Sarnia, Ontario

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Sarnia is a city in Southern (Southwestern) Ontario, Canada (city population 71,419, census area population 88,793, in 2006). Including the adjacent towns of Plympton-Wyoming, Petrolia, St. Clair, and Point Edward, Sarnia's area population is 100,815, in 2006. It is the largest city on Lake Huron and is located where the upper Great Lakes empty into the St. Clair River.

The city's natural harbour first attracted the French explorer La Salle, who named the site "The Rapids". The name "Sarnia" was the Latin name for Guernsey in the Channel Islands just off the coast of Normandy, France. The Sarnia port is still an important centre for lake freighters and "salties" carrying cargoes of grain and petroleum products. It is the largest community in Lambton County.

The aforementioned natural port and the salt caverns that exist in the surrounding areas, coupled with the oil discovered in nearby Oil Springs lead to the massive growth of the petroleum industry in this area. Since Oil Springs was the first place in North America to commercially drill for oil, the knowledge that was acquired there and strengthened in Sarnia led to Sarnians traveling the world teaching other nations how to drill for oil.[citation needed] The complex of refining and chemical companies located downriver of downtown Sarnia once adorned the back of the Canadian ten-dollar bill.

Sarnia is a border city, on the Canadian side of the Blue Water Bridge linking Sarnia's neighbouring village of Point Edward to the city of Port Huron, Michigan in the United States of America. The Blue Water Bridge spans the St. Clair River, which is part of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The original three-lane span, which was opened in 1938, was twinned in the 1990s, making the bridge the largest infrastructure-crossing project in North America. The Blue Water Bridge border crossing makes use of both the NEXUS (frequent traveler program) and the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program.

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