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Sarnia: Interesting Anecdotes
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Sarnia: Interesting Anecdotes

We first encountered the Port of Sarnia back in the early 1800's. Long before any great influx of settlers arrived the area was first explored by that great French explorer LaSalle. He was drawn to the area by the beautiful, large, natural harbour now known as Sarnia Bay. He arrived in this area with great difficulty because of the mighty current created by the flow of millions of liters of water draining the Upper Great Lakes into the St. Clair river at the speed of about five miles per hour.

His great ship the 45 tonne barque "Le Griffon" had to be towed by teams of horses and many sweaty seamen to combat that fast flowing water. This prompted LaSalle to name it "The Rapids" a name that can still be found in and around this area. Prior to the arrival of the Griffon, the only other craft to visit the area were canoes or other vessels powered by oars. The arrival of the Griffon led to the further opening of this great country and made possible the whole new era of commercial shipping in the Great Lakes.

Today huge lake boats are busy plying the waterways and keeping the wheels of industry churning. On any given day during the shipping season hundreds of thousands of dollars in raw materials and finished products are being transported over the St. Clair river servicing the upper great lakes from Thunder Bay at the lakehead, to Detroit and beyond.

Today the City of Sarnia remains a very important port of call. The products being shipped from Sarnia are Grain and Petroleum products. Also travelling over our highways of water are huge ocean going vessels, known as "Salties" carrying everything from "Automobiles to Zippers." The city of Sarnia owes its very existence to this majestic river and its beautiful natural harbour.

During the winter months the riverfront and the Sarnia bay are fully utilized for winter recreation. Centennial Park is located on Front Street on the banks of the St. Clair and along the shores of Sarnia bay. The surface of the bay is dotted with fishing huts as the locals are out ice fishing, as well as enjoying snowmobile racing. Sarnia is also very well known for its Celebration of Lights, which brings in people from miles around. People come in busloads for the annual show. Some people coming from as far away as London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, and Hamilton.

In the summer Sarnia hosts Bayfest, a collection of Big Name Bands from both Canada and the United States as well as local talent. The event lasts for several days. If you are not musically inclined or do not like huge crowds and loud music it is suggested that you steer clear of the downtown area. Unfortunately Bayfest has been cancelled for this year. It will be greatly missed. Organizers are hoping to be back on track for 2014.

All in all Sarnia is a good place to visit any time of year. There are plenty of good restaurants and plenty of accommodations at reasonable prices. Also makes for a good day trip as there are plenty of things to see and do. You may also like to try your luck at the Casino on the banks of the river just south of the Bluewater Bridges in Point Edward.


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