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History of The City of Windsor

Early Windsor began in 1701 when an European named Sieur De Lamonthe Cadillac brought about 100 civilians and military members to settle in Fort Pontchartrain on the Detroit side of the river (North side of the now Detroit River). During 1748 - 1760 the settlement of Sandwich Township- mainly French agriculture, tobacco and refined sugar- developed on the Windsor side of the Detroit River. French civil law and settlement continued until 1791. By 1797 the Sandwich township settlement of both French and English established the city of Windsor. Population continued to increase within the town as new settlers arrived from the Detroit site to avoid the new American occupation and to continue living under British rule. This time marked a significant increase in the English speaking population and the town continued to grow into the beginnings of the City of Windsor.

In 1854 the Great Western Railway developed a railway into Windsor. Many large homes were built (late1890s to early1920s) on Windsor's Victoria Avenue. However due to fires many of these houses were destroyed (yet the ones still standing now are part of the heritage buildings of Victoria Avenue). The period also marked significant industrial growth.

In 1855 a wine brewer by the name of Hiram Walker using government financing , built his rail system (the Lake Erie Essex & Detroit River Railroad), connected with the earlier built railway. Hiram Walker Distillery then using this old rail system continued to help expand the early Walkerville, with lakeshore town and farms. Also lavish houses were constructed by private capitalists and businesses. Walker further helped expand the area by providing roads, sewers, parks, streetlights, a school, library, music hall and a church.

In 1893 the mining of salt began in Windsor.

The Ford Motor Car Company was built in 1904 in the area known as East Windsor. The automotive industry increased the growth in development and population. By the late 1920s the Ford City population reached about 16,000 made up of mostly central Europeans. The motor vehicle is a large influence to Windsor and became Windsor's primary industry.

During the 1935s with the great depression, Sandwich, Walkerville, and East Windsor amalgamated with just the name Windsor.

In 1966, Riverside Township, Sandwich East, South, and West and also Ojibway; became part of Windsor. During the 1960s, the Canada-United Sates Automotive Products Agreement, was introduced. It covered limited free trade in automobiles and parts and led to the 1994 NAFTA Canada, U.S. and Mexico.

By 1970s the City of Windsor received a reputation as the automotive capital of Canada (with General Motors, Ford and Chrysler). The 1990s auto giants continued with Ford providing large sums of aluminum engines, General Motors's four speed electronic transmission and Chrysler's minivans; all benefiting the residents of Windsor.

Most recently the City of Windsor has a population of 230,000 plus, several automotive companies, and emerging growth in the areas of plastic moldings, laser cutting tools, robotic guidance systems and design engineering.


Source:, 2004/8/10

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