History of Grand Bend, Ontario

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Grand Bend

Grand Bend, situated on Lake Huron, is one of the oldest communities in Lambton County, Ontario. It is located on part of the traditional territory of the Attawandaron and Ojibwe/Chippewa First Nations.

In 1832 Benjamin Brewster and a Mr. Pettis formed a company and bought land and timber rights in this part of the Huron Tract from the Canada Company. They built a dam and sawmill on the Ausable River as was stipulated in their agreement with the Canada Company. A small community, Brewster’s Mill or Brewster, sprang up around the mill. Other settlers in the region resented the mill because it caused flooding upstream. About twenty years after the dam was built, it was torn down.[1]

Where the Ausable passed through the village, it made a sharp bend toward the south and ran alongside the Lake Huron shoreline before entering the lake at Port Franks. This "bend" is the origin of the next name for the community. French-Canadian settlers called it “Aux Croches” (“at the bends”), which in English became Grand Bend. In the mid-1870s the Canada Company embarked on a large drainage project known locally as “The Cut.” It involved redirecting the course of the river and draining several small lakes and wetlands for farmland.[2]

The Ausable River before "The Cut"

Grand Bend was originally in Huron County but became part of Lambton County in 1951. In 2001 Grand Bend became part of Lambton Shores when it was amalgamated with Bosanquet Township, the town of Forest, and the villages of Thedford, Arkona, Ipperwash, Port Franks, and Ravenswood.

Today Grand Bend Beach is a summer tourist destination.[3]



  1. “The History of Brewster’s Mill,” Lambton Heritage Museum, Grand Bend
  2. [Wikipedia contributors, "Ausable River (Lake Huron)," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ausable_River_(Lake_Huron)&oldid=919911281 (accessed October 27, 2019).
  3. Grand Bend Beach, Lambton Shores

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