Thousands of low-wage temporary farm workers from Mexico and the Caribbean have transformed Leamington.

On Friday evening, in the heart of this farming city, the workers arrive by bicycle and private bus.

Hundreds of labourers crowd the sidewalks, restaurants and shops in this municipality 50 kilometres southeast of Windsor, famous for its greenhouses and tomatoes.

It’s payday and at almost every turn the old city core is alive with bodies and chatter.

But these farm labourers are speaking Spanish and Patois.

Like many of Ontario’s downtowns, Leamington’s has seen better days. But the thousands of low-wage temporary farm workers from Mexico and the Caribbean, the work they provide and the money they spend here — Mayor John Paterson figures $15 million a year — have transformed the local economy.

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