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OPINION: Chronicles of Sarnia, Part 2

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George Mathewson

The city we call home is the only one on the planet called Sarnia, but people and places with the same name continue to pop up in far-flung corners of the globe.

Back in March we ran a story called, ‘Chronicles of Sarnia: the lion, the lodge and the landscaper,’ which identified 10 other things that share our city’s name.

There is indeed a lion that was rescued from a Romanian circus called Sarnia, and a Sarnia lodge in New Zealand, and a retired landscaper living in Nottinghamshire, England named Sarnia Draper.

Since then I’ve discovered even more Sarnias, presented here as an addendum of additional useless and arcane information.

Several of the new finds come from the Island of Guernsey in the English Channel, which isn’t surprising.

Sarnia is what the Romans called Guernsey, and it is from there that our city’s name springs. Lieutenant-Governor Sir John Colborne brought it with him in 1829 after being reposted from Guernsey to Upper Canada.

Thus, Guernsey has a swanky club called Sarnia Yachts. The Sarnia Walking Club is a group of Guernsey speed walkers who stride various lengths and hand out trophies to each other.

And “A Return to Sarnia” is a new symphony written by Chiara Beebe that premiered Aug. 6 in a church at St. Peter Port, the island’s capital.

Further afield, Sarnia is also a street in Adelaide, Australia and Sarnia Primary is an elementary school in Durban, South Africa.

Near the English city of Bath, the Sarnia Guest House provides upscale lodging in a conservation area.

In the tiny nation of Luxembourg the Sarnia Cabinet Company is a small firm with a handful of employees. It does not, as the name suggests, make cabinets, but is involved in property and company management near the Belgian border.

Sarnia is a pink-haired, purple-eyed adolescent girl in the online anime world. Fans know her as the daughter of the characters Yin and Canada.

An even most obscure Sarnia reference comes from an article about silkworm cultivation in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

A worm in Japan known as the Antheraea Sarnia yama-mai apparently produced a rare and valuable silk, and the Japanese jealously guarded it from foreigners.

But a Dutch physician named Pompe van Meedervoort (No, I’m not making this up) secretly obtained some worm eggs in 1863 and sent them home.

But European dreams of riches were dashed, alas, when the Sarnia moths turned out to be finicky eaters. What’s more, the silk they spun was second-rate.





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