Forest is situated on what was once dense forest. When the Grand Trunk Railway was built through where the town now sits, the station was named for the dense forest. The first post office, in 1859, was then named Forest.

The industry of the town was initially tied to the abundant fruit growing operation… there was once a canning factory and a basket factory in Forest. In more recent years the town has become a dormitory community for the city of Sarnia (and to a lesser extent London, ON). Support to the extensive tourism area along the shores of nearby Lake Huron also supports several businesses. Several small plants supporting the auto industry have also opened in the past few years.