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Ojibway Prairie Complex
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Black Oak Heritage Park
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Black Oak Heritage Park

Detroit River with park in foreground

Of the five natural areas which make up the Ojibway Prairie Complex, Black Oak Heritage Park is located closest to the Detroit River. The park and surrounding lands have a rich cultural as well as natural heritage. Early explorers reported the presence of Huron Indian corn fields along this part of the river. By 1749, the French had settled here, their fields replacing those of the Hurons. Their farmsteads represent the first major European farming community in Southern Ontario. Originally referred to as Petite Cote (Little Coast), the site later became known at la Cote de Misere (The Coast of Misery) because the sandy soils lost their fertility and farming was no longer productive. Industrial development threatened the site up until 1989 when, as part of a larger land deal, the land was donated to the City of Windsor as use as parkland.

The vegetation of Black Oak Heritage Park is made up of a variety of savanna and woodland species. In addition to the abundance of open, Black Oak woodland it is the best local site to see American Chestnuts. In the early 1800's an area on the edge of Windsor called "Chestnut Grove" likely referred to this area.

Hackberry Butterfly

The parking lot entrance at Broadway Street provides the only access to Black Oak Heritage Park. The designated trail is reserved for passive recreational activities only, such as hiking, bird watching, photography and leisurely bike riding. The south section of the park is not for public use and any trails seen there are to be avoided, as their use would be in violation of the Parks By-law and would also jeopardize the numerous rare and endangered species in the area. Please respect this sensitive habitat and if you see any unauthorized activities please contact 311. For more information about this signficant natural are please visit the City of Windsor YouTube page.

Please note that construction at the site of the Canadian Port of Entry for the Gordie Howe International Bridge, adjacent to Black Oak Heritage Park, is underway. Any entry into the construction site is considered trespassing. For your safety and the safety of the workers, please do not enter. As construction activities continue, temporary closures for Broadway St. and Black Oak Heritage Park will continue. Visit wdbridge.com for information on road closures.

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Information last updated : February 2023
URL of this page: http:///www.ojibway.ca/blackoak.htm
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