Colchester Family Fun Day recognizes local history

by Adam Gault

The Colchester Family Fun Day kicked off this past Saturday morning with the unveiling of a new heritage plaque that overlooks the popular recreational harbour and beach. The marker highlights even more of the local history of what is quickly becoming a crown jewel in not just the Town of Essex, but the entire north shore of Lake Erie as well.

“Today’s plaque will be the fifth plaque unveiled in the Town of Essex, and third in Colchester, a testament to the area’s rich history,” Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche explained, prior to the plaque’s unveiling. “These plaques are designed to engage residents and visitors with our local history, one of our community’s greatest assets.”

The new plaque recounts the history of the Colchester Reef, and the navigational hazard it provided to mariners roughly three nautical miles southeast of the harbour. Over the course of the area’s nautical history, the reef can be credited with the sinking of four vessels, leading to the construction of a lighthouse, which stood until consumed by fire in 1959. It was replaced by a light tower, which stood until 1976. Today, the foundation of the lighthouse has been repurposed by the Canadian Coast Guard and is used as a helicopter landing pad.

“I’d like to give a special thanks to Mike Drexler of Drexler Diving Systems, the staff at the Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society, and the members of the Essex Municipal Heritage Committee for their time dedicated to providing historical content, photos, and review of the plaque,” Meloche said. “On behalf of the Town of Essex, I’d like to thank everyone for being here today, and helping us to celebrate our heritage.”

The Colchester Family Fun Day, was planned after the tremendous success and feedback stemming from last summer’s Colchester 225th Anniversary, and Canada Day celebrations held in Colchester.

This year’s family fun day featured a myriad of activities, food, and entertainment for visitors of all ages, including an evening performance from Canadian Celtic rockers, Mudmen, who brought the crowd alive with their energetic, one-of-a-kind sound. The night was capped off with an incredible Rafih Auto Group sponsored fireworks display.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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