Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, the largest City in Lambton County, is located on the shores of the busiest section of the St. Lawrence Seaway System where the St. Clair River joins Lake Huron.
Early in the 1830s, the first settlers arrived in the Sarnia area and established a community known as “The Rapids”. In 1836, the name “Port Sarnia” was adopted, and the community grew steadily over the years being incorporated as a town in 1856 and, finally, as the “City of Sarnia” on May 7th, 1914.
The City of Sarnia and the neighbouring Town of Clearwater amalgamated on January 1st, 1991, to become the “City of Sarnia-Clearwater”. The new community has a population of 70,000 and a total land mass of 44,000 acres. On January 1st, 1992, the name became “City of Sarnia.”
The early growth of Sarnia was stimulated by the wealth of adjoining stands of timber, by the discovery of oil nearby and by the arrival of The Great Western Railway in 1858 and the Grand Trunk Railway in 1859. These rail lines were later linked directly to the United States by the opening of a rail tunnel under the St. Clair River at Sarnia in 1889. A convenient link for vehicular traffic was provided when the Bluewater Bridge was opened in 1938.
Sarnia became a prominent deep water port during the 1920s when many of the shipping facilities that exist today were constructed, including the winter harbour, the elevator slip and the large grain elevators.
While there had been a petroleum industry in the Sarnia area since the mid 1800s, the establishment of the Polymer Corporation in 1942 to manufacture synthetic rubber during World War II was the first step in establishing Sarnia as a major petrochemical centre.