River Canard, Ontario
River Canard is a hamlet of roughly 500 people in the north part of Amherstburg, Ontario and the southern part of Lasalle, Ontario, Canada, approximately 12 miles south of Windsor, Ontario, situated on the Canard River. It is home to St. Joseph's church, an attractive French-Canadian church similar to St. Joachim Church in Lakeshore (now closed), and Ste. Anne's Church in Tecumseh. The town also contains a bowstring arch bridge that carries Essex County Road 8 over the Canard River.
Originally named Rivière-aux-Canards ("Duck River"), the community is home to one of the last vestiges of the French-speaking inhabitants of the Detroit River region, settled from France and Quebec in the 18th century. At St. Joseph's parish, one can still (2016) hear the mass in French. St. Joseph Church was built in 1915 and was renovated in 2015 at a cost exceeding $1.6 million, raised in large part by its parishioners.
The main sub-division in River Canard is built on property formerly owned by Thos. J Beneteau and his son, Bernard. Thomas and Bernard were farmers who grew corn and peas for the Green Giant label. The farm was sold to developer Carl Lamp. The main road through the subdivision is called Beneteau Drive. Lamp named the side streets "David," "Lydia," and "Ryan," presumably for members of his family. As part of the development agreement, a street called Alta B crescent was so named to honour the 5 children of Thomas and Pearl Beneteau: Agnes, Leona, Theresa, Annette, and Bernard (Bernie). The subdivision abuts the picturesque St Joseph Church property with its companion St. Joseph elementary school.
Battle of River Canard
River Canard was the site of the Battle of River Canard between British and American forces on July 16, 1812, during the War of 1812. An American force of 280 men under Colonels Cass and Miller skirmished with British troops near the bridge. Two British soldiers, James Hancock and John Dean were captured. Hancock would die of his wounds later in the day, becoming the first British casualty of the war. Dean was taken prisoner to Detroit where his left arm was amputated due to wounds. He would be liberated with the capture of Fort Detroit by the British one month later.
River Canard is one of the oldest European settlements in North America. A reasonable history of the area appears in The Windsor Border Region: Canada's Southernmost Frontier, edited by Ernest J. Lajeunesse, C.S.B. and published by The Champlain Society for the Government of Ontario, University of Toronto Press, 1960.
See also Jack Cécillon, Prayers, Petitions and Protests: The Catholic Church and the Ontario Schools Crisis in the Windsor Border Region, 1910-1928, Montreal: McGill Queen`s University Press, 2013.
- "Delicate renovation of historic River Canard church in full swing". Retrieved October 24, 2016.
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