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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Explore the Shore promotes community along County Road 50

by Adam Gault

  The annual two-day Explore the Shore took place this past weekend, highlighting numerous businesses and community groups along County Road 50, between Amherstburg and Kingsville. The unique event gave visitors the opportunity to sample and explore wineries, famers’ fruit and vegetable stands, bed and breakfasts, golf courses, and marinas, which showcased the strength and potential of the shore as a tourist and living destination.

Created as a partnership between the area businesses and community organizations, the annual event encourages participants to check out the more than two dozen destinations highlighted along the route and record their stops in their Explore the Shore “passport,” which could be picked up at many of the numerous weekend destinations.

One of the destinations highlighted in the long running event was the seemingly secluded, yet picturesque, Christ Church Colchester. Built in the late 1860s, the church has been a cornerstone of the Colchester community for generations. Parishioners and visitors are still welcomed through its doors as they were during the time of the Country’s confederation.

“The church has been involved for about ten years in Explore the Shore. We’ve been doing a fish fry as part of that as an outreach,” Rev. John Forbes said of the church’s involvement in the event. “One of the things that was mentioned by a lot of the businesses when Explore the Shore started, was that they were selling things, but there was no place to come for food. So, churches do food, we do hospitality, so that was sort of how we got started in the event.”

The church’s involvement in Explore the Shore has been successful for the long-time institution, with a number of eager guests coming through the doors on Saturday and Sunday in search of a hot meal and a lesson in one of the area’s longest standing structures.

“Just being available to show people around, talk a little bit about the history of the place, and let them know that we’re still here,” Forbes explained, noting that many visitors during the two-day event have said they’ve always driven past the church, but never been in it. “Most of the interest is around the architecture of the building, points about the old cemetery, how old it is. This is kind of the first [area] church. When the British Navy came and settled Colchester, the Anglicans came with them, so we’ve been here kind of since day one.”

Rev. Forbes attributes the longevity of the church to the resiliency of the local community, explaining that when he interviewed for the position at Christ Church, the interviewing member of the church board noted that nine generations of his family had been laid to rest in the neighbouring cemetery.

“It’s that sort of attitude that keeps this place going,” Forbes said. “There’s still a worshipping community here and some really faithful people. It’s important that we have these opportunities to reach out to people, and hospitality is what we are good at.”

For more information about Christ Church Colchester, including a schedule of services, visit


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