In 2001, the last year where Forest was a national census unit, the town had a population of 2,857, and the average age was about 42; five years older than the provincial average. The average earnings among Forest's residents was $27,902 (CAD) in the year 2000. In 2006, the local census unit is the town of Lambton Shores, and data for Forest itself is not available.
Forest has a high school, North Lambton Secondary School. This facility includes a large gymnasium, and cafeteria as well as meal preparation facilities. As well as a high school there are elementary schools in the public (Kinnwood Central Public School) and separate (St. John Fisher) school systems.
Recreational facilities include an enclosed arena for hockey or ringette, a community centre for dances held by the town with baseball and soccer fields, a lawn bowling club, public tennis courts and an agricultural society with grounds used for a fall fair and occasional campsites. There are a dozen golf courses within a 20-mile drive.
Forest Amphitheatre is a natural amphitheatre located at the conservation area (Esli Dodge Conservation Area) in the south part of the town. The stage is situated on a small island, and spectators sit on the surrounding hillsides on lawn chairs or blankets. Hundreds attend outdoor performances there each summer. An annual performance of a religious play (entitled: The Promise), acted in by members of the town, was held annually from 1995 until 2005. In 2006 a play entitled "Their Finest Hour" was performed, and since 2007 country music concerts entitled "Music In the Valley" have been held there.
Forest is situated on what was once dense forest. When the Grand Trunk Railway was built through where the town now sits, the station was named for the dense forest. Hickory Creek, which meanders through the town, provided water for the station in those days when wood and water were essential to the operation of steam locomotives.
The first post office, in 1859, was then named Forest. The site was very near the junction of three township boundaries, with parts of Warwick, Plympton and Bosanquet townships all annexed into the town. None of these townships remain as political units due to amalgamation, with Bosanquet joining Forest in forming Lambton Shores (along with the villages of Arkona, Thedford, and Grand Bend).
The industry of the town was initially tied to the abundant fruit growing operation ... there was once a canning factory and a basket factory in Forest. In more recent years the town has become a dormitory community for the city of Sarnia (and to a lesser extent London, Ontario). Support to the extensive tourism area along the shores of nearby Lake Huron also supports several businesses. Several small factories supporting the auto industry have also opened in the past few years.
Forest was the birthplace of John L. McPherson, missionary and General Secretary of the Hong Kong YMCA from 1905 to 1935.
Singer-songwriter Emm Gryner grew up in Forest. Her birth name is Mary, hence "Emm".
Robyn Doolittle, journalist with the Toronto Star, grew up in Forest. Doolittle's news stories concerning Mayor Rob Ford, including one where she described watching a video of the Mayor apparently using a crack pipe, brought her international attention, particularly after the Mayor's ultimate admission he had smoked crack in a drunken stupor.
- "From Forest to Dublin via Germany with Roslyn Fuller". Retrieved 2009-08-16.
- "Trinity College Dublin". Retrieved 2009-08-16.[dead link]
- "Seven Towers Agency - Friends and Colleagues". Retrieved 2009-08-16.