Windsor is a mid-sized Canadian city on the southwest tip of Ontario. It's an extremely multi-cultural city with over 20% of its population having been born outside of Canada. The city's rich cultural background is made aware by the Middle Eastern, Italian, and Asian neighbourhoods in Windsor. It is located across the Detroit River from the city of Detroit.
Founded as a French agricultural settlement in 1748, Windsor has grown into a multi-cultural city of just over 210,000 people. Reflecting its American neighbour across the Detroit River, it has a strong connection with the automobile industry, with Chrysler's Canadian headquarters based in the city.
The river-side area of Windsor has been developed into a lush area of parkland that offer spectacular views of the Detroit skyline, and is the city's most well known feature.
|POPULATION :||• City (single-tier) 210,891 |
• Urban 276,165
• Metro 319,246
|FOUNDED :||Settled 1749|
|TIME ZONE :||Time zone EST (UTC−5)|
Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
|RELIGION :||Catholic 48.3%|
No religion 12.1%
|AREA :||• City (single-tier) 146.32 km2 (56.49 sq mi)|
• Urban 175.77 km2 (67.87 sq mi)
• Metro 1,022.84 km2 (394.92 sq mi)
|ELEVATION :||190 m (620 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||42°17′N 83°00′W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.6%|
• Female: 50.4%
|ETHNIC :||Canadian 28.1%|
|AREA CODE :||519, 226 and 548|
|POSTAL CODE :||N8P to N8T, N8W to N9G|
|DIALING CODE :|
Even if you spend a day in Windsor you'll notice that Windsor is a very multi-cultural city, especially for its small town feel. Right off the bat, visitors will hear English, French, Arabic and Italian. Near the East side of the downtown area is the North African/Middle Eastern neighbourhoods with a large Lebanese community. South east of the downtown area is the Via Italia neighbourhood with numerous Italian restaurants and shops. West of the downtown area is an area with strong Asian influences.
Windsor tourist attractions include Caesars Windsor, a lively downtown club scene, Little Italy, the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, the Art Gallery of Windsor, the Odette Sculpture Park, Adventure Bay Water Park, and Ojibway Park. As a border settlement, Windsor was a site of conflict during the War of 1812, a major entry point into Canada for refugees from slavery via the Underground Railroad and a major source of liquor during American Prohibition. Two sites in Windsor have been designated as National Historic Sites of Canada: the Sandwich First Baptist Church, a church established by Underground Railroad refugees, and François Bâby House, an important War of 1812 site now serving as Windsor's Community Museum.
The Capitol Theatre in downtown Windsor had been a venue for feature films, plays and other attractions since 1929, until it declared bankruptcy in 2007. Today, the theatre remains open.
The Tea Party is an internationally famous progressive rock band which has been based in Windsor since its foundation in 1990.
Windsor's nickname is the "Rose City" or the "City of Roses". The Liebeszauber (Love's Magic) rose has been designated as the City of Windsor Rose. Windsor is noted for the several large parks and gardens found on its waterfront. The Queen Elizabeth II Sunken Garden is located at Jackson Park in the central part of the city. A World War II era Avro Lancaster was displayed on a stand in the middle of Jackson Park for over four decades but has since been removed for restoration. This park is now home to a mounted Spitfire replica and a Hurricane replica.
Of the parks lining Windsor's waterfront, the largest is the 5 km (3.1 mi) stretch overlooking the Detroit skyline. It extends from the Ambassador Bridge to the Hiram Walker Distillery. The western portion of the park contains the Windsor Sculpture Park which features over 30 large-scale contemporary sculptures for public viewing, along with the Canadian Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The central portion contains Dieppe Gardens, Civic Terrace and Festival Plaza, and the eastern portion is home to the Bert Weeks Memorial Gardens. Further east along the waterfront is Coventry Gardens, across from Detroit's Belle Isle. The focal point of this park is the Charles Brooks Memorial Peace Fountain which floats in the Detroit River and has a coloured light display at night. The fountain is the largest of its kind in North America and symbolizes the peaceful relationship between Canada and the United States.
Each summer, Windsor co-hosts the two-week-long Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival, which culminates in a gigantic fireworks display that celebrates Canada Day and USIndependence Day. The fireworks display is among the world's largest and is held on the final Monday in June over the Detroit River between the two downtowns. Each year, the event attracts over a million spectators to both sides of the riverfront. Windsor and Detroit also jointly cohost the annual Detroit Windsor International Film Festival, while festivals exclusive to Windsor include Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County Carrousel by the River and Carrousel Around the City, Bluesfest International Windsor and Windsor Pride.
Following the 2008 Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Detroit, Michigan, Windsor successfully put in a bid to become the first Canadian city to host the event. Red Bull touted the 2009 race in Windsor as one of the most exciting in the seven-year history of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, and on January 22, 2010, it was announced that Windsor will be a host city for the 2010 and 2011 circuits, along with a select group of major international cities that includes Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Perth, Australia and New York City. The event attracted 200,000 fans to the Detroit River waterfront in 2009. The Red Bull air races were cancelled worldwide for 2011.
Windsor has often been the place where many metro Detroiters find what is forbidden in the United States. With a minimum legal drinking age of 21 in Michigan and 19 in Ontario, a number of 19 and 20-year-old Americans frequent Windsor's bars. The city also became a gambling attraction with Caesars Windsor's opening in 1994, five years before casinos opened in Detroit. One can also purchase Cuban cigars, Cuban rum, less-costly prescription drugs, absinthe, certain imported foods, and other items not available in the United States. In addition, some same-sex couples from the United States chose to marry in Windsor prior to 2015, when same-sex marriage was legalized in all 50 U.S. states.
- Ontario Travel Information Centre (Detroit-Windsor Tunnel), 110 Park St E (at Goyeau), , e-mail: [email protected]. Daily 8:30AM-4:30PM.
Windsor's economy is primarily based on manufacturing, tourism, education, and government services.
The city is one of Canada's major automobile manufacturing centres and is home to the headquarters of FCA Canada. Automotive facilities include the FCA Canada minivan assembly plant, two Ford Motor Company engine plants, and several tool and die and automotive parts manufacturers.
Windsor has a well-established tourism industry. Caesars Windsor, one of the largest casinos in Canada, ranks as one of the largest local employers. It has been a major draw for U.S. visitors since opening in 1994 (as Casino Windsor). Further, the 1,150-kilometre (710 mi) Quebec City – Windsor Corridor contains 18 million people, with 51% of the Canadian population and three out of the five largest metropolitan areas, according to the 2011 Census.
The city has an extensive riverfront parks system and fine restaurants, such as those on Erie Street in Windsor's Little Italy called "Via Italia", another popular tourist destination. The Lake Erie North Shore Wine Region in Essex County has enhanced tourism in the region.
Both the University of Windsor and St. Clair College are significant local employers and have enjoyed substantial growth and expansion in recent years. The recent addition of a full-program satellite medical school of the University of Western Ontario, which opened in 2008 at the University of Windsor is further enhancing the region's economy and the status of the university. In 2013, the university completed construction of a $112 million facility for its Faculty of Engineering.
Windsor is the headquarters of Hiram Walker & Sons Limited, now owned by Pernod Ricard. Its historic distillery was founded by Hiram Walker in 1858 in what was then Walkerville, Ontario.
The diversifying economy is also represented by companies involved inpharmaceuticals, alternative energy, insurance, internet and software. Windsor is also home to the Windsor Salt Mine and the Great Lakes Regional office of the International Joint Commission.
Prior to European exploration and settlement, the Windsor area was inhabited by the First Nations and Native Americans. Windsor was settled by the French in 1749 as an agricultural settlement. It is the oldest continually inhabited European settlement in Canada west of Montreal. The area was first named Petite Côte ("Little Coast" – as opposed to the longer coastline on the Detroit side of the river). Later it was called La Côte de Misère ("Poverty Coast") because of the sandy soils near LaSalle.
Windsor's French Canadian heritage is reflected in many French street names, such as Ouellette, Pelissier, François, Pierre, Langlois, Marentette, and Lauzon. The current street system of Windsor (a grid with elongated blocks) reflects the Canadien method of agricultural land division, where the farms were long and narrow, fronting along the river. Today, the north-south street name often indicates the name of the family that at one time farmed the land where the street is now located. The street system of outlying areas is consistent with the British system for granting land concessions. There is a significant French-speaking minority in Windsor and the surrounding area, particularly in the Lakeshore, Tecumseh and LaSalle areas.
In 1794, after the American Revolution, the settlement of "Sandwich" was founded. It was later renamed Windsor, after the town in Berkshire, England. The Sandwich neighbourhood on Windsor's west side is home to some of the oldest buildings in the city, including Mackenzie Hall, originally built as the Essex County Courthouse in 1855. Today, this building functions as a community centre. The oldest building in the city is the Duff-Baby Housebuilt in 1792. It is owned by Ontario Heritage Trust and houses government offices. The François Baby House in downtown Windsor was built in 1812 and houses Windsor's Community Museum, dedicated to local history.
The City of Windsor was the site of the Battle of Windsor during the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1838. It was also a part of the Patriot War, later that year.
Windsor was established as a village in 1854 (the same year the village was connected to the rest of Canada by the Grand Trunk Railway/Canadian National Railway), then became a town in 1858, and ultimately gained city status in 1892.
The Windsor Police Service was established on July 1, 1867.
A fire consumed much of Windsor's downtown core on October 12, 1871, destroying over 100 buildings.
Sandwich, Ford City and Walkerville were separate legal entities (towns) in their own right until 1935. They are now historic neighbourhoods of Windsor. Ford City was officially incorporated as a village in 1912; it became a town in 1915, and a city in 1929. Walkerville was incorporated as a town in 1890. Sandwich was established in 1817 as a town with no municipal status. It was incorporated as a town in 1858 (the same year as neighbouring Windsor).
These three towns were annexed by Windsor in 1935. The nearby villages of Ojibway and Riverside were incorporated in 1913 and 1921 respectively. Both were annexed by Windsor in 1966. During the 1920s alcohol prohibition was enforced in Michigan while alcohol was legal in Ontario. Rum-running in Windsor was a common practice during that time.
On October 25, 1960, a massive gas explosion destroyed the building housing the Metropolitan Store on Ouellette Avenue. Ten people were killed and at least one hundred injured. The 45th anniversary of the event was commemorated by the Windsor Star on October 25, 2005. It was featured on History Television's Disasters of the Century.
The Windsor Star Centennial Edition in 1992 covered the city's past, its success as a railway centre, and its contributions to World War I and World War II fighting efforts. It also recalled the naming controversy in 1892 when the town of Windsor aimed to become a city. The most popular names listed in the naming controversy were "South Detroit", "The Ferry" (from the ferries that linked Windsor to Detroit), Windsor, and Richmond (the runner-up in popularity). Windsor was chosen to promote the heritage of new English settlers in the city and to recognize Windsor Castle in Berkshire, England. However, Richmond was a popular name used until the Second World War, mainly by the local post office.