Lambton Heritage Museum
Grand Bend, Ontario

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Grand Bend - Our Stories, Our Voice

 

 

ONTARIO HERITAGE FOUNDATION PLAQUE, 1994

The grand bend from which Grand Bend got its name is no more. In its place are layers upon layers of soil, sand, grass and trees. When Stephen and Bosanquet Townships excavated the channel (or cut) in 1892 the materials removed from the cut were used to fill in the bend in the river.

With the digging of the cut to change the flow of the river bend directly into Lake Huron, the natural flow of the Ausable River was changed. At the same time as the flow was changed, the river was deepened up stream above the bend for about 3 miles. But at the same time, with the creation of a harbour at Grand Bend, an economic boom followed. Tourism sprung up, as did a fishing industry. In 1994, the Lambton Heritage Museum and the Grand Bend Women's Institute joined forces to have the Ontario Heritage Foundation install a plaque commemorating the spot where "the grand bend" used to be. It reads as follows:

Grand Bend

Grand Bend derived its name from a hairpin turn in the Ausable (Aux Sables) River, a short distance inland from Lake Huron, where sand dunes blocked the river's outlet to the lake. Frequent flooding hampered farming in the region; nevertheless, a small milling community developed at "The Grand Bend" in the 1830s. In response to a local petition, the township cut a new riverbed directly to the lake along an old portage route in 1892. This improved drainage in surrounding farmlands and provided access to the Lake Huron fishery. In subsequent years, the sand dunes attracted summer vacationers to Grand Bend and made the village a popular summer resort.

 

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