Sarnia is a city in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. It is the largest city on Lake Huron and in Lambton County. Sarnia is located on the eastern bank of the junction between the Upper and Lower Great Lakes where Lake Huron flows into the St. Clair River, which forms the Canada–United States border, directly across from Port Huron, Michigan.
Located in the natural harbor, the Sarnia port remains an important center for lake freighters and oceangoing ships carrying cargoes of grain and petroleum products.
Lake Huron is cooler than the air in summer and warmer than the air in winter; therefore, it moderates Sarnia’s humid continental climate, which makes temperature extremes of hot and cold less evident. In the winter, Sarnia occasionally experiences lake-effect snow from Arctic air blowing across the warmer waters of Lake Huron and condensing to form snow squalls once over land.
Culturally, Sarnia is a large part of the artistic presence in Southern Ontario. The International Symphony Orchestra plays at the Imperial Theatre for an annual season lasting from September to April. In addition to symphonic concerts, the Imperial Theatre offers year-round dramatic productions. During the Christmas season, the city of Sarnia presents the annual “Celebration of Lights” in Centennial Park.
There are more than 100 parks in Sarnia, the largest being Canatara Park, which covers more than 200 acres along the shore of Lake Huron. Within the park is Lake Chipican, a haven for many different species of birds on their migration routes. Most years, birdwatchers recognize around 150 species. The park also maintains a Children’s Animal Farm as part of Sarnia’s commitment to wildlife. The annual “Christmas on the Farm” weekend event held at the Farm in early December is a popular community event enjoyed by families. Canatara Park is one of the first parks in southern Ontario to feature an outdoor fitness equipment installation.
The largest recreational park in Sarnia is Germain Park, which incorporates five baseball diamonds, four soccer fields, an outdoor pool, and the Community Gardens. As a memorial to Canadian aviators who gave their lives in World War II, one of the remaining Canadair Sabres in Canada is on display in the park.
Sarnia has two large malls: Lambton Mall, and the Bayside Centre. These large malls combine with several smaller shopping centres, discount stores, dollar stores, convenience stores, and a collection of antique and specialty stores to form the crux of Sarnia’s retail business.
The city’s sandy fresh water beaches are a popular tourist attraction, while the sheltered harbour houses marinas for recreational sailing.
Sarnia City Council consists of nine elected members: the Mayor, four members from the city, and four members from the county. The Mayor and all Council members are elected to four-year terms. The four Lambton County Council members serve both County and City Council. The current mayor, Mike Bradley, has held the position since December 1988 and is currently the second longest-serving mayor in the province of Ontario.