River Canard is a hamlet of roughly 500 people in the north part of Amherstburg, Ontario and the southern part of Lasalle, Ontario, Canada, approximately 12 miles south of Windsor, Ontario, situated on the Canard River. It is home to an attractive French-Canadian church, similar to St. Joachim Church in Lakeshore (now closed), and Ste. Anne's Church in Tecumseh. The town also contains a bowstring arch bridge that carries Essex County Road 8 over the Canard River.
Originally named Rivière aux Canards ("Duck River"), the community is home to one of the last vestiges of the French-speaking inhabitants of the Detroit River region, settled from France and Quebec in the 18th century. At St. Joseph's parish, one can still (2007) hear the mass in French.
A small subdivision in River Canard is called Beneteau Drive. The Beneteau family had named the side streets "David," "Lydia," and "Ryan," presumably for family members. There are many children living in the subdivision, since St Joseph school is nearby.
River Canard was the site of an engagement between British and American forces on July 16, 1812, during the War of 1812. An American force of 280 men under Colonels Cass and Miller skirmished with British troops near the bridge. Two British soldiers, James Hancock and John Dean were captured. Hancock would die of his wounds later in the day, becoming the first British casualty of the war. Dean was taken prisoner to Detroit where his left arm was amputated due to wounds. He would be liberated with the capture of Fort Detroit by the British one month later.
River Canard is one of the oldest European settlements in North America. A reasonable history of the area appears in The Windsor Border Region: Canada's Southernmost Frontier, edited by Ernest J. Lajeunesse, C.S.B. and published by The Champlain Society for the Government of Ontario, University of Toronto Press, 1960.
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