Fighting Island

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Fighting Island
Fighting Island is located in Ontario
Fighting Island
Fighting Island
Location Detroit River
Coordinates 42°13′18″N 83°07′12″W / 42.22167°N 83.12000°W / 42.22167; -83.12000Coordinates: 42°13′18″N 83°07′12″W / 42.22167°N 83.12000°W / 42.22167; -83.12000
Area 6.06 km2 (2.34 sq mi)
Highest elevation 174 m (571 ft)
Territory Ontario
County Essex
City La Salle
Population 1 (permanent)

Fighting Island is a 610-hectare (1,500-acre) island in the Detroit River, and is the largest Canadian island in the river. It is part of the town of LaSalle, Ontario, Canada, opposite Wyandotte, Michigan and downriver from Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario.


Originally populated by indigenous peoples, it was settled by the French during the 18th century, and has had numerous owners since then. The island took its name from the Indian artifacts that were first spotted on the island in 1810.[1]

The island was the site of a brief skirmish on February 24 and 25, 1838, during the Battle of Windsor, part of the Patriot War.[2]

In 1918, the land was bought by John B. Ford of the Michigan Alkali Company and was used as a location to deposit waste from their industrial plants which produced soda ash, lye and baking soda.[3] Nearly 15,000,000 m3 (20,000,000 cu yd) of high-pH waste was dumped on the island during its industrial history.[4] Michigan Alkali Company became Wyandotte Chemicals Corporation, which was subsequently bought by BASF, who are the current owners of the island. A current programme running on the island is used to teach elementary/secondary schools about biology and ecology.


  1. ^ "Farmer's History of Detroit: Chapter 2 The River, Islands, Wharves and Docks, Streams And Mills". Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Ross, Robert Budd (1890). The Patriot War. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society. pp. 21–23. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  3. ^ Mark Brush (June 12, 2013). "Fighting Island in the Detroit River no longer a wasteland". Michigan Radio. Retrieved July 5, 2015. 
  4. ^ Tina Lam (June 7, 2009). "Detroit River island goes from wasteland to sanctuary". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved July 5, 2015.