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Sarnia's History

“The French speaking families of Ignace Cazelet, Jean-Baptiste Pare and Joseph LaForge arrived (in Sarnia) 1807-1810.  Other settlers, many of Scottish descent, came in 1832-1834 folllowing the 1829 survey of Sarnia Township.  A community called “The Rapids”, renamed Port Sarnia in 1836, soon developed and among its prominent early residents were Richard Vidal, George Durand and the Honorable Malcolm Cameron.  Called Sarnia after 1856, the village flourished, stimulated by regional lumbering activity, nearby oil discoveries and the arrival of the Great Western and Grand Trunk Railways in 1858 and 1859, respectively.  Later, Sarnia became a significant transshipment port for western grain.  Incorporated as a town in 1856 and as a city in 1914, Sarnia is one of Canada’s important petro-chemical centres.”

Historical Plaque erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation, Ministry of Citizenship & Culture, Alexander MacKenzie Park, Front Street, Sarnia

Sarnia officially became the Corporation of the City of Sarnia on May 7, 1914.  The occasion was highlighted by a visit from the Governor General, H.R.H.The Duke of Connaught and his daughter, Princess Patricia.  At that time, the population of the newly created city was recorded as 10,985.

Sarnia has a rich history:

  • as a transportation hub
  • Petrochemical industry
  • With the people of Aamjiwnaang
  • Prominent & generous benefactors
  • Political figures who contributed both to Sarnia, Ontario & Canada
  • Arts & culture
  • Sports
  • Education
  • Health care
  • Talented people

During the Centennial year, we will be celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the City of Sarnia and its people.  With your help, we will be bringing history to life and making it relevant to you.

We are also interested in learning about your memories and history with Sarnia.  Please share your stories with us.

Photo Gallery

  • 1914 Incorporation

    1914 Incorporation

  • 1914 Incorporation Parade

    1914 Incorporation Parade

  • 1914 Incorporation Parade

    1914 Incorporation Parade

  • 1949 First Fire Hall

    1949 First Fire Hall

  • 1949 SE Christina & Cromwell

    1949 SE Christina & Cromwell

  • 1951 Entrance to Canatara Park

    1951 Entrance to Canatara Park

  • 1953 Tornado Brock St. and Lochiel St.

    1953 Tornado Brock St. and Lochiel St.

  • 200 London rd the Old Forsyth Family Home

    200 London rd the Old Forsyth Family Home

  • Annual Ford Picnic (Year Unknown)

    Annual Ford Picnic (Year Unknown)

  • Children's Arena on Front St.

    Children's Arena on Front St.

  • Christina at Cromwell St.

    Christina at Cromwell St.

  • Christina Street

    Christina Street

  • City Hall

    City Hall

  • Corner of Christina St. and London rd

    Corner of Christina St. and London rd

  • Ferry Dock Hill - 1869

    Ferry Dock Hill - 1869

  • Front and George St.

    Front and George St.

  • Front St. South from George

    Front St. South from George

  • Ice Harvesting Holland Paisley

    Ice Harvesting Holland Paisley

  • Laying of the Cornerstone of City Hall Building

    Laying of the Cornerstone of City Hall Building

  • London Rd and Front st

    London Rd and Front st

  • MEDAL OF BRAVERY for ALEXANDER FORBES

    MEDAL OF BRAVERY for ALEXANDER FORBES

  • Old Library on Christina

    Old Library on Christina

  • Old St. Paul's Church

    Old St. Paul's Church

  • Parade in front of City Hall - 1890

    Parade in front of City Hall - 1890

  • Pre Centennial Park Development 1980

    Pre Centennial Park Development 1980

  • Sarnia - City with a Purpose 1

    Sarnia - City with a Purpose 1

  • Sarnia - City with a Purpose 2

    Sarnia - City with a Purpose 2

  • Sarnia - City with a Purpose 3

    Sarnia - City with a Purpose 3

  • Sarnia - City with a Purpose 4

    Sarnia - City with a Purpose 4

  • Sarnia 1900

    Sarnia 1900

  • Sarnia 1914

    Sarnia 1914

  • Sarnia North from the Docks

    Sarnia North from the Docks

  • This building burned in 1980

    This building burned in 1980

  • Where Drawbridge Inn is now

    Where Drawbridge Inn is now

  • Where Inn of the Good Shepherd is now

    Where Inn of the Good Shepherd is now

  • Where Our Lady of Mercy Stands Today

    Where Our Lady of Mercy Stands Today

  • where the River Port Tavern is now Front and Welli

    where the River Port Tavern is now Front and Welli

Summary

Sunny. Wind southwest 30 km/h gusting to 50. High 19. UV index 3 or moderate.

Current Conditions

Sunny

12.0C

For more information and forecasts, please visit Environment Canada

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255 North Christina Street,
Sarnia, ON N7T 7N2
PH#: 519-332-0330
TTY# : 519-332-2664