Our History

Pain Court (often incorrectly spelled Paincourt), is a primarily french-speaking agricultural village in southwestern Ontario, Canada in the municipality of Chatham-Kent. It was established in 1854, as one of the earliest French-speaking settlements in southern Ontario. Pain Court was founded when English and French speaking squatters from the Detroit, Michigan, area began to settle the indigenous lands along the lower Thames River in the region in the 1780s.

By the 1820s in the nearby “Pain Court Block”, one of the earliest French-speaking (franco-ontarian) communities in southern Ontario had developed. The name of Pain Court was given by Catholic missionaries in reference to the small loaves of bread which was all the impoverished parishioners could offer. This name can be directly translated in English to “short bread”. In 1829, the settlement was surveyed and recognized in regional maps of the area. In 1852, a chapel was built and not two years later, the plans for the construction of a church began to accommodate the growing community. It quickly became the cultural and educational centre of French-speaking Catholics in the area now known as Chatham-Kent. By 1866, the village had established itself enough to require the establishment of a local post office.

Interesting Facts About Pain Court

Located in the countryside of Pain Court, Laprise Farms Ltd has become the largest producer of Brussels sprouts in Canada as of 1998.

British Comedian and Actor Ricky Gervais shares a close connection with the village. His father, Lawrence Raymond “Jerry” Gervais (1919–2002), was a French-Canadian from Pain Court who emigrated to the UK whilst on foreign duty during the Second World War. He worked as a labourer and hod carrier. He met Gervais’ English mother, Eva Sophia (née House; 1925–2000), during a blackout, and they settled in Whitley, UK.

The 2018 International Plowing Match was held in Pain Court.

Joseph Caron, the former Canadian diplomat, was raised in Pain Court. He served as Canada’s ambassador to China (2001 to 2005), with concurrent accreditation to North Korea and Mongolia, and was ambassador to Japan until the fall of 2008 when he was appointed High Commissioner to India with concurrent accreditation as Ambassador to Nepal and Bhutan.