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The Municipality of Kincardine is located on the shores of Lake Huron in the County of Bruce in the province of Ontario, Canada. It has a population of 11,000, and covers an area of 580 square kilometres. The municipality, located at the mouth of the Penetangore River, was created in 1999 by the amalgamation of the Town of Kincardine, the Township of Kincardine, and the Township of Bruce.
In addition to the town centre, Kincardine contains the following small communities:
- Baie du Dore
- North Bruce
The municipal government is overseen by a council of nine. The council consists of a mayor and a deputy mayor elected at large, three councillors elected from Ward 1 (the former Town of Kincardine), two from Ward 2 (the former Township of Kincardine), and two from Ward 3 (the former Township of Bruce).
The council currently consists of:
- Glenn R. Sutton, mayor
- Sandy Donald, deputy mayor
- Guy Anderson, councillor for Ward 1
- Maureen Couture, councillor for Ward 1
- Barry Schmidt, councillor for Ward 1
- Gordon Campbell, councillor for Ward 2
- Ron Hewitt, councillor for Ward 2
- Howard Ribey, councillor for Ward 3
- Randy Roppel, councillor for Ward 3
The municipal government is responsible for public works, firefighting, parks, recreation, and economic development. Policing is handled by the South Bruce detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police.
The economy of Kincardine is dominated by the Bruce Nuclear Power Development. There is also a tourist industry, emphasizing sandy beaches, beautiful sunsets, and Scottish cultural tradition.
On March 5, 1848, Allan Cameron and William Withers landed by ship at the site of the modern-day town, in that part of Upper Canada known only as the Queen's Bush , and founded a community called Penetangore. On January 1, 1850 the Queen's Bush was divided into counties, and the counties were divided into townships. Penetangore now found itself located within the Township of Kincardine in the County of Bruce. Both the township and the county were named after James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin and 12th Earl of Kincardine.
In the summer of 1851, the Durham Road finally reached its terminus at Penetangore, and allowed access to the settlement by land. The road would be considered nearly impassible by today's standards, but at the time represented a significant improvement in communication and trade. A post office was established at Penetangore in the same year.
In the early years of Bruce County, Kincardine was the only township with any appreciable settlement, and served as the seat of local government for the entire county. Tensions eventually rose to the point where this arrangement could no longer be maintained, and on January 1, 1854 several new municipalities were formed, leaving only Kinloss Township and Bruce Township in union with Kincardine. Kinloss subsequently separated in 1855, and Bruce in 1856.
Over this time, the name Penetangore had gradually fallen out of favour, and was officially discontinued (except with regard to the river) when the Village of Kincardine was incorporated on January 1, 1858. The first grammar school in the county was established at Kincardine in 1860.
During the years 1856 to 1866, a long and convoluted political battle was fought over the location of the county seat. Kincardine and Walkerton were the main contenders, and the latter finally emerged victorious. Kincardine would continue to dominate the county economically, but had clearly lost much of its early political primacy.
The Village of Tiverton, located on the boundary between Kincardine Township and Bruce Township, was incorporated in 1879.
To protect ships using the busy harbour, the Kincardine lighthouse was built in 1881.
At some point during the late 1800s or early 1900s, the Village of Kincardine became the Town of Kincardine.
Arrival of nuclear power
A small nuclear power plant was constructed at Douglas Point in Bruce Township in 1968, and eight additional reactors were built between 1977 and 1987. As a result, a wave of highly educated people moved to Kincardine for work, and were commensurately paid. This significantly changed the demographics of the town, and its entire economy.
In 1998, the Village of Tiverton lost its separate incorporation, and became part of the Township of Bruce.
The Town of Kincardine, the Township of Kincardine, and the Township of Bruce were then amalgamated to form the Township of Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton on January 1, 1999, with boundaries identical to those of the municipality that had existed in 1855. After the first election of the new municipal council, a plebiscite was conducted, and the name changed to the Municipality of Kincardine. In an interesting twist, one of the defeated options on the plebiscite was the name Penetangore.
- Robertson, Norman. The History of the County of Bruce and of the minor municipalities therein. Toronto: William Briggs, 1906.
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