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For the former electoral district, see Chatham—Kent. For the town in England, see Chatham, Kent.
Municipality (single-tier)
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
Thames River in Chatham
Thames River in Chatham
Nickname(s): The Maple City, The Classic Car Capital of Canada
Map of Ontario CHATHAM-KENT.svg
Chatham-Kent is located in Southern Ontario
Location of Chatham-Kent in Canada
Coordinates: 42°24′00″N 82°11′00″W / 42.40000°N 82.18333°W / 42.40000; -82.18333
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
County (historical) Kent
Formed by political merger 1998
 • Mayor Randy Hope
 • Governing body Chatham-Kent Municipal Council
 • MPs Bev Shipley (CPC)
Dave Van Kesteren (CPC)
 • MPPs Rick Nicholls (OPC)
Monte McNaughton (OPC)
 • Land 2,458.09 km2 (949.07 sq mi)
Elevation 198 m (650 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Municipality 103,671 (Ranked 50th)
 • Density 42.2/km2 (109/sq mi)
 • Urban 44,074 (Chatham)
10,163 (Wallaceburg)
4,700 (Tilbury)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Postal code N7L - N7M
Area code(s) 519 226

Chatham-Kent (2011 population 103,671) is a single-tier municipality in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. Mostly rural, its population centres are Chatham, Wallaceburg, Tilbury, Blenheim, Ridgetown, Wheatley and Dresden. The current Municipality of Chatham-Kent was created in 1998 by the merger of Kent County and its municipalities.


The former city of Chatham began as a naval dockyard in the 1790s, as it straddles the Thames River. The town was named after the Earl of Chatham, William Pitt (the Elder). It was built as a naval dockyard, a characteristic shared by Chatham, Kent, England. In England, the name Chatham came from the British root ceto and the Old English ham thus meaning a forest settlement.[2] Following the American Revolution and the Gnadenhutten Massacre, a group of Christian Munsee Indians settled in what is now Moraviantown.

In the War of 1812, the Battle of the Thames took place between Moraviantown and Thamesville on October 5, 1813.

During the 19th century, the area was part of the Underground Railroad. As a result, Chatham-Kent is now part of the African-Canadian Heritage Tour. Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site is a museum of the Dawn Settlement, established in 1841 by Josiah Henson near Dresden as refuge for the many slaves who escaped to Canada from the United States.[3] John Brown, the abolitionist, planned his raid on the Harpers Ferry Virginia Arsenal in Chatham and recruited local men to participate in the raid. The small village of North Buxton, part of the African Canadian Heritage Tour, also played an important role in the Underground Railroad.

Kent County consisted of the townships of Camden, Chatham, Dover, Harwich, Howard, Orford, Raleigh, Romney, Tilbury East and Zone. In some of Canada's earliest post-Confederation censuses, some residences in Kent County were incorrectly reported as being in Bothwell "County", which was a separate electoral district comprising parts of Kent and Lambton counties but not a distinct county in its own right.

In 1998 the County of Kent and the city of Chatham were amalgamated to form the Municipality of Chatham–Kent. Most services were also combined. Since then, bus service has begun to serve all of Chatham-Kent. Starting in 2007, routes were set up to include the former towns of Wallaceburg and Dresden. Before 1998, each town had their own fire department. It then became the Chatham-Kent Fire Department upon amalgamation. The county also had separate police departments until 1998. The city of Chatham, as well as the towns of Wallaceburg, Dresden, and Tilbury, each had their own departments. The Chatham-Kent Police Service was formed on September 1, 1998.

Chatham Kent has many historic festivals throughout the year such as the Battle of Longwoods reenactment, which takes place on Labour Day weekend at Fairfield Museum on Longwoods road.

Chatham Kent is also home to many historic buildings which are part of an annual ghost tour offered each year at Halloween. The participants go on a guided walk of downtown while the guide informs them of various ghost stories tied to the local buildings in which they pass.

Chatham Kent was a major part of the Underground Railroad and as such hosts the Buxton Homecoming each September. This celebrates the areas black culture and the roots laid by early black settlers in the Buxton area.


The Municipality of Chatham-Kent currently consists of the communities of Appledore, Arkwood, Bagnall, Baldoon, Bates Subdivision, Bearline, Beechwood, Blenheim, Botany, Bothwell, Bothwell Station, Bradley, Briarwood Estates, Cedar Springs, Charing Cross, Chatham, Clearville, Coatsworth, Croton, Darrell, Dawn Mills, Dealtown, Dover Centre, Doyles, Dresden, Duart, Eatonville, Eberts, Electric, Erie Beach, Erieau, Fargo Station, Fletcher, Florence, Glenwood, Grande Pointe, Guilds, Highgate, Holiday Harbour, Huffman Corners, Jeannette, Jeannette's Creek, Kent Bridge, Kent Centre, Lake Morningstar, Louisville, McKay's Corners, Merlin, Mitchell's Bay, Morpeth, Muirkirk, Mull, New Scotland, North Buxton, North Thamesville, Northwood, Oldfield, Oungah, Ouvry, Pain Court, Palmyra, Pardoville, Pinehurst, Port Alma, Port Crewe, Prairie Siding, Quinn, Raglan, Renwick, Rhodes, Ridgetown, Ringold, Rondeau, Rondeau Bay Estates, Selton, Shrewsbury, Sleepy Hollow, South Buxton, Stevenson, Stewart, Thamesville, Thornecliffe, Tilbury, Troy, Tupperville, Turin, Turnerville, Valetta, Van Horne, Vosburg, Wabash, Wallaceburg, Wheatley, Whitebread and Wilson's Bush.


At 2,458 square kilometres, Chatham-Kent is the 12th largest municipality by area in Canada and the largest in southwestern Ontario. Over 44,000 of the 107,000 residents live in the former City of Chatham. Other population centres in the municipality include Wallaceburg, Blenheim and Tilbury, Ridgetown and Dresden.

The Lower Thames River runs through Chatham–Kent to Lake St. Clair in the west, while the Sydenham River flows through Wallaceburg and Dresden. The municipality has approximately 88 kilometres of shoreline along lake Erie and 24 kilometres along lake St. Clair.

The Indian reserve of Bkejwanong (commonly referred to as Walpole Island) borders on Chatham–Kent, whereas the Indian reserve of Moravian 47 is an enclave within the city and is part of the Chatham–Kent census agglomeration and census division.


Chatham-Kent has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa),[4] with cold, snowy winters and warm to hot, humid summers. A typical summer will feature heat waves with temperatures exceeding 30 °C (86 °F) often. Winters are cold, and feature occasional cold snaps bringing temperatures below −15 °C (5 °F), but also commonly include mild stretches of weather above freezing.

Climate data for Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canada (1981−2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.0
Average high °C (°F) −0.3
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.6
Average low °C (°F) −6.9
Record low °C (°F) −32
Average precipitation mm (inches) 62.7
Average rainfall mm (inches) 31.6
Average snowfall cm (inches) 31.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 12.5 9.3 11.0 13.5 13.3 10.9 9.7 9.6 10.2 11.9 12.6 12.7 137.1
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 5.4 5.2 8.4 13.1 13.3 10.9 9.7 9.6 10.2 11.9 11.9 8.3 118.0
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 7.5 4.7 3.5 0.83 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.04 0.88 5.0 22.4
Source: Environment Canada[5]

Adjacent counties and municipalities[edit]


Population trends[edit]

Racial statistics[edit]

  • White: 92.7%[8]
  • First Nations: 3.1%
  • Black: 2.0%
  • South Asian: 0.5%
  • Other groups: 1.7%

Ethnocultural statistics[edit]

For all groups that comprise at least 1% of the population. Note that a person can report more than one ethnic origin.[9]

  • "Canadian": 34.7%
  • English: 32.9%
  • French: 21.9%
  • Scottish: 20.2%
  • Irish: 19.1%
  • German: 12.2%
  • Dutch: 11.1%
  • Belgian: 5.9%
  • First Nations: 3.1%
  • Italian: 2.1%
  • Polish: 2.1%
  • Ukrainian: 2.0%
  • Welsh: 1.5%
  • Czech: 1.4%
  • Metis: 1.2%
  • American (modern immigrant): 1.2%
  • Hungarian: 1.2%
  • Portuguese: 1.2%
  • British Isles (modern immigrant): 1.0%


Although most of the population of Chatham-Kent is English-speaking, a few of its communities and Catholic parishes were settled by francophone (French-speaking) farmers in the mid-nineteenth century. These include Pain Court, Tilbury and Grande Pointe, where French is still spoken by a significant percentage of the population. These communities are designated French language service areas under Ontario's French Language Services Act.

Approximately 8,500 residents of Chatham-Kent have French as a mother tongue and 1,500 have French as their home language. Essex County also has a relatively large francophone population, especially in the municipality of Lakeshore. Together, Chatham–Kent and Essex Counties make up one of the concentrations of Franco-Ontarians in the province of Ontario.

Both elementary and secondary francophone schools exist across the municipality. A French cultural organization, La Girouette, which is based in Pain Court, promotes French-Canadian culture and language in the area.

Knowledge of official language statistics:[8]

  • English only: 92.2%
  • French only: <0.1%
  • English and French: 7.2%
  • Neither English nor French: 0.5%

Economy and industry[edit]

Chatham–Kent's economy has a base in the agricultural and automotive sectors. The municipality and senior levels of government are keen to promote continuing diversification. The CP railway splits Chatham city in two, and the unstaffed Chatham railway station attends to Via Rail passengers. The train from Chatham to Toronto takes around 3.5 hours, while Windsor is under one hour westwards.

Located in the "industrial heartland", Chatham's roots in the automotive sector go back to Gray-Dort Motors Ltd., one of Canada's earliest automobile manufacturers. (Chatham was also the birthplace of Hank Chrysler,[10] father of Walter P. Chrysler, founder of the Chrysler automobile company).[11] Other auto industry plants in the municipality include AutoLiv Canada in Tilbury (airbags), Mahle in Tilbury (emissions controls and plastics). From 1923 to 2011, Chatham was home to a truck assembly plant for Navistar, originally International Harvester. Navistar had announced plans to close the plant in 2003, but remained open due to government funds and employee concessions. The factory was idled in 2009 amid contract negotiations and finally closed in 2011.[12]

Blenheim is home to RM Auctions, the world's largest vintage automobile auction house and RM Restorations, the world's largest vintage automobile restoration company. The nickname "The Classic Car Capital of Canada" comes from the company's position in the industry and abundance of classic car events in the community.

At the outskirts of Chatham city is the headquarters for Pioneer Hi-Bred Limited (a division of DuPont), a major agricultural seed breeding and biotechnology company. In 1996, Chatham became the home of Commercial Alcohols, which is the largest ethanol plant in Canada, and one of the largest in the world. It produces ethanol for industrial, medical, and beverage uses. In January 2005, the plant was named as one of Canada's 50 best managed companies. There are plans to double the size of the current Chatham facility. The plant faced criticism in the past due to corn mash odour from its stack, but has installed technology to eliminate the problem. However, these efforts need to be readressed, due to the fact that this technology has been discovered to be faulty by many of the local residents.[13]

There are many farms in the municipality, and a number of vineyards have been opened in the last few years.

Many international workers come to Chatham-Kent, especially in the warmer seasons, to do farm labour. In the past there have been allegations of low pay and poor living and working conditions for these agricultural labourers.[14] 'El Contrato', a film by The National Film Board of Canada, addresses these issues in depth.

Chatham is home to the headquarters of Union Gas, a natural gas utility and Spectra Energy company. Other energy related activities include wind farms near the shores of Lake Erie.

Chatham also serves as a retail centre for the municipality and surrounding area. This has included the development of large big-box stores particularly at the north end of Communication Road in Blenheim, and at the north end of St. Clair Street in Chatham.


Capitol theatre.

The long, white sandy beaches, the fishing, convenient water access, hiking trails and conservation areas make Erieau a popular vacation getaway.

On May 5, 2009, it was announced that the Wheels Inn would be closing and downsizing into a Holiday Inn Express.

There are two Provincial Parks in Chatham-Kent, Rondeau Provincial Park and Wheatley Provincial Park, and Point Pelee National Park is nearby. There are also numerous local conservation areas.

Downtown Chatham is home to the annual "Retrofest" organized by the Historic Downtown Chatham BIA, in partnership with the Kent Historic Auto Club.[15] Hundreds of classic car enthusiasts travel to Downtown Chatham to showcase their classic cars and vintage vehicles.

Downtown Chatham is also home to the Chatham Capitol Theatre, a community-based theatre that, when it opened in 1930, was the largest in the region. The renovation of the theatre was run under the auspices of the Chatham Capitol Theatre Association, a not-for-profit corporation with registered charitable status. The theatre reopened in September 2010. Due to the financial restraints of operation the Capitol Theater is now run and owned by St. Clair College. [16]

Wolfe Creek BMX is a non profit BMX dirt race track located off of Creek Rd behind The Chatham Compost Depot. Wolfe Creek BMX is affiliated with American Bicycle Association (ABA) and runs sanctioned races including The Provincial Championship Series. Local citizen Tom Maciejowski along with the help of family friends and generous volunteers and contributors are responsible for the upkeep of the facility.

Health care[edit]

Chatham-Kent is 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 eastern portion of the municipality is served by the Four Counties Health Services in Newbury in nearby Middlesex County.

Research published in 2002 by the Heart and Stroke Foundation cited Chatham-Kent as a hotspot for heart disease in Ontario.[17] Further research is underway to determine the reasons for this and other hotspots. The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit launched a campaign in fall 2007 to tackle other ailments prevalent throughout the community, including asthma, chronic allergies, sinus problems, many types of cancer, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, alcoholism, and obesity.[18]

In October 2008, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance was named one of "Canada's Top 100 Employers" by Mediacorp Canada Inc., and was featured in Maclean's newsmagazine.[19]

Chatham-Kent features one of the 14 provincial Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN). The Erie St. Clair (ESC) LHIN services the Chatham-Kent Community as well as Sarnia/Lambton and Windsor/Essex. The ESC LHIN is located in the town of Chatham.


Television stations[edit]

OTA virtual channel (PSIP) OTA actual channel Call sign Network Notes
16.1 16 (UHF) CHWI-DT CTV Two
33.1 33 (UHF) CICO-DT-59 TVOntario Rebroadcaster of CICA-DT (Toronto)
42 (UHF) CKCO-TV-3 CTV Rebroadcaster of CKCO-DT (Kitchener); transmitted from Oil Springs

Chatham-Kent is also served by stations coming from Windsor, London, Detroit, Toledo, and Cleveland.

Radio broadcast stations[edit]

Frequency Call sign Branding Format Owner Notes
AM 630 CFCO CFCO 92.9 Country music Blackburn Radio Also broadcasts at FM 92.9
FM 88.1 CBEE-FM CBC Radio One Talk radio, public radio Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Rebroadcaster of CBEW-FM (Windsor)
FM 89.3 CKGW-FM UCB Radio Christian radio United Christian Broadcasters Canada
FM 94.3 CKSY-FM 94.3 CKSY Adult contemporary Blackburn Radio
FM 95.1 CKUE-FM Cool 95.1 Adult hits Blackburn Radio
FM 99.1 CKXS-FM 99.1 Hot adult contemporary Five Amigos Broadcasting

Print media[edit]

The Chatham Daily News is the only daily newspaper in Chatham-Kent. There are several weeklies located in Chatham and the various communities in the municipality, including the Chatham Voice, Wallaceburg Courier Press, the Blenheim News Tribune, Chatham This Week, Ridgetown Independent News, Tilbury Times, and the Wheatley Journal.

The Chatham Daily News, Chatham This Week, and Wallaceburg Courier Press, are all owned by Postmedia.

Online media[edit]

The Chatham Kent Daily Post[20] and CKReview are the only daily online newspapers in Chatham-Kent that provide coverage of local news, sports, entertainment, and cultural events as well as a number of regular contributing columnists. The Chatham-Kent Sports Network[21] is an online sports specific news source covering local sports news, scores, and highlights from each of Chatham-Kent's communities. CKSN also follows Chatham-Kent athletes who have progressed to the Junior, College, International, or Professional ranks.


Elementary and secondary[edit]

Chatham Regional Education Center of the Lambton Kent District School Board

There are two anglophone school boards and one francophone school board in Chatham–Kent. These are the Lambton Kent District School Board (headquartered in Sarnia), the St. Clair Catholic District School Board (headquartered in chatham) and the Conseil scolaire catholique Providence (CSC Providence).[22] The LKDSB is a public school board, and consists of 13 secondary and 53 elementary schools. The St. Clair Catholic board consists of two secondary schools, one in Chatham and one in Sarnia, and 26 elementary schools. There are also independent schools, such as Wallaceburg Christian School and Chatham Christian Schools—an elementary and secondary school in the same building.

The French Catholic board, headquartered in Windsor, has its Chatham-Kent regional office in Pain Court.[23]


Chatham–Kent is the home of two colleges – St. Clair College and University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus, popularly known as Ridgetown 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.

Ridgetown College offers diplomas in agriculture, horticulture, and veterinary technology. It was formerly known as Ontario Agricultural College and then Ridgetown College of Agricultural Technology.



Chatham has a team in the Ontario Hockey Association Western Junior B league:

  • Chatham Maroons

There are also four teams in the Great Lakes Junior C Hockey League

Other teams that take to the ice in Chatham-Kent include the Chatham Outlaws Girls Hockey Association, the Chatham AAA Cyclones, and St. Clair College Saints* (Chatham Thames Campus).

  • Currently defunct.

Canadian football[edit]

The Chatham-Kent Cougars Football Club started in 2006. In 2006 Chatham-Kent entered a team into the inaugural season of the Allstar Peewee Football League, and in 2007 entered a team into the Jr. Ontario Varsity Football League. Now Chatham-Kent plays in the OFC with 4 spring/summer teams.

  • Chatham–Kent Cougars Football Club

Rugby Union football[edit]

Founded in 2001, Chatham has a rugby team in the Southwest Rugby Union:

Association Football/Soccer[edit]

Chatham-Kent does not have a professional or semi-pro football/soccer team, but there are many leagues for young children to adults that operate in Chatham–Kent.


St. Clair Street (Hwy 40) in Chatham


Chatham-Kent is situated just off Highway 401, connecting Montreal, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, and Windsor, Ontario; and Detroit, Michigan via the Ambassador Bridge. Blenheim, Chatham and Wallaceburg are linked with Sarnia, Ontario and the Blue Water Bridge to the United States by Highway 40.

The sections of Highway 2 and Highway 3 (the Talbot Trail) in Chatham–Kent were downloaded by the province in 1998, becoming local roads 2 and 3, but they remain significant through routes and are still locally known by their old names.

The first gas station in Canada to sell E85 fuel to the public is located on Park Avenue East in Chatham.[24]


Chatham station is served by Via Rail passenger services between Toronto and Windsor, part of the Quebec City – Windsor Corridor with four trips in each direction daily, and the community is served by both the Canadian National Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway for freight transportation.


Main article: CK Transit

Within Chatham public bus services are provided by CK Transit. Chatham-Kent has an intercity bus service, also provided by CK Transit, between all communities in the municipality except Wheatley.

In addition, Chatham-Kent also has intercity bus services, with Greyhound Canada services to and from Windsor, London and Toronto, and through Detroit, Michigan to Chicago, Illinois. These services stop at Thamesville, Chatham and Tilbury.


There is a municipal airport located 14 km south east of Chatham featuring a 1500m paved, lighted runway, with refuelling facilities, tie-down services, pilot training and chartered flights. The nearest airports served by regional carriers are Windsor and London.

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Chatham-Kent, Municipality Ontario (Census Subdivision)". Census Profile, Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-24.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "cp2011" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ The Place Names of Kent, Judith Glover, 1976, Batsford. ISBN 0905270 614
  3. ^ Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site
  4. ^ Peel, M. C. and Finlayson, B. L. and McMahon, T. A. (2007). "Updated world map of the Köppen–Geiger climate classification" (PDF). Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 11: 1633–1644. doi:10.5194/hess-11-1633-2007. ISSN 1027-5606. 
  5. ^ "Chatham WPCP". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  6. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-24. 
  7. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". Canada 2001 Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012. Retrieved 2011-02-24. 
  8. ^ a b Community Profiles from the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Division
  9. ^ Ethnocultural Portrait of Canada - Data table
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ Chrysler: The Life and Times of an Automotive Genius, Vincent Curcio, Oxford University Press US, 2001, ISBN 0-19-514705-7, 9780195147056 (Google Books).
  12. ^ "Navistar pulls plug on plant". London Free Press. August 3, 2011. 
  13. ^ Greenfield Ethanol Press Release
  14. ^ "Migrant tomato workers complain of substandard conditions". CBC News. May 21, 2001. 
  15. ^ Chatham Annual Retrofest
  16. ^ Chatham Capitol Theatre - Engaging, Inspiring, Transforming
  17. ^ Realty Times - Real Estate News and Advice
  18. ^ Are You Sure You’re OK Campaign
  19. ^ "Reasons for Selection, 2009 Canada's Top 100 Employers Competition". 
  20. ^ News In Chatham-Kent | The Chatham-Kent Daily Post |
  21. ^ Chatham-Kent Sports Network
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Bureau satellite de Chatham-Kent." Conseil scolaire catholique Providence. Retrieved on December 15, 2014. "Adresse: 14, rue Notre Dame C.P. 70 Pain Court Ontario N0P 1Z0 Canada"
  24. ^ "E85 Gasoline Now Available in Chatham-Kent". 2007-06-26. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  • Barbara Coltart & Beverly Easton 'History of Erieau Yacht Club' (Erieau, ON : Erieau Yacht Club, 1967)

External links[edit]