History of Windsor

Windsor as we know it today was created from once-separate villages and towns.

Map of former municipalities comprising the City of Windsor

(Above: Map showing annexations and amalgamations of Windsor, 1935-2003. Click for larger map.)

In 1935, Windsor, Sandwich, East Windsor and Walkerville united to form the City of Windsor. This amalgamation was intended to address the crushing debt and social demands brought by the Great Depression. In the 1960s, the City of Windsor looked to surrounding communities to expand its land and tax base. The city attempted to annex the towns of Tecumseh, Riverside, Ojibway, all or part of St. Clair Beach and parts of the townships of Sandwich East, Sandwich West, and Sandwich South. It was a topic of heated debate. In the end, it was decided that Riverside, Ojibway and parts of Sandwich townships would become part of Windsor.

Windsor continues to grow. Another annexation of land, from the Town of Tecumseh, occurred in 2003 to create the current border of the City of Windsor.


In 1797, following the purchase of the Huron Church Reserve, the original town site of Sandwich was established as a new administrative headquarters for the British. This constituted the first urban settlement in the area. Incorporated in 1858, the town has a long and vibrant history, including conflict during the War of 1812. Learn more through the Sandwich Walking Tour and History of Sandwich write-up.

Streetview near the intersection of Sandwich and Brock Streets in Sandwich in 1885, the major interesection at that time

(Photo: Near the intersection of Sandwich and Brock Streets in Sandwich in 1885, the major intersection at the time.
Credit: Museum Windsor collection, P6045)


In the 19th century, “Walker Town” was established east of the village of Windsor. It was populated by employees of Hiram Walker’s distillery and flour mill. The town continued to expand and supported other major industries, including automotive manufacturing. Learn more through the Walkerville Walking Tour Brochure.

Barn with message, Walkerville crucified 1935
(Photo: A Walkerville resident’s opinion of amalgamation, 1935.
Credit: Museum Windsor collection, PM921)

Ford City

The rise of the auto industry created another community just outside of Windsor. Ford City was tied to the development of Windsor’s Ford Plant. It became a village in 1913 and a town in 1915. As of 1928, its population totalled 16,000. Soon after, it was renamed East Windsor, and incorporated as a city. Learn more through the Ford City Walking Tour Brochure.

Looking south on Drouillard Rd. from Edna Street, ca. 1930.
(Photo: Looking south on Drouillard Rd. from Edna Street, ca. 1930.
Credit: Windsor Community Archives, PC572)


Once part of Sandwich East Township, Riverside was primarily a residential neighbourhood located east of Windsor. It was separated from the township in 1913 and become a town in 1921. Street names like Belleperche and Lauzon honour the area’s early French settlers.

Wolf’s Roadhouse, in Riverside, opposite Peche Island, ca. 1913.
(Photo: Wolf’s Roadhouse, in Riverside, opposite Peche Island, ca. 1913.
Credit: Museum Windsor collection, PM40)


The town of Ojibway was incorporated in 1913. It was intended to be a “company town” for the Canadian Steel Corporation. However, the project never fully developed due to financial reasons. Today it is a large area in south-west Windsor that includes Ojibway Park and the Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve.

Proposed plan for Ojibway and area,1922.

(Proposed plan for Ojibway and area,1922.
Credit: Museum Windsor collection, M368)

Text Courtesy of Museum Windsor

To learn about Heritage Planning in the City of Windsor, please visit the Planning Department's Heritage Planning pages.

For general information, please call 311. For detailed inquiries, contact:

Planning & Building Services Department
Planning Division
Suite 320, 350 City Hall Square West
Windsor, Ontario, Canada N9A 6S1
Phone: (519) 255-6543
Fax: (519) 255-6544
Windsor's Community Museum Heritage Planning Windsor Heritage Committee (WHC) Municipal Heritage Register Heritage Designation Heritage Property Incentive Programs