This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Grand Bend, Ontario
A summer day on the main beach in Grand Bend
|• Land||4.74 km2 (1.83 sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
Grand Bend is situated on the traditional territory of the Attawandaron and Ojibwe/Chippewa First Nations. It was ceded to the crown as part of a parcel called the Huron Tract, in Treaty 27, 1829. In the 1830s a group of English and Scottish settlers bought lots from the Canada Company, a land development firm. One of the original settlers, Benjamin Brewster gave his name to the village after he and his business partner David Smart secured rights to dam the Ausable River and started a sawmill in 1832. The villagers were mainly the families of the millhands and fisherman. Their homesteads were situated on the south side of the present village.
For twenty years Brewster existed as an isolated lumbering community. Until the opening of the highway to Goderich in 1850, both people and provisions had to travel by water. Once road connections were complete, the village was no longer solely dependent on the forests for its livelihood and opportunities for new businesses emerged.
Typical of many pioneer communities, the village assumed many different names throughout its history—Brewster's Mills, Websterville and Sommerville are all recorded. Early French Canadian settlers in the area referred to the present location of the village as "Aux Croches", 'at the bends'. Grand Bend survived as a name, perhaps because it was the most appropriate—the tight hairpin turn in the original Ausable River where mills were first established.
Improved roads and the arrival of the automobile near the turn of the century had the greatest influence on the growth of Grand Bend. Businesses were established to serve visitors and travellers along the highway, and with the beach, "The Bend" became a summer destination. In the 1940s, however, Grand Bend became the centre of a major controversy in the landmark court case of Bernard Wolf and Annie Maude Noble versus the homeowners of Beach O'Pines. Wolf, a London, Ontario merchant, faced court challenges when he purchased property at Beach O'Pines in contravention of a restrictive covenant that prohibited the ownership of lots or cottages by persons of "Jewish, Hebrew, Semitic, Negro or coloured race or blood". The case, Noble v Alley, was finally heard by the Supreme Court of Canada which ruled that any such restrictive covenant was unconstitutional.
Grand Bend is home to a variety of stores and eateries. The main strip is the centre of activity in the town, with shopping during the day and night life venues during the evening drawing crowds. The atmosphere of Grand Bend has given the town a reputation of being Florida north. As well as Main Street, Grand Bend acts as a regional cultural centre, boasting art galleries in the town and the Huron Country Playhouse on the outskirts.
Today, Grand Bend's year-round population of 2,000 people swells to about 50,000 in the summer months on holiday weekends. The demographic population of Grand Bend is quite diverse. Families owning vacation homes in the adjacent communities of Oakwood Park, Southcott Pines and Beach O' Pines, are from Ontario, Michigan and as far as New York, Florida, Texas and the American west coast. Among these are the Romney family.
The town as well serves as the backdrop of the docu-drama MTV Show Grand Benders, filmed from 2011 to the present and produced by MDF Productions.
The Pinery Provincial Park and the Lambton Heritage Museum are located seven kilometres south of Grand Bend. Also, in the vicinity one can explore a number of 'Gems of Nature' accessible by marked and maintained hiking trails.
- Rayburn, Alan (1997), Place Names of Ontario (University of Toronto Press), Toronto-Buffalo-London, ISBN 0-8020-7207-0), pp.140-141
- Noble v. Alley 1950 CANLII 13,  S.C.R. 64,  1 D.L.R. 321 (20 November 1950), Supreme Court (Canada)
- Ian Bushnell. The Captive Court: A Study of the Supreme Court of Canada (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1992), 302; James W. St. G. Walker"Race," rights and the law in the Supreme Court of Canada (Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1997), 182-245; Globe and Mail 13 June 1949, 5
- Humphreys, Adrian (November 3, 2012). "Mitt Romney's Canadian 'white house': Family has vacationed at cottage in private, gated Ontario community for 60 years". National Post. Toronto: Doug Kelly. Retrieved July 7, 2014.