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Amherstburg (2006 population 21,748; UA population 13,410) is a Canadian town near the mouth of the Detroit River in Essex County, Ontariomarker, Canadamarker. It is approximately 25 kilometres (15 mi) south of the US city of Detroitmarker, Michigan.

Location

The town, across the river from the United Statesmarker, was permanently established as a British military fort in 1796. During the days of the Underground Railroad, the town was often the point at which freed slaves entered Canada. The local public high school in Amherstburg is General Amherst High Schoolmarker, named after Jeffrey Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst. Although General Amherst High School is located within the town, many teenage residents choose to go to the Catholic high school, St. Thomas of Villanova, located in the neighbouring town of LaSalle, Ontariomarker. Villanova offers a French Immersion program for those who've attended a French grade school; French students in Amherstburg may also attend Ecole Secondaire E.J. Lajeunesse, located in Windsor, Ontariomarker.

Tourist Attractions

Amherstburg is home to several tourist attractions, including Fort Malden and the North American Black Historical Museum. An Ontario Historical Plaque was erected in Amherstburg by the province to commemorate Bellevue House's role in Ontario's heritage. Bellevue House (c. 1816-19) was the home of Catherine Reynold, a landscape painter and her brother Robert Reynolds. Additional tourist activists include the Park House Museummarker and the charming Navy Yard Park, both of which are located in the heart of old Amherstburg.

An art and history fan would appreciate the charming Gibson Gallery. The Gallery building is a former Michigan Central Railroad Station (circa 1896) which has been fully restored to its original beauty. The gallery operates year-round, featuring exhibits by local artists, the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Windsor, traveling exhibits from Ontario museums and galleries and student art/photography exhibits. A restored Essex Terminal railway caboose is now a railway museum that represents the nostalgia of Amherstburg's railroad history.

The Gordon House 1798/Project H.M.S. Detroit is another appreciated attraction of Amherstburg.The Gordon House was built in 1798, and overlooks the Detroit River. The Gordon House is fully restored, and is the current location for the Project H.M.S. Detroit. This project has undertaken to build and maintain a full-size sailing replica of the ship. It houses a Marine exhibit.

For the outdoors enthusiast, Holiday Beach Conservation Area is one of the best fall birding sites in North America. The 546 acre nature reserve contains over 2,000 feet of beaches, picnic areas, a 2 km trail along the edge of Big Creek Marsh. Holiday Beach is considered North America's premiere spot to view the fall migration of raptors (birds of prey). A 'Festival of Hawks' event takes place in September.

Festivals

Amherstburg is a town which takes pride in its history and on the first weekend of every August they hold a heritage festival comprised of activities at several locations around town. At Fort Malden, for example, they hold a military time-line event where re-enactors depicting eras ranging from the Roman Empire to the Second World War establish camp and perform battle demonstrations.

Since 2006, Amherstburg has attracted much attention with its annual Shores of Erie Wine Festival. Each September, the Wine Festival attracts many tourists, and features food, dancing, live entertainment, and wine tasting.

Amherstburg also celebrates Canada Day with a yearly fireworks display and day of family activities.

Art by the River, is an annual arts and craft festival that takes place the weekend before Labour Day weekend on the grounds of beautiful Fort Malden National Historic Site. This two day feastival which began in 1967 attracts artists and artisans from all over Ontario.

Other festivities include:
  • Firefighters "J Wimpy" Volleyball Tournament (June)
  • Annual Verdi Club Festival (July)
  • Boblo International Jazz Festival (July)
  • Annual Carnival (May)
  • Cancer Walk-a-thon (October)
  • Beef In the Burg Barbecue (May - June)
  • River Lights (November - December)


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