The Sarnia Historical Society Welcomes You

Welcome to the Sarnia Historical Society website. This is where you’ll find all of the excitement, the drama, the humour, pathos, comedy, heroism, grief and inspiration that make up Sarnia’s incredible story.

For we are The Imperial City, and we do, indeed, have magical tales to tell.

We made a clearing in a hardwood forest beside a powerful river, and a lake. The local Natives called it Aamjiwnaang, but we called it La Chute, and when the Scots, the English and the Irish came, we called it The Rapids.

We grew from five shanty log cabins to a town called Port Sarnia, and we had great adventurers and thinkers to help us grow – men named Cameron, and Vidal, and Durand. The grand steel ribbon of the railways came, and we began to grow.
We battled massive fires, great storms, and filled our river and lake with tragic shipwrecks.

We found something black and sticky seeping out of a local creek bed. We lured a great refinery from London and built the North American oil industry. We sent our brave young men to fight wars in foreign lands for King and Country.
We watched a gun battle unfold in our downtown streets, and we carried our finest and bravest to early graves. We cried with their families.

We had fascinating leaders and wondrous characters as our mayors, newspapermen, and business giants. We looked for more oil and found salt, we built industries, and we created a Chemical Valley that helped the British Empire win a global war.

We sent a man to Houston to help put a man on the moon, and as he did, we watched a young lad on Stag Island named Chris gaze up to the heavens and think, “I can do that.”

You’ll find all of these stories here, and more. They are written at different times (watch for the year at the beginning of each story), and they are written by historians, newspaper men and women, and by our own citizens. Some come from the pages of the Sarnia Observer, The Sarnia Journal, the Sarnia Gazette, First Monday, Sarnia This Week, or from books written about our amazing, and always surprising city. Others have been written especially for the Sarnia Historical Society.

Like our city, this website will be constantly changing, as new stories and new adventures create more stories that demand to be told.  We invite you to explore and enjoy Sarnia’s marvelous story.

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To encourage local historical research and the preservation of historical artifacts;

To present local history to the public by means of creative and educational programming and publications;

To share local history through the internet and social media;

To promote cultural tourism as an effective means of communicating the lessons of history to visitors and citizens of our city alike.

The Sarnia Historical Society is committed to the principle that public knowledge of its past is fundamental to its future. The Sarnia Historical Society envisions many opportunities to share local history with the public, including quality programs, collections stewardship, promotions and marketing, fundraising and appropriate governance.  By sharing our local history, we will inspire a shared sense of community pride in the heritage of Sarnia, Lambton.
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