The restoration and acquisition of artifacts for the John R. Park Homestead, a 1842 home which is the only living farmhouse museum west of London. Today, it has been beautifully restored and is used extensively for education programs and to interpret the lives of our ancestors.
Recognizing the importance of ‘greening our region’, in 1989, thanks to the innovative idea of Dave and Paul Janisse, a unique partnership was established with community funeral homes to create Heritage Forests. This program allows select tracts of land to be developed into natural woodlots while honouring those who have passed away, and since its inception, three new forests have been created.
The largest single donation to the Foundation came in 1994 from Mr. Cliff Hatch. A true community leader, Mr. Hatch donated a significant property to the Foundation, and encouraged us to sell the assets and use the funds for the protection and restoration of our natural environment. It was also Mr. Hatch who provided the inspiration to move forward with the acquisition and development of the Chrysler Canada Greenway, which since its opening in 2000, has been a resource enjoyed by thousands of residents of and visitors to this community.
It’s Our Nature Campaign, which was launched in 1995, experienced many successes, including;
- The acquisition of the Greenway, thanks to a generous donation of $250,000 from Chrysler Canada.
- Protection of LaSalle Woods, part of an area which contains a greater diversity of prairie habitats than any other place in Canada, thanks to a lead donation of $100,000 from the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland.
- Acquisition of important tracts of land within Cedar Creek, identified as one of the most important natural areas in the region and one of the best examples of Carolinian Forests in Ontario
- The 1999 commitment of $250,000 from Casino Windsor Cares, to close the campaign, making them a Partner in the Environment
Detroit River designed Canadian Heritage River
Chrysler Canada Greenway Opens
In 2001, thanks in part to the financial contributions of the Essex Region Conservation Foundation, the Detroit River was officially designated as a Canadian Heritage River and became the first and only river in North America with both Canadian and American Heritage River designations. This designation has acted as a catalyst in stimulating additional environmental cleanup and restoration in the river, which is truly one of our community’s greatest natural resources.
In 2002 because of the success the Foundation achieved with the Chrysler Canada Greenway, CN/CP donated an additional 26 kilometres of abandoned rail line extending from Amherstburg to the urban centre of Essex, and intersecting with the existing Chrysler Canada Greenway. The first kilometre of this section was opened in 2007, with an additional four kilometres opening in 2010. The Foundation continues to raise the funds that will be needed to undertake trail development, bringing our vision of a region connected by trails one step closer to reality.
As part of this transaction with CN/CP in 2002, 2,600 feet of shoreline property located in the Town of Amherstburg was also donated to the Foundation. This property will become the Detroit River Heritage Lookout and provide public access to the river.
Walter Barron, a longtime supporter of our Foundation, passed away in 2009. In his passing, he generously bequeathed us his home, which was significantly renovated and was sold with proceeds to the Foundation to be used towards creating a future of sustainability of this region.