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Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada
Situated along the Detroit River approximately 32 km southwest of Windsor and across from Boblo Island (Bois Blanc), Amherstburg is one of the oldest towns in the Province of Ontario. Its unique century-old buildings stand beside modern architectural structures linking the past with the present. What once was a naval battleground (The War of 1812-14 and The Canadian Rebellion of 1837-38) is now a restful waterfront park where you can pause and listen to the thoughts of another era.
As early as 1640, French explorers, Jesuit and Recollect missionaries, are known to have paddled the river past the site where Amherstburg now stands. In 1796, the British military post was re-established and the area played a major role in the War of 1812 with the Capture of Fort Detroit and the Canadian Rebellion of 1837-38. In 1851 when the Municipal Act was passed, Amherstburg was one of the first towns to be incorporated as a "village with town powers", thus entering into its independent existence. Being the nearest British town, Amherstburg served as a launching point into Canada for fugitive slaves fleeing from American states. Its key role as a stopping point on the Underground Railroad is the reason why the North American Black Historical Museum is located here. Later, during the prohibition era of the 1920's, a thriving rum-running business operated on the banks of the Detroit River, depending on Amherstburg as a vital export centre.
After the War of 1812, the "Yard" was retained by Fort Malden until 1859 when the military vacated Amherstburg. A variety of enterprise, both municipal and commercial, occupied the Yard and the river frontage immediately south for over 100 years. Amherstburg gradually acquired the properties permitting planning of the present park to begin in 1975. Amherstburg has amalgamated with its neighbours - the Township of Anderdon and the Township of Malden to a population of 20,440.
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