Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Have you ever heard of Windsor, Ontario, Canada?

This is an open question to all who visit my blog: Can you tell me what you know if anything about my city, Windsor, Ontario, Canada? All I ask is that in your response you tell me which city you hail from.

We here at the Branding Experts anticipate being a part of a tender to brand our fair city and I would like to build some un-scientific data on the city's brand as it exists. I feel that with the international character of blogging, I should be able to get some good feed-back to this request. It is relevant if you have never heard of Windsor also, so if you could let me know that fact as well it would be much appreciated.

This request is one of the incredible things about blogging - assistance on many levels with what we love to do.

Thank you,



Robert Kingston said...

Hey Ed,

Personally, I've never seen photos of or heard anything about Windsor, Ontario (at least from memory anyway). However, where I live (Brisbane, Australia), we're just a stones throw away from a suburb called Windsor. It's a decent suburb and has a lot of old houses which have been renovated on the inside. Property prices around that area are moderately higher than other areas too.

I wish I could help you out a little more but thats about all the name Windsor brings up for me.

Nice project you have going on though, I'll make a post on mine for you.


Ed Roach said...

That's great Robert, your reply is also helpful as it shows the fact you are unaware of the city's existence.

Would you mind if I posted my question on your site? I'm getting some great responses from MarketingProfs.com. I may have already out it in a post as I couldn't find your email to ask permission.

Derrick Daye said...

Sharp blogging here Ed.

To your question, I have never been to Windsor. I have been to the province many times and love it.

What I know of Windsor it seems to be a sharp contrast to its neighbor, Detroit. Windsor seems pure & wholesome. Am I right?

If you decide to be involved in helping Windsor define its brand, let me know. I'll be happy to share what we learned branding a few U.S. cities.

Seems Windsor is still undefined for many.

I am writing from Tampa.

Robert Kingston said...

Hey Ed,

I just shot you an email. Wordpress saved your email from your comments.


Tina Stephen said...

Hi Ed,

Pamil mentioned I should come post on here. I live in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Have seen a lot of the country through the windows of a Greyhound bus but Windsor is one city I can't say I have been. I have heard of the city through The Weather Network, sports casts, even the news. Though I don't remember what was said. When someone mentions the name of that city I get the words unclean and dirty come to my mind. Not sure why though.. might be that I'm confusing Windsor with Sudbury. :)


Ed Roach said...

I'd like to thank everyone for replying. So far the responses have been great.

Nick Rice said...

Ed, great way to get feedback. I've spent some time in Toronto, but not Windsor. I find most Canadians to be very friendly, intelligent and progressive. I've really enjoyed my time spent there over the years.

I know that the state of Kentucky went through this exercise about two years ago, the firm discovered that surrounding states really didn't have an impression of Kentucky - neither positive or negative.

The funny part is that most Kentuckians surveyed assumed the state had a negative "brand" image. So the firm ended up spending more money re-framing internal mindsets than external visitor impressions.

Once realized, it gave the state the freedom to develop a platform from scratch by not having to overcome anything negative. They've seen very measurable positive improvements in overall brand impression, recognition and visitor spending during the last two years.

Hope you see the same!

Mark True said...

It was a cold, gray winter day about 20 years ago, but I did drive into Windsor, from Detroit, just to look around and pick up a trinket from Windsor University (I was a cap collector and wanted something nobody else I knew would have). I remember distinctively that it was a nasty looking place, but know fully well that it was because of the coldness of the day, the grayness of the sky and the dirtiness of the snow.

I was in my early twenties, and I remember another distinctive feeling: I was in another country. As a lightly travelled American of just 23 or 24 years old, it was a neat feeling being in another country. I couldn't imagine that it was as bad as I felt it was.

This is not necessarily the positive review you might want to see, but it was what I saw and felt at the time. To be fair, I then went up to Port Huron in Michigan and it was still very cold and very gray and not too welcoming because of it! :)

I love the idea of getting input from your readers. Incredibly effective and amazingly inexpensive!

I'll try to check back and see how off my observations were!


Ed Roach said...


I'm not looking to skew any data, I just want your honest opinion which is what you gave me - thanks.


Anonymous said...

Lunch-bucket city of blue collar workers. The Big 3 dominate the industry sector with many spin-off companies in tool and die and plastics for car manufacturers. Unemployment at 10% now with a decline in sales of gas-guzzler cars.

Hard working, hard drinking, hard playing. The provincial cash-cow Casino was a large draw for American visitors when their U.S. dollar had a rate advantage. However, federal and provincial governments mainly ignore any issues that are 5 minutes west of London, Ontario, despite the additional dollars to the coffers.

Serious traffic problems and pollution problems. Windsor has the highest rate of lung problems in Canada. So high, in fact, the government took out our air monitoring equipment. What we don't know will hurt (kill)us.

Windsor has difficulties moving forward to higher social status. We don't have the art/culture and top of the line restaurants or entertainment, despite the casino.

Since I live in the county, I avoid Windsor like the plague. Too much... noise, pollution, traffic.

Ed Roach said...


I appreciate your candor. All opinions help.


dante said...

Wow, Anonymous, very harsh, however very true. I agree with many of your statements - namely the workforce. There was an article in the Windsor Star today about the people who were worried for their jobs at Chrysler after they announced the job cuts. One person said, "What am I going to do, go back to school? I left a good job to come here. Who knows what's going to happen?"

Ironic that this person left a "good job" to work at Chrysler... Unfortunately that is the mindset of many in this city, even university graduates... and that very mindset is what rubs off on anyone that hears about Windsor and probably why the government won't give us the time of day.

Ed - I hope what I say doesn't influence future comments... but here goes...

Windsor to me has always been a great place to live (save the pollution and awful roads). I find people are extremely friendly and not pretentious. It's very diverse and has a small-city feel to it no matter where you go. There are some great venues and areas like old Walkerville and Sandwich Towne - gems that don't get the attention they deserve. Crime is low and although we don't have any big entertainment venues, I feel the wide range of eclectic cafes & bars downtown with live music/patios make up for it. It's easy to get down on this city but it does have a lot to offer and I personally wouldn't consider moving - I sell this city any chance I get. Erie Street, the Art Gallery and the beautiful riverfront are all major attractions - but the problem is they are taken for granted by many.

Finally the University - it gets a lot of flak, and it should, their standards are low and I feel that reflects poorly on the entire city. They are however moving forward with the medical building and taking some big steps forward, and I think these steps in addition to raising the standards at the U can have a direct impact on the city as it is seen by the rest of Canada.

Improving our own opinion of our own city is what I think is the challenge. Let's get our own people excited, get them going out and spending money at local venues (instead of just at the Casino) - then the rest will take care of itself.

Ed Roach said...


Your input is very insightful. As far as influencing future comments- well what I have discovered is that all comments usually inspire discussion, and tat's great. It's why we're here. This question is getting responses world-wide and that is what I hoped for. In marketing typically it is the negatives that give us something to build on as it identifies areas of opportunity. The positive reinforces what we have accomplished.


(SM) Myles Holman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SP said...

Windsor often gets a bad rap from out of towners who play off of unfair stereotypes. Those who put down our city are ignorant of what Windsor has to offer.

I'm originally from Windsor and have lived here for a good part of my life. I've also lived in other cities and can say...believe it or not...that I LOVE WINDSOR. I've had a number of opportunities to move elsewhere but I'm very happy living in Windsor. Although I work in Michigan, I commute back to my home in Windsor. I won't get into the details but I would brand Windsor as the "Real city". When I say real, I am referring to the mindset which is as unpretentious and self-deprecating as it gets. We are not a Toronto that thinks it's a New York. We're not a Vancouver that has to keep referring to Economist surveys to make sure that everyone knows that it's the best place in the world to live (there are at least 50 other cities that I would live in over Vancouver). We're not an Ottawa, a city with no soul (city goes to sleep at 6 PM). And we're not a Calgary with new money and plastic tits popping up everywhere, constantly comparing itself to Toronto. Windsor is Windsor and everyone here knows it. We are not trying to be something we're not which is why I think people are so friendly and so real. So branding Windsor as a "Real city" is right on the mark.

Ed Roach said...


Your Real City comment is very much like the comments put forward over at MarketingProfs from Tony Wanless. Tony felt Windsor was like one big family. Thanks for dropping by and chiming in.


Anonymous said...

I am in Victoria, BC. I am in my mid-50's. I grew up in Saskatchewan, and am fairly well-educated. I know absolutely nothing about Windsor except that it is a city in Ontario, somewhere. Southern Ontario, perhaps. It brings to mind Windsor Castle, which brings to mind our monarchy/commonwealth, leading to thoughts about Kingston (Ontario) and the infamous women's prison. I have to say I know more about Kingston than Windsor, even though it is only one thing! The name Windsor "feels" like the color gray. Like a dull, cloudy day, not very warm. I can't think of anyone famous who is from Windsor. I have no interest in visiting Windsor, because it is not known for anything, as far as I know. There you have it!

Ed Roach said...


Thanks for your opinion. Even not knowing Windsor really helps a lot. FYI: Windsor is Canada's automotive capital with the Big 3 here. Hiram Walker also makes Canadian Club here. Windsor has about a 300k market, we are right across from Detroit.


alexisatk said...

I have heard of Windsor, Ontario. Honestly though I know very little of it other than that it is in Southern Ontario.

I lived in Sudbury for 8 years when I was in Elementary and Jr. High School. Before moving to Burlington for a year in High School. Currently I am back in Halifax where i have lived since leaving Burlington 8 years ago.

alexisatk said...

Oh, I know one other thing about Windsor Ontario. They claim to be the birth place of hockey -- when it is REALLY Windsor, Nova Scotia!!

Danielle Rodgers said...

Hi Ed,

Many moons ago I spent some time touring on the east coast of Canada (after living in Vancouver for 8 months) but can't honestly remember Windsor!

A few years earlier I vaguely recall driving from Detroit (or somewhere around there) up to Canada into what I thought was a peaceful, almost quaint but lonely looking town. Can't remember the name of it though.

I don't know how that could possible help you, but there you go.

Of course, the Queen of England is from the House of Windsor!! Do you guys have a sister city in the UK perhaps? :)

I live in Brisbane, Australia. And boy we could sure do with a bit of your wind chill at the moment! Sweating like anything here!!

Btw, just a bit of feedback... I find your blog really difficult to read (because of the black background), particularly the comments section. Gave me a bit of a headache actually.

Anyway, great project. I love the concept.

Best wishes,

Ed Roach said...

Danielle, thanks for the feedback on Windsor. Even your vague recollections are helpful, because unawareness is an issue the brand must address.

Thanks for the comment on my blog. You are the second comment on the black background - white text. I am considering changing to something more black on white. I plan to post the question to my readers. The look is consistent with everything I do with regard to my brand. But I take the headaches of my readers seriously.

Kent Johnson said...

I am a US citizen who has lived in the Windsor area for 30 years. The area is certainly perceived to be blue collar and the manufacturing economy is currently in a rough state for sure. Windsor does have a lot to offer I believe. Part of it is here now (small town atmosphere across from Detroit), some decent restaurants, long parkway along the waterfront and a new coming complex for local hockey folks (pretty much the whole town is seems). The other part is the huge potential given the 4 million people within 50 miles.

There is a difference in Canada from the States and the "international" atmosphere presents an opportunity for any who have not been to “another country”. I personally believe that the area has huge potential with a few major attractions and the "proper" supporting infrastructure. The new border crossing coming up will be a huge part of the success of the area and hopefully the governments smarten up on this one. Disrupting the daily lives of thousands for years with an above the ground approach to the bridge or tunnel seems horrible to me. I hope the government does not cheap out on this one as the consequences will be for many years to come. Border crossing aside I do believe Windsor is a decent city and it has great possibilities.

Ed Roach said...

Thanks for participating in my question Kent. I suppose like most places, you have to know them to appreciate them. The only shame with Windsor is that if you are not familiar, then it's brand tends to be negative.

For instance I've never been to Paris France, but I imagine a romantic cultural city. Rich in history and art. Who knows what it is really like, but for me that is its brand image. It's what makes me hope to one day go there.

Anonymous said...

Windsor... a diamond in the rough, a real city with real people who work and play real hard! It is simple to say, recognition or fame never comes easy in a positive way for Windsor.
Windsor is either the gateway to or the escape from Canada, through our very important border crossings, neglected and ignored.

Canadians can either ignore us or hail us for our continuing existence and our survival. We will prevail, re-invent and surprise you with real Canadian hospitality, everyday!

A brand and identity is needed, and it must be embraced by the people of Windsor. We are not iconic. If Detroit is cool, Windsor is real.
Real, Safe, Fun and Friendly!

Chris said...

Anyone who calls Windsor a diamond in the rough hasn't traveled much.

Ed, I know Windsor very well so please don't associate my negative brand perception with a lack of familiarity with the city.

Though Windsor has improved on some aspects in the past decade (Detroit Riverfront bike trail and variety of stores now established in the Windsor area due to the high disposable income), Windsor remains a largely a blue collar town.

Despite the ever growing diverse society, the city itself has little culture to sell. There are 3 main reasons to live in Windsor:
1. Local Automotive employment though it is shrinking at a very rapid rate. Highest unemployment rate (tied with the Saguenay area in Quebec) in the whole country
2. Detroit area employment for Professionals (Engineers, Doctors, Nurses)
3. Warmer Canadian climate

It is an absolute shame the city riverfront doesn't have restaurants or terraces to enjoy the riverfront and Detroit view. It would go a long way to give an identity to the city other than the current (and not deserved) sin city reputation (Casino and Sex trade) or blue collar town.

Local politics haven't helped the city's reputation either. From being scammed into a loan shark type deal for city equipment to ending up with secretly sponsored leases in a 12-13 story building that was originally going to be 30+ stories, city council has run its affairs like it was a high school reunion until a couple of years ago.

I suspect your creative blog is related to a city contract. Windsor still needs to change a few things before its brand image can be changed: revitalize the city core with restaurants and small boutiques on the riverfront, diversify the local economy in anything else but Automotive Business, and find a way to make the local unions realize threatening buyers of non-domestic vehicles will only deter new investments in the community.

Ed Roach said...


I think you were a litle hard on Anonymous's "Diamond in the Rough" comment. Windsor has potential, but is mired in off-brand thinking.

I couldn't agree more regarding the waterfront. My home town of Halifax has a teeming waterfront, with shops, cafes, restaurants, world-class museums and galleries, water tours etc. The Halifax market is exactly the same size as Windsor.

The last paragraph of your comment - "Windsor still needs to change a few things before its brand image can be changed:" is right on the money. My biggest fear in re-branding efforts with the city is that they address brand as ONLY BRAND IMAGE - with a new logo and tag line. Years of decisions made without regard to their brand is the reason so many of the answers to my question here are so negative. The current administration appears ready to recognize this error and have expressed a desire to address it.

Read my post - Are You Up To Re-Branding? All of us here in Essex County have to live the brand and make necessary changes to start the ball rolling to implement a change in attitude toward Windsor. It won't be easy and it won't happen fast. But if the seeds aren't planted and fertilized with the proper strategy nothing will grow from it. It will be more money wasted on a lofty ideal.

Thanks for your insight.


P.S. What does it also say about the Windsor brand when some feel the need to post anonymously and others to apologize for their comments? I have received approx. 150 responses to this question to date, and it clearly shows Windsor needs to step up to the plate and change it's culture or continue along this most unflattering path.

Anonymous said...

Ever hear of the following:

1. largest border crossing between the united states and canada? ya, that would be the Windsor/Detroit crossing.
2. Ever hear of Hiram Walkers? You know the company that produces the whiskey most of you drink when you order a CC and coke? from Windsor.
3. Ever used Salt on your food such as WINDSOR SALT? ya, from a salt mine in Windsor.
4. What about Seagram's? Ya, from a town just outside of Windsor.
5. Ever hear of the OHL? Windsor has a team called Windsor Spitfires.
6. Do you know where the largest fireworks display is in the world? ya, that would be put on by Windsor/Detroit freedom festival.
7. Know of Shania Twain? ya, born in Windsor.
8. DiamlerChrysler Canada has its headquarters in Windsor!!


Windsor is a fantastic place that you should visit!!!


Ed Roach said...


Let's not forget that Tums were invented here as well as the zipper!

Phil said...

In considering impressions and branding of Windsor, the city should not be assessed in isolation. My mixed feelings about Windsor are closely linked to mixed feelings about the surrounding area.

From Windsor about a dozen wineries are easily accessable. There are many decent golf courses across the regions, as well as within Windsor. The climate is warmer than the rest of Canada as the region is the most southerly mainland area - in line with Northern California. In addition the region around Windsor has 100s of kms of shoreline offering opportunity to live on or near the lakes within easy reach of all the conveniences downtown. Plus of course its a boater's playground. Detroit River has so many interesting islands to explore, such as Peche Island.

An easy drive from Windsor is Point Pelee National Park, a beautiful recreational and environmental gem and one of the major tourism draws to the region. For birders internationally it is known as a significant location for observing feathered friends as the birds funnel across the lake at one of its narrowest points. In addition to Point Pelee there are about 18 conservation areas in and near to Windsor including the Chrysler Canada Geenway - 50kms of trail.

On the downside, Windsor is surrounded by flat, virtually treeless farmland rather than majestic, lush countryside. Pesticide used by many farms, municipalities and individuals flows from the land to the rivers and then the Lk St Clair and Lk Erie, mixing with the high quantities of raw sewage also flowing into the lakes, leaving them far from aqua blue. The industrial, vehicular and other airborne pollution floating across Windsor and the region is leading to increasing asthma problems and the fast food at every corner is leading to overweight citizens.

I think if people are born in Windsor and stay it is because their family is here. If they come from elsewhere they don't imagine staying here for long. But once here realise that property prices are more reasonable, decent incomes are possible, you dont have to drive far for anything, you don't have to sit in traffic for long, and French immersion schools could be a good thing. Either that, or they just get tied down with responsibilities and can't escape.

It is notable that 'Windsor' has been associated with the Monarchy. The influence of the English, French and other settlers can be seen in the names of the streets, towns, rivers and even the county name. The brand should certainly include an element of the fascinating historic connections of the area

Windsor itself is tainted by characterless malls, restaurants with names like Crabby Dicks, and with strip clubs; the city's Canadian identity is lost in the proximity of the American influence and there are so many pointlessly large SUVs on the road, not to mention ugly Hummers. And yet there is a spirit of community and generosity with organizations such as rotary and united way and big brother; and the city is welcoming to newcommers.

Sorry to go on, I guess I'm just trying to figure out why I am still here. I live in the county and am in Windsor fairly regularly.

Ed Roach said...

Thanks for your input Phil. From what I understand, Windsor plans to brand itself in partnership with all of Essex County. From your comments I'd say Windsor has a positive brand in your eyes. Tell me, what one thing tangible or intangible makes Essex County as a whole "absolutely different" than anywhere in North America?

Anonymous said...

Grew up in Windsor... left 30 years ago for major cities in US and Canada.

When I come back it's like being in the old Christmas classic - "It's a Wonderful Life". After wishing he had never been born - Jimmy Stewart's quaint old town of Bedford Falls had turned into Pottersville - full of bars and a seedy downtown.

Windsor was never "Bedford Falls" but it sure is alot more like "Pottersville" now. Sold it's soul for some quick money from 19 year olds in Detroit who wanted to come across to drink and party. Now the downtown is dead.

The other brand Windsor has is big (read here LOUD) labour. They are sure to keep all the potential new jobs going elsewhere while they continue to believe that they deserve $30 an hour with no education and no risk. But the labour leaders will shout until they are the last ones shouting and collecting dues from themselves. How many jobs does Windsor have to lose before it get's it?

In short... Beautiful geography. Nice and friendly older community. Great access to the US. Warm climate.

Windsor needs to either become like Chicago (Mayors Daley -senior and junior et al knew how to "deal" with the unions to get things done...) and celebrate both the ethnic diversity and develop a mixed economic base. The other positive alternative is for Windsor/Essex County to become a Florida for Canada - a quiet and nice place (not the seedy downtown) where people come to retire where it's warmer and cheaper than other places in Canada.

Otherwise - it is various shades of Pottersville with dithering city councils, loud labour unions and disappearing jobs.

Thanks for the blog spot!

Ed Roach said...


Fantastic input. I can't get over how Windsor never seems to change. My hometown of Halifax is constantly progressing. Windsor consistently goes for short term gain. Since moving here more than 25 years ago I can't tell you how many riverfront plans had huge dollars put to develop them and they never seem to be followed. Windsor enjoys the process of planning more than the actual fulfilment.

I think you will agree that we need a leader with a vision that has the guts to carry it out. Not someone who worrys about the next election or what biased parties will think. I think the talent is there today, but time is running out before we start to lose all the young talent we need to make a positive difference.

Anonymous said...

Windsor is a place where nothing ever seems to get done. A slow ineffectual municipal government that never has a stance on any idea or project that doesn't benefit themselves. It is known to be hard to deal with by many companies or people with vision (to which the city lacks). Any action or progress made is by the hard working local population. I believe that Windsor gov't is it's own worst enemy and has little vision as to where it wants Windsor to go or what it wants it to be.
The city has a great history base but it has all but been destroyed by short-sighted gains. High taxes and very little "quality of life" perks are available to the citizens who reside in the city; other than the waterfront park. That is a jewel that many cities would be envious about.
The citizens are hard working people but their ties to unions blind them by today's reality. A great multi-cultural population offers what most large city's offer but high class areas are lacking.
The city's downtown is nothing short of a joke that caters to a downtown business association that is mired in bars that cater to 19 year olds. There is no retail! (Where is the urban village that has been planned for 4 years that we were told developers from the USA were interested in?).
In all, Windsor COULD be a great place that offers more than most cities could today...if only it had vision and the will to proceed.

Ed Roach said...

I could have written your comment myself - we of like minds here. Your frustration is no doubt equalied by your passion for Windsor. We both seem to wish so much more for this city. What is your opinion of last night's decision to give Docherty YET ANOTHER extension to fill that engineered hole of his?

Vincent Clement said...

"Windsor enjoys the process of planning more than the actual fulfilment."

That about sums up Windsor from a political point-of-view. I work for the City of Windsor, and 10 years later, I'm still astounded by the lack of direction, conviction and long-term thinking from the Mayor and councillors.

All it takes is a few vocal people to oppose something, be it connecting a new residential development to an existing development or a proposed truck route over a rail corridor, for Council to turn the matter down. Long-term benefits be damned.

There is no political will to change things - only to make it look like things are being changed.

Ed Roach said...

Vincent, it must be Politics 101 today, when you said,

"All it takes is a few vocal people to oppose something, be it connecting a new residential development to an existing development or a proposed truck route over a rail corridor, for Council to turn the matter down."

My home is on Highway 18 in Leamington. Home owners living along that route voted in the majority to have a sidewalk built from Union to Seacliff Park (agreeing to pay approx. $400 each for 5 years to pay for it). When it went to council it was shouted down by a few mouths in the audience and the idea was shelfed indefinitely.

Perhaps this pervasive attitude speaks volumes why we don't progress like the rest of the country.

Thanks for joining in the conversation.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm from Windsor, I live 70 yards from the Ambassador Bridge and the pollution is horrendas on certain days, but all their studies do not reflect the truth in some of their models My street was not even included in the air impact assessment and therefore not represented in their latest Environmental Air dispersion model.

Below is a cut and paste from another blog...
this is only the tip of the iceburg I fear, the more I investigate and read, the worse it looks for all involved including me...
and the rich get richer.... possibly more to come.
thankyou for the space

mike jacques Says:
August 8th, 2007 at 6:10 pm
My name is Mike Jacques and have lived on the westside of Indian Rd. since I was 10… I am 51 years old this year… I’m pretty sure I know what goes on around here. Pay Attention, pro Ambassador Bridge people who don’t live here. The past 10 years have been the worst. Really bad. What the councillors are saying about Blockbusting is true. I have tons O pics. You should see what across the street and next door on both sides of me, has looked like for 10 years. A garbage dump, property values suck, my swimming pool that my family has had since 1968 is a mess from fallout. the brick on my house is crumbling prematurely from trucks, our hearing has been affected from noise, not to mention our lungs. there’s no soundwall on the current bridge and they want to build another bridge in front of that one EVEN CLOSER… without any type of compensation for the past 15 years… give your head a shake… and after years of complaining Postma and Brown have finally hit a nerve… “BRAVO”… “BRAVO”…
Why didn’t the Ambassador Bridge Company put the “greenspace” 10 years ago, if their so community oriented… What about Assumption Church? I was told they will be getting big donation from Ambassador Bridge Company for crumbling mortor… Hmmm, we should measure how far the church is from the bridge, because I am closer…
The Rodents. I never saw a rat untill 4 years ago, ugly looking, it was in my herby curby, I tried to trap it but it got away. And I have counted up tp 7 Raccoons playing in and around my pool. Filthy things, make a big mess, not covered in my insurance, they come every night, and Possoms, mean looking critters with a pointed mouth and razor blade teeth sneaking around all the time, and skunks comming out of my you know what… ALL FROM GARBAGE ON INDIAN RD. What’s next Coyotes? It was not like this when I was a kid when families lived here. Come and sit on my front porch any time at night during the week and see if you can hold a decent conversation with the jake brakes being applied less than 70 meters away(soon to be 40 meters). ALL NIGHT LONG…
Just go to the bridge on a hot day when the trucks are doing their thing and get out of your car and walk around and take a whiff… Imagine that your whole life.
Yes everyone has a different opinion cencerning the councillors, mostly because they are sick of it by now. Personally, I hope they chase any underhanded wrong doers down like dogs and hold them accountable for more than just a greenspace. And I’m sure all of the west side of Indian Rd. will agree.
PS… the Ambassador Bridge Company in the last 2 weeks have cleaned up and boarded their houses up on the East side of Indian Rd. and it looks a lot better than it did, although still not accectable. Why did they choose now to clean up after all these years???
Because the councillors are doing what they are paid for.
Listening to the people they represent.

Ed Roach said...

Anonymous and Mike,

Your comments speak volumes. Thanks for joining this discussion. If it make you feel any better, a few local media folks monitor this discussion. Hopefully your comments will be heard and acted on.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

1.2 Area of Investigation
Since air quality does not respect local boundaries, a relatively broad area was
included in the Air Quality Assessment. This comprised an approximate 10 km
x 10 km area in West Windsor, from just south of the present Highway 401
terminus at Highway 3, 10 km north and 10 km west to the Detroit River. This
is approximately the area depicted in Figure 1.1 that was presented earlier.
Potential air quality effects from roadways decrease with increasing distance
from the roadway. Therefore the greatest effects will occur immediately
adjacent to the roadway. For assessment of the potential affects on air quality of
the Access Road Alternatives and Crossing Alternatives, an area located within
250 m on either side of the Right of Way (ROW) of each proposed Alternative
was studied. Similar to the connecting route alternatives, the Plaza Alternatives
were assessed within 250 m of the proposed facility property lines.

2.2 Assessment Criteria
Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) have
set air quality objectives, and air quality standards and criteria, respectively for
various air pollutants.
Ontario Regulation 419 (O.Reg.419) of the Ontario Environmental Protection Act
(EPA) defines maximum concentration levels for various air contaminants at a
Point of Impingement (POI), arising from an industrial facility or similar
operation. The POI is generally defined as the off property location where the
maximum concentration resulting from a facility emission occurs. However, if
there is a child care facility, health care facility, senior’s home or educational
facility on the property in question these locations become the designated POI

In addition, Section 14 of the Ontario Environmental Protection Act (EPA)
prohibits a facility or operation to cause an adverse effect. The definition of
“adverse effect” in the EPA includes:
1. impairment of the quality of the natural environment for any use that can
be made of it; and,
2. loss of enjoyment of normal use of property. Roadway Segments Considered in the Assessment
The dispersion modeling analysis considered a large number of existing roads
and roadway segments, in addition to new, or modified roads that will be
constructed through implementation of the alternatives. These are as follows:
Roads North of EC Row Expressway
Huron Church Road and all major intersecting roads along Huron Church were
considered from the EC Row Expressway up to Riverside Drive. This includes the existing Ambassador Plaza, and local roads in the immediate vicinity of the
Plaza. The roads that were included in the assessment are listed below:
• Riverside Dr.
• University
• Wyandotte St.
• Patricia Rd. /
Union St. /
Sunset Ave.
• College Ave.
• Millen St.
• Girardot St.
• Tecumseh Rd.
• Dorchester Rd.
• Prince / Totten
• Malden Rd.
• Industrial Dr.
In addition, all traffic on the Canadian side of the Ambassador Bridge and
through the Ambassador Plaza was included in the assessment.
I Do Not See Indian Rd. anywhere on there.... It runs parallel to the existing bridge, 70 meters out on the west side... from the plaza to the river... It's hard to see from erial photo's because my street seems to always appear to be under the bridge from erial photo's I've seen...
I guess if your in their blockbusting area they don't count you.
now for some numbers, from them, as to how safe it is within 250 meters of the bridge or plaza or ROW (right of way)...

5.2.1 PM2.5 Concentrations
As can be seen in Table 5.2, the maximum predicted PM2.5 concentrations at 50 m
away from the property boundary increase by a factor of 2X to more than 3X the
No Build concentrations in each of the horizon years for all four plaza options.
The changes at all distance intervals from the boundary were shown earlier in
Table 4.11, and are significant at 250 m for all Plaza Alternatives and all horizon
years. Similarly, all of the Plaza Alternatives result in a significant increase the
number of days predicted to exceed the CWS at 100 m away, in comparison to
No Build.

5.2.2 NOX Concentrations
All of the plaza alternatives have a significant impact on the air quality in the
immediate vicinity of the property boundaries. The maximum predicted 1-hour
NOX concentrations at 50 m away from the property boundary increase by as
much as a factor of 6X in 2015, 9X in 2025 and almost 11X in 2035, in
comparison to the No Build concentrations for all four plaza options. The
increases in concentration are significant at distances up to 250 m from the
property boundary, for all Plaza Alternatives, and all horizon years.

The results from the Crossing Alternatives / Connecting Roadways are similar to
those seen for the Access Road Alternatives. However, the Crossings and
connecting roads are elevated, and thus the emissions behave a little differently
than ground level sources.

5.3.1 PM2.5 Concentrations
As can be seen in Table 5.2, the maximum predicted PM2.5 concentrations at 50 m
away from the ROW of the Crossings and connecting roadways increase by a
factor of 1.5 - 2X the No Build concentrations in each of the horizon years for the
three crossing options. Table 4.13 presented the changes at all distance intervals
from the boundary, and are significant at 250 m for all Crossing Alternatives and
all horizon years. All of the Crossing Alternatives result in a significant increase
the number of days predicted to exceed the CWS at 100 m away, in comparison
to No Build.

5.3.2 NOX Concentrations
The maximum predicted 1-hour NOX concentrations increase by more than a
factor of 2X in comparison to the No Build concentrations at 50 m away from the
ROW by 2035. The increases in concentration are significant (> 10%) at
distances up to 250 m away, for all Alternatives, and all horizon years. Similar to
the results of the Access Road Alternatives, there are no exceedances of the MOE
1-hour NOx criterion in the vicinity of the Crossings / Connecting Roadway.

Mike said...


Windsor is a fantastic place that you should visit!!!

above was a good post and true, Windsor is a GREAT place. We have some problems though...

Our current city council sounds like they got caught with their hands in our cookie jar over at the " should we fix their sewers department" Sounds like they made it so they can manipulate the audit they were forced to call.
Oh well, We shall see...

We also have some beautiful beaches,,, can't swim in them though... Something about fecal count is to high and you will die...

We had a beautiful downtown till the city turned it into a strip with a bar at every doorway to service the 19 year old Ohio people that can't drink till their 21... On Saturday nights there are lineups everywhere and a cop in a fight at every doorway it seems...

We have been called "Sin City"
cause of the multitude of "massage parlors.
The Brand I see is not good...

Back to the question at hand...

After seeing the DRIC report on air quality within 250 meters of the ROW, I am very worried about the new bridge going up in front of this one. I will be under (or at) 50 meters. Is there anyone out there who reads what I read above think it is dangerous? Would you buy a house that was 50 meters from a noisy smelly bridge?? The Ambassador Bridge company is trying to sweep us under the rug..
and making the neighborhood a disaster for the past 15 years so they can buy us out cheap... Lot's of people have left already and guess who owns their house?


mjacq2u said...

This neighbourhood has gone downhill so fast it’s mind-boggling.
Binational Great Lakes
Urban Regions
(Detroit-Windsor, Port Huron-Sarnia,
and Sault Ste. Maries)
A Report from the
International Air Quality Advisory Board
to the
International Joint Commission
February 2004
ISBN 1-894280-44-X
i) While the data reviewed were not the most current
nor comprehensive, it is clear that, in all three
regions, during episodes that occur with some
frequency, particularly in the summer months, smog
(ozone and fine particulate) achieves levels that
would affect the well being of the entire population
and have an immediate, pronounced negative impact
on the most sensitive elements of the populations –
youth and the elderly. Similar conditions are evident
in the past few years and appear to persist to this

ScytheNoire said...

Interesting. I was trying to find out the hours of the garbage dump (located on central ave) and ended up here.

I was born and lived in Windsor most of my life. I'm almost 32, so that's a lot of time spent in this... place.

Windsor is hard to describe, because it has it's good and it's bad. I've been to places I like a lot better, such as London and Mississauga, but Windsor just feels like home. Kinda of annoying actually.

The bad is that it's next to Detroit, and we get their pollution. We are ignored by the government, we have horrible traffic problems (especially north/south), and the job market is very poor. It's a city on the decline, I feel. Although Windsor has always felt like it was dying. Without Windsor though, what would happen to the most traveled border?

Some of the good though outweighs the bad. Beind next to Detroit is great when it comes to shopping (especially with our dollar being stronger now), sporting events and concerts. We get mostly American television, which is better than pathetic Canadian television. We often get new stores before other parts of the country, as we are a test bed and easy access. We have some great little restaurants, gotta love Terra Cotta, best pizza ever. We also have a very diverse city, when it comes to racial diversity.

I think a major issue with Windsor is that it lacks the white collar jobs and the city was designed very poorly. It's hard to rebuild a city when it's already been established. When you look at cities like London and Mississauga and compare their city layout to Windsor's, it's obvious the flaws in Windsor design and layout. No one in their right minds would design a layout like Windsor's, it's just doomed for disaster.

But describing Windsor is very hard. If I was to describe it, I would have to say it's like a small Detroit, but cleaner, less crime, and a lot more white people.

My finance and I would love to move, but it's hard when you have roots in the city and can't easily just pull up and move. If I could have a job lined up in London, I'd go in a heartbeat though. I'm dying to get out of Windsor.

Ed Roach said...

Nice website. Hopefully you'll find something away from Windsor. But like you said, it's still home.


Richard said...

Hi, well Ive been to most parts of Canada, including Windsor. My impression was that the location is good, long history, with French Settlement, good climate, the air quality is brutal (sorry) that yellow line of smog in the sky is a little scary. Great agricultural and manufacturing area, very very flat..friendly..'The' big border crossing....anyway, I just came across your site while looking for some info on Windsor for a geography project, I need to analyse your contemporary urban form. Know any good sites?

Ed Roach said...

Richard, thanks for your comment. I'm afraid that I don't know of any sites that could help you. If you send me your email, I will forward it on to a friend who is the city planner for Windsor. Maybe LeeAnn will be able to pass on some information to you.


mjaccq2u said...

it's me again, but I changed my tune a little to something that is positive, Check this out... The powers that be are turning my hood into a particulate matter deathtrap but that's neither here nor there right now...

Windsor has a chance to Re Brand BIG TIME. right now...

The words were "WORLD CLASS" and that only means one thing to me.

Sooooo we gotta get on their ass and hold their noses to the grindstone and don't ever let em' forget the words they used "World Class".
Windsor has the chance right now... to become THE World Class Entrance to Canada. Up till now we been treated like the backdoor and even feel that way.
Since Greenlink can't pass the Environmental Assessment for air quality, they offer world class.
Well I guess it isn't world class enough yet. But they are trying...
They just need us to kick em'.

Ed Roach said...


Thank you for returning. I will agree that the gateway will no doubt be world class. My only concern is two-fold. How do any of the 2 leading proposals address pollution and truck backing up? I thought these were the issues, no window dressing.

If after spending Billion$ these two issues are still with us, what will that reflect on our brand? I think our Mayor is doing a good job with what he has to deal with. I don't envy him that's for sure.

I'm very interested to see how they are going to handle 10K trucks while they build this "solution".

mjacq2u said...

Well It's nice to see someone else also has certain desires when it comes to the words "World Class".

I think the 2 proposals you spoke of are #1. DRIC, an American/Canadian government task force. #2. GreenLink,DRIC opposition,essentially the same plan only much more resident oriented.
There is a third option on the table, the Canadian Transit Company,CTC, and the Detroit International Bridge Company,DIBC, owners of the Ambassador Bridge.

I think it has became clear that none of these proposals will ever pass air quality assessment. Unless you consider 9 to 11 times the the amount of undesirable air in 2035 within 250 meters of any suggested plaza location is a passing grade.
So instead of a diesel ditch running through the city(the DRIC proposal)the mayor is trying to squeeze "GreenLink" through by using more tunnels and better landscape with portals and/or towers collecting all the pollutants and expelling them into the atmosphere at a remote location. I hope your not a resident downwind of any remote locations.

"I'm very interested to see how they are going to handle 10K trucks while they build this "solution"."

I am quite positive that whatever crossing and method, or methods of approach they use,They will be able to do the above quite easily. Plus more... That's what this is all about, transportation of goods. not about people, that is why they will fail the world class status in everyones eyes except the billionaires. But it's not over yet and the fact is I'm not quite sure how this will turn out.

I cannot imagine the powers that be not recognizing the fact this is it. Windsor will be "Branded" forever. So the way I see it, they can't get out of it that easy, having used the words "World Class".
They, the DRIC told us that cost will be the last thing considered in their hunt for a safe resident oriented crossing. Ha.
Did you know, it's not "feasable" to clean a tunnels air with Electronic Air Cleaners. Guess Why? To Expensive.
In order to have a "World Class" Border Infrastructure Program, first you must have people capable of making world class decisions.
I would never consider the crossing to be "World Class" if 1 person(bar none)isn't happy.

You can't make everyone happy, right? In this case there are 1000 households all in the same position, to leave any out, for 1 reason or another would be unaccectable.

I still believe that Canada Transport might do the right thing. They know what Canadians want and are starting to demand. Clean Air or at least some light in the tunnel. Not redirection of toxic fumes in an area that allready fails air quality, to some hidden spot, so our lungs and the ozone layer can eventually filter it. This is not World Class, is it?
Now if they bored a tunnel, since cost has no meaning, from Toronto to Detroit to New York, It would be a corridoor unlike any. Clean the air in that tunnel and you pass all EA tests. People above remain uneffected, Underground reverse customs with staging, inspection and xray, the ultamate in safety, very fast and reliable shipping can be achieved, it would be world class to remove that much air pollution from the planet.

Ed Roach said...

Great observations. I cross over into Detroit several times a week via the bridge. I can tell you I'd hate to be boxed in, when the trucks back up in there. Jet fans or not, I can just imagine the fumes.

Anonymous said...

I have read some of the blog accounts on Windsor and thought I would pass along my comments as well. I work for a fortune 500 company in a senior level position. I was fortunate enough to move to Europe for 3 years and run European operations for this company. I have travelled (for business) to every Western European country and most cities. Also is spent a considerable amount of time in Eastern Europe, Turkey, India, Korea, China, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil. There are my beautiful places to visit but I was fortunate enough to call Italy home.

After my family's 3 years in Italy we had a chance to come back to North America and live either in Michigan or Windsor. We decided to come back to Windsor - YES WINDSOR. People ask me why and I tell them you do not appreciate what you have until you left. I hear people talking about congestion from traffic but these people do not sit on the QEW near Toronto for 2 hours each day in traffic getting back home and to work. Even during busy times it is 20 minutes anywhere in this city.

Simple things like the radio. There are not many cities the size of Windsor who have as many radio stations that we have in this city. Basically we have a big city at our doorsteps and can use it anytime we want (unfortunately the border issue is a major problem and I have put manufacturing operations in the states just for this reason).

Also - Windsor is a safe city. People just need to see the statistics on line that are kept by the windsor police department (If they do not believe me on this fact).

Also, our waterfront with the park front properties is a big plus within the last 15 years that I do not think we exploit enough.

I also read some people indicate that the University of Windsor is not a good university. Many business leaders have gone through this university. Its Law school is recognized as one of the best in Canada, Some major senior level executives have graduated from this school - FIAT CEO got his MBA from Windsor. It's engineering school is getting known for its creativity in solving problems.

Also, St. Clair College is well known as well for its part in education. This area has many skilled tradesmen that I know Alberta would love to have due to the shortage in that province. Bottom line is that Windsor has very competent and good people who are dedicated, provide a quality product and are hard working.

Some negatives are the polution and these are things that have to be dealt with by the city, province, and great lakes states in general.

Some other negatives is the downtown area. This should be something that is addressed - we have more "kiddie" bars on our main street Ouellette and not to forget the massage parlours on the main street as well. I do not have problems with these places but why not get a "red light district" for them? Our city is getting known for this and it is a little embarrasing. Who is going to invest money in a downtown next store to a massage parlour or Kiddie bar??

Also - the city is known for being a union town. I do not have problems with unions but it is hard to get people to put their money into a town when someone else wants to run their business. All this city needs to look at is cities like London Ontario who are getting manufacturing operations from Europe. Why is this happening. Because these companies are afraid of what is going to happen to their operations if they put it in Windsor. I tried to convince some investors to put business in Windsor and they thought I had "three heads". The statement made to me is why would we want to do something stupid like that?? All we are going to have is a fight with the unions - we do not need that - we are fighting our competition to stay alive!!

I know the union leadership in Windsor does want to work with the comapanies as partners but allot of dammage from the past has been done and we need more progressive thinking for changes to be made (not statements from Buzz about Chrysler like he did today - this scares investment out of Detroit 3 manufacturing towns - they need to be more progressive like the UAW).

I think I said allot in this blog - but in summary - Windsor is a great place to live - beautiful coastline on great lakes, access to major city entertainment and opportunities, good workforce, and hopefully soon - good border access.

Negatives - 1950 labour thinking, current border access, polution, and downtown.

Ed Roach said...


Hats off to you sir! Thanks for the glowing recommendation for Windsor. I forwarded your comment on to Mayor Francis. I only hope the unions
wake up as perception is reality. They can deny the reputation, but only actions can change things, rhetoric changes nothing.


Anonymous said...

I think that a problem with Windsor is the way that things are run. I think the downtown is a shame. It caters to a wasted youth on friday and saturday nights.

Downtown needs more life in the daytime. One problem I hear among TONS of people living here is Parking. If the parking situation wasn't so ridiculous, and ruthless more people would feel welcome to stay and check out shops that should be there, and dine at the restaurants already there.

With bringing life to the downtown, I think culture would come with it. I think a strong downtown makes a city a city.

For me, what makes Windsor is the people. I've been out west, and I actually found it to be pretty lonely, and a lot of the people I met were nice...but the same. In Windsor though there is such a large diversity of really great people that makes sitting in our gray depressing city unemployed really enjoyable.

I read a few of these comments before posting and I've never heard ANYONE claiming hockey came from windsor, ontario. Secondly someone famous from windsor would be former Prime minister Paul Martin.

Ed Roach said...

Let's face it Paul Martin is barely from Windsor - even he claims Quebec is his child hood home. The guy who invented the Blackberry is a Windsorite.

Tracy said...

Dear Ed,

Fabulous blog - have every single one of the comments at Marketing Profs as well as SmallBusinessBranding.com and this one....

Fascinating. And very telling - the most negative comments about our fair city (I'm from the county but work in the city) come from within. I won't argue with a single one - as you said it best - perception is reality. That being said...

We as a community need to get over the negativity. If we want new business here - we'd better start acting like it. We all need to stop whining about the unemployment rate, stop waiting for politicians to fix the situation for us. I include myself in this - please don't think I am pointing fingers or picking on anyone in particular. It's more of a pervasive toxic feeling that we breed here - and it's easy to get caught up in. Why is negativity so much easier to spread that positivity? Is it a culture thing? Is it a Windsor-Essex county thing? Is it a human nature thing?

Dennis Desrosiers (who if you are from Windsor Essex county, you'll know his name!!) told us that we have an unearned sense of entitlement and a victim mentality. This is certainly clear in some of the posts - to paraphrase - "our unions suck, our pollution sucks, our air quality sucks, our downtown sucks, the dollar sucks, our local leadership (or lack thereof) sucks and that's why we don't have jobs - that's why we don't have prosperity - that's why we can't find a solution to the problems that face us every day".

It's so much easier to blame the external factors, the government, policies, international trade, or whatever we want to put up as our reason for not moving forward on any given day.

I am sympathetic to the plight of so many of our workers who are laid off from great paying jobs that didn't require education - just a family member that already worked at the "big 3" to get you in. I am empathetic to those workers who did not need to (and therefore chose not to) keep up with their techincal training and ability for companies who have now gone out of business - and they can't find jobs with the innovative scrappy survivors who are still here doing incredible work in the mold, tool and die sector that is such a rich piece of Windsor's history and future.

At some point - we have to take responsibility for ourselves. We have to say, as citizens of this community, this region, we're survivors. We've always been survivors. I'm not going to allow myself to be painted with a brush that is tainted, untrue, overblown...I'm not waiting for the shiny knight on his white horse to show up and rescue me for my happily ever after. We don't have the luxury of living in a fairy tale - not any more.

Interestingly - in this region, we often blame the unions for why business won't come here. But the only posts that mentioned the union - were people that are from here. Like another of your readers I have travelled broadly and lived elsewhere. I chose to come back. I choose to stay.

However - rather than continue a diatribe - you asked where we were from and what our perceptions are:
I'm from Maidstone and have lived in Windsor, Essex, McGregor and Harrow in this area. A county kid really. What do we have?

- more greenhouses than anywhere in Canada, 2nd largest greenhouse growers in the world (Leamington)
- world-class research and development facilities at the college and university with billions of dollars of investment
- rich & interesting history with Hiram Walkers & rum runnersin the days of prohibition, Willistead Manor, Walkerville itself, interesting historical buildings and museums (Fort Malden, the underground railroad ended here, keep going we have so many!), a beautiful art gallery, symphony, local arts and drama groups, music, theatre, local brewery, pubs, restaurants, bars...
- trails, conservation areas and provincial parks, beaches, boating, fishing (perch and pickerel!!), hunting, cross country skiing
- safety and security
- a sense of community
- cultural diversity
- freedom, equality, and we are fortunate enough to have services for people who are down on their luck, out of a job - for all of our bashing about unions, public sectors, the 'rich' who piss off us working class folk - if you need a turkey for Christmas, fresh food on your table or a warm coat for your kid - you can get one courtesy of fundraising, tireless efforts of many of these groups. Usually free of charge. Not every community has that.
- generous community spirit - WE as a community did an amazing amount of work to help the people stricken by the hurricane in New Orleans, the Tsunami, how many other natural disasters in parts of the world where people lost everything - their homes, their jobs, sometimes their kids and loved ones - somehow or another events like that allow us to snap out of our depression and spring into action as a community - united we are strong, we are powerful, we are capable - my hope is that as a community we can find it in ourselves to save ourselves from drowning and snap us out of our own depression, come to our own rescue....

Sorry to have gone on Ed - as you can see I too am passionate about this region. Our area is not without it's problems - but let's not kid ourselves - no place on earth is without problems. It's all in how we address them. We elect our politicians - we live in a free democratic society - they work for us. If we let our voices be heard to our leaders they must act. If they don't...we have to vote them out.

Ed Roach said...

Nice post Tracy, I forwarded it to the Mayor.

It reminds me of a situation I was involved in around 25 years ago. We had just began our business and we were chosen to develop Windsor's image etc. We had a nice logo and the slogan was Windsor - Talk it up! Oddly the logo is still on some of our ambulances.

Back then we recognized that Windsor residentts were their own worst enemies. We felt nothing would change if we ourselves didn't change our attitudes. That still holds true today. We've still got to Talk it up! It failed back then because the city failed to put a realistic enough budget towards the effort.

Bureaucrats always want quick fixes. Sometimes I think Windsor enjoys being the victim. It reminds me of a book I read some time ago called The Fear of Success. It's main premise was that we are groomed for failure so we are used to it - we know how to deal with it. Success on the other hand is elusive and thus we do not have much experience with it. Failure is the devil we know.

Troi said...

Hi. An interesting question you have here. I think this website is pretty good to give people a general discussion platform for windsor, ontario, including how come no one has heard about this city, or heard little of it. http://canadawindsor.com

Ed Roach said...

Thanks for the compliment Troi. There is quite an insight into Windsor's brand here.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Windsor for over 40 years. It took me 10 years of trying but finally escaped from there!

Taxes are extremely high for what you services you get. City hall is overemployed, and top heavy.

City has been going downhill for years, and elected officials didn't care, as long as Walkerville, South Windsor and Riverside were well cared for...the hell with the rest of the city.

Simple minded, auto and related industries seemed to be the only one wooed. Now look at where it is at. Everyday more and more people out of work, yet politicians are hailing the "new" $9/hour jobs as the second comming. With taxes as high as they are, most can't afford to keep their homes. Sad really.

The fellow who remembered Windsor as cold, dark, and gray, had the perfect discription.

Ed Roach said...


Thank you for responding. Your criticism is obvoiusly from the heart. Do you feel that the city's problem brand lies entirely with City Hall's past and present? As you've probably noticed here, your sentiment is shared by many. I have to add that I posted this question else where and got the same responses. What one thing could WIndsor do that would at least make you believe that Windsor has a fighting chance at returning to a former glory?

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Windsor when I was younger. I remember as a child, looking up at the bridge and asking my mother if I could slide down from the highest point. During high school I enjoyed reading poetry at the Eclectic Cafe, volunteering for theater groups, and walking along the Detroit river. I live in Toronto now, but when I think of Windsor, I think of the wonderful atmosphere and the great people that make Windsor such a magical city.

Anonymous said...

i have relatives in windsor and lived there for a while, though i am a us citizen and lived in the suburbs of detroit most of my life. i dont know much about windsors history as a quiet lovely town, but i have experienced otherwise on many occasions. despite how many people in windsor are scared to death of the mention of detroit, my car was stolen in windsor and later my new car broken into. near downtown too. i went to a gym there and my locker was broken into and everything stolen. there is a lot of crime and drugs, i can assume fueled by the strip clubs and the people they attract. no it isnt a pristine small town. its rather like detroit on a smaller scale. it has some glitzy trappings like the casino and a few nice restaurants, and for the most part the people are very nice, but someone is committing all those crimes, and i have a feeling they arent so nice.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ed,
Interesting blog. Some of the posts are eye-opening since I'm moving to Windsor next week. After 20+ years in Halifax, I'm taking a job in Windsor. Hopefully, the climate, the housing market, and the friendly people will make up for the negatives I've read here. I've never had any negative impressions of Windsor. I grew up in Sarnia with family friends who enjoyed living in Windsor. I guess I'll find out soon enough!

Ed Roach said...


Well, welcome to Windsor. I myself am a Haligonian. My family still live there. The summers are definitely longer here. Spring actually starts in March/April as opposed to home. It is still warm in October here. 2" is considered a big snowfall and the lightening storms should charge admission. For all the negatives - Windsor's biggest plus for me is it's location. 4 hours drive from almost anything you could want. Halifax is where my roots are and it is definitely more modern than Windsor and VERY white collar. I never met a union person until I moved here. I hope that you enjoy Windsor.


Anonymous said...

Hey Ed,
My 5 years in Windsor Summary
Referring back to a comment about"the scrappy tool and mold industry being part of the future of the city" from Tracy I have few more comments to add on our city's industrial/political situation. First off that ship has sailed, our once glorious mold industry has been reduced To handful of key players.
As for our actions to say we play the victims and should take action instead of focusing on the negative may be partly true but it ignores the fact that we as a community have little say in the matter, sure we blindly elect and re-elect our officials and hope they represent us accordingly but through pressure from sources of influence in business, usually the same lot, who have had a strangle hold on this city for along time agendas are meet and the community feels its impacts in one shape or form. If its not from that direction its from lack of motivation from our Ontario Government. In turn, we the citizens of Windsor pay the price. This city has been under attack politically and economically for a long time. Unfortunately the people with the most influence and power in this city do not sit in office.
How could a city with such a strategic locale be in such poor health, it amazes me. For big business to turn its back and head else where should be a huge indication that obvious "local" organizations are to blame. Some might argue that our workforce is not skilled enough to handle change or new avenues, I highly doubt that. The people in Windsor are hard workers, sure some make a very good income with little education, yet other skilled workers are at the mercy of temp agencies, which in my opinion is slowly feeding on our economy. If the majority (excluding the sectors not involved with the manufacturing and automotive industries)of this city's income is $10 an hour how will this city survive? If your city is ridden with poverty, unemployment, depression, it will definitely reflect in the over all first impression and reputation of the city. Branding the city is not going to be easy. Solutions might include awakening those involved with certain organizations that there leaders do not have there best interest in mind and only serve to fill there owns needs as well as other power figures in the community. Perhaps to evoke thought s and questions to this exact matter in more detail might cause some change for the better.

When people visit this city I often hear some say its dirty, cold, hard, but the people are friendly. From others that move here from larger cities they say there is nothing to do, which to me indicates that they couldn't be bothered or have any desire to find something to do. I often reply to such a statement with...well theres always Detroit.
But usually the most often response when asked what they think of Windsor is ..."its ok". Theres hope. Please don't assume I have nothing good to say about Windsor I do love this town, how could one not, I just think the change required is complex its source is a hydra and some in our city council only have sticks to defend themselves.

Ed Roach said...

Anonymous - why do you post as Anonymous - you've got great opinions? I curious as to whom I speaking with. I agree wholeheartedly with you. I have my own personal beefs and from the marketing perspective have dealt for years with the fact that one firm in this city has a lock on ALL the city business for almost 30 years now. (another story)

Windsor is a frustrating story. I also agree with you that our strategic location is awesome but we are treated like a pariah. Branding will indeed be VERY difficult - but I do like France's comment on changing the conversation, it is a great first start. The sad thing is it is exactly what we recommended almost 25 years ago to the city and it was never taken seriously. We were handling the account at the time (part of the other story).

My only concern with branding is whether the city has the determination to do it right or will they move for a short term spin solution. I fear the latter. Even recently in the address, his comments on telling our story is more advertising. We are going to put more slogans to work. It flies in the face of what branding is all about.

Anonymous said...

Ed, to be honest I stumbled upon your site by sheer luck, started reading from the top. Sometimes its liberating speaking your mind in anonymity. It seems your fully aware of the multi layers to an almost corrupt city. I agree fully with what you replied with, and a spin on a Brand is almost guaranteed, but it wont fool anyone. It would be a romantic notion that maybe a brand stating "we need help" might cause some national attention and spark some change, who knows. It sounds desperate, and a bit exaggerated but Im sure you get my point. I also forgot to mention that my conclusion on the cities economic status is that it will have to be completely drained or used and abandoned by implied "firms" and organizations before it can rebuild itself, and only then at this rate can it start fresh without influence which contradicts the best interest of the people of Windsor. This may be a horrifying and delusional concept, but in hope of airing out the real roots of the cities problems, can we truly understand the rebuilding process. Allot of people in Windsor do not think the situation is entirely that bad.

What a great way to get people to talk Ed. There are some great comments on here and even the ones that haven't heard about Windsor are positive, in one way or another.
Good Luck

Ed Roach said...

BL eh?

Anonymity is enviable in some cases I will agree. There are times when I would love to expose a few things I am aware of, but, politics being what it is - there isn't much point. I enjoy reading Halberstadt's blog as well as the Windsor City Blog. On the latter I don't wear this guy finds the time to write such in depth opinion. I write for my sit and another Branding site and it is enough for me to stay on top of that.

This Windsor question certainly has caused quite a passionate conversation so far. The Mayor used to follow the thread here, but I don't know if he still does.

Kate said...

Hi Ed:

I think what you're doing here makes for an extremely interesting read!

I've been a "Windsorite" all of my 42 years, and my frustration with the direction in which this city has gone, and continues to go - has just increased as I grow older and become a lot less tolerant.

It seems to me, that regardless of the Enwin Utilities fiasco, the border crossing deliberations, taxpayers getting slapped over and over again with useless city spending, etc. etc. The powers that be at city hall consistently overlook the bigger picture, and to me - this picture is huge.

Now that the automotive industry is in trouble, is it not safe to say that our current branding as a lunch bucket, union heavy, blue collar city is poised for a total 180 re-brand?

My feeling? Location, location, location! Can we not promote the hell out of that? We are the most southern city in the country. Our climate is wonderful, and we have a breathtaking waterfront. We border a major U.S. city and are surrounded on 3 sides by lakes and rivers.

The senior population in this country is growing, and more and more are moving here to retire because of our desireable climate. We're becoming Canada's Florida!

The casino is great if you're retired, or young enough to enjoy a night out or a weekend away without worrying about your kids. Downtown is great if you're under 30 - or a drunk underage American looking for a good time at a strip club, or are looking for a good fight.

These "attractions" appeal to a very select few, and leave out an entire demographic of huge spenders looking for somewhere to bring their kids, and their wallets for more than just an overnight visit. These are the same kinds of big earning, mid age professionals who frequent festival Epicure and the Erie Shores Wine Festival. More people make it a point to venture to those events for one night, than those who frequent the downtown area all year long.

The city desperately needs to recognize it's potential as a family vacation destination. Can you say Disney? These people are looking for theme parks, water parks, drive-ins, camp grounds and unique, whimsical, fun places to shop - and interesting places to eat, where they don't have to fight to find a place to park.

Base this branding on our great climate, our proximity to water - and eventually, if city planners finally get a clue,... an amazing (and warm) family vacation destination.

Therein lies the solution to the city's growing unemployment.


Ed Roach said...


Your not wrong about seniors moving here. I live in Leamington. My new next door neighbour is a 60 year old woman from Vancouver who researched climate in canada and found this area to be the shortest winters and very cost efficient.

As far as Windsor's branding goes, my biggest fear is that they are not going to address branding seriously and we will be cursed with another round of new slogans, new logos and advertising that has a very professional look but but spins a tale that is not real. Windsor has spent roughly 25 million over the last 25- 30 with the convention bureau. If it wasn't for the casino, we really can't brag at what that has gotten us. Same old faces and same old ideas run the show in Windsor.

Let's wait and see if we are wrong. As they say, history repeats itself.

Thanks for commenting Kate,


Anonymous said...

I only knew Windsor as a polluted union town prior to visiting it for a couple of days. I visited in winter and found the waterfront and Erie Street restaurants to be fabulous. The people were very friendly. Downtown was the red light district. For such a short visit, there wasn't much to do other than the casino so I just went back to my hotel room. I'm sure there are some really nice museums and art galleries somewhere. Oregon has a really nice museum in Baker City and Alberta has the Remington Museum in Cardston. Duluth has a wonderful Great Lakes aquarium to visit. Cafes and restaurants along the waterfront would have caught my attention, especially if they had live music like those cool bars in Chicago. Or a big theatre district, like Niagara on the Lake. Does Windsor only have car manufacturers or are there other types of businesses there? Do people who move there have to sell their foreign cars first?

Anonymous said...

I also just wanted to add that the current plan to put more money into already existing local "tourist attractions" such as Fort Malden, or the wine tour, or Heritage Village,...although great places, they are in my opinion just not the places that are going to bring the tourists in in droves. These things just do not have that "mass appeal". Adults may love the wine and gambling, but - lets be honest - most kids are not going to beg their parents for a history lesson/field trip - much like those they'd have in school.

How about a Science Centre, a zoo, or an Aquarium? Why not put all of these attractions into one amazing area. There's just so much unused land out past the airport, or off Hwy 3 or the 401.

So, so much potential - and money just wasted.

Ed Roach said...

There is a science centre but it's not world class. All Windsor seems concerned with is Downtown. They seem intent on forcing the populous downtown, although there is only things there for the youth. It is a frustrating place to live at times.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the poster who says "existing local "tourist attractions" such as Fort Malden, or the wine tour, or Heritage Village,...although great places, they are in my opinion just not the places that are going to bring the tourists in in droves. ... - lets be honest - most kids are not going to beg their parents for a history lesson/field trip - much like those they'd have in school."

This person has not been to some of the more impressive museums and historical attractions in North America. Fort Malden is just as cool as the Halifax Citadel. People travel for miles to attend wine tours in Niagara, Napa Valley, Kelowna, Oregon and Washington - why not Essex County? How would people respond to a three hour adventure tour where they "become" part of the underground railway, including river boat ride, possibly ending in a dinner theatre style history "lesson". Why couldn't Colasanti's become the local version of Butchart Gardens?

Windsor is steeped in history and it has a great location surrounded by water. There is no reason why Windsor can't transform itself into the southern jewel of Canada.

Chris Wood said...

Hi Ed (and fellow readers)!

If you need a test case for what tourists think of Windsor, here I am!

I'm a 28 year-old Brit who's never been to Windsor before, and will be there for a week at the beginning of May!

I must confess that it wouldn't be on my destination list were it not for other factors!

My main reason for coming to Windsor is some of my ancestors emigrated from England to Windsor to work at the Ford factory in the early 1900s. My great, great grandmother is buried in Windsor too. So one of my goals whilst I'm there is to track down my family's history.

It's ironic reading the comments about the polution in Windsor today. My relatives moved to Canada to start a new life away from the poor health and squalor of daily life in industrial Lancashire. Today, Lancashire's got some of the cleanest air in Britain, whereas it would seem Windsor's gone the other way!

But apart from my family history stuff, what is there for a tourist to do? I must confess that I'm getting very scared I'm making a big mistake reading many of these comments!

So come on all you Windsorites, tell us some more of the positives? What is there for us tourists to do (aside from gambling and massage parlors)?

Even if there aren't so many tourist attractions, what's the best way of meeting the warm, friendly people you all refer to?


PS: None of my friends have heard of Windsor, Ontario, but everyone's heard of Detroit. If I say I'm going to Detroit, I get a universally bad reaction from my British friends who enjoy travelling. When I say I'm going to Windsor, I don't! Is it good or bad that the two get linked together in every travel guidebook??!

Ed Roach said...

Well Chris,

Windsor isn't too bad. The people are genuine here. The weather should be much better the week you're here. Detroit has plenty to do and see. It isn't too bad. I think it's bad reputation is way over- blown. If you're a sports fan you'll be in heaven.

Windsor is definitely industrial. It's waterfront is very pleasant. It's the best view of downtown Detroit. When my family from Nova Scotia visit, there isn't much to take them to in Windsor. If you are coming alone, downtown Windsor has an active bar scene. I don't think you have any reason to regret your decision to visit. The area has a great climate. Windsorites are probably more Americanized than any other part of Canada.

We view Detroit as family - a cousin lets say. I don't think you'll notice the pollution or any of the negatives in your short visit.

I'd love to see you check back in here after your visit and give us your feedback.


Ed Roach said...

Well Chris,

Windsor isn't too bad. The people are genuine here. The weather should be much better the week you're here. Detroit has plenty to do and see. It isn't too bad. I think it's bad reputation is way over- blown. If you're a sports fan you'll be in heaven.

Windsor is definitely industrial. It's waterfront is very pleasant. It's the best view of downtown Detroit. When my family from Nova Scotia visit, there isn't much to take them to in Windsor. If you are coming alone, downtown Windsor has an active bar scene. I don't think you have any reason to regret your decision to visit. The area has a great climate. Windsorites are probably more Americanized than any other part of Canada.

We view Detroit as family - a cousin lets say. I don't think you'll notice the pollution or any of the negatives in your short visit.

I'd love to see you check back in here after your visit and give us your feedback.


Tracy said...

Message to our UK friend - Chris!

First, let me welcome you to Windsor Essex county. If you check out the link below you'll see some of the things we have to offer.


As a 28 year old Brit, it's hard to know what you're into from a social scene. Are you coming alone or with friends? Where are you staying - down town or elsewhere? I'm sure that you'll find loads of friendly people - especially with a British accent!

I'd be happy to help you by identifying some activities or things you can do if you'd like!

Best regards,

Ed Roach said...

Chris, Tracy would be better qualified than most to help you find activities in Windsor.

And friendly too!

Chris Wood said...

Hi Tracy,

Thanks for the kind offer and for the link! I had actually been to the site before, but must have completely forgotten about it. I've found some great stuff to look at this evening.

I'll be travelling alone and I'm staying at the Days Inn on Goyeau Street.

I guess I'd describe myself as a hisory and travel-loving vegetarian who enjoys meeting new people, eating at great restaurants and generally having fun in the evenings. This trip will be an odd one though, as I don't usually travel on my own. I guess I'm scared of ending up in my hotel room bored in the evenings!

Is there anything I shouldn't miss whilst I'm there?


Anonymous said...

Hi Ed,

I grew up in a small town on the edge of Essex county and visited Windsor regurlarly throughout my lifetime. The University of Windsor is my Alma Mater and I lived in Windsor for 4 years while attending it. In the last 25 years I have lived in Toronto, Missisauga, Ottawa, Cambridge, Victoria BC and now Chatham, ON. I have also travelled to many cities and regions across North America.

I have always felt like Windsor was a second home town to me. Because of my fondness for it, I really do feel badly for how it has evolved (or not) over the last 30 years or so. As many guests have mentioned, it has great potential because of it's location at the heart of the American Midwest, Canada and the Great Lakes. Yet despite this great potential, I believe that Windsor's politicians and even many of it's citizens are it's own worst enemy. I currently live in Chatham, ON (although not for much longer) and it too suffers from the same wound licking attitude as Windsor. I think the only thing that can save Windsor from being the armpit of Ontario, is for it's politicians and citizens to finally realize that they must step up to the plate and start behaving like a mid-sized growing city, not like a shrinking small town. They need to look at other mid to large sized cities such as London, Ottawa or Toronto and learn from them. What did those cities do to make themselves great places to visit? Your politicians have failed you so badly over the years. The Chrysler building, the Sports Arena, the alternate river crossing, the riverfront Holiday Inn, all unmitigated disasters inflicted on the city by its own poliiticans. And yet the citizens never seemed to much notice or care. Each and every one of these disasters could instead have resulted in a building icon that saved Windsor from it's 'armpit' fate. And yet Windsor continues to repeat these mistakes.

Having lived in other cities and travelled across the country, I have grown weary of trying to defend Windsor, when it refuses to recognize it's own short comings and deal with them.

My advice to Windsor would be first to elect poiliticians, regardles of their political stripe, that want to create world class facilities in Windsor, and who want to make it happen now, not 30 years down the road. Secondly make Windsor a place where people from the county and city would want to live, rather than escape from. And finally, Windsor needs to realize that if it can't make itself a welcoming place to the communities that surround it, how can it ever expect to be seen as a welcoming place to visitors from afar?

I do hope that Windsor can somehow pull itself out of it's languishing navel gazing and someday be seen as a beautiful gateway city to Ontario and Canada. But if that is ever going to happen, it must start with the proactive and forward thinking actions of both it's politicians and citizens.

Ed Roach said...

Excellent observation and suggestions. One of best responses of the lot. Thanks for your input.

Anonymous said...

A new Brand and clever letterhead isn't going to help. Sorry Ed, I know your business is based on that but really, I get tired of hearing about the city and many of the government orgs getting new logos.

You can't change something by giving it a new logo and mission statement. The change needs to come from within and the powers providing support to local companies that are doing something not related to Automotive.

The city wanted to be a tourist destination but they still don't have a real attraction. A Casino? Thats it? Give me a break. Oh wait we have a park as well. I'm sure people all over the world are looking at Windsor with the casino and park to spend their summer vacation.

I'm sure once we have the new logo things will change...

Ed Roach said...


You can't offend me - thick skin. Just for your education. A brand is not a logo. That is a common misconception about branding. What you say that is needed is more to do with the brand. An easy explanation is to take the word brand and replace it with reputation. In order for the city to change it's brand IT must fundamentally change what it is. I'm with you in regards to logos. How many logos has downtown Windsor had? I have been involved with at least two of them, one was last year, now this year they are the mosaic, I wonder what they will be by fall. A pretty face changes nothing, the mess is still there.

I think we agree. But do me a favour and don't call it branding - it's far from it.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think the city itself has to change before its "reputation" will? We all know what Windsor could and should be, but what it currently is - I don't feel reflects the kind of place most citizens feel it should be promoted as. Give us something NEW to brag about....other than the casino and the waterfront.

Right now, it's sort of like putting the cart before the horse isn't it?

RN said...

Hmmm.... bragging rights. Ties right into branding and positioning. Precipitated by brainstorming:

Canada's southermost playground
Canada's freshwater playground
Ontario's newest metropolis
Ontario's undiscovered gem
Canada's secret getaway
Canada's California
The affordable alternative
Vegas North
Your metroponexus (futuristic sounding, non?)- not to be confused with metroponext2us
Canada's happiest city (friendliest, prettiest, warmest)
Open for business
Live where there's more to life (than working)
The lost (navel gazing) city

Silliness is allowed when brainstorming!

Ideally, a positiong statement would evoke pride, a feeling that Windsor is the place to be for economic growth and for pleasurable living.

rn said...

Upon reflection, I rather like a line from a previous post "the southern jewel of Canada". Now that evokes pride and is timeless.

Ed Roach said...


If you look at any of those statements, Windsor could not actually lay claim to them. Even southern most playground would fall to Pelee Island.

Branding commands that you try to choose a differentiator that is just that - absolutely different.
At the very least be the first to market with the statement. So you could adopt one of your suggestions, but next is the hurdle to make it real and next is putting it out there and living up to it.

But as Anonymous states, we must fix our reputation or that is going to trump any efforts we try.

RN said...

Perhaps I view branding statements differently. I don't think they have to reflect where you have been. Rather they need to paint a picture for where you want to be. They don't have to be real in the moment or in the past. What you want is a vision that people can latch on to and say "yes, we really can be that!" or "Hey, look at us. We are the .... (put visionary branding statement here.)"

To me, targeting your brand to where you want to go does not require originality and it does not require you to be first. Technically, Pelee Island is southernmost in Canada. Practically, Windsor is the place that can handle the most visitors with ease of access and I don't think that someone from anywhere further than a few hours distant will quibble much over the terminology. You only have to look as far as Alberta to see that what is advertised is definitely not what you get when you arrive. There you can find tourist guides that bill mediocre sites found several hours drive away as "local" so they can have a promo piece thicker than a single page. That's misleading. A visionary statement of what you want to become is not.

Ed Roach said...


What you are referring to is a slogan. Which is like a general theme. BUT they still must reflect reality or they will (like Alberta did with you) put a bad taste in your mouth. That will then reflect on your brand - negatively. When selling with your brand it is important to be unique or first to market.

With Pelee VS Windsor what you said was "southern most playground" not "southern most playground that can handle tourists efficiently". When I listen to what you are saying I see a traditional marketing campaign based on a hope. You know what they say - "The fastest way to kill a bad product is with great advertising." They will try it once, but if the experience is bad, NEVER again.

What is the point of marketing yourself as something you wish to be only to disappoint your audience when they bite and are exposed to something entirely different. You gain nothing and in turn damage your brand with that person.

The thing is, have the vision of what you want your brand to become - work on the vision - and market honestly to achieve that vision. BUT it does have to be real. And being unique creates that compelling reason to visit Windsor.

How did you feel the last time you bought a product based on a compelling claim, only to be disappointed with its reality? Would you buy it again?

If your brand is bad, you've got to fix it first - no amount of spin is going to make it better. You are only left with emptier pockets and the same problem, all be it with a pretty bit of window dressing. Brand goes deeper than that - you can't fool the public in the long run.

rn said...

It's said that perception (perhaps created by marketing spin) is everything. Perception and brand go hand in hand. Does Windsor's reality match the perception/brand? Do we need to ajust how Windsor is perceived? Or is it already perceived the way it really is? In which case, the brand/position already reflects the reality and there's nothing to fix. Ed, what is Windsor's reality?

Abraham Stubenhaus said...

I think the Transplant Olympic Games are held there.

Anonymous said...

I live in Windsor, Ontario. Its a city that is going through bad times economy wise. There are not many jobs and it has the highest rate of vacancy in Canada.I wouldn't suggest moving here anytime soon. We are across the river from Detroit Michigan, but Windsor is much more calm then Detroit.

Andrew said...

I am from Windsor, Ontario. While I would not say it is a great city (right now), there is certainly huge opportunity and potential, especially for small business. The rich in Windsor are getting richer, while everyone else is frightened to take risks. There is a respectable market here.

Comparing Windsor vs. Toronto:
- Toronto: High Income and High Cost of living results in a decent amount of disposable income. However most of the population works from 9am-5pm BUT including traveling time is busy from 7am-7pm. This leaves little time to actually spend money in the city.

- Windsor: Average Income and Low Cost of living results in a similar disposable income as Toronto. Most of the population works from 7am-3pm, or 9am-5pm and travel time is not a concern. This leaves much more time to enjoy life and spend money.

Based on this general comparison there is advantages to living in Windsor.

The recent attraction of Ceasers to Windsor, along with the many events to follow is a positive sign for Windsor.

I personally and working on with businesses as a management consultant in Windsor to help the economy. Also, I am working on developing a strong Angel Investor network and prepare start-up businesses. The goal is to facilitate deals in Windsor.

I may be overly positive on Windsor, but this is how things get moving.

Anyone who wishes to contact me for more insight or information is welcome to do so:
Email: adamg@uwindsor.ca

Anonymous said...

House prices very low in Windsor, probably due to the hard economic times the city is experiencing. I live in Calgary -- I could sell my house in Calgary and buy a dozen houses in Windsor!

Windsor should be promoted as a retirement haven. Affordable houses, milder climate than other areas in Canada, nice riverfront for strolling. For a pensioner, mortgage payments would be half what one pays for rent in Toronto.

Anonymous said...

I have family in Windsor and because of that lived there at two points in my life - thankfully less than a year both times. The first time, I was a child; what I remember of that wasn't too unpleasant but I do remember there being nothing to do and the weather being very uncomfortable (heat in summer). The second time, as an adult, helped me solidify the impressions I gained from subsequent family visits. In a word, Windsor is BLEAK. My brother and sister-in-law barely get by because they've both got lousy jobs (two apiece) - casual labour, because nobody hires full-time anymore. No security, no benefits, frequent layoffs. Eventually the factory my sis-in-law worked in closed for good and now she struggles with casual work in the "tourism" industry. Their children suffer for it, because the low income is unpredictable yet they're always working so don't have time or money to offer them any advantages. It doesn't end.

But my own experience living there: bleak, desolate. I tried in vain to find some semblance of culture (having lived in places where it actually existed) or entertainment. There's nothing to do and no money to do it. People keep losing their jobs, employers keep leaving. It's a dying town. A dying, filthy, polluted, ugly town offering nothing to anyone. I really hate it when I have to visit family, which is an awful thing because I love them but the location is that off-putting.

My grandmother lived there for sixty years and hated every minute of it, as did my father until he left home. Why my brother chose to move back is beyond me. I feel very sorry for his kids.

Something positive to balance all that, hmm: it's less scary than Detroit.

Anonymous said...

One of the problems with Windsor is the amount of people like the above poster who are nothing but negative. You link Windsor as a dying "town" (it is a city) to the poor experience of your family members. Well guess what...I will tell you that there are also people struggling in every other city in the world. I am fairly confident that there is more money in Windsor on a per capita basis than there is in most other Canadian cities.

Seeing as the last post is filled with bias and many flaws I can see why the "perception" of Windsor is negative.

Anonymous said...

omg! I left Windsor 20 yrs. ago and have never looked back. I still vist since I have family there but I would nver live there again. Yes it does have great whether... you rarely see people enjoying your California whether. I always hear them saying "It's too hot , it's too humid etc. etc. There are almost no restaurants with terrases(too hot) With all the water they have, not too many people are out enjoying it. Now don't get me started about the unemploypment problem they have. They know from the past that the automotive industry is cyclical, so why not dyversify. When there is a down turn in the auto industry those tool and die plants could manufacture other products. But NO the OVER PAID and UNDER EDUCATED and EXTRERMLY unionized workforce goes crying to the government for help. Why don't the people of Windsor help themselves. If you see that things are not looking good then do something. MOVE, GO BACK TO SCHOOL,CHANGE JOBS etc. etc. Don't just complain about it .
Windsor and the surrounding area has great possabilaties but small minded people who are only looking for someone else to rescue them.
Too bad. Good whether, suckey attitude.

Ed Roach said...


I have to agree some what about not enjoying the weather. We live along the lake (Erie) and we eat outside alot of the time and never see our neighbours except when they water their flowers. They spend most of their time inside.

Anonymous said...

To Andrew:: Hmmm you must be oblivious to your surroundings- Windsor is going downhill big 3 pulling out and unions- losing strength.. The casino wants all p.t. so they won't have to pay benefits.. used to work there and that is there ideas with Caesars and it will happen.... maybe take a buyout live in the real world and go back to school - no one is beating down the door to open a business in Windsor!!!! I just moved to London and all I miss about Windsor is its proximaty to DETROIT!!!

Katie said...

My goodness!!! You look for the negative and you'll find it!!!! I was born and raised in Windsor (well, as far as I'm concerned, by the time you're 13, you're raised). Then moved to a little town outside of Detroit in Michigan, lived in the US for 20+ years. I'm one of those lucky ones that have dual citizenship. I just recently moved back to Windsor March of this year because I plan to be married this year and we decided that is where we want to raise our family. I love the small town feel with the big town benefits. I love that you don't need a car to get around town. Sure, the bus takes awhile, but it saves time, gas, insurance, etc. Things we took for granted not too many years ago. I love to be able to just walk down to the river and walk along the river. Any time day or nite and have a beautiful view, not aware of a need to be somewhat concerned for my safety. I love the fireworks. Freedom Festival events. The Santa Claus Parade. The U. the quaint little restaurants and communities. The many many cultures. I love driving along the drive, just to see what there is to see. The Peace Fountain. All the parks along the river. Peche Island. Boblo Island. Amherstburg. Ganatchio trail. Beach. I love the REAL people. Instant friends. I love the fact that I can just show up on someone's doorstep that I haven't talked to in 5 or 10 years, and be greeted with a warm hug and a "come on in!" and just sit and talk for hours!! I like the bulk food store, the color of my drivers license. The trillium on it. I love the fact that my Dad was born here, and I was born here, so was my sister and my favourite aunt. I love the great memories of just being with my extended family, my grandparents, holidays, any day!!! Did I say I love the people? I love the people. The economy will rise and fall. Jobs will come and go. Open your minds, get creative!! There's always a need for commerce - you just need to go with the flow, change with the times!! Hudson Bay Trading Company. I think they were really successful at one time. I don't think there's a need for their services anymore but I think there've been some successful companies since then. What can YOU do to change YOUR town?? WE WANT YOU to want to make a difference and make your mark. YOUR BRAND here. Instead of criticizing all the problems, what can YOU do to fix them? Be proactive. Maybe you'll start a new trend and maybe when you do you'll find it can also pay your bills. Yes, I've heard of Windsor , Ontario Canada, and I LOVE IT!!!!

Ed Roach said...

Terrific Katie. I very inspirational message. FYI: Hudson's Bay Company is still active just now here in Windsor.


Katie said...

Thanks Ed, a little embarrassed to admit I wasn't sure about their existence still or not!! :)

Ed Roach said...

I should have said "NOT" here in Windsor Katie. Sometimes it is just too late in the evening to be blogging and the fingers are tired.

Thanks for dropping by my blog by the way.

Anonymous said...

I do not have any knowledge on ‘branding’. However the following is my response to your question “Have you heard of Windsor, Canada?”.

I moved to Windsor in mid 2006. In fact, I with one of my friends attended a seminar at the UWindsor in the summer of 2003. Since we were little early for the seminar we walked along Sunset avenue and by chance we hit the riverside. That moment I told my friend that I would be lucky if I could get a position in Windsor. That worked for me in 2006.

Few of my friends were discouraging my decision on selecting Windsor. However, I moved to Windsor and rented a house close to the University on the way towards Downtown. Though I found a very friendly neighbourhood, I started feeling I made a wrong choice. I felt the city was not clean, there was high rate of unemployment and houses were very old. And one day when I was walking along Wyandotte Road towards downtown between (I did not pass Church street) I found many small and/or old stores. I was able to see “For Lease” in few old buildings suitable for small stores. In fact, I did not feel bad about it because one could expect these in a small city. But when I saw a banner saying “Hot girls from Toronto” at one building, I was puzzled… The stores and houses show the city is small but a place with such banner does not represent a small city. I was really upset that day. After that I was not sure whether to live in Windsor or not.

In my second year (2007) I needed to decide whether to buy a house and settle down in Windsor or stay at a rented house till I move to a new city. I started searching for good neighbourhood. During that time I started discussing with my colleagues about good areas to buy houses…. Based on my colleagues’ suggestions I drove around the city and I found many very quite, friendly and neat in South Windsor. Finally I bought a house in Southwood Lake area….. Now I am really happy about my choice to live in Windsor.

There were few negative comments about the city in the blog. I found many of them are from people who have never been to Windsor or just stayed in Windsor for few days. It took me more than six months to see the cleanness of Windsor. Any one looking for quite and cleaner neighbourhood cannot enjoy living in downtown of any city. When I was studying at the University of Toronto (downtown campus), I did not live in downtown. One is the expensive rent and the other issue is too busy…. Every city has its own pros and cons and Windsor cannot be an exemption.

Positive aspects: Not very expensive houses, river side, parks, friendly people, US border.

Negative aspects: We cannot ignore negative aspects if we want improvements. As I told you I am new to the city. So I am still researching how the city evolved… What is the pattern of its economical change over the past ten years….

I think the main issue on the city’s economic condition is due to its reliance on big-3 auto manufacturers. If one types “Windsor Ontario” in google, (s)he will be overwhelmed by sites talking about auto manufacturing. The city needs a diversified economic portfolio.

Even though there are farms, no importance is given to agriculture. Farmers need to be educated on using information technology to optimize their decisions.

Some people consider Windsor Casino now called “Caesars” as a positive aspect. It may bring cash flow from US. However, we need to check its impact on teens who will be our leaders in the future.

BTW: Thank you for the blog. It helped me learn more about Windsor.

twosticks57 said...

I live in Windsor and it's a great community on the Detroit River with awesome summertime festivals and the newly acquired Casino and it's stellar renovation.

I go to the Bluesfest International every summer and now in it's 15th year. Great venue on the river with the GM Center as a backdrop across the river.

The auto industry has taken a hit here recently with the third shift at the Chrysler minivan plant being layed off indefinately.

Good business here (my plug) for a small web developer http://webportalcms.com

I have a friend, Debi Croucher who does some stellar marketing and event consultancy work - http://www.indabamarketing.com

See you in the summer then . . .

Ed Roach said...

Thanks for the comment and plug for Debi. Nice person - your friend.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

My best friend lives in Windsor ON.... And I'm encouraging her to get out quickly. With the car companies going under... your little city is sure to experience an economic depression for several years to come. What it can boast (warm weather, Point Pelee not too far) is not really advertised.... London ON...your close neighbour.. brings to mind lush green neighbourhoods, university town... why not Windsor? Seems very industrial.... May want to revision the city and play up waterfront activities...

Anonymous said...

I've been to Windsor several times to look at "cheap" real estate.

While it is a bargain to buy a very nice house in Windsor it most certainly is also a dying town.

Windsor needs to replenish their residents. The Union job mentality is overwhelming. I found it hard to talk to people many times as the fat, uneducated and entitlement atmosphere is to much.

Since I visited during the recent and very long garbage strike, Perhaps Windsor looks a little better normally.

A positive is the Riverwalk. A very nice stroll looking at Detroit. Since moving to Toronto from Vancouver I miss the water and find Windsors riverwalk quite nice. The Casino is also very nice. The neighborhood behind the casino - OH MY GOD. What a ghetto dump from hell. Terrible.

The downtown "Oulette" is actually a decent little hood as well for a town of Windsors size. However I wouldnt wint to stay around late at night when the Americans come in for drinks. While I didnt see it I would see plenty evidence of what a cesspool it must become. I also read of somebody being stabbed with a sword during my last visit. Residents tell me that happens alot downtown. Drunks fight and someone gets stabbed. Thats just not normal people. How do these people get over the border? Are the booze sales really worth it?

I wouldnt call Windsor an Armpit but Real Estate is cheap for a reason. More people have reason to leave than enter. Personally I think all the union workers should be canned and tossed aside. I dont care if you have a house and 4 kids. The world has changed. YOu want more money - get better skills. If you drive bolts on an assembly line you shouldnt expect to live like a brain surgeon. Its unrealistic and the party is over.

That said I've been to worse places. I found it very easy to get around Windsor and despite the uglyiness of some heighborhoods and the rough looking residents I found it safe.

Like many smaller towns restaurants are sub par and people do not seem to notice.

All in all one can have a pretty good standard of life in Windsor. 200k buys alot of house. Of course you have to make your own work and the city is rather isolated from teh rest of the province. No real airport makes it a bit of a downer as well. I guess people use Detroits.

One certainly can do worse - like Toronto. Much of Toronto looks way worse than Windsor these days.

Anonymous said...

I would brand Windsor Ontario, as a place of Indulgence. A place where Canadian Whisky is king. A place with one of the best wine regions in Canada, a place with a World-Class Casino, waterfront parks, excellent climate. Oh, and did I mention it was affordable too?

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Ed Roach said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence Anonymous.

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Windsor Ontario said...

I've been to windsor a few times, its warmer than most of Canada, and near detroit. The Windsor spitfires of the ohl play there, and Ceasars has a casino there.

Anonymous said...

Live there. 2 years now and I despise the place. The location isnt bad but the people .. oh my god. DUmbest yokel population in existance. HIghest property taxes in Canada. My monthly water bill is $135. Its just obscene and city council is corrupt. The police are corrupt (a little google will prove this).

Houses are cheap in WIndsor but by the time you pay taxes and the water bill - you might as well rent in Toronto. No kidding. I pay $1000 in taxes and utilites and I own the house outright - no mortgage. Thats just carrying costs. Its insane.

restaurants all seem to shop at Costco. Very frozen entree type food everywhere you go. And its expensive. Frozen M&M meat/Costco dinners will be 20 bucks easy. If you can force it down.

THe average Windsorite smoke a pack a day, is drunk most of the time and seems half asleep except for when in a violent rage. THey are union and if you hire one good luck firing them. Thats the way they like it. They have no understanding of worth so Subway clerks think they deserve a doctors salary cuz "we're all equals eh" .... thats Windsor.

IF one of these yokels scrapes together enough $ to buy my house I'd really appreciate the chance to get out today.

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