Located along the Teeswater River on the edge of the Greenock Swamp, southern Ontario’s largest forested wetland, the Hamlet of Chepstow, with a population of some 200, is close to nature and the agricultural heartland of southwestern Ontario.
Chepstow’s Lions’ Park is a hub of activity in the summer with its covered picnic shelter, children’s playground and ball diamonds. The Park Hall is often rented for community functions, making the park a hub for social activities throughout the year, such as the Lions’ Club Guide Dog Walk, a fundraiser for the Lions’ guide dog program.
While the community may be small in numbers, when it comes to a cause like the Lions’ guide dog program, it is big in giving.
The fundraiser was held on Sunday, September 23rd and Mother Nature cooperated with sunny skies and warm temperatures for the eight kilometre walk.
At first count, Lions Diane and Jim Whitehead, reported that $4,500 had been raised but more was expected.
“At one time,” said Jim Whitehead, “Chepstow was in the top 10 Guide Dog fundraisers in Canada and given our size, we are still up there.”
Chepstow itself is an interesting little community. It was founded on May 17, 1852 when John Phelan brought his family down the Yokassippi River (now known as the Teeswater River) and settled 500 feet west of the present 5th Sideroad Bridge.
Phelan built a dam for water power, which was used to drive his saw mill. The first post office opened in 1885 and Chepstow still has a post office. The first church was built in 1857 by the Roman Catholic congregation and the King Edward Hotel was built in 1871.
In the early 1900s, Chepstow like many surrounding villages, was a thriving community with a saw mill, shingle mill, grist mill, cider mill, blacksmith shop and two general stores.
Today, Chepstow is part of the Municipality of Brockton comprised of the Township of Brant, Greenock and Walkerton.