Lucan Biddulph is an incorporated township in the Canadian province of Ontario. It was formed on January 1, 1999, by amalgamating the Village of Lucan with Biddulph Township. The township had a population of 4,338 people in the Canada 2011 Census, and covers an area of 168.76 km² of land within Middlesex County.
The land in the area is almost entirely agricultural, with relatively fertile soils used for crops (grains, tobacco) and livestock. Many of the township's residents are employed in the same industries.
Comprising 40,000 acres (160 km2) of Middlesex County, the Township of Biddulph was surveyed by agents of the Canada Company in 1830. The township took its name from John Biddulph, one of the earliest directors of the Canada Company.
Until its incorporation in 1872, the village of Lucan had been known as Marystown, named in tribute to the wife of John McDonald, who was the original land surveyor of the area. When a duplicate Marystown was found to have already registered with the Post Office the name Lucan was put forth and accepted by the postal authorities. Lucan was named in tribute to Lord Lucan, a prominent landowner in Ireland.
Despite being more than 500 km (310 mi) to the North, in 1829, the area became a refuge for a group of free African Americans from Cincinnati, Ohio, who were under threat from riots and restricted employment opportunities. This group of roughly 200 disenfranchised blacks were granted refuge and land by the Canada Company and duly set up a colony named Wilberforce. This was one of the earliest, if not the earliest, settlements connected with the American Colonization Society (which was established in 1816 to settle free blacks in an African colony) in Upper Canada, and existed before emancipation. The flight of blacks northward into Canada beginning around this time was part of the Underground Railroad.
Most of the Cincinnati blacks came from city life and did not adapt well to the harsh farming environment. Large lots of land were cleared (logged) and efforts were made to sustain the colony, but much of it dwindled through the 1840s and many of the original colonists moved on to larger, growing urban centres such as Detroit, Cleveland or Toronto to obtain wage-based employment. A small number remained on to work the land through subsequent generations.
The area was then further logged and settled by whites, many from Ireland, some of whom purchased farmsteads from the departing blacks or new lots sold to them cheaply by the Canada Company. Nowadays fewer than 40 descendants of the ancestral blacks remain.
After this time, about 1850, the majority of the township's landholders were Irish Catholics, a large number originating from then-meagre farming lands in County Tipperary, Ireland.
An important railway route belonging to the Grand Trunk Railway opened in 1856, passing through the village. The village and surrounding township prospered as a result of quicker access to larger marketplaces, such as Toronto farther to the east, and new immigrants settling the area.
Biddulph Township is also known for being the site of the brutal February 4, 1880 massacre of five of the Black Donnellys, an immigrant Irish family caught up in a long-standing local feud. This story has been written about many times and is etched into the criminal history of rural Ontario and is also known throughout the rest of Canada and the United States.
A record snowfall (aka "Snowmaggeden") occurred between Dec. 4-8, 2010, affecting Huron and Middlesex Counties. A total of 177 cm (68") of snow fell during a 102-hour period (it snowed on 98 of those hours).
Population trend:Population in 2006: 4187
Population in 2001: 4201
Population total in 1996: 4166
Biddulph (township): 2208
Lucan (village): 1958
Population in 1991:
Biddulph (township): 2196
Lucan (village): 1847
Lucan is home to the Lucan Irish, a junior hockey team that plays in the Southern Ontario Junior Hockey League. Lucan was the home of the Lucan-Ilderton Jets Senior AA hockey club, a member of the Western Ontario Athletic Association Senior Hockey League until they moved to Komoka Ontario and became the Komoka Classics in 2011.
Lucan FC represents Lucan in Ontario Soccer Association play in the Elgin Middlesex Soccer Association.
Alexander Noble Garrett, born on the homestead, lot 11, South Boundary, Biddulph, August 13, 1862, was an outstanding player in many sports. In particular he was the goalkeeper, on the Canadian soccer teams that toured Britain in 1888 and 1891. Later he was the sports editor of the Toronto World newspaper for many years. His son Dudley Mark Garrett played football for the Toronto Argonauts, and grandson, Dudley Morine Garrett, played hockey for the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers. A.N. Garrett, died in Toronto January 17, 1941.