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What it's Like to Retire in WARDSVILLE, ONTARIO

The village of Wardsville is geographically situated at the juncture of four counties.  This picturesque village is attractive to people who want a country setting. The Wardsville golf course is studying housing options for young seniors.

Initial mapping of assets indicates that Wardsville has a unique array of resources to work with.  Interested in bird watching or hiking through some of southwestern Ontario's last remaining nesting sites for endangered birds? Wardsville, is part of the Greater Skunk's Misery complex consisting of old growth Carolinian forests. The forests are home to numerous species at risk including some of Ontario's rarest Warblers, turtles, salamanders, plants and trees. The biggest Tulip tree I have ever seen resides deep in the forest near Wardsville and another fine example is right in town!

History. Wardsville was one of the earliest settlements in the area. George Ward, innkeeper played a central role in the War of 1812. The village and area has long-time residents who are keepers of the stories, traditions, arts, and culture. Though decayed and decimated by fire, there is still a downtown with some heritage buildings remaining.

Community resources include the Beattie Haven Retirement Community, Babcock long-term care,  and Wardsville Golf Club. Beattie Haven Retirement Community is currently engaged in a development process that is looking to build new housing for older seniors.

Where to Retire in WARDSVILLE, ONTARIO and Home Prices

There are a number of active adult communities in Wardsville (see Active Communities link at right). Average house prices here are under $100,000.

What is special about WARDSVILLE, ONTARIO

Think of: Some of the last remaining intact Carolinian forests, home  rare birds, plants and trees. The Thames River, which is classified as a heritage river.  Historical importance: War of 1812 (Battle of Longwoods). Fishing and canoeing. Genealogy and story telling. Fresh vegetables. Good farmland and climate.   Real estate values are exceptional.

What is not special about WARDSVILLE, ONTARIO

Wardsville has gone from being a vibrant village to a bedroom community. Taxes in Ontario are relatively high, particularly on higher income individuals.  There are surcharges on income taxes on income. For more information go to http://www.rev.gov.on.ca/en/tax/pit/index.html

Who will like retirement in WARDSVILLE, ONTARIO

Friendly people and small town warmth. While there is no formalized “Welcome Wagon”, new residents meet their fellow villagers at the Community Yard Sale held in late June. Alma Sitler and others personally welcome new residents that move into the village. Many residents are keepers of Wardsville stories.

Local economy is driven by

Employment. Existing employers need a bigger base of skilled labour. Incoming residents need employment.  

Automotive Industry While most businesses have disappeared, two automotive businesses remain. A farm tractor business lies between the village and Woodgreen. Wardsville Tire does a bustling business with customers who travel miles for good service. Ross Auto provides vehicle maintenance services. The absence of a gas station in Wardsville causes difficulties for locals as well as travellers who expect to fill their tanks in Wardsville. 

Real Estate There are a number of vacant properties for sale in the village, which represent opportunities for entrepreneurs. The Community Hall - built in 1931 and sold by the municipality as a surplus building recently - is for sale. The old post office is available. 

Food Dave’s Café serves fantastic fries made out of real spuds. Another restaurant close by is in the works. One restaurant is good. Two restaurants creates a destination. . 

Trail Development. If the natural heritage is to be developed, we need well-marked groomed trails in the rural area for bicycling, horseback riding, and snowmobiles. This requires much more planning. All users are not compatible on the same trail. Many declining rural communities have used trail development and tourism as the basis for economic revival.  

Housing Wardsville has affordable housing, which is attracting young families and seniors who are looking for a quality investment. It is rumoured that 22 properties changed hands during the past 12 months. The proposed Official Plan for Southwest Middlesex proposes to expand the settlement area boundary.  


Climate and Physical Environment

“Skunk’s Misery” consists of forest, grassland, wetland and watercourses. It straddles three counties and links to the Thames River. The woodlands play a significant role in protecting the air, soil and water. Skunk’s Misery is one of the few places in Canada where you can find a mix of Carolinian trees, such as Chestnut, Sassafras, Tulip Tree and Flowering Dogwood, typical of more southern climates. In the woodland and along the roadsides, is one of the country’s most diverse butterfly populations. The site has Canada’s largest colony of endangered Acadian Flycatcher along with many other rare species such as Black Rat Snakes and Cerulean Warblers. .  

The Thames River, a Canadian Heritage River flows through Wardsville. The Big Bend Conservation Area is close by and connected to Wardsville via the river. It is one of the few access points to the river between Delaware and Chatham.  

Newport Forest: is a 110-acre (45 ha) area on the south side of the Thames River. The property consists mainly of lowland forest, with some upland forest (the Hogsback), meadow, ravine slopes and bluff forests, and floodplain. Title to the Newport Forest was transferred to Thames Talbot Land Trust in June 2007. It is a private conservation area (not open to the public).  

Birding: Birders know about Skunk's Misery forest, which is recognized globally. They come to see some of the rarest birds in Canada. Many of the rare warblers depend on large (200 acre) undisturbed forests. Cerulean, Prothonotary and Hooded Warblers can be seen mating in the forests surrounding Skunks Misery.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Hospitality Wardsville has been a centre of hospitality since its beginnings as a white settlement. Wardsville Golf Club carries on this tradition, as do Babcock and Beattie Haven retirement facilities. Tracing the history of hospitality in the area may re-introduce new ideas for marketing and business opportunity.  

Rich local heritage and ancestry. Many stories are at risk of being lost while important genealogical and War of 1812 information is being uncovered. Military historians now have a complete list of those who fell at the Battle of the Longwoods at Battle Hill.  

The Shamrock car was built by the first registered car company in Canada, established by the Mimna brothers, two stonemasons from Wardsville, Ont. The car is in a small museum in Kingsville.  

Wardsville Community Hall (1931) Since the Wardsville Community Hall came back on the market, there have been many discussion about how to use it for the purpose it was intended: community entertainment and social events. Greg Simpson, a young impresario, is looking for investors. The community wishes him well. Wardsville can only benefit from a unique theatre business serving the broader region.


Crime in Wardsville is very low.

Medical facilities

Excellent, for a small community. Four Counties Hospital with a rural emergency department and helicopter pad. 5 min away. 
Babcock long-term care faciilty with 60 beds (government supported nursing home). Beattie Haven Retirement Community for older adults with 40 residents (charitable non-profit no government support) . A Wellness Centre is part of the vision for Beattie Haven and Wardsville.


Transportation. Wardsville is 45 minutes from Chatham, Sarnia, and London and 2 hours from the “rest of the world” (Detroit, Toronto). It is 15 minutes from “survival services”: food, health services. 

There are no taxis serving the local area, but the Greyhound Bus line stops at Pop’s Variety (and anywhere along its Longwoods Road route). Longwoods Road (Hwy 2) has experienced declining traffic since the 401 Hwy was opened in the 1960s. Nonetheless, many people use Highway 2 as an alternate to 401.  

Communications The village has access to high speed Internet but some rural neighbourhoods do not. High-speed service is gradually covering Elgin County. Middlesex is also working to provide access to missed areas. Lack of high speed is causing rural businesses to fall behind. More and more, businesses cannot operate without high-speed access.  

Accommodations The area needs more local accommodation. Motels are very expensive to build under today’s standards. Woodgreen offers the Greenmantle and the Woodgreen House. Rodney offers Touch of Home and Lion’s Gate Estates. For more B&Bs in the area http://www.bbcanada.com/. 


Valuable Links


What people are saying about WARDSVILLE, ONTARIO

Re: Discuss what its like to live in Wardsville, Ontario
I moved to the Wardsville area 5 years ago. Fed up with London, Ontario's high taxes, ballooning realestate values, poor planning, deteriorating environmental quality, and a political system bought and paid for by mindless housing developers, we started looking around. On a map, we drew a 75km circle around the City of London and started looking for property that had some ecological value, good schools and services like a hospital, sports centres, camping and hiking. We found the realestate values exceptional and the property taxes we pay on our custom built home on 40 acres of pristine Carolinian forest and pasture is less than the small home we had on a small lot in London. The Four Counties Hospital is amazing; great staff and short wait times. McNaughton's in Newbury is 5 minutes away and has pretty well everything you need for your home at competitive prices. The well stocked variety store (Pop's) in town is owned by great folks and the post office in town is very handy too. Want dinner out, pizza or chinese food take out? No problem its all really good and a 10 minute drive away. Want peace and quiet - plenty of that too. Curling and hockey arena is 10 minutes away as well. Highspeed internet service is available as well (my wife develpos software from our home and has to have highspeed internet service for her work). Local public schools have classrooms with 15 kids in them and teachers who know them all AND their families. Local farmers produce is readily available at roadside venues as well as in the grocery stores 10 minutes away. We improved our quality of life, gave up close proximity shopping malls and saved money doing it. We haven't missed the city and all its services and trappings for one minute. We've made friends and have really enjoyed learning about the area's history.
Posted by tkeep on March 04, 2008

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  • State: CANADA
  • Environment: Rural,Outdoor Oriented,
  • City Population: Less than 10,000
  • Median age of Population: 45-64
  • Avg Jan Temperature: 0 -20
  • Avg July Temperature:
  • Median HH Income: 20,001-40,000
  • Average Home Price (MLS): Less than $100,000
  • Annual Property Tax on a $200,000 house: Less than 2000
  • Total Crime Index: <80 (Very low)
  • Cost of Living Index: 81-90 (low)
  • Culture Index: 101-110 (slightly above average)
  • State Sales Tax: Yes
  • State Income Tax: Yes
  • Name of the Guide: marysimpson

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