The Town of LaSalle is a rapidly urbanizing municipality that is situated in the northwest quadrant of Essex County, bordered by the Town of Amherstburg to the south, the town of Tecumseh to the east, and the City of Windsor to the north. (The Detroit River forms the westerly boundary of the town). With a population of 27,652 (2006 Census), it is one of the larger communities of Essex County.
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The Town of LaSalle was originally located on the bank of the Detroit River, on what is known as the “Nautical Mile” in Essex County. Named after the French explorer, Rene-Robert Cavelier de la Salle, French settlers first established roots in the area in the mid 1700s. A mission was established in the Town of Sandwich, resulting in people settling in the Turkey Creek area. LaSalle’s history and that of Essex County were very much entwined when they were officially identified as part of Upper Canada in 1792. In 1991, residents of LaSalle opted to define themselves as a Town.
In a Region of Ontario with less than 4% tree cover for the entire county, the Town of LaSalle is fortunate to still have a small but significant amount of land area consisting of Carolinian forests, provincially significant wetlands, and tall grass prairie communities. Approximately 50% of LaSalle’s total land area (6,500 hectares) is urban in nature; the remaining lands are rural, comprising cash-crop farming, rural residences, and natural heritage features. In total, approximately 7% of this land (excluding Fighting and Grassy Islands) is wooded and/or contains plant species and wildlife habitat, which, from a biological perspective, is considered to be a “natural heritage area”. Natural heritage areas are defined as sites that are relatively undisturbed, and which retain some ecological function (such as providing habitat for wildlife or contributing to the protection and enhancement of water quality).
The Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex is the primary place for the recreational, social, and cultural needs of all LaSalle residents. This new complex is situated on 189 acres of land on Malden Road near Sandwich Secondary School and features: Two NHL ice surfaces with 1,000 seat and 200 seat venues; an indoor aquatic leisure pool; a walking track and fitness centre; 22 outdoor soccer pitches and meeting spaces for local service clubs and community programs.
LaSalle has its own small but growing bicycle trail network named the “LaSalle Trail,” which links up to Windsor’s “Windsor Trail” network, allowing people to ride from Sandwich Secondary School all the way to Windsor’s Riverfront Trail. One of LaSalle’s biggest events is the annual Strawberry Festival, which takes place on the first weekend in June.
The region’s premier golf venue, Essex Golf and Country Club, where PGA tournaments have been held, is located squarely with LaSalle boundaries. Although Essex Golf and Country Club is a private members-only course, there are a number of other courses open to the public in LaSalle, including the Seven Lakes Golf Course and the Dominion Golf Course.
The Millennium Gardens located in Gil Maure Park consists of ten garden beds, each designated to a local school symbolizing diversity within commonality. Footpaths leading from the central water feature in all directions symbolize the future that lies beyond. The location of the Millennium Garden is also one of historical significance. The first settlers of LaSalle arrived there by boat some 300 years ago.