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History Geography Belle-River, Ontario

Town of Belle River was a small town located in Essex County, with the nearest larger city being Windsor. One theory says the community of Belle River's name comes from the French word for beautiful. In 1999 the towns of Belle River with the townships of Maidstone, Rochester, Tilbury North, and Tilbury West where amalgamated and incorporated becoming the town of Lakeshore. Lakeshore is a town in south-western Ontario, on Lake St. Clair.
Lakeshore has a significant concentration of Franco-Ontarians, and is one of only three communities in Southern Ontario excluding Eastern Ontario where francophone's, as a percentage of the community's population, exceed the provincial average of five per cent. The other two are Welland and Penetanguishene. The town of Lakeshore is actually comprised of the communities of Belle River, Comber, Deerbrook, Elmstead, Emeryville, Haycroft, Lighthouse Cove, North Woodslee, Pike Creek, Pleasant Park, Puce, Ruscom Station, South Woodslee, St. Joachim, Stoney Point and Strangfield.

A small portion of Lakeshore's township easternmost area may also be considered part of Tilbury, although Tilbury proper is located in the neighbouring municipality of Chatham-Kent.
Essex County resident James Scott Cooper, a well known local entrepreneur, built mansions in Walkerville and Belle River. The Cooper Court Motel and Bar in Belle River, built in 1920, still operates today as a local favourite. Cooper was known to have been a philanthropist, contributing greatly to the construction of Belle River's first high school, Belle River District High School.

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