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Leamington, Ontario

Municipality of Leamington
Lake Erie and Seacliff Park
Lake Erie and Seacliff Park
Flag of Leamington
Official logo of Leamington
The Sun Parlour of Canada, The Tomato Capital of Canada.
Live | Play | Work
Leamington is located in Essex County
Leamington is located in Southern Ontario
Coordinates: 42°4′N 82°35′W / 42.067°N 82.583°W / 42.067; -82.583
 • MayorHilda MacDonald
 • MPDave Epp (CPC)
 • MPPTrevor Jones (PC)
 • Land262.01 km2 (101.16 sq mi)
 • Urban
31.70 km2 (12.24 sq mi)
 • Metro
508.84 km2 (196.46 sq mi)
 (2021)[4] [1][2][3]
 • Municipality (lower-tier)29,680
 • Density105.3/km2 (273/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Urban density1,040.7/km2 (2,695/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density96.6/km2 (250/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Forward sortation area
Area code(s)519, 226, 548[5]

Leamington (/ˈlmɪŋtən/ LEEM-ing-tən) is a municipality in Essex County, Ontario, Canada. With a population of 29,680 in the Canada 2021 Census, it forms the second largest urban centre in Windsor-Essex County after Windsor, Ontario. It includes Point Pelee National Park, the southernmost point of mainland Canada.

Known since the 20th century as the "Tomato Capital of Canada", it is the location of a tomato processing factory owned by Highbury-Canco; founded in 1908, the plant was 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".


Besides the town of Leamington itself, the municipality of Leamington comprises a number of villages and hamlets, including Albuna, Blytheswood, Cherry Lane Estates, Elmdale, Goldsmith, Marentette Beach, Mount Carmel, Oakland, Seacliffe, Wigle, Windfall, Chalmers, Erie Curve, Hillman, Point Pelee and Sturgeon Woods.


Leamington was incorporated as a village in 1874, but by 1869, the European-Canadian settlement already had a population of 350.[6][7] The community was named after Royal Leamington Spa in England, after having originally been called "Gainesville" or "Gainesborough"[8] for local mill owner William Gaines, and before that, Wilkinson Corners.[9] It has had a post office since June 1854.[10]

It was a crossroads hamlet with about 300 residents and was first known for its lumber products rather than tomatoes. There was extensive lumbering in western Ontario, as across the river in Michigan and also upper Michigan. 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 was a "sundown town," a place where Black people would face violence or harassment if they were in public after dark.[11][12] In 1930, a group of Black parishioners on a visit to Seacliff Park were ordered to leave Leamington by several town administrators.[13] David Suzuki attests that he was told, upon arrival in Leamington in 1946, that “no colored person has ever stayed here beyond sunset.”[14][15]

Leamington was also one of the few Canadian municipalities included in the Negro Motorist Green Book, the American publication listing safe businesses for travelling black people.[16]

On 1 January 1999, the town was amalgamated with the surrounding Township of Mersea to form an expanded Town of Leamington. Similar municipal restructuring took place throughout Essex County.

In the early hours of 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.[17] The tornado passed through Leamington, damaging various important landmarks and facilities in town, including the marina.[17]


Leamington lies on the 42nd Parallel, the same latitude as Chicago, Boston, the northern border of California, Rome, and Zaragoza. It is located on the north shore of Lake Erie, which acts to moderate its climate.

Climate data for Leamington, Ontario (1951–1980, extremes 1906–present[note 1])
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.7
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) −1.4
Daily mean °C (°F) −4.4
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −7.4
Record low °C (°F) −29
Average precipitation mm (inches) 57.7
Average rainfall mm (inches) 32.9
Average snowfall cm (inches) 24.7
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 12 10 13 12 11 10 9 9 9 9 11 13 128
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 5 4 8 11 11 10 9 9 9 9 9 7 101
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 9 7 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 8 35
Source: Environment Canada[18][19][20]


Historical populations
1996 population reflects boundary changes made between the 1996 census and the 2001 census.

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Leamington had a population of 29,680 living in 10,547 of its 11,219 total private dwellings, a change of 7.6% from its 2016 population of 27,595. With a land area of 261.24 km2 (100.87 sq mi), it had a population density of 113.6/km2 (294.3/sq mi) in 2021.[21]

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%


The majority of people from Leamington speak English. According to the 2016 census, 24,070 speak English only, 12,100 male and 11,970 female, 1,655 people speak both English and French, 735 male and 920 female, and 1,330 people speak neither English nor French.[24]

Residents of Leamington include a population of Lebanese, Portuguese and Italian. Mennonite settlers, whose ancestors immigrated from Russia, have also added to the population.


According to the 2016 census, the average age of people living in Leamington is 41.3 years - for men the age was 39.7 and for women the age was 42.9 years of age. [24]


According to a 2006 survey, 7,485 are immigrants or migrants, and 19,365 people are natives of Canada. 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%.[25]


Leamington has a variety of transportation. Transportation around the city is offered by the Leamington Transit bus system. The city has a small private airport located four kilometres (2.5 mi) 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).

A rail line that Heinz built from its plant to the harbour has been converted to a bicycle path going from the middle of town to the Marina. Two ferries, (MV Jiiman and MV Pelee Islander II) owned by the Owen Sound Transportation Company, run on a regularly scheduled seasonal basis from Leamington to Pelee Island with continuing service on to Sandusky, Ohio.[26]


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

The H. J. Heinz company established a factory in 1908 in Leamington. The Heinz products are shipped from the city with both 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.[27]

Regional and local businessmen worked to save the plant. A campaign was conducted on Facebook to raise support and funds. As a 54-year-old law in Canada bans the use of tomato paste in tomato juice, thus requiring fresh tomatoes, they arranged a deal whereby Highbury Canco took over the plant in 2014.[clarification needed] It produces tomato juice and other products for Heinz. Around 250 workers still process canned products at the over 100-year-old factory.[28][as of?]

Leamington has also been known for its greenhouses. It 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.[29] Major products of the greenhouse industry, in addition to tomatoes, are peppers, cannabis, 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. 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 serve the migrants.

Leamington became a production site of Aphria, one of Canada's largest medicinal and recreational marijuana greenhouse operators. A merger in December 2020 with Nanaimo, British Columbia-based Tilray, led to the closure of Tilray's production site in Leamington and operations were consolidated at the former Aphria site under the name Tilray.[30]


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, it wished to change its name to Erie Shores Healthcare, and subsequently has been approved.[31][32] Other major healthcare needs can be undertaken in nearby Windsor, Ontario.


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 catholique Providence, 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 operated 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.[33]

Mill Street Public School was permanently closed at the conclusion of the 2016–2017 school year.[34]


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


Seacliff Park
The southernmost point of mainland Canada, Point Pelee National Park

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

As noted, Point Pelee National Park contains the southernmost point on mainland Canada and draws thousands of visitors annually. It is on a flyway of migrating birds and one of the largest annual migrations of monarch butterflies.


Leamington Marina damage after the tornado of June 6, 2010

Tourism contributes significantly to the economy, and the city has many attractions. Its attractions include cycle paths along the lake and the nearby Point Pelee National Park. It is a major site for migrating birds, especially in the autumn. As such, it plays host to many birdwatchers from Canada, the United States, and 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 (3.7 mi) east of the town.

Leamington has a large marina, as many people engage in sailing and other water sports. The marina also features a promenade that extends from the Marina to the Historical Leamington Dock, a port for ferry services to Pelee Island using the Jiiman and Pelee Islander II.[26]

Annual events and festivals

  • Festival of Birds – Every year over 40,000 visitors head to Point Pelee National Park for the Festival of Birds at the beginning of May. Over 300 species of birds migrate through the park every year, providing close up views of birds not seen anywhere else in the country.[35]
  • Leamington Fair – For over 170 years, the Leamington District Agricultural Society holds the Fair, typically during the third week in June. The Fair features a Midway full of rides and games, a Demolition Derby, and a variety of contests for arts, crafts, livestock, and food in a classic county fair.[36]
  • Music Onthe42 Summer Concert Series – The Music Onthe42 Summer Concert Series that runs from late June to the end of August at the Seacliff Park Amphitheatre. Seven free concerts feature national and local bands of all genres performing Saturday evenings.[37]
  • Arts @ The Marina – The South Essex Arts Association/Leamington Arts Centre presents an Annual Outdoor Arts and Crafts Show towards the end of June at the Leamington Municipal Marina.[38]
  • Hogs For Hospice – An annual motorcycle rally usually held at the beginning of August. It is centered around Seacliff Park and includes concerts featuring music, and a weekend long craft and vendor show. Proceeds from the weekend are donated to the Leamington Hospice.

The town's water tower, visible for kilometres in the flat southern Ontario landscape, is in the shape and colour of a giant tomato. The former tourist information booth in the centre of town is shaped like a large fibreglass tomato.




Leamington's weekly newspaper is the Southpoint Sun-Journal. 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 33 (UHF) 3, 706 CIII-DT-22 Global Rebroadcaster of CIII-DT-41 (Toronto)
34.1 30 (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

Notable people

In popular culture

  • The book Splat! by Eric Walters takes place in Leamington at the tomato festival.

See also


  1. ^ Long term records have been recorded at various climate stations in or nearby Leamington since 1906


  1. ^ a b "Leamington (Census Subdivision) census profile". 2016 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Leamington (Population Centre) census profile". 2016 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Leamington (Census agglomeration) census profile". 2016 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  4. ^ "Census Profile, Leamington Ontario (municipality)". Statistics Canada. 2021. Retrieved June 17, 2023.
  5. ^ "Leamington, Ontario Area Code". Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  6. ^ "Leamington's History". Municipality of Leamington. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  7. ^ The Province of Ontario Gazetteer and Directory. Toronto: Robertson & Cook. 1869. p. 261. ISBN 9780665094125. ontario gazetteer leamington.
  8. ^ Bradt, Earline Hines (April 22, 2009). "COG Local History - "The Tomato Capital of Canada", Leamington, Ontario". Ancestral Notes. Archived from the original on June 7, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  9. ^ "Leamington". Ontario Rural Routes. Rural Routes Ontario. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  10. ^ Hamilton, William (1978). The Macmillan Book of Canadian Place Names. Toronto: Macmillan. pp. 155. ISBN 0-7715-9754-1.
  11. ^ "Mayor of Leamington, Ontario, says sexual harassment from migrant workers a 'cancer' on the town". National Post. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  12. ^ "The story of Ontario's last segregated Black school". Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  13. ^ "Racial Segregation of Black People in Canada | The Canadian Encyclopedia". Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  14. ^ Suzuki, David (2006). David Suzuki: The autobiography. Vancouver, BC: Greystone Books. p. 23. ISBN 1553652819.
  15. ^ Perry, Joseph Adam (2015). Bunkhouse Drama: An Examination of Control and Agency among Migrant Farm Workers in Ontario, Canada (Thesis).
  16. ^ "Negro Travelers' Green Book: 1959 - NYPL Digital Collections". 1959. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  17. ^ a b "Leamington tornado damage in the millions". CBC News. June 7, 2010. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  18. ^ "Canadian Climate Normals 1951–1980 Volume 2: Temperature". Environment Canada. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  19. ^ "Canadian Climate Normals 1951–1980 Volume 3: Precipitation". Environment Canada. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  20. ^ "Long Term Climate Extremes for Leamington Area (Virtual Station ID: VSON23V)". Daily climate records (LTCE). Environment Canada. Archived from the original on November 11, 2021. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  21. ^ "Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions and census subdivisions (municipalities), Ontario". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  22. ^ "Community Profiles from the 2006 Census". Statistics Canada. March 13, 2007.
  23. ^ "Aboriginal Peoples - Data table". Statistics Canada.
  24. ^ a b Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (February 8, 2017). "Census Profile, 2016 Census - Leamington, Municipality [Census subdivision], Ontario and Essex, County [Census division], Ontario".
  25. ^ "Leamington (Municipality) community profile". 2006 Census data. Statistics Canada. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  26. ^ a b "New Pelee Island ferry makes debut in Leamington". CTV News Windsor. April 5, 2019. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  27. ^ "Heinz to close Leamington, Ont. plant; hundreds of jobs lost". CTV News. November 14, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  28. ^ Austen, Ian. "How Leamington, Ont. — where the tomato is king — rallied to save its Heinz plant". National Post. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  29. ^ Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers 2013 Fact Sheet[dead link]
  30. ^ Schmidt, Doug (December 17, 2020). "Leamington's pot giant Aphria loses name in blockbuster company merger". Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  31. ^ "LHIN approves Leamington Hospital name change". CBC News Windsor. February 28, 2017. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  32. ^ "Erie Shores Healthcare". Erie Shores Healthcare. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  33. ^ Veneza, Ricardo (February 9, 2016). "Queen Of Peace Now Facing Closure". Blackburn News. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  34. ^ "Mill Street Public School will close despite emotional pleas from students". CBC News Windsor. June 9, 2017. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  35. ^ "Festival of Birds". Point Pelee National Park. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  36. ^ "Fair Information". The Leamington District Agricultural Society. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  37. ^ "Calendar of Events". Municipality of Leamington. Retrieved July 10, 2019. (Section: Music Onthe42 Summer Concert Series)
  38. ^ "arts @ the marina". Leamington Arts Centre. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  39. ^ "Leamington Flyers". Greater Ontario Hockey League. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  40. ^ "Wheatley Sharks". Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  41. ^ "Former Portugal midfielder Stephen Eustaquio commits to play for Canada". Sportsnet. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
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Leamington, Ontario
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