The writers' residency started as a dream several years ago—a desire, urged on by friends, to share the beauty of the family's lakeside property with writers based locally, elsewhere in Canada, and abroad.
Founded in January of 2016, we hosted our first two authors later that summer.
Never intended as a for-profit venture, but as a way to connect with literary writers from outside the region and introduce them to friends in the local community, we strive to maintain an intimate, informal, private atmosphere. At the same time, through our outdoor reading series and related programming, our commitment to public engagement is unwavering.
Thanks to growing support from community leaders, local businesses, publishers, arts organizations, and many committed individuals, we hope to continue hosting authors for years to come.
Woodbridge Farm was founded in 1854, when Adolphus Woodbridge, a tailor who emigrated from Ohio in 1817, purchased forty-two acres of farmland to the west of Kingsville's town center. Nearly a century after his grandfather’s arrival in Canada, Dr. Walter Woodbridge built a brick summerhouse on the farm’s stretch of land overlooking the lake in 1911. A successful dentist in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Dr. Woodbridge later bought out the farm from his siblings, and built a second summer cottage to house his expanding family. In 1965, after his death, the farm was divided between Dr. Woodbridge's children, with the inland farmhouse and farmland bequeathed to his son, and the lakefront property and summerhouse bequeathed to his three daughters. Upon moving his family to Kingsville in 1995, Superior Court Justice Kirk Woodbridge Munroe, son of Lorraine Woodbridge Munroe, the youngest of Dr. Woodbridge’s daughters, began purchasing lots from members of the extended family. Today, both summerhouses and the surrounding property are maintained by Justice Munroe and his son, Grant Munroe, the sixth generational inhabitant.
The Woodbridge family maintains a long tradition of civic engagement. Members across generations have served as wardens, reeves, school superintendents, justices, and active members of religious, charitable, and community organizations. Since settlement, many have shown particular commitment to forwarding literacy, education, and the arts.
Situated along the north shore of Lake Erie, less than an hour's drive from Detroit, Kingsville is Canada’s southernmost town. First settled in the 1790s, it remained a farming village until around the turn of the last century. Kingsville's beauty was discovered around that time by residents of Windsor and Detroit, who began building summerhouses, inns, and hotels along the lakefront. The largest and most famous of these was the Mettawas Hotel, built by whisky magnate Hiram Walker in 1901. The town's proximity to the lake, Victorian architecture, and excellent amenities have maintained its status as the Detroit-Windsor region's premiere summer retreat for over 140 years.