Discover Deseronto, Ontario: A Blend of History and Tourism
Deseronto, Ontario, a charming town nestled in Hastings County, is a must-visit destination for history buffs and tourists alike. Located at the mouth of the Napanee River on the northern side of Lake Ontario, Deseronto offers a unique blend of rich history and scenic beauty.
The Historical Roots of Deseronto, Ontario
The town of Deseronto was named after Captain John Deseronto, a Mohawk leader who served in the British Military Forces during the American Revolutionary War. The town's development began in earnest in 1837 when village tracts were sold by Deseronto's grandson, John Culbertson. The town was originally controlled by the Mohawk of the nearby Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, making it the most easterly municipality of Hastings County.
Deseronto was a hub of industry related to timber and mineral resources until the 1930s. Today, it serves as the eastern gateway to the Bay of Quinte tourist region, easily accessible via Highway 401 and the Skyway Bridge.
Deseronto, Ontario: A Historical Timeline
The British Government acquired the area now known as Deseronto from the Mississauga people after the American Revolution. The land was granted to Loyalists and Mohawk who had supported the British during the war. In 1784, a group of twenty Mohawk families led by Captain John Deserontyon, also known as Deseronto, became the first settlers.
The town's development accelerated in 1837 when John Culbertson, Deserontyon's grandson, was granted individual title to the land by the Upper Canada government. He built a wharf on the waterfront and sold village lots to non-natives, leading to the growth of a settlement known as Culbertson's Wharf.
By 1850, the village was known as Mill Point, and it became an industrial and transportation hub for the logging business. In 1871, a county by-law provided for the incorporation of Mill Point as a Village. The village took the name Deseronto in 1881 in honour of the Mohawk chief Deserontyon.
First Nations Land Claims in Deseronto, Ontario
In the late 20th century, the Mohawk and other First Nations began to make land claims against the Canadian government, alleging lands were taken illegally. The government began negotiations to settle such claims, often by compensation payments but also by land exchanges or acquisition of more land.
Much of the land area of the town of Deseronto is part of The Culbertson Tract Land Claim submitted by the Tyendinaga Mohawks in 1995. The claim was accepted by Canada in 2003 for negotiation. The Culbertson Tract is an 827-acre parcel of land; it includes much of downtown Deseronto and part of Tyendinaga Township, which the government has acknowledged was never ceded by the Mohawk.
Demographics of Deseronto, Ontario
According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Deseronto had a population of 1,747 living in 723 of its 803 total private dwellings, a change of -1.5% from its 2016 population of 1,774. With a land area of 2.52 km2 (0.97 sq mi), it had a population density of 693.3/km2 (1,795.5/sq mi) in 2021.
Transportation in Deseronto, Ontario
Deseronto Transit provides public transportation services in the town, with connections to Napanee, Belleville, and Picton. This makes it easy for tourists and locals alike to explore the region and its many attractions.