1.72 sq mi)|
|o Density||1,025.3/km2 (2,656/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (EST)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|Canadian postal code|
|Area code(s)||519 and 226|
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 Treaty #2 of 1790 with Pottowatomie, Huron, Chippewa, and Ottawa leaders in Detroit 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 substantial 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 suspended until the end of the War of 1812.
After the War of 1812, North American settlers began arriving in 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 10 miles (16 km) of dense forest, and its development lagged behind other nearby 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 recorded as 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. When the forests were cut down for farming, the bush became a "patchwork quilt of farms" Even a minor inspection of the contemporary area reveals acres of farms still in operation, but the elk, bear, and wolves are long gone.
Some believe that Blenheim was named after Blenheim Palace in England. However, articles written by historian Dr. Fred Landon in The News Tribune dated February 7, 1934 recount a party in the early days of the settlement, at which local resident Mungo Samson gave a well-received recitation of the poem "The Battle of Blenheim." This allegedly, is where the town got its name. Blenheim, Ontario had a general store by 1845. However, the town was not incorporated until 1885, some 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, tobacco, and corn. Blenheim's primary resource was timber. Once the bush was cleared adequately in about 1900, farming superseded timber as the key resource of Blenheim due to the area's 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 which was 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. The railway arrived in 1894 and traveled through Blenheim to Windsor. The first high school was built in 1900.
As cars became increasingly popular, Blenheim paved its first street in 1920, which opened a period of enormous growth. The 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, which is still present today.
Blenheim grew 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.
Blenheim became a part of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent during the 1998 amalgamation of Kent County and its municipalities. Up until 1988, Blenheim had its own elected officials with: a mayor, two reeves, and six councillors. The current Mayor of Chatham-Kent is Darrin Canniff. In the municipality of Chatham-Kent, Blenheim is a part of the South-Kent region which is represented by 3 councillors: Anthony Ceccacci, Mary Clare Latimer, and Trevor Thompsonn.
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:
Blenheim's slogan is "Experience Unique Shopping", referring to its selection of boutiques and specialty stores. In July downtown businesses offer discounts during Ontario's longest running carnival-sidewalk sale, the Cherry Festival and Sidewalk Days. The Cherry Festival includes a cherry pit spitting contest.
Another tourist attraction in Blenheim is the RM Classic Car Exhibit. A guided tour gives a close-up view of more than 50 classic automobiles from the past century. Blenheim also hosts the Father's Day weekend for the Blenheim Classics Auto-show.
Blenheim is home to two golf courses and Giffin's Maple Syrup Farm. Blenheim also offers a variety of parks and trails including the Talbot Trail place. Other outdoor recreation opportunities can be found in Rondeau Provincial Park, or C.M. Wilson Conservation area.
Local restaurants and eateries in Blenheim include Wayne's Pizza and Subs, Franko's 12 Buck Pizza, The Cherry Tree Cafe, Fat Jimmy'z, Homerun Burger, Venus De Milo, Frostbites Ice-cream shop, Jack's Family Restaurant, and Sandy's Family Cafe.
Tourist attractions can also found at the nearby village of Erieau. Erieau is a waterfront tourist destination, that offers fishing, beaches, restaurants, and the Bayside Brewing Pub.
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.
Blenheim is home to a strong sports community. It is known for its high school sports teams from Blenheim District High School, which are particularly known for their football and rugby programs. The most popular sports team in Blenheim is the ice hockey team the Blenheim Blades.
Blenheim also offers a variety of minor and competitive sports including:
Southern Ontario Motor Speedway(South Buxton Raceway) which features a dirt track for auto racing, is located southwest of Blenheim in South Buxton Ont