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According to the 2001 census, 38,545 of Windsor's 304,960 residents claim Scottish origins, amounting to 12.6% of the total population. This is slightly less than the provincial average - 17% of Ontarians claim Scottish ancestry, or 2.1 million out of nearly 13 million people. 1 However, given that 28% of Windsorites identified simply as "Canadian," the number of people with Scottish ancestry is very probably higher.

Southwestern Ontario's Scottish heritage is evident in the names of its counties: Bruce, Glengarry, Perth, Lanark, and Hamilton. And although Windsor and Essex take their names from places in England, our streets speak volumes to the debt we owe our Scottish ancestors. Some of our streets are named after people, such as McEwan, McDougall, Dougall, Cameron, and Bartlet, while others, such as Bruce, Glengarry, Moy, and Campbell, are named to evoke Highland sentiment.

Western District Map
Western District Map
Western District Seal
Western District Seal

The Western District never boasted a large number of tight-knit Gaelic-speaking communities; the western peninsula's Scottish immigrants tended to distribute themselves in the London district, especially filling Bruce and Grey Counties. The area's largest Scottish settlements arose around present-day St. Thomas in Elgin County, Wallaceburg in Kent County, and Maidstone Township in Essex County.

Sandwich Ont.
Sandwich Ont.

Sandwich was officially founded in 1792 after the British were finally forced by the newly-independent Americans to abandon the trading hub that was Fort Detroit. Along with the French, the region's first European pioneers, and the English, Scots made up a sizable proportion of the settlement's early population. Sandwich's Scots did not arrive in large extended family or community groups like they did in places such as Glengarry or Baldoon. They came, for the most part, with their immediate families; and instead of isolating themselves in a closed community, they worked together with their French and English neighbours to build a new world at the edge of the Canadian wilderness.

Essex County: Population born in Scotland (1861)

Township Population % of Total Population
Anderdon 9 0.5
Colchester 64 2.4
Gosfield 15 0.6
Maidstone 82 4.96
Mersea 23 1
Sandwich East 57 1.8
Sandwich West 24 1.3
Rochester 6 0.4
Tilbury West 45 3.78
Total 325 1.86

Souce: Gazetteer of Essex County, 1866-7

  1. The 2006 census counted the population of Scottish-Canadians in Ontario 2,101,100; the total provincial population was 12,960,282.

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