The Town of Tecumseh is officially 100 years young.
Residents marked the town’s 100th anniversary — albeit a year late due to pandemic restrictions — over the weekend with three days of fun and free family events to celebrate the town, its people and its history.
“We’re blessed as a community here,” Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara said. “I know it sounds corny, but it’s really about the people. They come together they’re very passionate about the town.”
The town was incorporated in 1921, and First World War veteran and doctor Paul Poisson was the town’s first mayor. Poisson served as mayor for a term before going on to represent the region in provincial politics.
When it incorporated the town had about 912 people and has now grown to more than 25,000, McNamara said.
“It’s a very diverse, very caring community,” he said.
Officially, the 100th anniversary of the town was last year — but with pandemic restrictions, council opted to celebrate this year instead.
But there is a connection to 2022: The town’s first council meeting after incorporation was in May 1922.
“COVID really put a damper in terms of celebrating,” McNamara said. “Here we are now, the crowds are amazing. People just want to celebrate.”
As part of the festivities, a massive mural was unveiled Sunday on the front of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 216 depicting Poisson, veterans, a Canadian flag, and, of course, poppies.
Supported by over $30,000 in federal grants, Windsor — Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk said the mural would become a landmark for the community and remembrance.
“This mural will fill our hearts with gratitude because we will remember those who served and those who sacrificed, those brave young men and women who came from farms and small towns like this one,” Kusmierczyk said.
“People from miles around will come here every November 11, every Canada Day and every day in between.”
“This mural certainly is something for all of us to be proud of,” McNamara said. “It’s truly a lasting legacy to our beautiful community to be enjoyed for many many years to come.”
The mural was done by local artist David Derkatz — better known as DERKZ. Derkatz is well-known for more than 100 murals across Windsor and Essex County, including the mural honouring healthcare workers on the Penalty Box restaurant.
“We just wanted a piece that celebrates and honours the fallen soldiers and current soldiers here in Canada, and also a destination that people can come to pay their respects,” Derkatz said, thanking the many partners that made the mural project possible.
The mural took about 10 days to finish, including a late night Saturday to get it ready for Sunday’s big reveal.
Later in the day, firefighters from across Essex County took part in a timed firefighter challenge obstacle course meant to simulate the conditions firefighters face on the job.
Other celebrations over the weekend included a pancake breakfast, bike rally, fireworks, outdoor movie nights, First Nations ceremonies and a waterfront canoe parade.
“Here we are 100 years later, and I’m looking forward to the next 100 years,” McNamara said.