Nickname: The Tomato Capital of Canada
Motto: Southern Latitude… Friendly Attitude
3 Reasons to Visit Leamington
Leamington, known as “The Tomato Capital of Canada” is a town in Essex County, Ontario. It boasts a population just above 31 000. It is very close to Point Pelee which is the southern most point of mainland Canada.
Leamington is found at the same latitude as cities like Chicago and Rome. This southern position gives Leamington the highest average seasonal temperature anywhere in Canada outside of British Colombia’s lower mainland.
The town is a popular tourist destination and with attractions like these it is no surprise:
1. Point Pelee National Park: Located just south of the town is this popular national park. This park consists of a peninsula of marsh and woodland that tapers to a sharp point into Lake Erie. That point is Canada’s southernmost tip (on the mainland). Middle Island, which is just off the point is also part of the National Park.
The unique geography isn’t the only selling point for the park though. It is also in the middle of a bird and butterfly migration corridor. Over 390 varieties of birds have been spotted in the park. The peninsula is often the last stop for birds and butterflies who head south across Lake Erie during their southern migration. Each year the park plays host to large amounts of increasingly rare monarch butterflies.
2. Tomatofest: Leamington fondly refers to itself as “The Tomato Capital of Canada”. It makes this claim quite legitimately since there is no less than 4 square km’s of tomato crops in it’s vicinity. It is also home to a Heniz factory – you can not get much more tomato than that.
Every mid to late August the town succumbs to tomato madness. The fields are full, the processing plants are firing on all cylinders and there are truck loads of tomatoes rolling through town daily. Along with all of this comes Tomatofest – the annual celebration of the tomato harvest. Every third August weekend the festival brings the community together.
The festival includes a golf tournament, a town wide talent show, a pageant, wine tasting, food vendors and a parade. There is also a custom car show and the “World Famous Tomato Stomp”. Finally what would a community festival be like without a beer tent?
3. Pelee Island Winery: Slightly South of Leamington, Pelee Island is 10, 000 acres of vineyards, beaches, forestry and parks. It is so far south, that over half of America’s 50 states are north of Pelee island. The island is home to some of the rarest florae in all of Canada. Plants like sassafras, honey locust and prickly pear cactus dot the idyllic island. There are many nature related activities to enjoy – you can hike, fish or even visit the ruins of Canada’s first commercial winery.
Wine is the big draw though. Pelee Island wine is becoming world renown, winning Gold and Silver medals at events like The International Eastern Wine Competition, International Wine and Spirit Competition and International Wine Challenge. The island hosts winery tours 7 days a week. The tour starts with a short wine making video, a walk through the heart of the vineyards and of course a wine tasting and barbeque lunch.
Leamington is Canada’s southern jewel. It is a scenic town surrounded by some of the best agricultural land in the country. The area can be summed up as the land of the vine, as the surrounding areas produce some of the best tomatoes and wine in all of Canada.
Check out Leamington – enjoy the beautiful shores of Lake Erie, warm seasonal weather and maybe tip back a glass of wine on Pelee island, or a cold Sleemans at the Tomato Festival’s beer tent.
For More Info: Ontario