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Gorbachev in Amherstburg


In May 1983, future Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and the Soviet ambassador to Canada Alexander Yakovlev were invited by Canada’s Minister of Agriculture, Eugene Whelan, to visit Essex County and have dinner at Whelan’s home on Front Road in Amherstburg.

The two Russians asked Gene’s wife, Liz if there was some place they could go for a walk — and, as it transpired, a talk.


Eugene Whelan with Mikhail Gorbachev during his 1983 visit to Essex-Windsor when both men were agriculture ministers. PHOTO BY FILES /Windsor Star


In retrospect, that walk and talk, followed by visits to a Leamington greenhouse and supermarket, appear to have provoked Gorbachev to conclude the Soviet Union had a critical need to turn to ‘Perestroika’ and ‘Glasnost.’

Find a plaque honours Eugene Whelan for his general accomplishments at the King’s Navy Yard Park in Amherstburg.

Photo: Google Maps, Giles Ayml

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