Essex is a town with a population of 19,600 in Essex County in southwestern Ontario, Canada, whose municipal borders extend to Lake Erie. Essex is also the name of the largest community within the municipality. The town comprises the communities of Ambassador Beach, Barretville, Belcreft Beach, Colchester, Edgars, Essex Centre, Gesto, Harrow, Klie’s Beach, Leslies Corner, Levergood Beach, Lypps Beach, Marshfield, McGregor, New Canaan, Oxley, Paquette Corners, Seymour Beach and Vereker.
The current Town of Essex was created on 1 April 1999 through the amalgamation of the former towns of Essex and Harrow, along with the former townships of Colchester North and Colchester South. Each community has a distinct history prior to amalgamation. Colchester South is notable for lying further south than the northern border of California.
The Talbot Trail was heavily attributed with causing Essex to grow significantly in the last half of the 19th century. The community achieved town status in 1890.
The town of Essex is the home of the most successful Junior C franchise in the province, the Essex 73’s. The club has won a record 19 Great Lakes Hockey League titles along with an Ontario record 6 provincial titles. The club played 36 seasons in the historic Essex Memorial Arena and now play in the new Essex Centre Sports Complex. Essex has two minor hockey associations: The Essex Minor Hockey Association based in Essex Centre and the Harrow-Colchester South Minor Hockey Association based in Harrow. The Sun County Panthers AAA teams play out of the Essex Centre Sports Complex.
The Essex Ravens football club play in the Ontario Varsity Football League and play their games at Raider Field at Essex District High School. They have won several provincial championships.
The Essex Energizers are a competitive jump rope team based in the Town of Essex. The Essex Energizers compete at the provincial, national and international levels in the sport of jump rope. Members of the team earned a bronze medal in team show in the 2004 World Championships and Cameron MacQuarrie earned 6th place overall individually in Brisbane, Australia. The Essex Energizers are consistently one of Canada’s top teams and in addition to competitions they have demonstrated at venues such as Disney World, NFL halftime shows, NBA halftime shows and Parliament Hill.
Essex has two major annual festivals. The Essex Fun Fest runs in the second week of July and the Harrow Fair occurs each labour day weekend. The Harrow Fair is the oldest community fair in Ontario.
Essex is known region wide for its large crow population. It is speculated that the town was founded adjacent to a massive crow rookery that, despite efforts to destroy or relocate the nesting ground, thrives to this day. Strangely, the crows boundaries seem tightly closed around the town; though the birds will occasionally venture into surrounding areas.