Wiarton, Ontario

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Wiarton
Community
Wiarton
Wiarton
Wiarton is located in Ontario
Wiarton
Wiarton
Location of Wiarton in Ontario
Coordinates: 44°44′37″N 81°08′27″W / 44.74361°N 81.14083°W / 44.74361; -81.14083Coordinates: 44°44′37″N 81°08′27″W / 44.74361°N 81.14083°W / 44.74361; -81.14083
Country Canada
Province Ontario
Town South Bruce Peninsula
County Bruce
Settled 1866
Incorporated 1880 (village)
Incorporated 1894 (town)
Amalgamated 1999
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 2,291
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)

Wiarton is a community in Bruce County, Ontario, at the western end of Colpoys Bay, an inlet off Georgian Bay, on the Bruce Peninsula. The community is part of the town of South Bruce Peninsula, Ontario.

Wiarton is known for the Wiarton Willie Festival, in February each year, when national and international media cover Wiarton Willie and his Groundhog Day prediction.[2]

History[edit]

Wiarton began its existence in 1855, when it was surveyed and laid out on lands recently acquired from the First Nations in the area. It was named after the birthplace of Sir Edmund Head, the Governor General of Canada from 1854 to 1861. Settlement first began in 1866, and in 1868, a post office was established.

In 1880, Wiarton was incorporated as a village, then with a population of 750. By 1894, Wiarton had become a town with a population of 2,000, a number similar to its present population of 2,300.

Until 1996, Wiarton was known around Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, as the home of Wiarton Coast Guard Radio, providing continuous weather reports to mariners and residents.[3]

In 1999, Wiarton was administratively amalgamated into the new municipality of the Town of South Bruce Peninsula.

Geography and climate[edit]

Geographically, the town is defined by the rugged limestone cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment (a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve – one of only twelve such reserves in Canada), which bisects the town. The town rests on the picturesque shores of Colpoys Bay, part of Georgian Bay, itself part of Lake Huron, one of the Great Lakes whose waters are shared between Canada and the USA.

The town has long been known as the gateway to the Bruce Peninsula, the peninsula separating Georgian Bay from the rest of Lake Huron.

Wiarton has a warm summer humid continental climate (Dfb under the Koppen Climate Classification) with four distinct seasons. Winters are cold and very snowy with much of it coming from lake effect snow. Because of its location on three sides of water, snowfall totals are very high with an annual average of 404.8 cm. Summers are warm and sunny with a July average of 18.9 degrees Celsius. The average precipitation is 1047.9 mm.

Climate data for Wiarton Airport (1981−2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.8
(64)
16.9
(62.4)
23.1
(73.6)
30.0
(86)
32.1
(89.8)
33.3
(91.9)
33.4
(92.1)
35.0
(95)
35.6
(96.1)
28.3
(82.9)
23.3
(73.9)
18.1
(64.6)
35.6
(96.1)
Average high °C (°F) −2.4
(27.7)
−1.8
(28.8)
2.7
(36.9)
10.3
(50.5)
16.5
(61.7)
21.5
(70.7)
24.1
(75.4)
23.5
(74.3)
19.7
(67.5)
13.0
(55.4)
6.6
(43.9)
0.5
(32.9)
11.2
(52.2)
Daily mean °C (°F) −6.3
(20.7)
−6.1
(21)
−1.9
(28.6)
5.3
(41.5)
11.0
(51.8)
15.9
(60.6)
18.9
(66)
18.3
(64.9)
14.6
(58.3)
8.6
(47.5)
3.1
(37.6)
−2.8
(27)
6.6
(43.9)
Average low °C (°F) −10.1
(13.8)
−10.4
(13.3)
−6.4
(20.5)
0.4
(32.7)
5.4
(41.7)
10.3
(50.5)
13.5
(56.3)
13.1
(55.6)
9.5
(49.1)
4.2
(39.6)
−0.5
(31.1)
−6
(21)
1.9
(35.4)
Record low °C (°F) −36.4
(−33.5)
−34.8
(−30.6)
−30.7
(−23.3)
−17.8
(0)
−5
(23)
−1.6
(29.1)
3.3
(37.9)
1.7
(35.1)
−3.4
(25.9)
−7.2
(19)
−18
(0)
−26.6
(−15.9)
−36.4
(−33.5)
Precipitation mm (inches) 99.5
(3.917)
74.0
(2.913)
67.4
(2.654)
73.1
(2.878)
83.5
(3.287)
76.4
(3.008)
65.8
(2.591)
77.7
(3.059)
103.1
(4.059)
101.0
(3.976)
115.7
(4.555)
110.6
(4.354)
1,047.9
(41.256)
Rainfall mm (inches) 22.6
(0.89)
21.3
(0.839)
36.5
(1.437)
58.0
(2.283)
83.0
(3.268)
76.4
(3.008)
65.8
(2.591)
77.7
(3.059)
103.1
(4.059)
97.2
(3.827)
79.1
(3.114)
30.0
(1.181)
750.6
(29.551)
Snowfall cm (inches) 111.7
(43.98)
77.7
(30.59)
39.7
(15.63)
17.3
(6.81)
0.5
(0.2)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
4.1
(1.61)
44.7
(17.6)
108.9
(42.87)
404.8
(159.37)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 23.5 18.0 14.1 12.7 12.5 11.3 10.3 10.6 13.4 16.8 18.8 22.4 184.4
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 4.7 3.8 6.6 10.3 12.4 11.3 10.3 10.6 13.4 16.2 12.8 6.6 119.1
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 21.3 16.4 9.7 4.0 0.33 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.03 1.2 8.5 19.3 80.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 53.6 88.0 150.6 193.6 241.7 265.4 300.2 259.5 183.4 130.7 61.8 45.8 1,974.3
Percent possible sunshine 18.7 30.0 40.8 48.0 52.7 57.0 63.7 59.6 48.7 38.3 21.4 16.7 41.3
Source: Environment Canada[4]

Economy[edit]

Wiarton railway station, 1907

Wiarton's most important businesses were initially founded on the lumber industry. The harvest of timber and the manufacture of goods from lumber were an important industry early in the town's development, until two widespread forest fires, the first in the late 1800s and the later in the early 1900s, wiped out the local forests.

The next most important industry was fishing. In 1906, Wiarton was awarded a federal fish hatchery, which helped maintain the fish stock in the area for many years. Fishing was at its peak in the early 20th century, but suffered from the introduction of the invasive sea lamprey to the upper Great Lakes through the Welland Canal in 1921. By 1932, the sea lamprey had arrived in Georgian Bay, and, together with the Great Depression, it brought the decline of the fishing industry.

In 1881, the first train arrived in the town as part of Grand Trunk Railway system, for which Wiarton served as its northern terminus, extending to a new wharf in Colpoys Bay constructed in 1882. The last passenger train ran in 1957, when the Canadian government cut back funding on the railways. Freight trains continued using the tracks until 1968, when the lines were abandoned.

Tourism[edit]

Wiarton is best known for the Wiarton Willie Festival and Wiarton Willie, the albino groundhog who purportedly predicts the length of winter every Groundhog Day. Tourism forms an important part of the town's modern economy, attracting many seasonal visitors to the area's cottages and resorts, and to the town's marina. The Bruce Trail, Canada's oldest and longest footpath,[citation needed] provides public access to the 725-kilometre-long Niagara Escarpment which runs through the town.

Things to do around Wiarton:

  • The Bruce Trail runs through Wiarton on its way up the Bruce Peninsula to Tobermory. The Trails run along the Niagara Escarpment giving hikers a view of Georgian Bay
  • The Grey Bruce Snowmobile Trail runs through Wiarton - access to trails towards Sauble Beach and Tobermory.
  • Bruce Caves - Bruce's Caves Conservation Area derives its significance from the cave formations found along the escarpment face. These caves were formed by the wave action of post-glacial Lake Algonquin, 7,000 to 8,000 years ago
  • Fishing - Colpoys Bay is a calm bay located on Georgian bay. Every year there are several fish derby's in the area and large salmon and trout can be fished from the waters of the bay.
  • Bruce Ski Club & Sauble Beach Ski Club Cross-country skiing club located in Grey and Bruce County offering 3 groomed trails for all levels.

Music[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2011 Census Profile-Wiarton". Statistics Canada. 2011. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  2. ^ Your Guide To Wiarton, Wiarton Bruce Peninsula Ontario.
  3. ^ North Channel Cruise 1997.
  4. ^ "Wiarton Airport". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
  5. ^ » Rogers Stan » White Squall Lyrics

External links[edit]