Southampton, Ontario

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Southampton
View of 201 High Street, the traditional Town Hall.
View of 201 High Street, the traditional Town Hall.
Country Canada
Province Ontario
County Bruce
Town Saugeen Shores
Government
 • Type Municipal
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-)
Area code(s) 519

Southampton is a community of 3083 people on the shores of Lake Huron in Bruce County, Ontario, Canada, located at the mouth of the Saugeen River.

Although the community still has its own post office, it became part of the municipality of Saugeen Shores in the 1990s. Saugeen Shores is made up of Southampton, Port Elgin, and the former Township of Saugeen. The community of Southampton continues to expand. It has become a bedroom community and a retirement destination, as well as a tourist destination. It is within 40 kilometers of Bruce Power nuclear power station.

History[edit]

The Walker House, a historic hotel in the village since the 1860s.

The community was originally known as Saugeen by the early inhabitants, the Canadian Post Office and Custom House Departments. However, the Crown Land Departments labelled the village as Southampton and the name stuck as the town was incorporated, named after Southampton, the English sea port. The first European settlers of the area were Captain John Spence and William Kennedy, who wanted to establish a fishing company.[1] While it proved unfruitful, Spence became a sailor and Kennedy joined a search for the Arctic explorer, Sir John Franklin. Nevertheless, in 1851 there were at least a dozen families living in the community.[1] In the same year, the Post Office was established, the first and only in Bruce County for several years.[2] Three years later, a Bank of Upper Canada was built.

The pioneers of Southampton wanted the village to become the county town or county seat, as the village held the only Crown Land Department and Post Office in the county. However, the town of Kincardine had a larger population and seemed the strongest rival. Furthermore, Southampton did not have enough population to meet the requirements for incorporation. The town petitioned the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and the elective officials passed an exceptional Act of Incorporation on July 24, 1858 to allow the community to be considered for the county seat. Despite their efforts, Walkerton eventually won the battle.[3]

The townspeople commissioned different levels of government to build a bridge across the Saugeen River in the early 1860s. This bridge, now demolished, was known as Dennys Bridge. The community was still unhappy with the location of the bridge, as it is far from the centre. In 1889, a bridge was constructed closer to the mouth of the river and to the downtown and it still stands as part of Highway 21.[4]

In the early 2000s, a historically significant shipwreck was discovered on the beach. Relics of the ship, "General Hunter," can be found in the Bruce County Museum.

Southampton was also home to one of the last Gaelic speaking communities in Ontario. As late as the 1930s, the language was still used in everyday speech by local fishermen.

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Southampton
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18.9
(66)
15.0
(59)
25.6
(78.1)
27.8
(82)
32.2
(90)
34.4
(93.9)
35.6
(96.1)
35.6
(96.1)
35.0
(95)
30.0
(86)
25.0
(77)
18.3
(64.9)
35.6
(96.1)
Average high °C (°F) −2.7
(27.1)
−2.6
(27.3)
2.5
(36.5)
9.2
(48.6)
15.6
(60.1)
20.7
(69.3)
22.8
(73)
22.3
(72.1)
18.8
(65.8)
13.3
(55.9)
6.7
(44.1)
0.3
(32.5)
10.6
(51.1)
Daily mean °C (°F) −6.3
(20.7)
−6.6
(20.1)
−1.5
(29.3)
5.0
(41)
10.8
(51.4)
15.8
(60.4)
18.7
(65.7)
18.4
(65.1)
15.1
(59.2)
9.7
(49.5)
3.8
(38.8)
−2.7
(27.1)
6.7
(44.1)
Average low °C (°F) −10
(14)
−10.8
(12.6)
−5.6
(21.9)
0.7
(33.3)
5.9
(42.6)
10.9
(51.6)
14.5
(58.1)
14.6
(58.3)
11.2
(52.2)
6.0
(42.8)
0.8
(33.4)
−5.9
(21.4)
2.7
(36.9)
Record low °C (°F) −32.8
(−27)
−37.2
(−35)
−29.4
(−20.9)
−20
(−4)
−5.6
(21.9)
−1.1
(30)
2.8
(37)
1.1
(34)
−3.3
(26.1)
−11.1
(12)
−19.4
(−2.9)
−27.2
(−17)
−37.2
(−35)
Precipitation mm (inches) 87.9
(3.461)
50.1
(1.972)
46.4
(1.827)
53.2
(2.094)
59.1
(2.327)
70.6
(2.78)
66.5
(2.618)
82.8
(3.26)
85.9
(3.382)
71.2
(2.803)
71.8
(2.827)
83.1
(3.272)
828.4
(32.614)
Rainfall mm (inches) 12.5
(0.492)
13.7
(0.539)
28.2
(1.11)
50.0
(1.969)
58.9
(2.319)
70.6
(2.78)
66.5
(2.618)
82.8
(3.26)
85.9
(3.382)
70.6
(2.78)
57.1
(2.248)
31.5
(1.24)
628.2
(24.732)
Snowfall cm (inches) 75.3
(29.65)
36.4
(14.33)
17.6
(6.93)
3.3
(1.3)
0.2
(0.08)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
4.2
(1.65)
14.7
(5.79)
51.5
(20.28)
203.2
(80)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 16 12 9 10 10 11 8 10 12 14 14 15 140
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 2 2 5 9 10 11 8 10 12 13 11 5 99
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 14 10 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 11 44
Source: Environment Canada[5]

Attractions[edit]

33 Victoria Street, the Old Public School, now part of the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre.

This area is famous for its fabulous sunsets.[citation needed] Every Friday night in July and August you can hear the skirl of a bagpiper under the giant flag at the foot of High Street, a tradition which started in the late 1990s. During the months of July and August there are "Ghost Walks" available every Tuesday and Wednesday nights with Katherine Leonard & Kerry Kitchenham. These commence at sunset at the foot of High St at the "Flag". During the summer and early fall, the beaches are full of people who have come to see the colourful sunsets lighting up the sky over the lake. Southampton, a popular summer getaway, is close to Chantry Island, Port Elgin, Saugeen First Nation and Sauble Beach. There are many summer activities to participate in while in Southampton. These include: canoe and kayaking on the river, biking the railway trail, swimming, sailing, or just spending time on the wide sandy beach. There is an active Tennis Club with three separate court locations in town, and three golf courses are in the vicinity.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Robertson, 509.
  2. ^ Robertson, 510.
  3. ^ Robertson, 511.
  4. ^ Robertson, 521.
  5. ^ Environment CanadaCanadian Climate Normals for Southampton . Retrieved 18 March 2012.

References[edit]

Robertson, Norman. The History of the County of Bruce. Owen Sound: Richardson, Bond, and Wright, 1971.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°30′00″N 81°22′01″W / 44.500°N 81.367°W / 44.500; -81.367