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History Geography Sarnia

  History Geography Sarnia, Ontario

History and geography is very important to the residents of Sarnia. If you were born in Sarnia wouldn't you like to know who first came to Sarnia, who named Sarnia, who are the most important people of years gone by relating to Sarnia. Most grade school children write essays on their city or town. If your child had to write an essay on Sarnia, where would they go to get the right information quick and easy? Hopefully Virtual Walk because Virtual Walk tries very hard to find the most accurate information describing the exact details of who first came to Sarnia and how Sarnia came about. The other important part of Sarnia is the geography relating to Sarnia. If your someone new and moving to Sarnia geography is something you'd really want to know about. For instance what's the Sarnia weather like? does it rain all the time or how cold are the winters in Sarnia. Then there's the population in Sarnia what's the age ratio, population and employment rate, visible minority, some of those answers can be found on Sarnia's demographics page. Farmer wanting to move their families to Sarnia, you ask what's the vegetation like, can we grow this or that particular vegetable, or raise certain animals. All these questions should be answered on Sarnia's history and geography page.

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The original inhabitants of the area of Sarnia-Lambton were the Attiwandaron Indians. The Attiwandaron Indians occupied many villages in Western Ontario later known as “the neutrals” by the first French missionaries who visited the area in 1627. Sarnia's natural harbour first attracted the French explorer La Salle. The French missionaries were St. Francis a village situated a few miles from where the Sarnia. formerly “The Rapids” is today. The name "Sarnia" was the Latin name for Guernsey in the Channel Islands just off the coast of Normandy, France. The existence of the Attiwandarons came to end following an attack by the Iroquois nation in 1648. Soon after, bands of Chippewa's moved into the area and lived in three First Nation Communities within the County of Lambton. Until the the Peace of Paris Treaty was signed in 1763 when the British took possession the area of Sarnia-Lambton remained in French control. In an effort to increase settlement, the lands west of the Ottawa River were divided into four districts. The district of Hesse, later to become the western district in 1792.

The first immigrants to settle in the region of Sarnia-Lambton occurred in the early 1830’s and by 1834 there was a population of 1,728, many were farmers and artisans. It wasn't till the potato famine in Ireland in the mid 1840’s that the next lot of settlers arrived. Lambton’s population rose to 10,815 by 1851. In 1849 the County of Lambton was officially established with the name Lambton originating from John George Lambton, Lord Earl of Durham, a former Governor General of British North America in 1838. It wasn’t until 1853 that Lambton became an independent County and elected Archibald Young as its first Warden.
The region of Sarnia was one of that last regions in South-western Ontario to be settled the development and settlement progressed quickly. The natural resources, extensive waterways, forests, and rich agricultural soils, attracted many poor immigrants from the British Isles. Those seeking a better life were lured by the prospect of cheap land. Eventually other settlers, disillusioned by life in eastern regions of the provinces, also made their way to Lambton.
From "The Rapids" to "Port Sarnia" to "Sarnia", the city has undergone many changes from an Indian hunting ground to an up-and-coming settlement and an industrial centre. In 1812, Sir John Colborne was appointed Governor of the Isle of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands. In 1829, the area and Townships of Sarnia and Moore were surveyed by Boswell Mount, and named by Sir John Colborne. Previously thought to be the Roman name for the Isle of Guernsey, it has now been found the name Sarnia has a Celtic origin.
In 1835, Colborne paid his first visit to what is now the city of Sarnia, then known as The Rapids. Previous to his visit, the villagers had decided that a change of name was necessary, but found it impossible to agree on a new name. The English settlers favoured the name "Buenos Aires" and the Scottish "New Glasgow". To break the deadlock, Sir John Colborne suggested Port Sarnia and on January 4, 1836, the name was formally adopted by a vote of 26 to 16.
A year previous to the adoption of the name Port Sarnia, the village was composed of 44 taxpayers, 9 frame houses, 4 log houses, 2 brick dwellings, 2 taverns and 3 stores. An Act to incorporate the Town of Sarnia was assented to on June 19, 1856. The name Port Sarnia was officially changed to Sarnia effective January 1, 1857. The population of Sarnia was mentioned in the Act at upwards of 1,000 inhabitants and there were three wards.

Port Huron to Sarnia Ferry

The early growth of Sarnia was stimulated by the wealth of adjoining stands of timber, by the discovery of oil nearby and by the arrival of The Great Western Railway in 1858 and the Grand Trunk Railway in 1859. These rail lines were later linked directly to the United States by the opening of a rail tunnel under the St. Clair River at Sarnia in 1889. A convenient link for vehicular traffic was provided when the Bluewater Bridge was opened in 1938.
For many years Alexander Mackenzie, who later became the second Prime Minister of Canada, was an editor of the Sarnia Observer. He had set off to Sarnia during the year of 1845, when he had met a lord's daughter and set up a business. He died in Toronto in 1892, aged 70, from a stroke related to a fall and was buried in Sarnia.
Sarnia became a prominent deep water port during the 1920s when many of the shipping facilities that exist today were constructed, including the winter harbour, the elevator slip and the large grain elevators.
While there had been a petroleum industry in the Sarnia area since the mid-1800s, the establishment of the Polymer Corporation in 1942 to manufacture synthetic rubber during World War II was the first step in establishing Sarnia as a major petrochemical centre.
An Act to Incorporate the City of Sarnia was assented to on April 20, 1914, and Sarnia officially became a city as of May 7, 1914. This day was marked by the visit of Canada’s Governor General, H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught, and his daughter Princess Patricia. It was also on this day that Sarnia adopted the title of "The Imperial City". The population Sarnia was mentioned at 10,985 in the Act, and there were six wards.
On January 1, 1991, Sarnia and the neighbouring town of Clearwater were amalgamated as the new city of Sarnia-Clearwater. The amalgamation was originally slated to include the village of Point Edward, although that village's residents resisted and were eventually permitted to remain independent of the city. On January 1, 1992, the city reverted to the name Sarnia.
Many of the Sarnia-Lambton area farmers supplemented their income by selling forest products about 70 per cent of the area residents were farmers. By 1861, the population had reached 24,835 and the principle crops were wheat, peas, pork and cattle. In 1858 James M. Williams developed the world’s first commercial oil well. With the start of the "oil boom", the railway arrived, the shipping industry expanded and ferry service to the U.S. was formed, bringing in prospectors from all over North America.

"oil boom"

Until such time as the discovery of oil, the majority of the labour force was agriculture based. This remained the occupation of dominance until 1921 when industrial workers took over as the primary source of employment. This trend would continue as the need for goods during World War II increased. Sarnia became a major processing centre for oil from Alberta. The Sarnia port is still an important centre for lake freighters and "salties" carrying cargoes of grain and petroleum products. It is the largest community in Lambton County.
The aforementioned natural port and the salt caverns that exist in the surrounding areas, coupled with the oil discovered in nearby Oil Springs lead to the massive growth of the petroleum industry in Sarnia. Since Oil Springs was the first place in North America to commercially drill for oil, the knowledge that was acquired led Sarnians to travel the world teaching other nations how to drill for oil. What is now known as the Chemical Valley, located downriver of downtown Sarnia, once adorned the back of the Canadian ten-dollar bill.
Since 1938, Sarnia has been the Canadian side of Ontario's second busiest U.S.–Canada border crossing after Windsor-Detroit. The Blue Water Bridge also known as the "Sarnia Bridge" links Sarnia's neighbouring village of Point Edward to the city of Port Huron, Michigan.
Sarnia includes the neighbourhoods of Blackwell, Brights Grove, Bunyan, Fourth Line, Froomfield, Heritage Park, Lucasville, Mandaumin, Mitton Village, Robertsville, Schreveshire, Schropshire, Sherwood Village, Wiltshire, Twin Lakes and Vyner.
Sarnia is considered a mild climate for Canadian standards. Winters are cold and summers are warm to hot and generally humid. Lake Huron can create large temperature differences within the city in spring and early summer and during the winter it can create lake-effect snow resulting in white-out conditions and heavy accumulations in the county, though the city itself is said to be sheltered by a bubble of chemical pollutants spawned from Chemical Valley refineries. Humidex readings can be quite high at times from late May to late September. Thunderstorms can become quite severe from April to September. Destructive weather is very rare in the area but has occurred, such as the tornado event of 1953.
Since 1938, Sarnia has been the Canadian side of Ontario's second busiest U.S.–Canada border crossing after Windsor-Detroit. The Blue Water Bridge also known as the "Sarnia Bridge" links Sarnia's neighbouring village of Point Edward to the city of Port Huron, Michigan.
Today, with approximately 128,000 people in Sarnia-Lambton, the petrochemical industry remains a significant sector of the economy. Given Sarnia-Lambton's location bordering the St. Clair River and Lake Huron, tourism is another important industry. Agriculture also remains a significant sector of the economy.

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