Windsor, Ontario
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Windsor, Ontario

The City of Windsor
Images from top to bottom, left to right: Downtown Windsor skyline, Ambassador Bridge, Charlie Brooks Memorial Peace Fountain, Dillon Hall at University of Windsor, and Caesars Windsor
Images from top to bottom, left to right: Downtown Windsor skyline, Ambassador Bridge, Charlie Brooks Memorial Peace Fountain, Dillon Hall at University of Windsor, and Caesars Windsor
Official logo of Windsor
The river and the land sustain us.
Location in the Detroit-Windsor region
Location in the Detroit-Windsor region
Windsor is located in Southern Ontario
Location within southern Ontario
Windsor is located in Ontario
Location within Ontario
Windsor is located in Canada
Location within Canada
Coordinates: 42°17?N 83°00?W / 42.283°N 83.000°W / 42.283; -83.000Coordinates: 42°17?N 83°00?W / 42.283°N 83.000°W / 42.283; -83.000
Census divisionEssex
Named forWindsor, Berkshire
 o TypeCouncil-Manager
 o MayorDrew Dilkens
 o Governing bodyWindsor City Council
 o CAOJason Reynar[2]
 o MPsBrian Masse (NDP),
Irek Kusmierczyk (LPC)
 o MPPsLisa Gretzky (NDP),
Percy Hatfield (NDP)
 o City (single-tier)146.32 km2 (56.49 sq mi)
 o Urban
175.77 km2 (67.87 sq mi)
 o Metro
1,022.84 km2 (394.92 sq mi)
190 m (620 ft)
 o City (single-tier)217,188 (23rd)
 o Urban
276,165 (16th)
 o Metro
344,747 (16th)
Time zoneUTC-05:00 (EST)
UTC-04:00 (EDT)
Forward sortation area
Area codes519, 226 and 548
Highways Highway 3
 Highway 401
E. C. Row Expressway
GDP (Windsor CMA)CA$4.6 billion (2016)[5]
GDP per capita (Windsor CMA)CA$47,277 (2016)
Separated municipalities

Windsor is a city in southwestern Ontario, Canada, on the south bank of the Detroit River directly across from Detroit, Michigan, United States. Geographically located within but administratively independent of Essex County, it is the southernmost city in Canada and marks the southwestern end of the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. The city's population was 217,188 at the 2016 census, making it the third-most populated city in Southwestern Ontario, after London and Kitchener. The Detroit-Windsor urban area is North America's most populous trans-border conurbation, and the Ambassador Bridge border crossing is the busiest commercial crossing on the Canada-United States border.

Windsor is a major contributor to Canada's automotive industry and is culturally diverse. Known as the "Automotive Capital of Canada", Windsor's industrial and manufacturing heritage is responsible for how the city has developed through the years.


Mackenzie Hall

Early settlement

At the time when the first Europeans arrived in the 17th century, the Detroit River region was inhabited by the Huron, Odawa, Potawatomi and Iroquois First Nations.[6]

Later settlement

A French agricultural settlement was established at the site of Windsor in 1749. It is the oldest continually inhabited European-founded settlement in Canada west of Montreal. The area was first named la 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 French street names such as Ouellette, Pelissier, François, Pierre, Langlois, Marentette, and Lauzon. The current street system (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 shows the name of the family that farmed the land where the street is today. The street system of outlying areas is consistent with the British system for granting land concessions. There is a large French-speaking minority in Windsor and the surrounding area, particularly in the Lakeshore, Tecumseh and LaSalle areas.

In 1797, after the American Revolution, the settlement of "Sandwich" was established. 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 city's oldest buildings, including Mackenzie Hall, originally built as the Essex County Courthouse in 1855. Today, this building is a community centre. The city's oldest building is the Duff-Baby House built in 1792. It is owned by Ontario Heritage Trust and houses government offices.

19th century

Windsor as depicted in an 1881 map of East and West Sandwich Township. From the Illustrated atlas of the Dominion of Canada.

The François Baby House in downtown Windsor was built in 1812 and houses Windsor's Community Museum, dedicated to local history.

Windsor was the site of a battle during the 1838 Upper Canada Rebellion. It was attacked by a band of 400 Americans and rebels from Detroit who burned a steamboat and two or three houses before being routed by the local militia.[7] Later that year, Windsor also served as a theatre for the Patriot War.

Underground Railroad Monument

In 1846, Windsor had a population of about 300. Two steamboats offered service to Detroit. The barracks were still manned. There were various types of tradesmen, a bank agency and a post office.[7] The city's access to the Canada-US border made it a key stop for refugee slaves gaining freedom in the northern United States along the Underground Railroad. Many went across the Detroit River to Windsor to escape pursuit by slave catchers.[8][9] There were estimated to be 20,000 to 30,000 African-American refugees who settled in Canada,[10] with many settling in Essex County, Ontario.[11][12][8]

Windsor was incorporated 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 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 more than 100 buildings.[13]

20th century

Sandwich, Ford City and Walkerville were separate legal entities (towns) until 1935. They are now historic neighbourhoods of Windsor. Ford City was 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).

Windsor annexed these three towns in 1935. The nearby villages of Ojibway and Riverside were incorporated in 1913 and 1921, respectively. Both were annexed by Windsor in 1966.[14] 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.[15] The Windsor Star commemorated the 45th anniversary of the event 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 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 World War II, mainly by the local post office.


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: [16]

Windsor has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa) with four distinct seasons.[17][18] Among cities in Ontario, Windsor has the warmest climate.[19] The mean annual temperature is 9.9 °C (50 °F), among the warmest in Canada primarily due to its hot summers. Some locations in coastal and lower mainland British Columbia have a slightly higher mean annual temperature due to milder winter conditions there. The coldest month is January and the warmest month is July. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Windsor was -32.8 °C (-27.0 °F) on January 29, 1873[20] and the warmest was 40.2 °C (104.4 °F) on June 25, 1988.[21]

Winters in Windsor are cold, with frequent snowfall.

Summers are hot and humid,[18] with a July mean temperature of 23.0 °C (73 °F) (the highest such mean in Canada, with the warmest summer nights in the country) although the humidex (combined feel of temperature and humidity) reaches 30 or higher on 70 days in an average summer; the highest recorded humidex in Ontario, 52.1, occurred on June 20, 1953.[16] Thunderstorms are common during summer and occur on average 32 days per year, some of them severe with high winds, heavy rainfall, flooding, intense lightning, hail and less often, tornadic activity[18][16] Winters are generally cold with a January mean temperature of -3 °C (27 °F).[16] Windsor is not in the traditional lake-effect snowbelts but does occasionally see lake-effect snow that originates over Lake Michigan. Snow cover is intermittent throughout the winter; on average there are 53 days each year with snow on the ground. There are typically three to five major snowfalls each winter. Windsor has the highest number of days per year with lightning, haze, and daily maximum humidex over 30 °C (86 °F) of cities in Canada.[22] Windsor is also home to Canada's warmest fall, with the highest mean temperatures for the months of September, October and November.[22] Precipitation is generally well-distributed throughout the year. There are on average 2,261 sunshine hours per year in Windsor.[23]

Climate data for Windsor Airport, 1981-2010 normals, extremes 1940-present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high humidex 18.1 22.3 32.0 35.7 42.3 52.1 50.9 47.5 46.9 39.2 27.5 24.1 52.1
Record high °C (°F) 17.8
Average high °C (°F) -0.3
Daily mean °C (°F) -3.8
Average low °C (°F) -7.3
Record low °C (°F) -29.1
Record low wind chill -42.4 -36 -27.5 -18 -7.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 -11 -25.2 -35.3 -42.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 62.1
Average rainfall mm (inches) 32.4
Average snowfall cm (inches) 37.2
Average precipitation days 15.8 12.3 13.4 13.5 12.5 11.3 11.0 10.2 10.4 11.5 12.7 14.9 149.5
Average rainy days 6.6 5.6 9.0 12.6 12.5 11.3 11.0 10.2 10.4 11.5 11.0 8.4 120.0
Average snowy days 12.3 9.4 6.6 2.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.37 3.0 10.1 44.0
Average relative humidity (%) 69.6 65.9 58.9 52.6 52.4 52.7 53.6 57.3 55.7 57.1 65.1 70.9 59.3
Mean monthly sunshine hours 105.4 124.3 167.4 198.0 260.4 270.0 294.5 257.3 210.0 170.5 123.0 80.6 2,261.4
Mean daily sunshine hours 3.4 4.4 5.4 6.6 8.4 9.0 9.5 8.3 7.0 5.5 4.1 2.6 6.2
Source 1: Environment Canada[16][24][25][26][27]
Source 2: (sunshine hours only)[23]
Climate data for Windsor (Riverside), 1981-2010 normals, extremes 1866-present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 19.4
Average high °C (°F) 0.4
Daily mean °C (°F) -3
Average low °C (°F) -6.4
Record low °C (°F) -32.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 72.8
Average rainfall mm (inches) 35.6
Average snowfall cm (inches) 37.2
Average precipitation days 15.0 10.8 12.1 13.0 14.1 10.7 11.2 10.2 8.6 9.6 11.7 14.1 141.0
Average rainy days 6.1 5.4 7.9 12.2 14.1 10.7 11.2 10.2 8.6 9.6 10.0 7.7 113.6
Average snowy days 10.7 6.6 5.5 1.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.2 7.9 34.3
Source: Environment Canada[20][28][29][30]

Flooding and other emergencies

Windsor had historical flooding in 2016, 2017 and 2019. In 2016, the mayor of Windsor, Drew Dilkens, declared a state of emergency because of the disastrous flooding that occurred.[31] In spring of 2019 Windsor applied for disaster mitigation funding following widespread flooding.[32]

A previous state of emergency in Windsor was called in 2013 when a fire broke out at a plastic recycling warehouse. This state of emergency was called due to poor air quality caused by the fire.[33]

In 2017, Windsor was noted on Environment Canada's top 10 list of weather events. In late August 2017, Windsor faced a storm that left 285 millimetres (11.2 in) of rain in 32 hours.[34]


As the Canadian city with the highest number of days that experience severe thunderstorms and lightning, Windsor has historically been subject to tornadic activity. The strongest and deadliest tornado to touch down in Windsor was an F4 in 1946.[35] Windsor was the only Canadian city to experience a tornado during the 1974 Super Outbreak, an F3 which killed nine people when it destroyed the Windsor Curling Club. The city was grazed by the 1997 Southeast Michigan tornado outbreak with one tornado (an F1) forming east of the city. Tornadoes have been recorded crossing the Detroit River (in 1946 and 1997), and waterspouts are regularly seen over Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, especially in autumn.

On April 25, 2009, an F0 tornado briefly touched down in the eastern part of the city, causing minor damage to nearby buildings, most notably a CUPE union hall.[36]

Two tornadoes (an F1 and an F2) touched down in the evening of August 24, 2016, causing damage in parts of Windsor as well as LaSalle.[37]


Windsor's Riverside Drive looking west and Riverfront Bike Trail from Dieppe Gardens

Ouellette Avenue is the historic main commercial street in downtown Windsor. It runs north-south, perpendicular to the Detroit River, and divides the city into east and west sections. Roads that cross Ouellette Avenue include the directional components East and West after their names. Address numbers on east-west roads in Windsor increase by 100 for each block travelled away from Ouellette Avenue and address numbers on north-south roads increase by 100 for each block travelled away from the Detroit River. In areas where the river curves, some numbers on north-south roads are skipped. For consistency across the city, all address numbers on north-south roads reset at either 600, for streets west of Walker Road, or 800 for those to the east, where the road crosses Wyandotte Street (which roughly parallels the Detroit River).

Downtown Windsor looking north along Ouellette Avenue toward Detroit

Windsor's Department of Parks and Recreation[38] maintains 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) of green space, 180 parks, 64 km (40 mi) of trails, 35 km (22 mi) of sidewalks, 60 parking lots, vacant lands, natural areas and forest cover within the city of Windsor. The largest park is Mic Mac Park, which can accommodate many different activities, including baseball, soccer, biking, and sledding. Windsor has numerous bike trails, the largest being the Ganatchio Trail on the far east side of the city. In recent years, city council has pushed for the addition of bicycle lanes on city streets to provide links throughout the existing trail network.

The Windsor trail network is linked to the LaSalle Trail in the west end, and is to eventually be linked to the Chrysler Canada Greenway (part of the Trans Canada Trail). The current greenway is a 42 km (26 mi) former railway corridor that has been converted into a multi-use recreational trail, underground utility corridor and natural green space. It begins south of Oldcastle and continues south through McGregor, Harrow, Kingsville, and Ruthven. The Greenway is a fine trail for hiking, biking, running, birding, cross country skiing and, in some areas, horseback riding. It connects natural areas, rich agricultural lands, historically and architecturally significant structures, and award-winning wineries. A separate 5 km (3.1 mi) landscaped trail traverses the riverfront between downtown and the Ambassador Bridge. Part of this trail winds through Windsor Sculpture Park displaying various modern and post-modern sculptures. Families of elephants (see picture), penguins, horses, and many other themed sculptures are found in the park.


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 km (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 university's status. 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. Hiram Walker founded its historic distillery in 1858 in what was then Walkerville, Ontario.

The diversifying economy is also represented by companies involved in pharmaceuticals, 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.[39]


In 2017, Windsor, in conjunction with Detroit, bid for the Amazon HQ2 Headquarters. The cities lost the bid, but began a deeper discussion about how high-technology companies could provide the area with another industry beyond automotive and tool and mold.[40]

There are a few established tech companies that have been in the region for years. Among them are Cypher Systems Group, a computer-based hardware wholesaler and software developer;[41] AlphaKor Group, a technology company that provides IT services, custom software and mobile apps;[42] and Red Piston, a media solutions company.[43] There are also a few successful startups in area, including Sirved, a tech company that is building a restaurant discovery app;[44] and Hackforge, a tech company that has built an app to compare hospital drive times,[45] and has hosted a variety of tech-focused community events, such as a resource Hackathon.[46]

The non-profit WEtech Alliance provides startups and local entrepreneurs with resources to get new technology companies started in the city.[47]

In 2019, Dan Gilbert and Quicken Loans bought a building in Windsor with a plan to restore it. Once completed Quicken Loans will employ 50-100 people, mostly in the technology sector.[48]  Many are hoping that this is a catalyst for more companies to establish tech business in Windsor.

Largest private-sector employers



In 2016, Windsor's population was 217,188. In 2017, the total population of the Windsor metropolitan area (consisting of Windsor, Tecumseh, Amherstburg, LaSalle and Lakeshore) was 344,747.[54] This represents an increase of 3.0% in the city population since 2011 and an increase of 3.1% in the metropolitan area population since 2011.[55] During the same period, Ontario grew by 4.6% and Canada by 5.0%.[56]

Windsor attracts many immigrants from around the world. In 2016, in the city 27.7% of the population was foreign-born while in the metropolitan area, 22.9% of the population was foreign-born; this is the fourth-highest proportion for a Canadian metropolitan area. Visible minorities make up 25.7% of the population, making it the most diverse city in Ontario outside of the Greater Toronto Area.[57][58]

In 2016, Windsor's population was 48.8% male and 51.2% female. Children under 15 years of age accounted for 16.3% of the city population compared to 16.6% for Canada. Persons of age 65 years and over accounted for 17.6% of the population in Windsor compared to 16.9% for Canada. The median age in Windsor is 41.4 years compared to 41.2 years for Canada.[59]

The population of Windsor is primarily English-speaking, with 88.5% of residents having knowledge only of English and 8.8% of residents having knowledge of both English and French.[59]

Demographic Group, 2016[59]
Group Population % of Pop.
European 156,380 72.0%
Arab 16,115 7.4%
Black 10,675 4.9%
South Asian 9,640 4.4%
Chinese 7,340 3.4%
Southeast Asian 3,365 1.5%
Filipino 2,960 1.4%
First Nations 2,705 1.2%
Latin American 2,670 1.2%
Métis 2,490 1.1%
Mixed visible minority 1,830 0.8%
Other visible minority 1,295 0.6%
West Asian 1,290 0.6%
Korean 315 0.1%
Japanese 110 0%
Total population 217,188 100%
Ethnic Origin, 2016[59]
Origin Percentage
Canadian 24.7%
French 20.8%
English 18.0%
Irish 13.7%
Scottish 12.8%
Italian 8.8%
German 8.4%
Polish 4.1%
Chinese 3.9%
Lebanese 3.9%
Iraqi 3.0%
Ukrainian 2.9%
multiple responses included
Religion, 2011[60]
Religion Percentage
Catholic 41.8%
Protestant 21.8%
No religion 20.0%
Muslim 6.9%
Orthodox 4.1%


Windsor has a low violent crime rate and one of the lowest murder rates in Canada. In 2017, the Crime Severity Index for the Windsor Metropolitan Area was 71.7, compared to the Canadian national rate of 72.9.[61] Of the five safest communities in Canada, four of them are in the Windsor Metropolitan Area (Amherstburg, LaSalle, Tecumseh, and Lakeshore).[62] Windsor has made national headlines for its lack of homicides.[63] There were no homicides in the city for a 27-month period ending in November 2011. Since 2016, reports of sexual assaults, within Windsor, have increased by 20%, reports of robbery by 23%, reports of breaking and entering by 3% and reports of motor vehicle theft by 13%.[64]


Windsor City Hall

Windsor's history as an industrial centre has given the New Democratic Party (NDP) a dedicated voting base. During federal and provincial elections, Windsorites have maintained its local representation in the respective legislatures. The Liberal Party of Canada also has a strong electoral history in the city. Canada's 21st Prime Minister, Paul Martin, was born in Windsor. His father, Paul Martin Sr., a federal cabinet minister in several portfolios through the Liberal governments of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, was first elected to the House of Commons from a Windsor riding in the 1930s. Martin Sr. practised law in the city and the federal building on Ouellette Avenue is named after him.[65] Eugene Whelan was a Liberal cabinet minister and one-time Liberal party leadership candidate elected from Essex County from the 1960s to the early 1980s, as well as Mark MacGuigan of Windsor-Walkerville riding, who also served as External Affairs, and later Justice minister in the early 1980s. Deputy Prime Minister Herb Gray represented Windsor as an MP from 1962 through 2003, winning thirteen consecutive elections making him the longest serving MP in Canadian history.[66] A bust of Herb Gray is at the foot of Ouellette Avenue near Dieppe Park in downtown Windsor. The Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway is named after him.[67]

Current representation

The current mayor of Windsor is Drew Dilkens. Windsor is governed under the Council-Manager form of local government and includes the elected City Council, mayor, and an appointed Chief Administrative Officer. The city is divided into ten wards, with one councillor representing each ward. The mayor serves as the chief executive officer of the city and functions as its ceremonial head. Day-to-day operations of the government are carried out by the Chief Administrative Officer. In August 2009, Windsor City Council approved a 10-ward electoral system for the 2010 civic election, with one councillor elected in each ward. The plan doubled the number of wards, which had been unchanged for 30 years.[68]

At the provincial and federal levels, Windsor is divided into two ridings: Windsor West and Windsor--Tecumseh. The city is currently represented in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario by NDP MPPs: Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West), and Percy Hatfield (Windsor--Tecumseh). In federal Parliament, Windsor is currently represented by NDP MP Brian Masse (Windsor West) and Liberal Party of Canada MP Irek Kusmierczyk (Windsor--Tecumseh).

Culture and tourism

Art Gallery of Windsor overlooking riverfront rock gardens

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, Windsor Light Music Theatre, 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.[69][70]

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. The theatre is now a venue used for live orchestral concerts, lectures and dance performances.[71] The Tea Party is a 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.[72] Windsor is noted for the several large parks and gardens found on its waterfront. The Queen Elizabeth II Sunken Garden is 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.

One Riverside Drive, Chrysler's Canada HQ in downtown Windsor, as seen from Dieppe Gardens along the riverfront

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 the Fourth of July. The fireworks display is among the world's largest and takes place 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,[73] and on January 22, 2010, it was announced Windsor would be a host city for the 2010 and 2011 circuits,[74] 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.[73]

Dubbed the Great Canadian Flag Project, Windsor erected a 150-foot (45.7 metre) flagpole to fly a 60 feet by 30 feet (18 metres by nine metres) Canadian flag in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Canada. Spotlights illuminate the flag at night, with a smaller 24 feet by 12 feet (7.3 metres by 3.7 metres) flag to fly during periods of strong winds. As of January 14, 2017, $300,000 had been raised for the project, including $150,000 from the federal government.[75]

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.[76]


Windsor Star headquarters

Windsor and its surrounding area has been served by the Windsor Star since 1888. The regional newspaper is the only daily in Windsor and Essex County and has attracted the highest readership per capita in its circulation range of any Canadian metropolitan newspaper.

The Windsor Independent is an alternative newspaper published once per month, featuring reviews, news, politics, arts, culture and entertainment.

Windsor is considered part of the Detroit television and radio market for purposes of territorial rights. Due to this fact, and its proximity to Toledo and Cleveland, radio and television broadcasters in Windsor are accorded a special status by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, exempting them from many of the Canadian content ("CanCon") requirements most broadcasters in Canada are required to follow. The CanCon requirements are sometimes blamed in part for the decline in popularity of Windsor radio station CKLW, a 50,000-watt AM radio station that in the late 1960s (prior to the advent of CanCon) had been the top-rated radio station not only in Detroit and Windsor, but also in Toledo and Cleveland.

Windsor has also been exempt from concentration of media ownership rules. Except for Blackburn Radio-owned stations CJWF-FM and a rebroadcaster of Chatham's CKUE-FM in Windsor, all other current commercial media outlets are owned by a single company, Bell Media.

The city is home to one campus radio station, CJAM-FM, situated on the University of Windsor campus.[77] Windsor is also served by a few informational news websites including windsoriteDOTca News, a local news site; Radio Betna, a Middle Eastern community based web radio station; and YQG Rocks, which is one of the only media to reviews entertainment shows since the retirement of Windsor Star critic Ted Shaw.[78]

The Windsor Local is a local site and mobile app.


Windsor youth attend schools in the Greater Essex County District School Board (prior to 1998, the Windsor Board of Education), the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, Conseil scolaire catholique Providence and Conseil scolaire Viamonde. Independent faith-based schools include Maranatha Christian Academy (JK-12), Canadian Christian Academy (JK-12), Académie Ste. Cécile International School (JK-12, including International Baccalaureate), First Lutheran Christian Academy (JK-8), and Windsor Adventist Elementary School. The non-denominational Lakeview Montessori School is a private school as well. The Canada South Science City[79] serves the Elementary School Curriculum's Science and Technology component.

Windsor is home to four International Baccalaureate recognized schools: Assumption College School (a Catholic high school), Académie Ste. Cécile International School (a private school), École secondaire E.J. Lajeunesse (a francophone Catholic high school), and Riverside Secondary School (a public high school). Kennedy Collegiate Institute and Vincent Massey Secondary School are renowned in Southern Ontario for their notable accomplishments nationally in mathematics and computer science. Kennedy was built in 1929 in the central part of the city next to Jackson park and is sometimes called the castle because of the unique architecture of its gymnasium at the rear of the school.

Post-secondary institutions

The University of Windsor is Canada's southernmost university. It is a research oriented, comprehensive university with a student population of 16,000 full-time graduate and undergraduate students. Now entering its most ambitious capital expansion since its founding in 1963, the University of Windsor recently opened the Anthony P. Toldo Health Education & Learning Centre, which houses the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. With the help of $40 million in Ontario government funding, the University also has recently finished construction of a 300,000-square-foot (28,000 m2), $112-million Centre for Engineering Innovation; a structure that establishes revolutionary design standards across Canada and beyond. The university is just east of the Ambassador Bridge, south of the Detroit River.

In Spring 2011, it was announced the University of Windsor would move its music and visual art programs downtown to be housed in the historic Armouries building and former Greyhound Bus Depot at Freedom Way and University Ave E. The move intended to bring an additional 500 students into the downtown core daily. The University also brought its School of Social Work to the old Windsor Star buildings on Ferry and Pitt Streets, bringing an additional 1,000 students into the downtown.

Windsor is also home to St. Clair College with a student population of 6,500 full-time students. Its main campus is in Windsor, and it also has campuses in Chatham and Wallaceburg. In 2007, St. Clair College opened a satellite campus in downtown Windsor in the former Cleary International Centre. In April 2010, St. Clair College added to its downtown Windsor presence with the addition of its MediaPlex school. Together, they bring over one thousand students into the downtown core every day. The college also opened the TD Student Centre on the corner of Victoria Avenue and University Avenue in 2012.

St. Clair College campus on Riverside Drive

More recently Collège Boréal opened an access centre and small campus to their Ouellette avenue location. This small campus offers access to many Collège Boréal programmes as well as immigration and integration assistance for francophones in the area. Collège Boréal is Windsor's only francophone post-secondary institution, providing service for a small, but notable, population of Franco-Ontarians within the Windsor-Tecumseh-Belle River area.

From 1995 to 2001, the city was home to a satellite campus of the defunct francophone Collège des Grands-Lacs.[80]

Public libraries

The Windsor Public Library offers education, entertainment, along with community history materials, programs, and services. The main branch coordinates a literacy program for adults needing functional literacy upgrading. The local historical archives are here.

Health systems

There are two hospitals in Windsor: Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, formally Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital, and Windsor Regional Hospital. Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare is the result of an amalgamation of Grace Hospital and Hôtel-Dieu in 1994. The merger occurred due to the Government of Ontario's province-wide policy to consolidate resources into Local Health Integrated Networks, or LHINs. This was to eliminate duplicate services and allocate resources more efficiently across the region. The policy resulted in the closure of many community-based and historically important hospitals across the province. At this time, Hotel-Dieu Hospital does not do surgeries, nor does it have emergency room services. Its focus has moved away from traditional hospital services and provides more supportive healthcare.[81]

Windsor Regional Hospital has formal and informal agreements with Detroit-area hospitals. For instance, pediatric neurosurgery is no longer performed in Windsor. Leamington District Memorial Hospital in Leamington, Ontario, serves much of Essex County and, along with the Windsor institutions, share resources with the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.[]

Over eighteen thousand Windsor residents are employed in the health care profession.[82][]


New bus terminal, opened in 2007

Windsor is the western terminus of both Highway 401, Canada's busiest highway, and Via Rail's Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. Windsor's Via station is the nation's sixth-busiest in terms of passenger volumes.[]

Windsor has a municipal highway, E.C. Row Expressway, running east-west through the city. Consisting of 15.7 km (9.8 mi) of highway and nine interchanges, the expressway is the fastest way for commuters to travel across the city. E.C. Row Expressway is mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records as the shortest freeway that took the longest time to build as it took more than 15 years to complete.[] The expressway stretches from Windsor's far west end at Ojibway Parkway east to Banwell Road on the city's border with Tecumseh.

Via Rail train at Windsor station

The majority of development in the city of Windsor and neighbouring town of Tecumseh stretches along the water instead of in-land. As a result, there is a lack of major east-west arteries compared to north-south arteries. Only Riverside Drive, Wyandotte Street, Tecumseh Road, County Road 42/Cabana Road and the E.C. Row Expressway serve the almost 30 km (19 mi) from the west end of Windsor eastward. All of these roads, especially the E.C. Row Expressway are burdened with east-west commuter traffic from the development in the city's east end and suburbs further east. There are eight north-south roads interchanging with the expressway: Huron Church Road, Dominion Boulevard, Dougall Avenue, Howard Avenue, Walker Road, Central Avenue, Jefferson Boulevard, and Lauzon Parkway. Traffic backups on some of these north-south roads at the E.C. Row Expressway are common, mainly at Dominion, Dougall, Howard, and Walker as the land south of the expressway and east of Walker is occupied by Windsor airport and there has been little development.

Windsor's many rail crossings intersect with these north-south thoroughfares. In October 2008, the Province of Ontario completed a grade separation at Walker Road and the CP Rail line. Another grade separation was completed in November 2010 at Howard Avenue and the CP Rail line. In both cases, the road travels under the rail line and both have below grade intersections with an east-west street. These were planned as parts of the "Let's Get Windsor-Essex Moving" project funded by the Province of Ontario to improve local transportation infrastructure.

Windsor is connected to Essex and Leamington via Highway 3, and is well connected to the other municipalities and communities throughout Essex County via the county road network. Nearly 20,000 vehicles travel on Highway 3 in Essex County on a daily basis. It is the main route to work for many residents of Leamington, Kingsville and Essex.

Windsor is linked to the United States by the Ambassador Bridge, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, a Canadian Pacific Railway tunnel, and the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry. The Ambassador Bridge is North America's No. 1 international border crossing in terms of goods volume: 27% of all trade between Canada and the United States crosses at the Ambassador Bridge.

Windsor has a bike trail network including the (Riverfront Bike Trail, Ganatchio Bike Trail, and Little River Extension). They have become a blend of parkland and transportation, as people use the trails to commute to work or across downtown on their bicycles.


The city is served by Windsor International Airport, a regional airport with scheduled commuter air service by Air Canada Express, Porter Airlines, Westjet, and Sunwing, along with heavy general aviation traffic. The majority of destinations are within Ontario with the exception of seasonal routes to Calgary, Alberta and a variety of Caribbean destinations.

The Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport is approximately 40 km (25 mi) across the border in Romulus, Michigan and is the airport of choice for many Windsor residents as it has regular flights to a larger variety of destinations than Windsor Airport.[83]

Shuttle buses and cars are within driving distance to larger airports like London International Airport, John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport and to Canada's busiest airport and international hub Toronto Pearson International Airport.


The Port of Windsor, which covers 21.2 km (13.2 mi) of shoreline along the Detroit River is part of the Great Lakes/Saint Lawrence Seaway System. Accessible to both Lake freighters and ocean-going vessels, the port is the third largest Canadian Great Lakes port in terms of shipments behind only Hamilton and Thunder Bay. Cargos include a wide range of products such as aggregates, salt, grain, fluorspar, lumber, steel, petroleum, vehicles and heavy lift equipment.[84]

Mass transit


Transit Windsor hybrid 'XCelsior' bus

A public transport bus service is provided by Transit Windsor, the city-owned bus company, operating 15 fixed bus routes with a fleet of 114 vehicles through the city as well as providing transportation for many of the city's secondary school students and a service to downtown Detroit. Transit Windsor shares its newly constructed $8 million downtown Transit Terminal with Greyhound Lines. The new depot opened in 2007. Current bus fare is $3.00 for all riders except children under 5 on regular service routes. Fares for attending students are $2.00. Tunnel bus fares are $5.00 and both American and Canadian currencies are accepted on the tunnel bus.[85]


Windsor has a long history with rail travel in both passenger service and freight due to the Michigan Central Railway Tunnel. Intercity passenger railway service is provided by Via Rail throughout the region via the Windsor Railway Station.[86] The region also used to have a second station, the Windsor Michigan Central Railroad Depot - before it was destroyed in a fire - which historically served the Canada Southern Railway, New York Central Railroad and Amtrak.[]

Bridges to Detroit

A major and controversial issue is the amount of traffic to and from the Ambassador Bridge. The number of vehicles crossing the bridge has doubled since 1990. However, the total volume of traffic has been declining since the September 11 attacks.

Access to the Ambassador Bridge is via two municipal roads: Huron Church Road and Wyandotte Street. A large portion of the traffic consists of tractor-trailers. There have been at times a wall of trucks up to 8 km (5.0 mi) long on Huron Church Road. This road cuts through the west end of the city and the trucks are the source of many complaints about noise, pollution and pedestrian hazards. In 2003, a single mother of three, Jacqueline Bouchard, was struck and killed by a truck at the corner of Huron Church and Girardot Avenue in front of Assumption College Catholic High School, a tragedy argued to be due to a lack of practical safety precautions.[87]

Windsor City Council hired traffic consultant Sam Schwartz to produce a proposal for a solution to this traffic problem. City councillors overwhelmingly endorsed the proposal and it was presented to the federal government as a "Made in Windsor" solution. Not all of the surrounding residents supported the plan. One problem with the plan is the proposed road would cut through protected green spaces such as the Ojibway Prairie Reserve.

In 2005, the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC -- a joint Canadian-American committee studying the options for expanding the border crossing) announced its preferred option was to extend Highway 401 directly westward to a new bridge spanning the Detroit River and interchange with Interstate 75 somewhere between the existing Ambassador Bridge span and Wyandotte.

On April 9, 2010, the City of Windsor, along with local cabinet ministers Dwight Duncan and Sandra Pupatello of the Province of Ontario, announced a final decision had been made in the plans to construct the Windsor-Essex Parkway, the new Highway 401 extension leading to a future crossing. The announcement indicated the project will be the most expensive road ever built in Canada on a per kilometre basis, and included commitments to enhance green space design through the use of berming, landscaping, and other aesthetic treatments. As part of negotiations with the City of Windsor (who threatened legal action in pursuit of more tunnelling and green space of the route), the province agreed to additional funding to infrastructure projects in Windsor-Essex; this includes money for the improvement to the plaza of the Canadian side of the Windsor-Detroit tunnel, the widening and other improvements of Walker Rd between Division Rd and E.C. Row Expressway, and the environmental assessment and preliminary design of a future extension of Lauzon Parkway to Highway 401.

Twin towns - sister cities

Windsor has several sister cities:[88]


The WFCU Centre is the current home of the Windsor Spitfires and the Windsor Express.

Windsor's sports fans tend to support the major professional sports league teams in either Detroit or Toronto, but the city itself is home to one professional team, the Windsor Express of the National Basketball League (NBL). The Express are an expansion team of the NBL that began play in the 2012-13 season, with home games played at the WFCU Centre. On April 17, 2014, the Express won their first championship of NBL-Canada against the Island Storm in the 7th game of their final series, 121-106.[100] Windsor is also home for the following youth, minor league and post-secondary teams:

Former teams

Red Bull Air Races

Windsor has hosted a round of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in 2009 and 2010[105] (Detroit hosted the race in 2008). The races took place on a course of pylons set up on the Detroit River, right over the border between Canada and the United States.

2016 FINA World Swimming Championships

The 2016 FINA World Swimming Championships (25 m) took place in Windsor.[106]

Notable people

See also



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Further reading

  • Ernest J. Lajeunesse, The Windsor Border Region, Windsor: The Champlain Society, 1960.
  • Jack Cecillon, Prayers, Petitions and Protests: The Catholic Church and the Ontario Schools Crisis in the Windsor Border Region, 1910-1928, Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2013.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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