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Leamington, Ontario

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Leamington, Ontario

Leamington is a municipality in Essex County, Ontario, Canada. With a population of 27,595, it is the second largest municipality in the Windsor-Essex County area (after the separated municipality of Windsor, Ontario). It includes Point Pelee, the southernmost point of mainland Canada.

Municipality (lower-tier)
Municipality of Leamington
Official logo of Leamington
Nickname(s): The Sun Parlour of Canada, The Tomato Capital of Canada.
Motto(s): Live | Work | Play
Leamington is located in Southern Ontario
Coordinates: 42°04′N 82°35′W / 42.067°N 82.583°W / 42.067; -82.583Coordinates: 42°04′N 82°35′W / 42.067°N 82.583°W / 42.067; -82.583
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
County Essex
 • Mayor John Paterson
 • MP Dave Van Kesteren (CONS)
 • MPP Rick Nicholls (PC)
 • Land 262.01 km2 (101.16 sq mi)
 • Urban 31.70 km2 (12.24 sq mi)
 • Metro 508.84 km2 (196.46 sq mi)
Population (2016)[1][2][3]
 • Municipality (lower-tier) 27,595
 • Density 105.3/km2 (273/sq mi)
 • Urban 32,991
 • Urban density 1,040.7/km2 (2,695/sq mi)
 • Metro 49,147
 • Metro density 96.6/km2 (250/sq mi)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Forward sortation area N8H
Area code(s) 519, 226, 548[4]

Known as the "Tomato Capital of Canada", it is the location of a tomato processing factory owned by Highbury-Canco, previously owned until 2014 by the H. J. Heinz Company. Due to its location in the southernmost part of Canada, Leamington uses the motto "Sun Parlour of Canada". In 2006, MoneySense Magazine ranked Leamington as the No. 1 best place to live in Canada.[5]



Leamington was incorporated as a village in 1876 but even as early as 1869, the settlement had a population of 350.[6] The community was named after Royal Leamington Spa in England, after having originally been called "Gainesville" or "Gainesborough"[7] for local mill owner William Gaines[8] and before that Wilkinson Corners.

It was a crossroads hamlet with about 300 residents and was known for its lumber products rather than its tomatoes. There were several docks, and fish were plentiful in Lake Erie, so much so that sturgeon could be speared from the shore and fish was the cheapest food available. Leamington once had many tobacco farms but now they are virtually nonexistent. In 1908 the H. J. Heinz company came to Leamington, bringing many jobs to the area and contributing to Leamington's growth.

In the early hours of Sunday, June 6, 2010, an F1 tornado ripped through portions of southern Essex County, stretching from Harrow, through Kingsville, to southern Leamington before dissipating near Point Pelee National Park, creating considerable damage, but no loss of life or any direct injuries.[9]


Leamington enjoys the second warmest climate in Canada, after the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.[citation needed] Leamington lies on the 42nd Parallel, the same latitude as Chicago, Boston, Rome, the northern border of California, and Zaragoza. Leamington is situated on the north shore of Lake Erie and is home to Point Pelee National Park, a major site for migrating birds especially in the autumn. As such, it plays host to many birdwatchers from Canada, the United States, and all around the world. The region is also known for the migration of monarch butterflies, which congregate in the fall at Point Pelee before making their way across Lake Erie on their route to winter quarters in central Mexico.

Another important natural area near Leamington is the wetland at Hillman Marsh, located six kilometres east of the town.


Year Pop. ±%
1871 200 —    
1881 1,910 +855.0%
1901 2,451 +28.3%
1911 2,652 +8.2%
1921 3,675 +38.6%
1931 4,902 +33.4%
1941 5,799 +18.3%
1951 6,950 +19.8%
1961 9,030 +29.9%
1971 10,435 +15.6%
1981 12,528 +20.1%
1991 14,182 +13.2%
1996 25,389 +79.0%
2001 27,138 +6.9%
2006 28,833 +6.2%
2011 28,403 −1.5%
2016 27,595 −2.8%
1996 population reflects boundary changes made between the 1996 census and the 2001 census.
Canada 2006 Census Population  % of Total Population
Visible minority group
Arab 580 2.1%
Black 245 0.9%
Chinese 145 0.5%
Filipino 25 0.1%
Japanese 40 0.1%
Korean 0 0%
Latin American 1,390 4.9%
South Asian 80 0.3%
Southeast Asian 275 1%
West Asian 25 0.1%
Other visible minority 80 0.3%
Mixed visible minority 25 0.1%
Total visible minority population 2,915 10.3%
Aboriginal group
First Nations 160 0.6%
Inuit 0 0%
Métis 115 0.4%
Total Aboriginal population 305 1.1%
White 25,055 88.6%
Total population 28,275 100%

According to the Canada 2016 Census there were 27,595 people living in Leamington. The Leamington Census agglomeration (metro area) includes Kingsville. Leamington is the most populous city on the Canadian side of Lake Erie, with a slightly larger population than both Fort Erie and Port Colborne.


The majority of people from Leamington speak English. According to the 2006 census, 16,915 speak English only, 8460 male and 8460 female. Around 600 people speak French due to the French school, 10,840 speak other languages such as German, Spanish and Arabic, and 45 speak English and French.[12]

Residents of Leamington include a population of Lebanese, Portuguese and Italian. Mennonite settlers have also increased the size of the population.


According to the 2011 census, the median age of people living in Leamington is 37.2 years - for men the age was 37.7 and for women the age was 40.9 years of age.[13]


According to a 2006 survey 19,365 people are not immigrants while 7,485 are immigrants or migrants. The majority of migrants come from Mexico and Jamaica and are employed as seasonal farm workers through the Temporary foreign worker program in Canada. According to the census, Leamington had the highest percentage of Latin Americans in Canada, with 4.9%.[12]


Leamington Marina damage after the tornado of June 6, 2010.

Leamington has been known for its tourism and attractions and is known as the tomato capital of Canada. Leamington's attractions include cycle paths and nearby Point Pelee National Park. Leamington also has a large and modern marina. On June 6, 2010, a tornado[14] passed through Leamington, Ontario, damaging various important landmarks in the town including the Marina. The town's water tower, visible for kilometres in the flat southern Ontario landscape, is also in the shape and colour of a giant tomato. Celebrating its position as an agricultural powerhouse and its heritage as the H. J. Heinz Company's centre for processing "red goods," the city hosts a "Tomato Festival" each August, as a kickoff of the tomato-harvesting season. Car shows, beauty pageants, parades, and a fair are featured at the festival.

Leamington's position on the north shore of Lake Erie makes it an important recreational centre.[citation needed] The tourist information booth in the centre of town is a large fiberglass tomato.


Seacliff Park

Leamington has several parks including Seacliff Park, The Marina Park, Mersea Park and Garrison Gardens,Henry Park and Chestnut Park.

Leamington is also home to Point Pelee National Park, which contains the southernmost point on mainland Canada and draws thousands of visitors annually and is also home to one of the largest migrations of monarch butterflies annually.


Leamington has a variety of transportation. It has a bicycle path going from the middle of town to the Marina, previously the rail line for Heinz. Leamington has two ferries, the (M/V Jiimaan and M/V Pelee Islander) owned by the Owen Sound Transportation Company run on a regularly scheduled seasonal basis from Leamington to Pelee Island. Transportation around Leamington is offered by the Leamington Transit bus system. Leamington has a small private airport located four kilometres to the east of town. The town is also connected to the provincial highway network by Highway 3 (to Windsor), and Highway 77 (to Highway 401).


Tomatoes being transported in Leamington. The smoke stack of the former Heinz processing factory can be seen in the distance.

Known as the tomato capital of Canada, Leamington became the home of the H. J. Heinz factory in 1908. The Heinz products are shipped from Leamington, with English and French labels, mostly to the United States. Ketchup and baby food are the main products. In November 2013 Heinz announced that it would close the Leamington plant in 2014, meaning job losses for 740 employees at the plant and hundreds more support workers.[15] Due to a 54-year-old law in Canada, which bans the use of tomato paste in tomato juice, Highbury Canco still produces tomato juice and other products for Heinz. Around 250 workers still process canned products at the over 100 year old factory.[16]

Leamington has also been known for its greenhouses, and now has the largest concentration of commercial greenhouses in all of North America, with 1,969 acres (797 ha) of greenhouse vegetable production in the general area.[17] Major products of the greenhouse industry, in addition to tomatoes, are peppers, cucumbers, roses, and other flowers. Hydroponic farming has been very successfully adopted by many greenhouse operators in Leamington. Historically, tobacco was an important crop in the area, but tobacco production declined in the 1960s and today is virtually nonexistent.

Migrant workers, mostly Mexican and Caribbean seasonal labourers, annually arrive in the region to work in Leamington's greenhouses and farms. Several Mexican and Jamaican shops and a Mexican consulate have opened to service the migrants.


Erie Shores Healthcare serves the city of Leamington, as well as Essex and Chatham Kent. Opened in 1950, Leamington District Memorial Hospital succeeded two smaller healthcare facilities Hopewell Hospital (c. 1933) and Cottage Hospital (c. 1920). In mid-December 2016, the hospital formally submitted notice to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, its wishes to change its name to Erie Shores Healthcare and subsequently has been approved. [18] [19] Major healthcare needs can be undertaken in nearby Windsor, Ontario.


  • Leamington Flyers play in the Western Division of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League at Highbury Canco Arena
  • Wheatley-Southpoint Sharks play in the Great Lakes Junior C Hockey League
  • Southpoint Capitals play in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA)
  • Leamington District Minor Baseball Association - t-ball / baseball / softball for over 500 kids
  • Leamington Minor Soccer Association has over 800 players every year
  • Leamington S.C. United Soccer Club formed in Dec. 2008 has become a major sports club, with 10 competitive traveling teams from under-11 to Senior Men's
  • Sun County Crows play in the Zone 7 of the Ontario Lacrosse Association at Highbury Canco Arena
  • Velocity Volleyball



Leamington's weekly newspaper is the Southpoint Sun. The weekly newspaper that was Leamington Post ceased operations in 2012 after 138 years in publication. Leamington is home to two regional commercial radio stations.


Frequency Call sign Branding Format Owner Notes
FM 91.9 CBEW-FM-1 CBC Radio One Talk radio, public radio Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Rebroadcaster of CBEW-FM (Windsor)
FM 92.7 CJSP-FM Country 95.9 & 92-7 Country music Blackburn Radio Simulcasts CJWF-FM (Windsor)
FM 96.7 CHYR-FM Mix 96.7 Hot adult contemporary Blackburn Radio
FM 103.1 CBEF-1-FM Ici Radio-Canada Première Talk radio, public radio Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Rebroadcaster of CBEF (Windsor)

Leamington is also served by Weatheradio Canada station VAZ533, transmitting at 162.475 MHz in the weather band.


OTA virtual channel (PSIP) OTA channel Cogeco Call Sign Network Notes
22.1 22 (UHF) 3 CIII-DT-22 Global Rebroadcaster of CIII-DT-41 (Toronto)
34.1 34(UHF) 100 CFTV-DT Independent Community television
34.2 French- and Spanish- language community television
34.3 First Nations community television and special needs/described video programming
34.4 Leamington and Essex County council meetings

Leamington in mediaEdit

  • The book Splat! By Eric Walters takes place in Leamington at the tomato festival.
  • Stompin' Tom Connors mentions Leamington in his tune "The Ketchup Song"


English-language public education for kindergarten through secondary school grades in Essex County is administered by the Greater Essex County District School Board, along with the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board which oversees English-language catholic education.

French-language public and catholic education are overseen by the Conseil scolaire Viamonde and the Conseil scolaire de district des écoles catholiques du Sud-Ouest respectively. The scope of all of these organizations includes both the County and the City of Windsor.

Prior to 1998 the Essex County Board of Education operates Anglophone secular public schools.


Leamington has five public elementary schools, Margaret D. Bennie, Queen Elizabeth, Gore Hill, Mount Carmel - Blytheswood Public School and East Mersea. Leamington has two Catholic elementary schools: Cardinal Carter Middle School and Saint Louis. Leamington also has one French speaking Catholic School, St. Michel. South Shore Christian School is a private elementary school located in Leamington. Leamington has two main school boards, the Greater Essex County District School Board and the Windsor-Essex Catholic School Board.

Queen of Peace Catholic Elementary School faced closure in February 2016, but was since converted to Cardinal Carter Catholic Middle School.[20]

Mill Street Public School will permanently close at the conclusion of the school year June 2017 [21]


Leamington has three secondary schools: Leamington District Secondary School (LDSS); Cardinal Carter Catholic High School (Leamington), and U.M.E.I (United Mennonite Education Institute).

Notable people from LeamingtonEdit

  • Major league pitcher Bob Hooper and infielder Danny Klassen.
  • NHL players Brad Selwood, Pat Ribble, Randy Manery, Darren McCarty, Kirk Bowman
  • Environmentalist David Suzuki
  • Authors Bill Sherk, Nino Ricci, Jean Brown, Lynsay Sands, Vesna Bailey
  • Musician Jody Raffoul
  • Wally Tatomir the equipment manager for the Carolina Hurricanes of the NHL
  • CBC Radio 3 personality Lana Gay
  • Actor Jeff Hammond
  • Former music director of AM Top 40 radio station CKLW "The Big 8" Rosalie Trombley

See alsoEdit

  • List of townships in Ontario


  1. ^ a b "Leamington (Census Subdivision) census profile". 2016 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  2. ^ a b "Leamington (Population Centre) census profile". 2016 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  3. ^ a b "Leamington (Census agglomeration) census profile". 2016 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Where is the best place to live in Canada?". MoneySense Magazine. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  6. ^, page 261
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Carys Mills and Jeff Bolichowski (June 6, 2010). "F1 tornado hit Leamington: Environment Canada". The Windsor Star. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  10. ^ [1], Community Profiles from the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Subdivision
  11. ^ [2], Aboriginal Peoples - Data table
  12. ^ a b "Leamington (Municipality) community profile". 2006 Census data. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  13. ^ "Leamington (Municipality) community profile". 2011 Census data. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  14. ^ "Leamington tornado damage in the millions". CBC. 6 June 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  15. ^ CTV News: Heinz to close Leamington, Ont. plant; hundreds of jobs lost
  16. ^ Austen, Ian. "How Leamington, Ont. — where the tomato is king — rallied to save its Heinz plant". National Post. Retrieved 29 March 2016. 
  17. ^ Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers 2013 Fact Sheet
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^

External linksEdit

  •   Leamington, Ontario travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Leamington Transit
  • Southwestern Ontario Digital Archive: Leamington (Ontario)