South of the Border
City of paradoxes — of colorful history, past and current —Windsor, Ontario, today is the home of more industries than most Canadians realize
WINDSOR, Ontario, is a pleasantly paradoxical place; a contradictory community with mildly exciting amazements lying in wait around every corner. It is old, steeped in the beginnings of Canadian history, yet its corporate existence in its present form dates back less than five years. Windsor was first settled by the French, and many of its streets still carry French names; but those names are pronounced for the most part in the English manner. Famed chiefly as a centre of the automotive industry, others of its products —drug sundries for one—have wider distribution than the cars it makes. More people swallow pills than own automobiles.
The first electric street railway car on the North American continent was built and operated in Windsor; and Windsor was the first Canadian city of comparable size to banish the trolleys from its streets. Some of the first roads in Ontario were made through the district that now is Windsor. Their successors today are marked by signs so legible and informative that street identification systems of other and much larger Canadian cities appear archaic by comparison. Of Windsor’s three general hospitals, one is operated by the city’s Utilities Commission. Windsor’s Jewish mayor, the dynamic David Croll, is at present serving as a private in the Essex Scottish Regiment, a kilted unit of the Canadian Active Service Forces.
Waggish Windsor citizens delight to astonish the stranger within their gates by springing on him, without warning, their prize paradox of all; a geographic eccentricity known to few Canadians not familiar with that part of Ontario. In the course of a friendly chat they suddenly say:
“You realize, of course, that you are now south of the United States?”
In Canada, yet south of the United States!
The thing sounds incredible at first hearing; but it is true. Windsor is almost due south from Detroit, therefore also south of a large portion of the state of Michigan. South of a lot of Wisconsin and Minnesota as well.
But the jest doesn’t end there. Observing your confusion, your Windsor friends will smile, then, to make the business still more disconcerting, they will add:
“And you are north of the United States as well.”
That is true, too; because if you drive straight south from Windsor you will arrive at the
Canadian shore of Lake Eric. Crossing the lake, you land in Ohio, somewhere between Sandusky and Toledo.
That, then, is Windsor. A city located both north and south of the United States. An ultra-modern, neon-signlighted, skyscrapered community, yet proudly conscious of its part in the early French explorations, of its fame as a fur-trading post, its recollections of the War of 1812 and the minor disturbance of 1838. A municipal entity created through the amalgamation of four different communities, that has in its day been shown on official records under half a dozen different names. The fourth largest city in Ontario, following Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa; ahead of London; fourth in the Dominion in the value of its industrial products; spread out along the bank of a river, but a Great Lakes shipping centre of considerable consequence; leading port of entry to Canada from the United .States; chief automobile manufacturing city in Canada— Oshawa being its only rival in this respect: an iron and steel producer of importance; a large distributor of chemicals, medicines and cosmetics.
Windsor is the only city in Canada connected with the United States by a vehicular tunnel as well as a bridge; is destined to become a great airport. now that development in this direction has started. It is a bustling retail business town with modern stores, wide streets, good hotels and restaurants; a pleasant place to live in, jx>ssessing garden suburbs, excellent schools, up-to-date theatres, plenty of sports activities, parks and beaches, A well-informed community with a radio station of its own and one of the best daily newspapers published anywhere in Canada, it’s Quite a city, this modern Windsor, five vears old on July 1.
1 he Windsor of 1940 is a consolidation of four urban communities formerly grouixxl together as the Border Cities—Windsor itself, Sandwich, East Windsor and Walkerville. East \\ indsor, the site of the widely spread Ford factory, was at first called Ford City. Walkerville, named for the Hiram Walker family, is the home of the Walkerville distillery and its associated enterprises, together with a number of other industries. Sandwich, the first town in the district, accommodates a variety of assorted commercial undertakings.
All four are now included in the City of Windsor; but the sturdy burghers of Walkerville, persistent opponents of amalgamation, still hold staunchly to their town’s separate identity inside the municipality. Walkerville firms use the Walkerville address on their letterheads. The Dominion Government recognizes Walkerville as a post office, and lists it, as well as Windsor, as a customs port.
Surrounding the city on three sides are the suburban areas of Riverside, South W’indsor, Tecumseh, Ojibway and La Salle. Riverside and South Windsor are mainly residential districts. There Windsor businessmen have built luxurious homes, some of them costing as much as $50,(XX) and $100.000. Tecumseh and Ojibway have important industries, a canning plant in the first named and a wire and wire products factory of the Canadian Steel Corporation in the second. In Amherstburg, eighteen miles southeast of Windsor, are half a dozen commercial enterprises, among them Brunner Mond, Canada, Limited, manufacturing chemicals; Amherst Distillers, Limited; and Church and Dwight, Limited, making Cow Brand baking soda.
Thesead joining settlements add about 16.000 people to the population of the Windsor district. Inside the corporate limits of the city itself are 10-1 .(XX) residents by the most recent local count. For last year's municipal elections 53,046 voters were registered. Back in 1910 Windsor’s population was around 17.000. The vast growth of the automobile industry, plus the amalgamation of 19.35, has boosted the total to more than six times that figure in thirty years.
The city extends for about five miles along the south bank of the Detroit River, at this
X)int a little over half a mile wide, and covers the area southward for a depth of approximately two and a half miles. Its main thoroughfare, Ouellette Avenue, runs south in a straight line from the waterfront, to end rather abruptly in Jackson Park, on Tecumseh Boulevard. The greater part of the city’s retail business is done along about ten blocks of Ouellette Avenue, but Pitt Street, Wyandotte Street, Ottawa Street and Sandwich Street have their quota of shops, and there are local retail business areas in Sandwich, East Windsor and Walkerville districts.
Long before automobiles were heard of, transportation was an important Windsor industry. Before the white man came, it was a stopping-off place for Indians moving along
the east and west trails. After Cadillac built Fort Pontchartrain, and Detroit came into being, the place that is now Windsor was the south bank ferry terminal. A stage coach line connecting Windsor with Buffalo was established in 1828, and the Great Western Railway, reaching Windsor in 1854, closely paralleled the coach route. Today, through motor bus lines follow the same route. The seal of the City of Windsor pays tribute to the community’s interest in the carrying trade. Its centre is a bisected shield supixjrted on either side by a deer’s head. The upper half bears a drawing of a wide smoke-stacked, wood-burning locomotive. Beneath is a paddle-wheel steamer, the Union, proudly (lying the British (lag at her stern. The civic motto, "Per
Mare Per Terras'—By Sea By Land—interprets its own significance.
Today the automotive industry and its affiliates comprise Windsor’s biggest business. A report on 168 companies, including forty-four establishments tied in with the making of automobiles, issued by the Chamber of Commerce, shows that in January of this year total employment in Windsor was 20,416 men and women. Of these, 15,834 are listed as “automotive employment” and 6,532 as “non-automotive employment.” a margin of about two and a half to one in favor of the motor car makers and their associates.
Henry Ford was the pioneer automobile manufacturer in Windsor. The wizard of Dearborn crossed the river to the Canadian side in 1904, took over an old wagon factory and that year, with seventeen employees, built 117 Ford cars. This year the Ford Motor Company of Canada will turn out something like lOO.(XX) units, will employ as many as 8,0(X) men at peak production. Ford’s average of monthly employment in the Windsor plant alone was 6,662 through 1939.
Search ol those early Windsor automobile records reveals many names now forgotten by all but the reminiscent oldsters, never known at all to the younger generation. Yet they were famous in their day. E. M. Flanders followed Ford into Windsor—who now remembers what an E. M. F. car looked like? Mr. Flanders later sold out to Studebaker, then joint'd Mr. Maxwell and others in producing the Maxwell car. Another few years and the Maxwell-Chalmers Company came into the picture. Later again. Walter Chrysler became interested in the MaxwellChalmers venture. The first incorporation of the Chrysler enterprise, dated April, 1923, was called the MaxwellChalmers Motor Company of Canada, Limited.
At that time the complex Chrysler organization was in the incubator stage. The Maxwell-Chalmers Company became the Maxwell-Chrysler Motor Company of Canada, Limited, in April, 1924. Fourteen months passed and in June, 1925, the Chrysler Corporation of Canada, Limited, was chartered. The same corporate structure continues today in Windsor, making Chrysler, De Soto, Dodge and Plymouth cars and Dodge and Fargo trucks. Canadian Chrysler executives are tremendously proud of the growth of their vast organization. In many respects, they tell you, the Windsor factories are superior to those on the American side of the line. “Of course they are,” they say. “Most of our units are more modern than those over the border. The latest plant built is always the best plant, isn’t it? Well, then ...”
Chrysler, on Tecumseh Boulevard, and Ford, on Sandwich Street, are Windsor’s large automobile producers; but there are others, some manufacturing, some occupied chiefly with assembly. Most of the big names in the industry may be found in the Windsor telephone directory, which, by the way, makes no distinction as between Windsor and Walkerville. General Motors makes engines and parts at a Walker Road plant in old W alkerville. Also on Walker Road are the Packard Motor Car Company of Canada, Limited, the Studebaker Corporation, and Gotfredson Limited, the truck body people. The Canadian Division of the Hupp Motor Car Company and Willys of Canada, Limited, are represented on Giles Boulevard in Windsor. Graham-Paige Motors (Canada) Limited are on Wyandotte Street.
Complementing the important car industry are a score of manufacturers of automobile accessories, some of them almost as well known as the cars themselves. BendixEclipse of Canada makes Bendix drives, brakes and selfstarters here. The Champion Spark Plug Company of Canada is among those present. Gar Wood, the speedboat king, makes hydraulic hoists and truck bodies in a local factory of the Gar Wood Industries of Canada. Five companies in the district produce piston rings. Two or three factories are turning out truck bodies. Others make castings, forgings, auto jacks, tire covers, interior trim and cushions, truck extensions, auto lamps, auto wheels, all-wheel drive units, valves and valve seat rings, radiators, clutches and gaskets, safety glass, auto-seat springs, oil cups and injectors, gears, tools and dies. One company produces commercial diamonds. Another makes diamond-set tools.
OUCH a tally makes it plain why the total of automotive employment in the Windsor area is two and a half times that of all other industries together; but among the latter numerous nationally famous names are found. By no means is W indsor—or W’alkerville—a one-industry community.
For some reason, possibly its geographical position, so near to the border, the household remedy and cosmetic people have gathered together in Windsor and Walkerville in large numbers. Some of the famous drugstore commodities are manufactured in the district; in other cases the W indsor area has been made an important distribution point. Bayer aspirin tablets are made here, and on the long list of other medical and cosmetic products Continued on page 35
from page 22—Starts on page
associated with Windsor and Walkerville are to be found Phillips’ milk of magnesia. Booster and Herpicide hair tonics. Tanglefoot fly paper and Vicks remedies for colds.
The plant of Frederick Stearns and Company of Canada, Limited, covers a cityblock in Windsor, has been in the locality for fifty-six years, manufacturing professional products, pharmaceuticals, toiletries and perfumes. The Nyal Company, Limited, Dalon-Perfumer and the Claflin Chemical Company are Stearns subsidiaries.
Sterling Products, Limited, has a Windsor factory turning out a score of widely known pharmaceutical and proprietary articles as well as cosmetics, among them Castoria, Dr. Lyon’s tooth ixnvder, Ironized yeast and Cascareis.
Also in Windsor is the Canadian organization of C. E. Jamieson and Company, Limited, operating on a somewhat different basis. The Jamieson Company produces a full line of pharmaceuticals under the general classification of “Clinic Brand,” and these are sold exclusively to drugstores. The same company makes a number of products advertised nationally under the buyers’ names.
In the Walkerville district Parke, Davis manufacture a line of 3,000 pharmaceutical and biological products, surgical dressings and similar products, and export such items as Cascara to England.
John Wyeth and Brother (Canada) Limited, make a comprehensive line of general pharmaceuticals and specialties, around 2,000 in all. The Wyeth laboratories in Walkerville employ about two hundred people.
Valmont of Canada, Limited, also in Walkerville, makes Anacin tablets, Kolynos toothpaste, BiSoDol and Freezone, as well as the Louis Philippe, Outdoor Girl, Kissproof and Edna Wallace Hopper cosmetics.
A. S. Boyle Company, another Walkerville organization, specializes in floor waxes and furniture jx)lishes, makes Three-in-One Oil, insecticides, paint cleaner and a cattle spray.
Canadian Industries, Limited, has a plant in Windsor producing heavy chemicals and table salt. C.I.L. has adopted the name of the city as a trademark for its salt.
Next time you play bridge, look up the name of the firm producing the cards. If it is the International Playing Card Company, you are shuffling pasteboards from Windsor. Burroughs adding machines and typewriters, Toledo automatic scales,
Berry Brothers and Standard paints and varnishes. De Vilbiss atomizers and spray guns, Duro waxes, Hobbs glass and Bennett glass, Lufkin rules; all of these are famous products of the Windsor district.
The Truscon Steel Company of Canada makes Timken oil burners and other steel . products at a Walker Road plant. Dominion Twist Drill manufactures small tœls on Assumption Street. Northern Crane and Hoist makes heavy machinery, the Canadian Bridge Company produces structural steel. Burns and Company have a meat-packing plant, and a General Foods branch produces Posturn. Fine Foods of Canada has a canning factory in Tecumseh.
Completing this industrial salmagundi are Windsor firms producing soy bean derivatives and lightning rods; ladies’ garments and axe handles; salad dressing and garden tractors; fire hydrants and leather oil; spices and firebrick; popcorn and metal buttons; industrial gases and ornamental iron work; caps and neckties and concrete grave vaults. Soft drinks, and hard ones.
Annual value of Windsor’s industrial production was $136,896,194 in 1937, the last year for which complete figures are available. That, of course, includes the automobile industry and its numerous cousins.
rT'HE NEW Windsor covers an area of slightly more than 8,250 acres, of which 175.54 acres are parks and playgrounds. The city is divided into five wards. Its affairs are administered by a City Council of ten aldermen—two from each ward— and a four-man Board of Control. The mayor presides over both bodies. Five aldermen and two controllers are elected annually for a two-year term.
Four businessmen constitute the Board of Control for 1940. W. H. McCreery is a jeweller, Cyril COOJKT a transportation manager, Arthur J. Reaume an insurance agency manager, and Norman D. Eansor manages a steel plant.
Financially Windsor is in good shape now, and the picture is improving. Civic j officials feel they are over the hump of the ! depression years. Things were pretty bad : for a while, back in the early nineteen¡ thirties. Then the city’s close proximity to j Detroit, long counted as an asset, proved i itself a serious liability.
It was reasonable enough in good times j that a large number of Windsor residents, j Canadian citizens all, should find emplov> ment in Detroit. J. Clark Keith, general
manager of the Windsor Utilities Commission, estimates that in the boom years, j 15,000 Windsor people worked for Detroit I employers, commuting to and fro across the river every weekday.
When the bubble burst in 1929, Detroitemployed Canadians were at once out of luck. There was no declared policy of discrimination, but naturally, when workers were laid off, the non-Americans were first togo. Most of them, Mr. Keith says, never were employed in Windsor; but they were Windsor residents and when they w'ere forced on relief, Windsor had to take care of them. Under stress many families moved away. Old Windsor’s population was 70,031 in 1929. In 1934, the year j before amalgamation, it was 63,010.
There is still some Detroit commuting from Windsor. Men in key positions were j too valuable to be discarded; but the figure ! is nothing like it was. Today, again quoting Mr. Keith, about 1.300 Windsor folks j draw pay from Detroit organizations and continue to cross the river daily, over the bridge or through the tunnel. But the Windsor of 1940 is self-sufficient and selfsupporting to a greater degree than the old Windsor ever was.
All four communities grouped in the consolidation were in financial difficulties following 1929. Sandwich and East Windsor both defaulted on principal and interest of their municipal debentures in
1931. Windsor was forced to default on the principal of its civic debt in December.
1932. and on the interest in February, 1933. Walkerville was in better condition, but still finding the going difficult.
Merging of the Border Cities into one municipality liad been a public issue before the depression. Provincial AttorneyGeneral Price had a survey of the situation made around 1928. Generally speaking. Windsor, East Windsor, and Sandwich favored the notion. Walkerville was strongly opposed, and action was postponed.
In 1931, David Croll. an energetic Windsor lawyer who is also a perspicacious politician, was elected Mayor of Windsor for the first time. Dave Croll was an outand-out amalgamationist, and he had behind him the powerful backing of W. F. Herman’s Border Cities Star, now the rAVindsor Daily Star.
When, in 1934. Mayor Croll graduated from municipal politics into the provincial field, he was elected as Windsor’s representative in the first Hepburn administration and given a place in the cabinet as Minister of Municipal Affairs. He lost no time in pushing through his ambition for a consolidation of the Border Cities. A Royal Commission, appointed to study the question, reported strongly in favor of amalgamation as being the desire of the majority of the citizens, tending to greater j convenience of administration, and promoting economy. Legislation authorizing ; the merger was passed, and the new Windj sor came into existence on July 1, 1935.
Walkerville. lighting amalgamation all • along the line, is still recalcitrant, although j the legality of the act establishing the con! solidated city has been fought through the Î Supreme Court of Canada and finally jierpetuated by the Privy Council.
Citizens of Walkerville continue to voice I protests against the amalgamation. We j heard of one Walkerville resident who I steadfastly refuses to accept mail sent to j him at “Windsor, Ont." He writes “No such address" across the envelopes and : returns them unopened. After all. there is I a ix>st office in Walkerville.
For two or three years the Walkerville Í Citizens’ Association maintained a large sign on a main highway passing through their community. It read:
Walkerville I ncorporated— 1890 Crucified—1935
The sign has disappeared now. Mr. Reginald Cooper, secretary to the Windsor Board of Control, explains that it had been I erected on property registered for arrears
1 of taxes. So the City of Windsor took over ; the land and removed the sign. At present the chief spokesman on behalf of the Walkerville dissenters is Alderman Angus MacMillan, one of the two representatives of Walkerville ward in the City Council,
! who assails the effected amalgamation at every opportunity.
: /^\NCE THE new Windsor was estab^ fished, Dave Croll lost interest in I provincial political affairs and returned to ! his home town. In 1938, running again for Mayor of Windsor against Colonel E. S. Wigle, an elder statesman who was up for re-election, he won by a 5,522 majority. Mayor Croll, stocky, black-mustached, possessed of a keen publicity sense, seemingly inexhaustible energy and a genuine liking for the rough-and-tumble stratagems of political campaigns, is considerable of a hero in the new Windsor—whatever ; Walkerville may think of him.
Civic officials claim that amalgamation ; is working out well. Assistant City Clerk ; Reginald Cooper, the briskly alert young ! man who doubles as secretary of the Board of Control, points with pride to a decreasing tax rate—forty mills for 1938 taxes, 38.5 mills for 1939—and an increasing percentage of taxes collected, as convincing evidence that things in Windsor are on the upgrade.
In 1939, taxes were levied on an assessment of $94.613,460. This year they are being levied on an assessment roll of $95,354.280. The percentage of taxes collected in 1936, the first full year of amalgamation, was 80.20. In 1938 the figure rose to 86.3 Last year it was 87.22.
Mr. Cooper says that taxpayers who slipped into arrears during hard times are coming back in line shape. When payments of taxes in arrears are added to current collections for 1939, they bring the total amount of tax money collected to over three per cent above the amount of the levy. There is no particular boom in Windsor. Building permits, for instance, were down from the 1937 figures, in 1938. and again in 1939; but the city is fundamentally prosperous. Permanent relief rolls show a decrease. There were 11,989 persons receiving permanent relief in I January. 1939. For January of this year the total was 9,649.
One of the good things to come from amalgamation was the Windsor Utilities Commission. Even the Walkerville diehards concede that point. Cn its own sayso this Utilities Commission is unique in Ontario. Probably it is unique in Canada, since it controls not only such obvious functions as the hydro-electric service, the ; water supply and drainage, but a hospital and the municipal board of health as well. It is not usual to find medical men sitting as part of a utilities commission. Yet the thing is logical enough. If a tax-supported hospital is not a public utility, what is it?
Before amalgamation it took eight separate and distinct civic bodies to do the job the Windsor Utilities Commission is now carrying through. There was the Essex Border Utilities Commission, as a sort of co-ordinating body as well as four hydro commissions, and three water commissions. Together the eight commissions had forty-four members.
The present Commission, made up of the mayor and four members appointed by the City Council, sits for a four-year term. The Commission has appointed three physicians this year to advise it on Board of Health work and hospital administration. It is a democratic company, chosen with no particular regard for social position or political affiliation. Cordon B. Ellis, the chairman, is a linotype operator working in the composing room of the Windsor Star. Roy Hicks, the vice-chairman, manages a company making soft drinks. Mayor Croll is chairman of the Water and Drainage Committee. The fourth member is J. P. Renaud, and G. A. Edwards, the fifth member, is a property manager. The medical profession is represented by Drs.
j C. S. Sanborn, Neil MacDonald and R. B.
: Robson. J. Clark Keith, the general man! ager, is also vice-president for Ontario of 1 the Engineering Institute of Canada. Thomas Gray is secretary-treasurer. Dr. Fred Adams is the Medical Officer of Health. O. M. Perry, manager of the Hydro Division, is a veteran of hydro. The Ontario Government sent him to Windsor a quarter of a century ago to install the first hydro-electric plant in the Border Cities area.
Altogether the Windsor Utilities Com! mission employs 367 men and women, 177 of them in the Hydro Division. Thirteen j of those hydro workers have been on the job steadily for twenty-five years or more. Mr. Keith himself has been more than twenty years in Windsor.
The Commission has assets valued at ; $14,250,000. Last year it paid $430,524.40 to the city on debenture account. Electricity is cheap. The average rate per kilowatt hour for domestic current was 1.39 cents in 1939, the lowest in the city’s history. Back in 1915 the average was 4.94 cents. Water rates were reduced in 1937 and again in 1938. As the debenture debt decreases, other water rate cuts are promised. Besides serving Windsor proper, the Utilities Commission sells water at wholesale prices to the adjoining townships of Sandwich East and Sandwich West, and the towns of Ojibway and La Salle. The water, pumped from the I Detroit River, is filtered at the Commission’s plant and distributed through some i three hundred-odd miles of mains.
The Windsor Utilities Commission busies itself with other activities than hydro, water, drainage and health. There was the matter of street identification and house numbering. Each of the four communities merged in the new Windsor had its own street identification and numbering system, and each was different from the others. The job of devising a uniform identification and numbering method was turned over to the Utilities Commission. Now every Windsor street is plainly marked with large enamelled steel signs, lettered in black on a light yellow background, and carrying, as well, the block number at each intersection. In all Canada, Windsor is probably the easiest city to find your way around in. The credit goes to the engineers of the Utilities Commission who designed the plan.
And No Street Cars
WINDSOR’S police and fire departments have each about one hundred j men on their respective strengths. The ! city has nineteen public schools, eighteen j separate schools, and five vocational schools and collegiate institutes. Total school registration is around 24,(XX) pupils. Members of the Board of Education and of the Separate School Board are elected every second year.
The first School Safety Patrol in Ontario was organized in Windsor in March, 1938, under the direction of Chief Inspector W. II. Neale of the Police Department. This year the Patrol numbers around 750 members, most of them boys, all pupils of thirty-eight public and separate schools, who work under the supervision of a Citizens’ Committee on which the school boards, city council, and some social serv' ice organizations, are represented. Each j school has its own individual Patrol, with a teacher in charge. After two years the Windsor Safety Patrol’s record is without spot or blemish. No accident involving children going to or from school has occurred since the Patrol was organized. Just to make things interesting for its members, the Windsor Safety Patrol has its own brass band of forty-five pieces. There are no street cars in Windsor. No i early morning rumble, no clunk-clunk over : jxiints, no corner-turning screeches, no i flat-wheeled bam-bams disturb the slum| bers of Windsor residents, though their j bedrooms front on main thoroughfares and ) their windows are wide open. Public
traffic moves swiftly and silently on rubber tires.
This significant transformation was accomplished finally on May 7, 1939, just less than a year ago. It came after decades of debate raging around the somewhat turbulent history of the old street railway system, originally an auxiliary of the Detroit United Railway Company, operating the Detroit tramways system to! gether with a number of other urban and j interurban lines in the Michigan-Ontario j area.
During the last war the Detroit United ! company went deeply into the red. Some lines were abandoned. Others, the Windsor I system among them, were permitted slowly ¡ to disintegrate. In 1920 the Ontario Hydro Commission paid something like one and a half million dollars for full ownership of what was left of the property. The company was given a new name—the Sandwich, Windsor and Amherstburg Railway Company. More millions were spent to restore the roadbed and rolling stock, and for extensions into new territory. Still the system was a community liability. Depression years cut into earnings. Debt increased. By the end of 1937 a seven-million dollar investment was estimated as worth only $200,000.
At that ixfint. W. H. Furlong, K.C., a Windsor barrister known as an expert in transportation matters, was appointed chairman of the company. Mr. F'urlong, having studied the bus systems of Detroit and Buffalo, became convinced that the small, inexpensive and economically operated gasoline bus supplied the answer to modern city transportation problems. He had opposition. One section of Windsor opinion favored the trackless trolley, and \ that dispute developed into a hot municipal election issue. The bus side won. On the seventh of May, 1939, the last Windsor street car went to the barn.
Bus fares are higher than the old street car rates. The street cars sold four tickets for a quarter. The buses charge a quarter for three tickets. Apparently Windsor citizens feel that the faster, smoother, quieter service is worth the extra money.
In the first ten months of bus operation the system carried over three quarters of a million more passengers than during the same period of the previous year. In December, 1939, they handled 871,733 passengers, and that was 11.063 more than the best month in the previous two years. Also, says Mr. Furlong, the system is being rapidly transformed into a sound financial operation.
WINDSOR’S interests are energeti** cally promoted by an exceptionally j well-organized and efficient Chamber of I Commerce. H. J. Lassaline is the full-time j Secretary-Manager. Mr. Lassaline is a | Windsor product, a descendant of one of the French pioneer families. The 1940 president of the Chamber is C. M. Rey! nett. District Manager for the Bell Telephone Company. H. J. Mero, president of the Truscon Steel Company of Canada ! Limited, is vice-president. W. H. Cantelon. general manager of the Auto Specialties Manufacturing Company (Canada) Limited, is treasurer, and Miss Dorothy Dowswell assistant secretary-treasurer.
Supporting these officials is a board of sixteen directors representing an unusual variety of vocations. Besides the business ! executives one would expect to find on the directorate of a Chamber of Commerce, the ! j Windsor board includes a publisher, a I physician and a Presbyterian pastor, j The Chamber’s activities are not confined to the city of Windsor, hut cover the surrounding territory as well. One director is a hardware merchant of Amherstburg, another the proprietor of a La Salle hotel, and a third president of a canning company in Tecumseh.
Mr. Harry Lassaline’s Chamber of Commerce will tell you anything you want to know about Windsor, from the average I temperatures to the number of people I
crossing the Ambassador Bridge in 1939. His office operates as a general clearinghouse for all sorts of statistics. It serves the district as a Better Business Bureau.
Windsor reads Detroit and other outside newspapers in the morning, but in the afternoon it has its own Daily Star, rated as one of the best in the Dominion. In 1918 a committee of Windsor citizens invited W. F. Herman, born in Lunenburg, N.S., who had published successful newspapers in the West, to come to their community and take over the old Windsor Record. A practical printer, Mr. Herman was also a zealous crusader possessing the stubborn persistency necessary to carry his holy wars through to a successful conclusion.
As the Border Cities Star— the name was changed after amalgamation to the Windsor Daily Star—W. F. Herman’s newspaper carried on a successful fight against the rum runners, alien smugglers and gamblers who made life turbulent and hazardous on the Windsor side of the Detroit River during the furious days of American prohibition. He wrestled with and defeated corruption in the old Windsor police force and in higher places, treating with disdain threats against his life and property. He was an ardent advocate of consolidation of the Border Cities, and lived to see his dream of a Greater Windsor fully realized.
Mr. Herman died in January, 1938, and Ellison Young, his editor, in January of this year; but the Windsor Star continues, under the direction of his widow and three of his former associates, to follow the finest Herman tradition. Mrs. Herman, herself a practical newspaper woman, is chairman of the board of directors, H. A. Graybiel is president and publisher, W. L. Clark is vice-president and editor, and Harold Vaughan is executive editor. This year the paper’s circulation is averaging 50.(XX) daily, the highest in its history. Its influence in municipal and state affairs is as powerful as ever.
Among other things you may be interested to know about Windsor:
The city has fifteen Roman Catholic churches, twelve United, ten Baptist, nine Anglican, three Presbyterian, three Lutheran and three synagogues. The Salvation Army has five branches in Windsor. Other places of worship serve the special spiritual needs of Russian, Greek, Hungarian, Roumanian, Polish, Ukrainian and Negro worshippers.
There are a number of good hotels in Windsor. The Prince Edward and the Norton-Palmer both are recently built and operate on the most modern lines. The Prince Edward is one of the group of which Vernon Cardy is head; the Norton-Palmer is a link in the chain including the Norton Hotel in Detroit and other American hostelries.
Windsor folks are loyal to their own. The two big department stores, Bartlet, Macdonald and Gow, and the C. H. Smith Company, both are local enterprises. So is the shoe store of George II. Wilkinson, one of the largest in the province.
Half a dozen up-to-the-minute office buildings dominate the Windsor skyline. The Canada Building, twelve stories, is the highest. Others include the Bell Telephone. Guaranty Trust, Security, and Medical Arts buildings. The Dominion Government Building on Ouellette Avenue, built at a cost of $700,(XX). was the Bennett administration’s last gift to Windsor.
It’s a lively sports town. There’s a Windsor entry in the Michigan-Ontario Hockey League. The Walkerville Chicks were good enough to win the Ontario Baseball Association pennant last year. Windsor Fords represented Canada in basketball in the last Olympics, and went through to the finals. Bill Fritz, the middle distance runner, is a Windsor boy, a graduate of Walkerville Collegiate. Bill was on the Canadian Olympic team. Johnny Loaring, star hurdler and swimmer, now at Western University, London, started at Windsor’s Kennedy Collegiate, went to
the Olympics, and to the British Empire Games in Australia in 1938.
Colorful Early History
V\ 7TNDSOR will have a new airport YV this year. The Department of Transport is spending something like $200,000 on the port, expects to open it in June. Another Windsor paradox: When the airport opens, it will be seven minutes driving time from downtown Detroit through the tunnel. The nearest Detroit airport is eighteen minutes drive from downtown Detroit. So, a landing field in a foreign country is actually eleven minutes nearer the heart of Detroit than its own handiest airport.
Five railways serve the city of Windsor; the Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, the Michigan Central, the Wabash, and the Père Marquette, plus the Essex Terminal Railway. The Windsor ferries no longer run, and Red Cross headquarters for the district is in the old ferry house. A ferry service still operates, though, between Walkerville and the north shore.
The Essex County Tourist Association —a Chamber of Commerce baby—broadcasts two attractive slogans for the area. Windsor, it trumpets, is the “Southern Gateway to Canada.” and Essex County is “The Sun Parlor of Canada.” Nice, don’t you think?
Windsor folks stick to it that their town is the biggest Canadian port of entry from the United States. Last year 561,721 American automobiles came into the Dominion through Windsor on forty-eighthour permits, 245.211 registered for sixtyday visits. The larger part of this traffic enters through the vehicular tunnel.
The community is mighty proud of the Essex Scottish Regiment, successor to the Essex Militia dating back to 1812, and to the Essex Fusiliers, organized in 1885. Between 1914 and 1918, the Fusiliers sent three battalions overseas. The name was changed to the Essex Scottish in 1926. In this war the Essex Scottish was the first regiment of the C.A.S.F. to be completely mobilized and recruited up to strength.
Mr. George F. Macdonald, president of the Essex County Historical Society, is Windsor’s greatest authority on the city’s storied past, as well as custodian of one of the finest private collections of Indian relics, ancient weapons and old documents, to be found anywhere in the land. The first white men to reach the district were Jesuit priests travelling as missionaries among the Neutral Indians, Mr. Macdonald says. That was in 1640. Cadillac established Fort Pontchartrain on the north bank of the river in 1701, choosing the site for the advantage of the southern exposure. The river was called “Detroit”—French for “strait”—and gradually the settlement around the fort acquired the same name.
As more settlers came along they were given land on the south shore for farms, and those farmers were the first residents of what now is the city of Windsor. Under French and British rule Detroit was a great fur-trading post, and the district was closely associated with Montreal, so that many famous Windsor names are also celebrated in the annals of the metroixjlis. John Jacob Astor’s Montreal fur house had dealings with Detroit. James McGill, the merchant w'ho founded the university that bears his name, was a frequent visitor to the district. John Dougall came to the south bank of the river from Paisley, Scotland, established two sons in business there, then returned to Montreal. Later branches of his family were to become famous through the Montreal Daily Witness. There is a Dougall Street in Windsor today.
Windsor began as the southern terminal for the Detroit ferry. Stores and inns clustered around the ferry, one of the latter with the engaging name, “The Pig and Tinder Box.” but the larger settlement was at Sandwich, two miles to the west. There was at one time a plan on foot to have 'Sandwich absorb Windsor, and maps were
drawn to that end. As it turned out Windsor absorbed Sandwich, in 1935.
That first hamlet of houses and stores 1 and taverns was called by several different names. It was “The Ferry,” “The Ferry House” and “Sandwich Ferry.” Sometimes the area was known as “L’Assomption,” after L’Assomption parish, where Jesuit missionaries had built a church.
Then, in 1833 Robert Mercer an Englishman, purchased land near the ferry, and suggested calling the village "Richmond.” after the English town on the Thames above London. Mercer was followed in the same year by Joseph McDougall. a Scot, who sold lots. McDougall called his settlement “South Detroit.”
There seems to have been considerable of a feud between McDougall and Mercer over the name, and a town meeting called to settle the issue compromised on Windsor.
Windsor’s early history bristles with great names. There was Angus Macintosh. the fur trader, who later returned to Scotland and became head of the Clan Macintosh. John Askin came up from Schenectady to help in suppressing Pontiac's rebellion of 1763, and remained to found one of Windsor’s oldest families. Commodore Alexander Grant, who built ships and fought battles on the Great Lakes, lived in Windsor. So did Captain William Caldwell of Butler’s Rangers, when he wasn’t away battling Indians.
On Pitt Street West there still stands the mansion that Colonel Francis Baby built for himself in 1812. When General William Hull crossed the river in the summer of 1812. he took over the Baby residence and used it as his headquarters until General Brock’s advance from Fort Malden — Amhersburg — forced him to withdraw to Detroit, where he later surrendered.
Succeeding owners of the Baby house have added to it porches and bay windows, but the original walls are there yet, thirty inches thick in the basement, eighteen inches through above the ground, and Mr. Macdonald is working now' on a plan to take over the place, restore it to its original condition and open it as a museum. The scheme would cost something like $10,000. Mr. Macdonald has the backing of the civic authorities and the Chamber of Commerce. They can see such a spot as a valuable added attraction for tourists. The house is vacant the windows boarded up. and recently it passed into the hands of the city for taxes.
One secs that Windsor is a place hoary in tradition; but its citizens are aggressively up-to-date. They know all the latest tricks. We left an overnight call at our hotel and in the morning the charming feminine voice announced: “Good morning. It is eight o’clock and the temperature is forty-six.”
How'’s that for southern hospitality!