The Talbot Trail commemorates some of the earliest settlers in the area north of Lake Erie. Starting at Fort Erie in the Niagara region and making its way west to Windsor.
It remembers Colonel Thomas Talbot who developed the route to improve military communications between Forts Erie and Malden (Amherstburg) and also to develop Talbot Settlement, which he led in the early 1800's.
Talbot's road became Highway #3 and, for the most part, it still is today. There are some detours, where the modern highway leaves the old route, but following hwy # 3 is following Colonel Talbot's 1820's trail.
Those settlers who came with Talbot got good, rich flat farmland, ideal in today's mechanized farming world. They probably didn't appreciate how good it was as they cleared and cleaned it by hand but even back in the 1800's this was the most prosperous part of the Province.
Many food related business sprang up in this region; Heinz, for example, used to make ketchup in a large facility in Leamington, which is now being taken over by private investors.
The first settlers probably never had time for one of the region's other benefits, beautiful beaches. Lake Erie's many beaches attract ten's of thousands of visitors each summer, providing a steady income for hotels, motels, cottage renters, and all the supporting cast of beach resorts.
Some famous beaches in the area include Erie Beach, Crystal Beach and Long Beach, while picturesque town like Port Dover and Port Stanley provide great places to visit when you need a break from the sand and sun. And pretty well all Erie's beaches have fine sand, warm shallow waters and plenty of off-beach attractions for vacationers to enjoy.
Another benefit those early settlers probably never conceived of is the flat landscape and surrounding lakes make the region breezy. People flock to beaches in summer for cooling breezes and the land north of Lake Erie provides those abundently, which is good for another of the region's modern assets.
Wind farms have been growing along the shoreline over the past few years adding to Ontario's renewables energy mix. They also make an interesting backdrop on the horizon.
Adding to Ontario's energy mix is another of those benefits the first settlers were probably unaware of -- oil. Dotted among the fields are pumping stations steadily extracting small, but regular, quantities of this precious, in our age anyhow, fluid.
Driving along the Trail, and driving is the only way to see all 200 km in a reasonable time, is to meander through an almost perfect modern landscape -- idyllic beaches for escape, rich land for food, and locally produced energy to power the toys we can't live without.
Talbot Trail may be a paved road and not a hiking trail but it's still a great way to see this part of Ontario and it provides access along its route to plenty of recreational spots for Hiking & Walking, Running, Cycling, Cross Country Skiing, and Snowshoeing. One of the most popular spots is
Point Pelee Park, where in the spring and fall birds and butterflies gather after their long journey north or before their long journey south. Ontario Trails Council provides information about Talbot Trail and many other trails in Ontario.
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