Wallaceburg (2011 population 10,163) is an unincorporated community in the municipality of Chatham-Kent in Southern (Southwestern) Ontario, Canada. Originally a small settlement, it was recognized for its significant contribution to the lumber and boat building industries and strategic location along the banks of the scenic Sydenham River. In more recent years the town was known for its glass making industry. For that reason many people[who?] around the country referred to Wallaceburg as the “Glass town of Canada.”
Wallaceburg is home of WAMBO (Wallaceburg Antique Motor and Boat Outing), an annual antique car, boat, bus, and fire truck show that began in 1988.
Background Information & History
The town was founded in the early 19th century and named after Scotland’s national hero, William Wallace. It was incorporated as a village in 1875 and then as a town in 1896. In 1998, it was amalgamated into the new municipality of Chatham–Kent.
The Baldoon settlement
The first settlers to the Wallaceburg area came in 1804. They initially settled along the Snye River at a location they called the Baldoon Settlement. Lord Selkirk, a Scottish Lord, provided an opportunity for poor farmers and peasants from Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland to what is now known as Wallaceburg to build better lives for themselves. He is often considered a great philanthropist for his efforts working with his poor countrymen. Unfortunately, the early Baldoon settlers faced a plethora of difficulties: malaria, harsh winters, marshland, lack of food, and American invaders during the War of 1812. By the 1820s the settlement was deemed a failure by Lord Selkirk and other interested parties. The Baldoon settlers, however, did not give up; many of them contributed to the early success and development of the town of Wallaceburg.
The Baldoon Mystery is one of Ontario’s greatest haunting stories, handed down by word of mouth. The strange events of this case are alleged to have occurred between 1829 and 1840, within a few kilometers of Wallaceburg, Ontario.
The town’s first major industry was the lumber trade. It was highly successful during the mid-to-late 19th century. The most notable business that developed during this era was known as the Wallaceburg Cooperage Company. It was opened by David Alexander Gordon and his uncle Captain James Steinhoff in 1887. By the end of the 19th century it was difficult to make large profits off of a declining hardwood supply. Industrialists needed to find other business ideas to sustain the local economy. When historians think of Wallaceburg they often remember its three major modern industries: glass, brass, and sugar. In 1894 the Sydenham Glass Company began. The glass making industry in Wallaceburg lasted over 100 years. The factory closed in 1999. This left approximately 1000 workers unemployed. Another notable industry was the Canadian and Dominion Sugar Company. It was opened in 1901. The company was known for producing raw sugar from sugar beets. It closed in 1960. The Wallaceburg Brass Company was the third staple industry. It opened in 1905 and was famous for creating brass faucets and plumbing supplies. The company later became known as Waltec. The factory stopped manufacturing in Wallaceburg as late as 2006.
In 1878, James Paris Lee (1832–1904) and his brother John perfected a rifle with a box magazine in Wallaceburg. This rifle later became an antecedent to the famous Lee Enfield rifle. A well trained gunman could fire approximately 15-30 shots a minute. The prototype was tested successfully in Wallaceburg and is currently housed at the Wallaceburg and District Museum.
All information about Wallaceburg courtesy of Wikipedia.