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History of LaSalle

Named after the French explorer, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, French settlers first established roots in the area in the mid 1700s. A mission was established in the Town of Sandwich, resulting in people settling in the Turkey Creek area. LaSalle's history and that of Essex County were very much entwined when they were officially identified as part of Upper Canada in 1792. In 1991, residents of LaSalle opted to define themselves as a Town; and, in turn, immediately became one of the larger communities of Essex County with a population of just over 30,000.

Le Griffon

The Griffon ship at Todd Lane and Malden Road roundabout

Le Griffon was a 17th-century, 45-ton, five-gun "barque" built by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, at Fort Frontenac, Kingston.  He built the ship in his quest to find the Northwest Passage to China and Japan.

On September 18, 1679, the ship loaded with furs sailed eastward but the 'magic' vessel vanished with no one knowing when, where or why.  It has still not been discovered.

The 2014-2018 LaSalle Council Members hosted a “christening” of Le Griffon in the roundabout at Todd Lane and Malden Road. With the help of Rev. Canon Sue Paulton, Le Griffon was blessed, and former Mayor, Ken Antaya, broke a bottle of champagne on the bow of the ship, re-enacting when the original ship was christened in honour of Frontenac (Governor General of New France 1672-1682) whose coat-of-arms contained a griffon. Father Louis Hennepin, a bearded priest dressed in a hooded, brown-grey robe, gave the original blessing. Visit our news and announcements page for more information on Le Griffon.

Local Historical Stories

Local First Nations (Ottawa, Ojibwe, Potawatomi; and the Huron/Wyandot) - English

Local First Nations (Ottawa, Ojibwe, Potawatomi; and the Huron/Wyandot) - French