Windsor (Ontario)

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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.

Understand[edit]

The Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival celebrates Canada's Canada Day and the American Independence

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.

Culture[edit]

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..

Climate[edit]

The city has quite a wide range in climate conditions, with average temperatures hovering around 21°F (-6°C) in January, while in July the average temperature is around 82°F (28°C) . The late summer is the best time to visit the city, though it can be humid and sultry.

Visitor information[edit]

Get in[edit]

A monument on the Underground Railroad to freedom.

By air[edit]

  • Windsor Airport3200 County Road 42 (Located off Walker Rd., South of E.C. Row Expressway),  +1 519 969-2430fax: +1 519 969-6053. Windsor Airport (IATA:YQG, ICAO:CYQG) is the main terminus for any incoming and outgoing flights, however the airport is much smaller than Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.
  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (Romulus, Michigan, United States of America),  +1 734 247-7678. M-F 8AM-4PM.

Airport Shuttle Services from Detroit Metropolitan Airport to Windsor Ontario are available by reservation. Flat rate fare from Detroit Airport to downtown Windsor or to the VIA Rail station in Windsor is $79.00 including tolls. Contact reservations at (313) 759-7741.

By train[edit]

  • VIA Rail298 Walker Rd (East of Caesars Windsor (formerly Casino Windsor), on the corner of Riverside Dr. & Walker Rd.), toll-free: +1-888-842-7245. Ticketing and station hours: M-Su 5:15AM-8PM.. VIA Rail's western end of the Windsor-Quebec City corridor is located here and the Windsor (Walkerville) passenger train station serves those tourists needs.

By car[edit]

Highway 401, a major artery that follows the entire southern Ontario coast, has its west termination in Windsor. Windsor is also easily accessible by crossing the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel or the Ambassador Bridge from Detroit. For more information about the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel and Ambassador Bridge and immigration/customs please see the From the United States section.

By bus[edit]

  • Tunnel Bus300 Chatham Street West (Windsor International Transit Terminal),  +1 519 944-4111fax: +1 519 944-5121. Local Windsor city bus route through downtown Detroit, including Cobo Center/Arena, Joe Louis Arena, Rosa Parks Transit Center, Campus Martius and Hart Plaza. Additional sport stadium stops during Detroit major league home games and special events. $4/person (C$ or US$).

From the United States[edit]

As of June 1, 2009, U.S. and Canadian citizens are required to present a passport, passport card, enhanced driver's license, or trusted traveller card when crossing the U.S.-Canada border. For more detailed identification requirements, visit Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Although it is efficient for an international border, this is the busiest crossing between the two countries, and is not as quick and casual as it once was.

There are two ways to get to Windsor from Detroit:

  • Ambassador Bridge (accessible from all interstates connecting to downtown Detroit). Bridge traffic can be congested, due to the high number of 18-wheelers. Expect wait times of 30 minutes. Toll per passenger car: $4.75 (CAD or USD).
  • Detroit-Windsor Tunnel (connecting to I375 from all interstates in downtown Detroit). Every time traffic backs up in the tunnel the tunnel is shut down until traffic congestion is eased, which can sometimes take quite a while. A "tunnel bus" connects downtown Detroit with Windsor, which may reduce parking costs; the customs/immigrations process can be quite lengthy for bus riders since everyone on the bus must disembark and be cleared through customs. Toll per passenger car: $4.50 (CAD or USD).

A Windsor-Detroit ferry crossing exists, but primarily serves truck traffic (including hazardous material) which cannot use the tunnel. Construction of the Windsor-Essex Parkway, an extension of Highway 401 to a proposed bridge between Brighton Beach (Windsor) and Delray (Detroit), began in 2011; it will likely be several years before the new bridge is completed. In the meantime, all traffic from Detroit lands not directly on the 401 but on Windsor surface streets (Ontario highways 3 and 3B) leading to substantial delays at the border.

Pedestrians cannot walk across the bridge or through the tunnel, they must use the tunnel bus. Bicyclists are also prohibited from using the bridge and the tunnel, and due to licensing regulations cannot use the bike racks on the tunnel bus. The only way someone travelling by bike can bring their bike across the border is to disassemble the bike and put it in a bike bag, which can be brought on the bus.

Alternatives to crossing at Windsor-Detroit include the Bluewater Bridge in Sarnia-Port Huron and the Bluewater FerrySombra-Marine City +1 519 331-5944. year-round $6/car.. Sarnia-Port Huron are an hour from Windsor-Détroit by motorcar; Marine City is between Port Huron and Détroit.

Get around[edit]

There is a transit system (Transit Windsor) that has a few good routes, namely the Ottawa 4 or Transway 1C lines, but other than that it isn't that great. However, the majority of the hotels and entertainment are concentrated in the downtown area, so walking and cheap cabs are always an option. Windsor is a city that was built for the car, thus earning its nickname the 'Automotive Capital of Canada'. If you are going to get around the entire city, not just the downtown area and immediate neighbouring districts, your best option would be to rent a car.

See[edit]

  • Ford City. Ford City was the birthplace of the Canadian Ford Motor Company. The district is home to a wide variety of architectural examples, including four byzantine styled Orthodox churches built by immigrants, who came to work for the Ford Company. Several buildings have murals depicting the history and transformation of the Ford Company and Ford City.

Museums[edit]

  • Art Gallery of Windsor401 Riverside Drive West (Located west of Ouellette Ave. and just west of the Cleary International Centre, and the Radisson & Hilton hotels, at Church Street),  +1 519 977-0013fax: +1 519 977-0776, e-mail: . W 11AM-8PM, Th,Fr 11AM-9PM, Sa,Su 11AM-5PM(Closed: M,Tu). Somewhat of a small art museum, but its exhibits are interesting and make the most of the available space. The gallery also has several works available for rent or for purchase. Admission: $3 per person.
  • Serbian Heritage Museum6770 Tecumseh Rd. E +1 519 944-4884. M-F 12PM-4PM. Exhibits change every three to four months.

Historical[edit]

  • Willistead Manor1899 Niagara St (Walkerville, Located at Niagara Street and Kildare Street),  +1 519 253-2365. The Willistead Manor is a beautiful 36 room mansion in the middle of a 15 acre park. The mansion was built by Edward Chandler Walker for his older brother, Willis Walker.

Parks[edit]

A seagull sculpture in Odette Sculpture Park
  • Windsor Sculpture Park (Odette Sculpture Park), Riverside Drive West (Located between the base of the Ambassador Bridge (Huron Church Road) and Church Street.). Touted as a "museum without walls" Windsor Sculpture Park is a 3.5 km park with over 30 sculptures dotting the park. Admission: Free, Parking: Metered.
  • Dieppe Gardens78 Riverside Drive West (Located at the base of Ouellette Ave., overlooking the Detroit River & Skyline).
  • Willistead Park.
  • Queen Elizabeth II Gardens in Jackson Park.
  • Pillette Park.

Learn[edit]

Do[edit]

  • XS Family Fun Centre1930 Ambassador Dr (Located off Huron Church Road, near the Holiday Inn Select & across the street from the Hampton Inn.),  +1 519 972-6748, e-mail: . Su-Th: 11AM-11PM, Fr,Sa: 11AM-midnight (Go-karts close one hour prior to the rest of the centre). Arcade with Laser Tag, Go-Karts and Batting Cages. Prices vary from activity..

Festivals[edit]

  • Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival. The Freedom Festival is an enormous celebration of both Canada's Canada Day, held on July 1st, and America's Independence Day, held on July 4th. The festival, which began in 1959, evolved into the current pair of events (Windsor Summer Fest and Detroit River Days) in 2007.
  • Bluesfest International. July 13–15, 2012. A four day blues festival to promote not only the blues genre, but local and international artists. Festival-goers must be at least 19 with proper ID. It's unclear whether foreign IDs will suffice. Four day pass: $50, otherwise $20-25 per day.
  • Windsor Emancipation Celebration FestivalFestival Plaza - 370 Riverside Drive East (Overlooking the beautiful Detroit river & Skyline), e-mail: . August 3–6, 2012. The Emancipation Celebration is an enormous celebration of Freedom. Held on the First weekend in August Emancipation Celebration was once the largest outdoor celebration of it's kind in all of North America. It boasted colourful parades that made its way from the riverfront into Jackson Park celebration grounds, Miss Sepia Pageants, talent contest, concerts, family reunion picnics and community wide barbecues. In fact these cross-border celebrations drew the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. George Washington Carver, Jesse Owens, Diana Ross, Joe Louis, Eleanor Roosevelt and many other world renowned dignitaries annually to appear as guest speakers or simply to join the revelry of freedom. At its peak Emancipation celebration had over 250 000 plus people in attendance . Free/$5 for concerts/shows.

Gambling[edit]

  • Caesars Windsor377 Riverside Drive East (Overlooking the beautiful Detroit river & Skyline),  +1 519 258-7878, e-mail: . Very large casino and popular among residents and tourists because the Canadian government does not tax any winnings. The casino exchanges US dollars to Canadian Dollars at a low rate (it is therefore advised to exchange your money elsewhere). Absolutely no one under 19 is allowed on the casino floor; however, those under 19 are allowed to stay in the Augustus (new) Tower. Those who are under 22 will need to show an additional piece of identification (such as a school ID or a debit card) upon entering.

Music & Theatre[edit]

Sports[edit]

  • Ganatchio Trail (Follow along Riverside Dr. East to pick up the starting point of the Ganatchio Trail, near Lauzon Rd.). Stretching from the City of Windsor into the Town of Tecumseh,the Ganatchio Trail provides an excellent way for bikers, roller bladers, or the casual pedestrian to enjoy the afternoon.
  • Ambassador Golf Club1025 Sprucewood Ave (Located on the border of Windsor & the Town of LaSalle, across from the Windsor Raceway & Slots),  +1 519 966-2425fax: +1 519 966-2327. Weekdays: 9 holes $40, 18 holes $60; Weekends: 9 holes $45, 18 holes $68.
  • Roseland Golf And Curling Club455 Kennedy Drive West (Located East of Huron Church Road, just south of Cabana Rd.),  +1 519 969-3810, e-mail: .
  • Windsor Spitfires hockeyWFCU Centre. The extremely popular local junior hockey team was Canadian champions in 2009 and 2010. Tickets can be hard to come by. They play at the WFCU Centre in Forest Glade, buy tickets well in advance.

Eat[edit]

Windsor is known for being one of the great food places in Canada, with much of its reputation owing to the many ethnic restaurants in the city ranging from Italian, Lebanese, Chinese (Cantonese/Szechuan), Thai, Indian, Greek, African (Ethiopian/Somalian), Caribbean, as well as other specialties such as vegetarian/vegan restaurants.

Budget[edit]

  • Bozii357 Ouellette Ave (In the heart of downtown, Closest Intersection is Park and Ouellette),  +1 519 946-0215fax: +1 519 946-0214, e-mail: . Mon-Wed 7AM-9PM, Thurs-Sat 7AM-11PM, Sun - Closed. Average $5-$10.
  • Mini Restaurant475 University Avenue West (Located just blocks west of downtown),  +1 519 254-2221.
  • Sam's Pizzeria & Cantina2215 Wyandotte Street West +1 519 258-5086.
  • Sir Cedric's Fish & Chips468 University Avenue West (Located across the street from Mini Restaurant),  +1 519 253-4044.
  • Terra Cotta Pizzeria a La Rogue318 Pelissier St (Located in downtown Windsor),  +1 519 971-0223.
  • Michael's Restaurant430 Ouellette Ave (Downtown, connected to the Ramada Plaza Hotel). Delicious Jag Panzer ASS and wings on Thursdays, as well as Delicious $2 burgers on Wednesdays.
  • May Wah Inn1689 University Avenue West (Located just west of downtown),  +1 519 256-4755.
  • Wah Court2037 Wyandotte Street West (Located just blocks east of University of Windsor campus),  +1 519 254-1388. Excellent Dim Sum served on Sundays.
  • Papa Cheney's Whisky Well serves burgers, fries, and many other items. Don't miss the whisky sour. The restaurant stays open late.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Cook's Shop Restaurant683 Ouellette Ave (Located in the heart of downtown Windsor),  +1 519 254-3377.
  • Fuji Japanese Restaurant2465 Dougall Ave (Located within Dorwin Plaza),  +1 519 250-4040. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday..
  • La Cuisine417 Pelissier St (Between Wyandotte St. W and Park Street),  +1 519 253-6432fax: +1 519 253-6892, e-mail: . Lunch hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11:30 - 14:00, Dinner hours: Tu- Sa 5PM-9PM, Closed Su,M.
  • India Palace Sweet Restaurant1167 Ottawa St (Ottawa Street across from Lanspeary Park.),  +1 519 256-4104.
  • Spicy Bite of India Restaurant7610 Tecumseh Road East (Immediately east of Tecumseh Mall and Lauzon Rd.),  +1 519 948-1466.

Splurge[edit]

  • Mezzo Ristorante804 Erie St (Via Italia,),  +1 519 252-4055fax: +1 519 252-9202, e-mail: . M-W: 11:30AM-10PM, T-Sa: 11:30AM-11PM, Su: 4PM-10PM. Decent Italian restaurant with a friendly and helpful staff. The restaurant is pleasantly decorated and offers an intimate atmosphere for visitors to relax and hang out. The restaurant hosts musicians on Thursday and a piano player on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • MamO Bistro5880 Wyandotte Street East (Located in the Riverside district, an area of Windsor, near the intersection with Esdras Place),  +1-513-948-0693, e-mail: . Monday - Saturday: Opens at 5PM, Closed Su,M..

Buy[edit]

Shopping in Windsor can be a treat particularly due to the abundance of ethnic stores littered about Windsor. Theres a store to suit everyone's need, including the American cigar aficionado, who will be delighted to realize that due to Canada's cozier relations with Cuba than America's, Cuban cigars are widely available for purchase. Do realize that even purchasing a Cuban cigar or Cuban products in Windsor, even if consumed on Canadian soil, is considered by U.S. government to be a violation of the U.S. embargo and you may be subject to hefty fines or jail time if caught. In practice, however, this might not be a big problem, as thousands of Americans travel to Cuba illegally every year with no problem.

  • Windsor Crossing Premium Outlets1555 Talbot St (Located in the town of LaSalle, just off Huron Church Rd., South of the Ambassador Bridge),  +1 519 972-7111fax: +1 519 972-6432, e-mail: . M-F 10AM-9PM, Sa (Jan-May) 9AM-6PM or (Jun-Dec) 9AM-9PM, Su: 10AM-6PM, Holidays: 10AM-6PM, Closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
  • Ambassador Duty Free Store707 Patricia St (Located on the Ambassador Bridge),  +1 519 977-9100.
  • Windsor Tunnel Duty Free Shop465 Goyeau St +1 519 252-2713fax: +1 519 252-1688. Open: Daily, 24 hours..
  • Holland Consignment Shoppe1407 Ottawa St (Located at the corner of Ottawa St and Moy Ave, behind the TD Bank, in the heart of one of the last remaining outdoor shopping districts left in Windsor),  +1 519 977-5200, e-mail: .
  • Devonshire Mall3100 Howard Ave., Windsor, Ontario N8X 3Y8 (South on Howard from E.C. Row Expressway and Riverside(take Glengarry from Riverside Dr. E.)),  +1 519 966-3100. M-F, 9:30AM to 9PM, Sat. 9AM to 6PM, Sun. 11AM to 5PM. Devonshire Mall is Windsor's largest premier shopping destination offering the area over 175 stores, services and eateries.
  • Windsor Hobbies3895 Tecumseh Road East +1 519 945-5471. Windsor Hobbies hobby and model shop

Drink[edit]

Ethanol tourism

Several breweries and distilleries – most notably Canadian Club – were established in the Windsor/Essex County area due to "dry laws" and the experiment with prohibition in the United States. Today, a large part of Windsor's tourism is still directly related to alcohol, with Ontario's lower drinking age (and more liberal "exotic dance" regulations) drawing countless 19- and 20-year-old Americans over the border for a legal drink.

Bars & Clubs[edit]

  • The Manchester546 Ouellette Ave. Newly designed English-style pub serving traditional English food with live entertainment.
  • The Beach670 Ouellette Ave (Downtown,),  +1 519 252-3224fax: +1 519 252-3228, e-mail: . Open all day, but becomes very popular at night. Some sites describe a lively calendar of events, but it appeared to be relatively subdued. Maybe early or late summer are better times.

Breweries & Distilleries[edit]

  • Walkerville Brewery525 Argyle Rd (Located in the East side of the city, off Wyandotte St.),  +1 519-254-6067fax: +1 519 255-9245, e-mail: . Sun-Wed 11AM-6PM, Th-Sa 11AM-7PM, Closed Sunday.. 45 minute tours ($7 each includes tastings) are given on Saturdays between 12:30PM-5PM. You can also buy beer at the brewery.
  • Hiram Walker's Canadian Club (Located along Riverside Dr. E.),  +1 519 561-5499. Tours: Adults (Up to aged 55) $5.85, Seniors (Aged 55+) $4.68..

Sleep[edit]

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget $110 or less
Mid-range $111 - 140
Splurge $141 or more

Budget[edit]

Mid-range[edit]

  • Travelodge Hotel Downtown Windsor33 Riverside Dr E (between Ouellette Ave & Goyeau St),  +1 519 258-7774fax: +1 519 258-0020, e-mail: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. A basic hotel but has a great view for being more of a budget hotel. Don't ask staff members about information regarding local attractions, because they seem to not have any idea of attraction operating hours. $79.95-110.

Splurge[edit]

  • Branteaney's Bed & Breakfast Inn1649 Chappus St (south of the E.C. Row Expressway & west of Huron Church Rd near Spring Garden Rd),  +1 519 966-2334fax: +1 519 966-6640. 6 guest rooms and three acres of award winning grounds.
  • Hilton Windsor277 Riverside Dr W (two blocks west of Ouellette Ave, attached to the Cleary International Centre),  +1 519 973-5555fax: +1 519 973-1600. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. AAA 3 diamond hotel situated nearly 1.2 miles from the centre of Windsor. $120+.
  • Caesar's Windsor Hotel377 Riverside Dr W (east of Ouellette Ave), toll-free: +1-800-991-8888. AAA four diamond rated hotel, situated on the bank of the Detroit River. Anyone under the age of 19 is not permitted to stay in the hotel. $175+.

Stay safe[edit]

Downtown Windsor is safe and very lively, even late at night. The biggest danger is getting into a confrontation with an intoxicated person when the clubs close for the night. The usual precautions should be taken, such as, travel in groups, mind your own business, etc. However, the downtown core is usually well policed, so you should have no real problems.

Beginning late into the evening touts will roam the streets offering free admission to bars, clubs, and strip joints. While for the most part touts operate individually you may be approached by two or more touts. Standard precautions should be taken when considering following a tout to a strange location or to a bar that you've never been to before. If you feel uncomfortable walk away.

Warning: It should also be noted that unlike most mid-sized Canadian cities the custom in Windsor is similar to bigger cities like Toronto or Montreal in that drivers will NOT stop for pedestrians crossing a street who are not crossing at a marked traffic intersection (i.e. jaywalking). Jaywalking is specifically legal in Windsor but at the pedestrian's own risk. Windsor does not have stand-alone pedestrian activated crosswalks. Additionally, Windsor drivers tend to be quite aggressive. Windsorites drive similarly to the aggressive (but quick and efficient) Detroit or US East Coast style rather than the more laid back Canadian style. If you like to drive slowly and cautiously you may find yourself getting honked at, yelled at, given the finger, tailgated, etc.

Cope[edit]

Religious services[edit]

Go next[edit]

Detroit as seen from Windsor

Windsor is the southernmost major city in Canada. Detroit is situated just north of Windsor and offers some of the USA's best museums and cultural attractions, most notably the Detroit Institute of Arts, Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village, and the Detroit Zoo. For a more quaint experience, Essex County and Pelee Island can be of interest offering many sight-seeing experiences such as wine tours (Colio Wines & Pelee Island Winery) and Point Pelee National Park, which is a 40 minute drive from Windsor to Leamington along Highway 3.

Further out lies Toronto, which is a four hour drive from Windsor. Chicago is also a four to five hour drive from Windsor. Alternatively, Canada's capital, Ottawa is an eight-hour-and-forty-minutes drive from Windsor.

  • Colio Estate Wines1 Colio Drive (Just off Walker Road South) Harrow (Follow County Road 11 South until you reach Harrow - Located on the East side of Queen Street),  +1-519-738-2241, toll-free: +1-800-265-1322. Open 7 days a week, Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 11-5. In 1980, Colio Estate Wines was granted the first winery license since prohibition in a region that was once the largest grape growing area in the country. The 200 acres of vineyards in Colchester, Ontario are at the same latitude as Northern California and the Tuscany region in Italy. The vine-friendly soils, southwest winds, southern exposure to the lake and one of the longest growing seasons in the country are unique attributes. Tours are daily at 2PM. Open most holidays. Tours $3.00 per person - Groups welcome by appointment.
Routes through Windsor
Ends at Ontario 3.svg  W Ontario 401.svg E  Chatham-KentLondon
DetroitAiga immigration.svg ← Ambassador Bridge ←  W Ontario 3.svg E  EssexLeamington


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