Askunessippi (The Thames River Re-Named)
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The Thames River is located in southwestern Ontario, Canada.
The Thames flows west 273 kilometers (169 miles) through southwestern Ontario, through the cities of Woodstock, London and Chatham to Lighthouse Cove on Lake St. Clair. It drains 5,825 sq. km. (2,249 sq. mi.) of land.
Fork of the Thames in London, Ontario
Called Askunessippi, "the antlered river," by the Odawa and Ojibwa inhabitants, who have lived in the area since before Europeans arrived, the river was named after the River Thames in England by Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe in 1793. The Askunessippi remains unceded Ojibwa territory.
Much of the Thames is surrounded by deciduous Carolinian forests, although much of this forest has been removed to permit farming and agriculture.
The North and South branches on the upper part of the river flow through valleys created during the retreat of the glaciers during the last ice age. The North and South branches meet at London; the University of Western Ontario is located on the North Branch. Downriver from London, the lower part of the river flows through a shallow plain of sand and clay, with an average depth of 4 ft (1m). The lower Thames flows through Delaware, Chatham, Thamesville, as well as Chippewa and Oneida First Nations settlements. Tributaries of the Thames include the Avon River, Dingman Creek, Jeanettes Creek, McGregor Creek, Medway Creek, Pottersburg Creek, Stoney Creek, and Waubuno Creek.
The river was the location of an important battle of the War of 1812. The Battle of the Thames (also known as the Battle of Moraviantown) was fought on October 5, 1813, between American General William Henry Harrison and British General Henry Proctor, along with Proctor’s ally Tecumseh. Chief Tecumseh was killed in the battle and subsequently had numerous schools and other public facilities named after him such as Tecumseh Public School and Tecumseh Park in London, Ontario, later renamed Labatt Memorial Park, and the London Tecumsehs Baseball Club.
On August 14, 2000, the Thames was designated a Canadian Heritage River.