April 16, 2023 at 2:26 pm
Caldwell First Nation, also known as Zaaga’iganiniwag, or “The Lakers,” is celebrating a major milestone for their community with the grand opening of Caldwell Gas and Variety.
Aboriginal and surrounding area residents gathered at the new site – 1032 Mersea Road 1, Leamington – on Saturday morning.
Mary Duckworth, head of Zaaga’iganiniwag, said the new local business was a huge economic opportunity for her people.
“We are now generating income and independence as Sovereign Indigenous Peoples. We are preparing to build a beautiful new community that will include a Passivhaus residence, a cultural and youth center, and a retirement home to accommodate our members and their victory in the fight against assimilation ancestral needs. We are also preparing to open the Marina very soon,” Duckworth said. “Economic reconciliation and the restoration of trade have always been a part of our nation, helping not only our communities rebuild and heal, but the economy of the entire region.”
The grand opening celebration featured live music, including the sounds of the old Ojibwe Big Drums, as well as a free lunch and greetings from community leaders – including Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald.
“Through the leadership of Chief Duckworth and the hard work of all involved, this important project represents the beginning of sustainable economic development for the Caldwell First Nation. We look forward to celebrating their growth and prosperity together for many years to come,” said MacDonald .
Caldwell Gas and Variety has 16 full-service fuel pumps offering regular, premium, clear and stained diesel, making it one of the largest gas stations in Southwest Ontario. The convenience store offers snacks, drinks, T-shirts, hoodies, hats, gifts and traditional Aboriginal dresses and shirts.
All are welcome to fill up at Aboriginal gas stations. In fact, reserve oil is often much cheaper, even for non-status customers. According to a Caldwell First Nation statement, that’s because Aboriginal-owned businesses are exempt from certain taxes, with the savings being passed on to customers as a way of promoting their business to non-reserve drivers.
New gas station and grocery store open 7 days a week from 7am to 8pm