Ridgetown, Ontario Canada

Discover Ridgetown, Ontario: A Blend of Agriculture, History, and Industry

Ridgetown, Ontario, a charming community nestled in south-east Chatham-Kent, Canada, is a hub of agriculture, history, and industry. With a population of 2,797 as of the 2021 Canadian Census, Ridgetown is one of the many small farming communities in Chatham-Kent. The town is also home to the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus and proudly upholds its motto, "Agriculture at its best.”

The Rich History of Ridgetown, Ontario

Ridgetown, Ontario, was named after the ridge on which the town is located, a geographical feature that divides the north and south watersheds of the area. The town's post office dates back to 1853, and Ridgetown was incorporated as a village in 1875 with just over 2,000 citizens.

In 1975, Ridgetown celebrated its centennial with over 3,220 residents. The celebrations included residents dressing in 1875 costumes, beard-growing contests, barbecues, and other activities. The Rotary Club of Ridgetown purchased the Galbraith house and formed the Ridgetown Historical Society, leading to the creation of the Ridge House Museum, a living history museum that attracts many visitors.

The town's name originates from its location on a gravel ridge, a remnant of the glacier age. The first settlers of Ridgetown were the Marsh, Mitton, Watson, Scane, and Colby families. A notable settler, William "Daddy" Marsh, was known for his tall tales, including one where he claimed to have spotted the ridge and the fertile land from atop a tall tree in York (now Toronto), declaring it the ideal place to settle.

Ridgetown, Ontario: A Hub of Agriculture

Today, Ridgetown, Ontario, is surrounded by areas that produce major crops such as soybeans, corn, wheat, grains, and field vegetables. The town's water supply is drawn from several deep wells around the town, independent of a piped system from a lake or river.

Ridgetown's history is also intertwined with the railways. The Canada Southern/Michigan Central/New York Central and Detroit River and Lake Erie/Pere Marquette/C&O railways used to run through Ridgetown. Although these railways are now gone, they formed an essential part of Ridgetown's heritage, marking a significant victory for the town over Morpeth in a competition to secure the railways.

Climate and Geography of Ridgetown, Ontario

Ridgetown, Ontario, enjoys a mild climate, moderated by Lake Erie, located seven kilometers to the south. Summers can be hot and humid, while winters are generally less snowy compared to areas near London, Ontario, which is in the snowbelt.

Ridgetown is situated in the middle of a low morainic ridge, which was originally underwater. As the last ice age melted, the "Ridgetown island" emerged. This ridge is approximately 13,000 years old. In 2007, plans were underway to install a line of electricity-generating wind turbines to the south of the town, marking one of four wind turbine projects approved for Chatham-Kent that year.

Industry and Small Business in Ridgetown, Ontario

Ridgetown, Ontario, boasts a thriving manufacturing industry, primarily serving the automotive market. This industry employs hundreds of local and area people, with Martinrea, KSR International, Waltron Trailers, Trak Tool Machines, and Challenger Pallet being the larger plants.

The town also supports dozens of smaller service businesses, including many long-established and unique stores in the downtown area. These businesses contribute to the vibrant and diverse economy of Ridgetown, making it a thriving community in Chatham-Kent, Ontario.