Batawa is a small community in southeastern Ontario, Canada in the city of Quinte West. The community was set up by the Bata Shoe Company as a planned community around a shoe factory. The factory opened in 1939 and closed in 2000.
As conditions in Europe prior to World War II led Tomas Bata to search for a location in Canada to transfer operations. Bata chose the area of Eastern Ontario. Eastern Ontario was chosen because he did not want to locate in Quebec for language reasons, and the electricity supply in Western Ontario was not compatible with his European equipment. Batawa's location was chosen for its proximity to a lake, a railway, a highway, an airport and cheap land. A factory town was built and opened in 1939. The Bata company owned the town, providing accommodations at a reasonable rate to its workers. The company controlled virtually all aspects of the village. There was a Bata grocery store, Bata recreation hall, Bata clubs, Bata teams and a Bata shoe store. Many of the residents were immigrants from Bata's homeland, Czechoslovakia, who immigrated at the time of the factory's construction. The town was initially the headquarters of Bata Shoe operations in Canada; the headquarters moved to Toronto in 1964.
During the latter-half of the 20th century, tariff barriers on shoe imports into Canada were reduced, allowing more and more low-cost shoes into Canada. Eventually, Bata determined the factory could not continue as a viable business operation and closed the factory in March 2000. As part of a strategy to cut costs, Bata consolidated production in lower-wage countries overseas. Bata Shoes would close its retail shoe stores in Canada one year later in 2001.
The primary source for basic documents (vital statistics, land records, wills) for people who lived in the Province of Ontario is the Archives of Ontario, 134 Ian Macdonald Blvd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M7A 2C5.
Civil registration did not begin in the province until 1869. Before then there may be church records of baptisms and burials. For the most part these are still held by the denomination who recorded them. Copies of marriage records made pre-1869 had to be sent by individual clergymen to the registrar of the county in which the marriage took place. These marriage records are available through Ontario Archives, on micorfilm through LDS libraries, and on paid and unpaid websites, but because they were copied at the registrars' offices, they cannot be considered a primary source.
Vital Records after 1869
Birth, marriage and death registrations are not open to the public until a specific number of years after the event occurred. Births to 1915 are now available [October 2014]; dates for marriages and deaths are later. Birth and death registration was not universally carried out in the early years after its adoption. Deaths were more apt to be reported than births for several years. The more rural the area, the less likely it would be that these happenings were reported to the authorities.
Land Records and Wills
Information on how to access land records and wills is best sought on the Archives of Ontario website. An ancestor's land holding might be found on Canadian County Atlas Digital Project if he was in occupancy circa 1878.
Association for the Preservation of Ontario Land Registry Office Documents (APOLROD). A list of Land Registry Offices for all Counties of Ontario.
The original censuses are in the hands of Library and Archives Canada, known to Canadians as "LAC". Copies of original microfilms are online at the LAC website for all censuses up to 1911. Each census database is preceded with an explanation of the geographical area covered, the amount of material retained (some census division material has been lost), the questions on the census form, and whether there is a name index. Census divisions were redrawn as the population increased and more land was inhabited. The 1921 census is only available through Ancestry.ca, but it is free-to-view.
E-books and Books
Some websites with more local information on Hastings County