Ontario's Historical Plaques 


Discover Ontario's history as told through its plaques


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The Development of Pelee Island

The Development of Pelee Island

Photo by Alan L Brown - Posted September, 2004

Plaque Location

The County of Essex
The Township of Pelee
One Pelee Island, in front of a museum
across from the West Dock


Coordinates: N 41 45.362 W 82 41.277

Map

Plaque Text

The largest in a string of islands in the western end of Lake Erie, Pelee Island forms, together with nearby Middle Island, the southernmost portion of Canada. In 1788 it was leased to Thomas McKee, the son of an influential Indian Department official, by the Ojibwa and Ottawa nations. The island, whose name is derived from the French "pelée", meaning bare, remained largely undeveloped, however, until William McCormick purchased it in 1823. In 1868 it was incorporated as a township. With the introduction of commercial grape cultivation and the drainage of large hectares of marshland in the decades that followed, Pelee Island emerged as a prosperous farming community. By 1900 it had almost 800 residents, and contained four schools, four churches and three general stores.

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