Join In The Festivities For The Municipality Of Leamington’s 150th Anniversary

The area known as Leamington and Mersea Township was first explored by French explorers in the 17th century.

In 1835, all the land west of what is now Highway 77 was settled by Charles Stewart, Phillip Fox and Thomas Whittle, who acquired the land from Colonel Thomas Talbot. Leamington had its beginnings at the same time when Alex Wilkinson started a farm on both sides of the Mersea Sideroad (Erie Street).

Leamington developed over the years to such an extent that Essex County Council passed a by-law in 1874, elevating the status of the hamlet to an incorporated village.

The Municipality of Leamington is still going strong today and is looking forward to celebrating a huge event this summer — its sesquicentennial!

“The 150th anniversary marks a significant milestone that celebrates Leamington’s rich history and the vibrant community spirit that defines us,” expresses Hilda MacDonald, Mayor of Leamington. “This anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on our past achievements and the challenges we’ve overcome, while also looking forward to the future with optimism and a commitment to growth and prosperity. It’s not only a time for celebration, but also a moment for us to come together as a community, to strengthen our bonds, and to lay down the foundations for the next chapters in our story. It’s an occasion to showcase the unique attributes of Leamington, from our strong agricultural roots to our diverse cultural fabric, and to highlight the contributions of everyone who has shaped Leamington into what it is today.”

Music, Canada Day & The Committee Members

The Municipality of Leamington, in partnership with the Leamington 150 Anniversary Steering Committee and The Bank Theatre, is excited to announce the kick off for Leamington’s 150th anniversary celebration as part of the Music Onthe42 Summer Concert Series.

The free un-ticketed concert, headlined by country music legend Terri Clark on July 1 (Canada Day), starts at 6:30 p.m. with Clark taking centre stage at 8:30 p.m.

“We are absolutely thrilled that yet another country legend will grace the Sunset Amphitheatre stage in Seacliff Park,” says John P. Moran, Chair of the Leamington 150 Anniversary Steering Committee and former President of The Bank Theatre.

He adds: “Terri Clark has been on our radar for some time, and we know country music fans will be over the moon about his concert. Add to that the Michelle Wright opening, plus a surprise ending, and it’s all icing on the cake in celebration of Leamington’s 150th anniversary.”

The Canada Day celebration reaches its grand finale with a display of fireworks over Lake Erie, beginning at 10 p.m. This finale lights up the sky in honour of Leamington’s sesquicentennial and Canada Day, ensuring the 150th anniversary celebration starts with a bang in an unforgettable evening of light and sound.

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“Having spent my entire adult life as a resident and business owner in Leamington, I am honoured to be able to contribute to a monumental occasion such as Leamington celebrating 150 years,” comments Chad Robinson, Owner of Crave Family Grill & Pub (26 Erie Street North; CraveLeamington.ca), Past Chair of the Leamington District Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the Uptown Leamington BIA. “The success of the organizations that I have contributed my volunteer service to, my business and my own family, has all been built on the community spirit fostered by those who came before us. With its rich history in agriculture, diverse cultural offerings and entrepreneurial spirit, Leamington is poised to become a globally recognized area leading the charge for sustainable, environmentally friendly food production. As an international tourist destination, Leamington has solidified itself as the secret everyone is already talking about.”

Along with Moran, Robinson is also a member of the Leamington 150 Anniversary Steering Committee, which curates, coordinates and carries out events, secures sponsorships, creates a commemorative program, curates commemorative merchandise, and secures/coordinates volunteers for events.

Their aim is to bring forth events that both locals and visitors can enjoy, which are intergenerational, interactive and free, in celebration of the sesquicentennial.

Other members (please also see the front cover photo of this issue) include: Maureen Lamotte, Owner of Fletcher’s Cleaners; Wendy Parsons, General Manager and Ursula Tiessen, Administrative Assistant for the Leamington District Chamber of Commerce; Chad Riley, Director/Curator of the Leamington Arts Centre; Nicole Mastronardi, Coordinator of the Uptown Leamington BIA; Sharon Suitor, Special Events Coordinator for the Municipality of Leamington; Mark Ribble, Editor of the Southpoint Sun; Gino DelCiancio, Leamington Area Classic Cruisers; Scott Holland (Historian), and Michelle Fortier, Manager of The Bank Theatre and Administrator/Secretary of Leamington 150.

“I was honoured to be asked to be involved with the Leamington 150 committee,” says Lamotte of Fletcher’s Cleaners, 245 Erie Street South (FletchersCleaners.com). “Our community has a rich and varied history that deserves to be celebrated. This will be a fantastic summer of events and we invite the whole county to join us in the festivities.”

Along with the Canada Day celebration, other noteworthy events include The Leamington District Chamber of Commerce MP/MPP Business Breakfast on June 28 at the Best Western Plus, 566 Bevel Line Road, RR1. Following this event there is an official opening ceremony for the Leamington 150 celebrations with Carrie Anne Peters of Caldwell First Nation, and 1974 Centennial Hostesses. The opening ceremonies are free to attend and begin at approximately 9:30 a.m.

Leamington Dream Cruise & Car Shows

The festivities are in high gear with a unique, free Dream Cruise and two Car Shows on June 29.

The first is a nostalgic journey from noon to 3 p.m. This historic cruise route, from Leamington Fairgrounds to the Leamington Dock, brings back the cherished cruising tradition of Leamington’s past. As part of this cruise, a special car show unfolds from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Leamington Dock, showcasing a curated selection of classic cars.

Following the cruise, everything shifts to the Uptown Leamington BIA District for a Car Show from 4 to 10 p.m., where classic cars and hot rods line the streets of Talbot Street West, Queens Avenue and John Street, transforming the area into an exhibition of automotive history and style.

Alongside the impressive display of cars, attendees can enjoy live music at the Italian Centennial Park on John Street, also from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“Leamington’s 150th anniversary is a historic occasion, and what better way to celebrate than with a Dream Cruise and Car Shows,” says Mayor MacDonald. “This event is a wonderful opportunity for both residents and visitors to experience the charm of our town. We invite everyone to join us as we drive down memory lane and celebrate our history and community spirit. Let’s make this celebration a memorable one for the entire family.”

A special invitation is extended to all classic car owners to participate in the car shows at no charge. An entry form is available online.

COVER STORY CONTINUES ON PAGE 18