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Wallaceburg Photos

6942 Views 13 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  algonquin
Wallaceburg is an industrial town in Southwestern Ontario, midway between Chatham and Sarnia. It has fallen on hard times in recent years with over 3000 factory jobs lost since 1990.
This is where I grew up:

This was my house:

This was my school:

This is what surrounds Wallaceburg:
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Wow excellent photos. I love the pic of the kid on his bike with the junk behind him. That's an excellent photo.

I love their post office! It's awesome. And the bridge going over the river, that's really nice.

It's too bad about the rest of the town. I find it very creepy.
Great quality pictures. You have captured the town wonderfully. Thanks for sharing.
What type of industries are there? or should i say what kind of industries have left?
Industry was very diverse, with many large factories. Wallaceburg was known as "The Glasstown" for many years. The Glass factory wasn't the largest employer, but it had a huge tower (over 250ft I believe) that was visible for miles. The tower and the factory were demolished around 2000, a huge blow to the town's identity. An earlier major industry was a sugar refinery. Now it's mostly tool and die shops.

You have definitely used products from Wallaceburg. Glassware (variously known as Dominion, Domglass, Libby-St.Clair), Faucets and bathroom fixtures from Waltec (all the old urinals used to say Wallaceburg), Louisville slugger baseball bats, hockey sticks and golf clubs from Hillerich & Bradsby, Food from Nestle, and auto parts for nearly every N. American car.

Here is a list of factories in Wallaceburg that I compiled for a high school project around 1990, with updates that I know of:

Name, Employees (1990), Current Status

Waltec, 652, all three plants closed or closing
Eaton Yale, 603, became Oxford Automotive and then closed
North American Plastics, 515, closed
Libbey St. Clair Glass, 427, closed
Benn Iron Foundary, 419, still operating as WABCO
St. Clair Tool & Die, 400, two factories closed, but HQ still in Wallaceburg
Accurcast, 323, still operating
Nestle Foods, 234, closed
H.E. Vannatter Tool & Die, 135, unknown
Solus Tool & Die, 130, unknown
Hillerich & Bradsby, 100, still operating
Venture Industries, 100, closed
Aar-Kel Moulds, 73, closing
Five Star Tool & Die, 52, unknown
Mylar 2 Moulds, 52, still operating
Active Burgess, 50, closing
Many other smaller tool & die shops

This equals more than 3000 jobs lost since 1990!
Wallaceburg is an old town that looks like it has seen better days.

Looks like quite a dreary place as opposed to Chatham which has a very attractive and vibrant downtown.
Chatham isn't exactly vibrant, but its downtown does look nicer. After Kent County was amalgamated Chatham became the seat of government, so that's where all the attention and money goes. Wallaceburg has been horribly neglected since amalgamation. It's too bad, because it was a decent town when I was a kid. Now many of the basic amenities it used to enjoy have been stripped away.
Ah, Wallaceburg, Ontario's HARD LUCK town, I can't tell you how many plants, including glass and automotive have closed there over the last two decades. I tell you, it looks more like a midwestern US town in decline than it does an Ontario town. A Zellers store has closed, Pizza Hut, and other businesses, it's crazy. Thanks for the pics, though. I think the amalgamation of Kent County and its communities into a whole municipality has really hurt Wallaceburg.
Merging with Chatham made no sense and they should've realized that. I'm not saying the town still wouldn't be a mess if amalgamation hadn't happened, but the province didn't think that one through.
Poor Wallaceburg... It reminds me of the town from the movie Cars.
It seems like no matter how small or dirty a city is in Ontario, there's always a Chinese restaurant. Always.
^^There are a couple Chinese restaurants.

Interestingly, Wallaceburg's industry fared okay after the US free trade and even NAFTA, but after amalgamation, things really deteriorated quickly. There still would have been factory closings without amalgamation (because of globalization) but there might have been better efforts at attracting new industries to fill the void. A lot of people don't realize it, but Wallaceburg was a major employment centre with a daytime population of over 25,000. Without a political structure or political representation, things really go downhill fast.

There was also a significant tourist industry in Wallaceburg. It was a major destination for American boaters. During the summer, the entire river basin used to be filled with yachts every weekend. Because of the loss of municipal government, there is no longer much tourism promotion, and that has really hurt downtown Wallaceburg.

It wasn't just the Zeller's that closed, there was an indoor mall which lost nearly all its tenants and was mostly demolished last year. Here are some pictures from the demolition. The Zellers part of the mall is completely gone in these photos, and they are demolishing the actual mall. Now there is less than half of what is shown remaining.

And finally, here's a picture of the Glass Factory. It was demolished around 2000. The tower in the background was the tallest building in the region and could be seen for miles.

Photo credit: Spencer Thorton, courtesy of the Wallaceburg & District Museum
sorry but that place looks like one giant dump
Thanks for the photos Flar, you are a talented photographer.

And I'm sorry about your hometown... I had no idea Wallaceburg was like that.
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