Wheatley is a community in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, within the municipality of Chatham-Kent. It lies about 12 kilometres (7 mi) east of Leamington. Nearby parks include Two Creeks Conservation Area, which has 15 km of hiking and bicycling paths, Kopegaron Woods Conservation Area, Hillman Marsh Conservation Area and Point Pelee National Park. Rondeau Provincial Park is only a forty-five minute drive to the east. It also boasts Wheatley Provincial Park, home to the endangered Blue Racer snake, which can only be found in the park as well as the Point Pelee National Park and on Pelee Island.
The town has a few beaches, and the Camper’s Cove Campsite and beach, as well as Holiday Harbour. It lies on former Highway 3. The town’s population before merging with Chatham-Kent in 1998 was roughly 1,500. It is now about 1,700.
Wheatley’s sign proclaims it as the “Freshwater Fish Capital of the World” and as a large fishing port located on Lake Erie. It has been home to many fisheries.
Hike Metal Products, a shipbuilding/refitting/fabricating company based at the harbour, is the builder of the Maid of the Mist, the vessel used at Niagara Falls for the tours under the great Canadian waterfall. It also built the 141-foot Copasetic, a research vessel, as well as a ferry for the Toronto Island Airport, to take passengers and vehicles from downtown Toronto to the Toronto Islands.
Wheatley hosts a “Fish Festival” each civic holiday weekend, the first weekend of August. Featured at the festival are the Big Boyz Fishing Derby, Smoked Fish Contest, Famous Yellow Perch and Broasted Chicken Dinner (all you can eat), Two Creeks Concerts, Parades, Wheatley Idol and more!
The town also celebrates St. John the Baptist celebration in June, as well as outdoor summer concerts, Two Creeks Conservation Area events, and other community events. It is on the flight path for migratory birds and monarch butterflies and annually attracts birders from around the world.
Wheatley’s downtown is home to restaurants. Other buildings include Royal Canadian Legion Branch 324, with its collection of militaria, Cellar Door Wines, a pharmacy, The Wheatley Journal, post office, library and bank. Wheatley’s Remembrance Day events take place on the library grounds, as do other ceremonies.
Wheatley is now home to Rebel Cowboy Music. Owned by professional musicians and Wheatley residents John and Michele Law. They offer new and vintage music instrument sales and service, as well as a music school that is inspiring and promoting creativity in the area.
Wheatley Woods Native Plant Nursery and Garden Centre opened in April of 2005. As a full service garden centre they offer a wide variety of plants, specializing in native plants indigenous to southwestern Ontario.