Sarnia’s first oil refinery was built by Charles Mackenzie, who lived in this house on Christina Street at London Road. The home’s demolition was already underway when this scene was captured on July 7, 1963. Visible behind the home is the stack of the old Sifto Salt Works, which would be cleared for the creation of Centennial Park in 1967. Photograph courtesy of the Lambton County Archives, Sarnia Observer Negative Collection, 44458-01
The luxury Water’s Edge building stands now about where Mackenzie’s home was located. Like his gracious residence, Charles Mackenzie is a largely forgotten man, despite the fact he was a major innovator, politician and builder who launched numerous successful ventures, including the store that became Mackenzie Milne, Sarnia’s oldest surviving business. He was also the brother of Alexander Mackenzie, Canada’s second prime minister.
The property line that separated the home from the auto sales lot in the photo above is still visible in the black chain-link fence.
– George Mathewson