Windsor is the southernmost city in Canada and is located in Southwestern Ontario at the western end of the heavily populated Quebec City–Windsor Corridor. It is within the Essex, Ontario Census division, although administratively separated from the county government. Separated by the Detroit River, Windsor is located south of Detroit, Michigan in the United States. Windsor is known as The City of Roses and residents are known as Windsorites.
Windsor is home to the University of Windsor, which is Canada's southernmost university. It is a research oriented, comprehensive university with a student population of 16,000 full-time graduate and undergraduate students. Now entering its most ambitious capital expansion since its founding in 1963, the University of Windsor recently opened the Anthony P. Toldo Health Education & Learning Centre, which houses the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. As well, with the help of $40 million in Ontario government funding, the University is currently building a 300,000-square-foot (28,000 m2), $112-million Centre for Engineering Innovation; a structure that will establish revolutionary design standards across Canada and beyond. Construction is scheduled to be completed by Fall 2012.
The university is just east of the Ambassador Bridge, south of the Detroit River. Windsor is also home to St. Clair College with a student population of 6500 full-time students. Its main campus is in Windsor, and it also has campuses in Chatham and Wallaceburg. In 2007, St. Clair College opened a satellite campus in downtown Windsor in the former Cleary International Centre. In April 2010, St. Clair College added to its downtown Windsor presence with the addition of its MediaPlex school. Together, they bring over one thousand students into the downtown core every day. More recently Collège Boréal opened an access centre and small campus to their Ouellette avenue location. This small campus offers access to many Collège Boréal programmes as well as immigration and integration assistance for francophones in the area. Collège Boréal is Windsor's only francophone post-secondary institution, providing service for a small, but notable, population of Franco-Ontarians within the Windsor-Tecumseh-Belle River area.
In Spring 2011, it was announced that the University of Windsor would move its music and visual art programs downtown to be housed in the historic Armouries building at Freedom Way and University Ave E. The move should bring an additional 500 students into the downtown core daily. The University is also studying the feasibility of moving the School of Social Work to the Windsor Star buildings at the corner of Pitt and Ferry streets.
Windsor is home to two International Baccalaureate recognized schools: Assumption College School (a Catholic high school) and Académie Ste. Cécile International School (a private school). Vincent Massey Secondary School is renowned in Southern Ontario for its notable accomplishments nationally in mathematics and computer science.
Windsor youth attend schools in the Greater Essex County District School Board, the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, Conseil scolaire de district des écoles catholiques du Sud-Ouest and Conseil scolaire Viamonde. Independent faith-based schools include Maranatha Christian Academy (JK-12), Académie Ste. Cécile International School (JK-12, including International Baccalaureate), First Lutheran Christian Academy (JK-8), and Windsor Adventist Elementary School. The non-denominational Lakeview Montessori School is a private school as well.
The Windsor Public Library offers education, entertainment and community history materials, programs and services. The main branch coordinates a literacy program for adults needing functional literacy upgrading.
The Canada South Science City serves the Elementary School Curriculum’s Science and Technology component.
There are two hospitals in Windsor: Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital and Windsor Regional Hospital. Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital is the result of an amalgamation of Grace Hospital and Hôtel-Dieu in 1994. The merger occurred due to the Government of Ontario's province-wide policy to consolidate resources into Local Health Integrated Networks, or LHINs. This was to eliminate duplicate services and allocate resources more efficiently across the region. The policy resulted in the closure of many community-based and historically important hospitals across the province. Two of Windsor's independent hospitals: Metropolitan General Hospital on Lens Ave and Windsor Western Hospital on Prince Road, were joined to form Windsor Regional Hospital. The original hospital sites remain but the operations are administratively centralized through the new collective structure.
Windsor hospitals have formal and informal agreements with Detroit-area hospitals. For instance, pediatric neurosurgery is no longer performed in Windsor. The Windsor Star reported in July 2007 that Hôtel-Dieu Grace has formally instituted an agreement with Detroit's Harper Hospital to provide this specialty and surgery for the dozen patients requiring care annually. Leamington District Memorial Hospital in Leamington, Ontario serves much of Essex County and, along with the Windsor institutions, share resources with the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.
Windsor tourist attractions include Caesars Windsor, a lively downtown club scene, Little Italy, the Art Gallery of Windsor, the Odette Sculpture Park, and Ojibway Park. As a border settlement, Windsor was a site of conflict during the War of 1812, a major entry point into Canada for refugees from slavery via the Underground Railroad and a major source of liquor during American Prohibition. Two sites in Windsor have been designated as National Historic Sites of Canada: the Sandwich First Baptist Church, a church established by Underground Railroad refugees, and François Bâby House, an important War of 1812 site now serving as Windsor's Community Museum.
The Capitol Theatre in downtown Windsor had been a venue for feature films, plays and other attractions since 1929, until it declared bankruptcy in 2007. Today, the theatre remains open.
Windsor's nickname is the "Rose City" or the "City of Roses" and Windsor has designated a rose known as Liebeszauber (Love's Magic) as the City of Windsor Rose. Windsor is noted for the several large parks and gardens found on its waterfront. The Queen Elizabeth II Sunken Garden is located at Jackson Park in the central part of the city. A World War II era Avro Lancaster was displayed on a stand in the middle of Jackson Park for over four decades but has since been removed for restoration. This park is now home to a mounted Spitfire replica and a Hurricane replica.
One Riverside Drive, Chrysler's Canada HQ in downtown Windsor, as seen from Dieppe Gardens along the riverfront.
Of the parks lining Windsor's waterfront, the largest is the 5 km (three-mile) stretch overlooking the Detroit skyline. It extends from the Ambassador Bridge to the Hiram Walker Distillery. The western portion of the park contains the Odette Sculpture Park which features over 30 large-scale contemporary sculptures for public viewing, along with the Canadian Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The central portion contains Dieppe Gardens, Civic Terrace and Festival Plaza, and the eastern portion is home to the Bert Weeks Memorial Gardens. Further east along the waterfront is Coventry Gardens, across from Detroit's Belle Isle. The focal point of this park is the Charles Brooks Memorial Peace Fountain which floats in the Detroit River and has a coloured light display at night. The fountain is the largest of its kind in North America and symbolizes the peaceful relationship between Canada and the United States.
Fireworks at the Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival.
Each summer, Windsor co-hosts the two-week-long Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival, which culminates in a gigantic fireworks display that celebrates Canada Day and US Independence Day. The fireworks display is among the world's largest and is held on the final Monday in June over the Detroit River between the two downtowns. Each year, the event attracts over a million spectators to both sides of the riverfront.
Following the 2008 Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Detroit, Michigan, Windsor successfully put in a bid to become the first Canadian city to host the event. Red Bull touted the 2009 race in Windsor as one of the most exciting in the seven-year history of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, and on January 22, 2010, it was announced that Windsor will be a host city for the 2010 and 2011 circuits, along with a select group of major international cities that includes Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Perth, Australia and New York City. The event attracted 200,000 fans to the Detroit River waterfront in 2009. The Red Bull air races were cancelled worldwide for 2011.
Windsor has often been the place where many metro Detroiters find what is forbidden in the United States. With a minimum legal drinking age of 21 in Michigan and 19 in Ontario, a number of 19 and 20-year-old Americans frequent Windsor's bars. The city also became a gaming attraction with Caesars Windsor's opening in 1994, five years before casinos opened in Detroit. In addition, one can purchase Cuban cigars, Cuban Rum, less-costly prescription drugs, Absinthe, certain imported foods, and other items not available in the United States. In addition, many same-sex couples from the United States have chosen to marry in Windsor, which is illegal in Michigan and most parts of the United States, but is legal in Canada.