Chief Tecumseh Bust at Duff-Baby Interpretation Centre

No Kidding!

The City of Windsor has a fascinating history, and Museum Windsor has gathered a list of intriguing and unique historical and cultural facts about this city we call home. To see these posts, and to get updates on many City services and events, please "like" us on Facebook.

Windsor "firsts"

  • First female Dean of Engineering in Canada: Hoda Elmaraghy, University of Windsor - March 2, 1994.
  • First City Clerk: Stephen Lusted, for the "Town" of Windsor - appointed in 1880, and served as clerk until 1920.
  • First UAW Charter: granted to Kelsey Wheel Co. (Local 195) on December 11, 1936.
  • First Jesuit Priest in Windsor: Fr. De la Richardie - 1728.
  • First Gas Station in Canada: opened at the corner of Ouellette and Park in 1911 under Jack S. Moir.
  • First road laid out in Ontario: Highway 18.
  • First international submarine telephone line in the World: laid between Windsor and Detroit - July 11, 1881.
  • First gambling casino in Ontario: opened May 17, 1994 in its temporary quarters at The Art Gallery of Windsor.
  • First labour strike: occurred at the Great Western Railway Yards in Windsor - November 3, 1856.
  • First female councillor in Windsor: Olive Whyte, 1930s.
  • First European baptized in Essex County: Marie Louise Villers - October 4, 1751.
  • First Burger King Restaurant in Canada: opened at 2850 Tecumseh Road East.
  • First library in North America to mail free library cards to every house in the city: The Windsor Public Library - May 15, 2000.
  • First mile of concrete for a road in North America: poured in Windsor in 1907.
  • First Windsor opera star: Emilia Cundari - signed by the Metropolitan Opera Company in 1955.
  • First Windsor-born athlete to participate in the Olympic Games: Ruth Kerr - 1932 Olympics for Swimming.
  • First RIDE program on the Detroit River: initiated by the Windsor Police in 1995 - believed to be the first "floating" RIDE program anywhere.
  • First town hall: Built at 255 Riverside Drive East in 1856, served the community until 1904.
  • First doctor to the Windsor area: Dr. George Anthony, a dental surgeon stationed at Fort Detroit - arrived before 1781.
  • First library opened in Windsor: on December 4, 1894.
  • First black person appointed to King’s Counsel: Delos Davis began practising law in Amherstburg and Sandwich -1886.
  • First black officer in Windsor: Alton C. Parker, joined the Windsor Police Force in 1942.
  • First black detective in Canada: Alton C. Parker, of the Windsor Police Force, became a detective in 1953.
  • First city in Canada to have an electrified street railway: constructed in Windsor in 1886.
  • First fully Canadian-made Ford automobile: built in Windsor in 1913.
  • First floating three-dimensional water fountain in Canada: Windsor's Peace Fountain.
  • First residence for married students in Canada: opened at The University of Windsor in 1966.
  • First Canadian city to have a Goodfellow's organization: Windsor, Ontario.
  • First appearance by the Windsor Rowing Club: On the river on Saturday, May 13, 1865.
  • First telephone exchange: Established in February 1880, by J.W. Tringham.
  • First system of lighting on Windsor's streets: Autumn of 1877. Seventy gas lights were erected on 8-foot posts, which were lit one half hour after sunset by a lamplighter.
  • First radio broadcasting in Windsor: Began in May 1932 with the opening of Station CKOK, predecessor of the present station CKLW (AM800).
  • First vehicular tunnel between two nations: The Detroit Windsor tunnel, which opened in 1930.
  • First waterworks system in Windsor: installed in 1873.
  • First daily published paper in Windsor: The Daily Dominion, in 1875.
  • The Walkerville Country Club, established by Hiram Walker and his family, had one of the first golf courses in the region, with 9 holes being created prior to 1890.
  • The first Windsor-born athlete to represent Canada at the Olympics was Ruth Kerr. She competed in three swimming events at the 1932 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
  • Gerry Ouellette was Windsor's first and only individual Olympic Gold medalist. He competed in the small bore prone rifle shooting at the 1956 Summer Games in Melbourne Austraila.

Other interesting info

  • Oldest Roman Catholic Church in Ontario: Our Lady of the Assumption Parish - founded in 1749 as a mission to the Huron Indians.
  • Television Broadcasting: CKLW began broadcasting in 1954.
  • Medical Insurance: Windsor Medical (insurance) was initiated March 14, 1964.
  • Down South: Windsor is Canada's southernmost city.
  • Ford Motor Company of Canada: founded in Windsor on August 7, 1904.
  • Windsor was the farewell point in the 1860 tour of Canada by Prince Edward of Wales, son of Queen Victoria (September 20).
  • Windsor's most reliable firefighting equipment in the early 1860's was still the bucket brigade.
  • The Duff Baby House is the oldest surviving house in South-Western Ontario.
  • Windsor's population in 1846 was 300; in 1860-62, 500; and in 1866, 4,500.
  • Windsor and Sandwich were both incorporated as towns in 1858.
  • Windsor is the only Canadian city that is south of the United States of America.
  • Father Lucien Beaudoin's heart was placed in the crypt at Holy Rosary Church in 1917, and later moved to Our Lady of the Lake Cemetery.
  • Our Lady of the Assumption Church had 8 people buried beneath the floor between 1846-1905.
  • Holy Name of Mary Church was once named "Our Lady of the Prompt Succour". Fr. Rooney requested the name change in 1943 due to problems pronouncing the name. Youth of the Parish were referred to as Prompt Suckers.
  • Chief Tecumseh stayed at the Francois Baby House (now Windsor's Community Museum) on September 28th, 1813.
  • Windsor has the highest concentration of automobile registrations in the province of Ontario (2001).
  • Windsor was the birthplace of "Big V" drug stores in 1962, later bought out by Shoppers Drug Mart.
  • One of the founding cities of the United Way, for many years Windsor-Essex earned the distinction as "Canada's most caring community", donating more money on a per capita basis to the organization than any other district in Canada.
  • In 1885 there were 56 telephones in Windsor, only 6 of which were in residences; 1 was at St. Mary's Academy, and the rest were in businesses.
  • The Village of Windsor presented the Detroit Fire Department with a silver trumpet to express their gratitude for assistance on April 16, 1849. The Detroit Fire Department sent over men and equipment to put out a large fire that potentially would have destroyed the village. The Trumpet is in the collection of the Detroit Historical Museum.
  • Windsor Salt Co. started in 1892 on the south side of what is now Riverside Drive between Caron Avenue and Crawford Avenue.
  • In July of 1907, the stage coach service between Windsor and Amherstburg ceased to operate.
  • In 1849, a stage coach trip between Windsor and Amherstburg cost 50 cents.
  • Talbot Road was once a toll road. In 1883, there were 4 gates (one at Essex, one at Maidstone, one at Oldcastle and one at Grand Marais). It cost 75 cents to travel the road from Essex to Windsor.
  • The tollgate system came to an end on Talbot Road in 1896 following the burning of several of the tollgates.
  • In the mid 1860s, Windsor's population was approximately 4,500; Detroit's was approximately 50,000.
  • Arent Schuyler DePeyster, British Commander of Detroit from 1779 to 1783 was friends with Scottish Poet Robbie Burns, who wrote a poem in DePeyster's honour.
  • Windsor once had its own opera house. Opened in 1882, the theatre was not a success, and it closed in 1901. The building was demolished in 1978. The site is approximately where the current Travelodge parking lot stands on Riverside Drive.
  • On February 11, 1839 Colonel John Prince wrote about a duel he had likely near his farm in Sandwich: "Distance 12 paces. At the first shots my Pistol missed fire. On the 2nd shot I hit Mr. Wood in the Jaw & ball lodged there. He missed me both shots. Home by 8 to breakfast."
  • The northwest corner of Walker and Tecumseh Road was owned by Hiram Walker in the 1890s. The site was occupied by his Cattle barns.
  • Hiram Walker's Cattle Barns at Walker and Tecumseh Road had mash from the Walker Distillery pumped through wooded pipes to feed the cattle.
  • Why is Essex County so flat??? This area was at the bottom of a glacial lake fifteen thousand years ago.
  • Canada's only Olympic medal for Basketball was a silver won at the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin, by the Windsor team the "Ford V-8s".
  • The salt deposits around Windsor were created around 400 milion years ago from the salt in a shallow warm sea covering this region.

On Camera:

Museum Windsor
254 Pitt Street West
Windsor, Ontario, Canada N9A 5L5
Phone: For general information, call 311.
For detailed inquiries, please call (519) 253-1812.