Grand Bend Ontario
‘Florida North’, ‘GB’, ‘The Bend’, call it what you like Grand Bend, Ontario is a hot-spot for summer fun.
The settlement of Grand Bend began in the 1830’s when 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 20 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 travelers along the highway and with the beach, “The Bend” became a summer destination.
GRAND BENDERS premieres May 8, 2012 @ 9 PM (ET/PT) on bpm:tv