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At the junction of Lake Huron and the St. Clair River, Sarnia, while not a prime tourist destination, appeals to those with an interest in industrial history. Sarnia developed as a major port and thriving center for the petrochemical industry due to the discovery of oil in nearby Petrolia in the mid 1800s. Two museums – one in Petrolia, the other in the town of Oil Springs, site of the first commercial oil well in North America – each present the unique story of Canada’s oil industry’s pioneers. A self-driving Oil Heritage Tour takes in the birthplace of the modern oil industry, the historic Victoria Playhouse in Petrolia, and several ...

At the junction of Lake Huron and the St. Clair River, Sarnia, while not a prime tourist destination, appeals to those with an interest in industrial history. Sarnia developed as a major port and thriving center for the petrochemical industry due to the discovery of oil in nearby Petrolia in the mid 1800s. Two museums – one in Petrolia, the other in the town of Oil Springs, site of the first commercial oil well in North America – each present the unique story of Canada’s oil industry’s pioneers. A self-driving Oil Heritage Tour takes in the birthplace of the modern oil industry, the historic Victoria Playhouse in Petrolia, and several museums. Visitors to Sarnia should also consider traveling 47 km/29 miles south to the town of Dresden, to check out a very different historic site. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the home of Reverend Josiah Henson, a self-educated slave from Maryland who settled in Dresden in the 1830s and devoted himself to helping other fugitives. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, was based upon his story.

Joanna Ebbutt
About the Expert

Joanna Ebbutt is the author or editor of three Insight Guides to Toronto and Canada, and coauthor of Off the Beaten Track: Western Canada. She has been writing about travel for three decades, including chasing the aurora borealis in Northern Ontario.

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Joanna Ebbutt for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Sarnia is a city in southwestern Ontario, Canada. It is the largest city on Lake Huron, 180 miles west of Toronto and 66 miles north of Detroit.
  • Language: English
  • Currency: Canadian Dollar
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, late spring, early fall