Why Didn’t the Chickens Cross the Road?

Not in Their Backyard
Some of our fearless leaders at the City of Windsor think allowing people in Windsor to have a couple of chickens in their backyards to provide healthy, fresh eggs, would be a detriment to the city. At the January 24, 2011, councilors discussed the benefits of setting up a committee to examine the urban chicken issue. Half of them approved the committee and half of the councilors didn’t.

Mayor Eddie Francis cast the tie-breaking vote explaining, “To set up a committee is only going to set up failure.”

Here is what the councilors against the committee had to say:

Jo-Anne Gignac said the issue is simply not a priority for the majority of her constituents.

Fulvio Valentinis noted that no other communities in Southwestern Ontario have allowed urban chickens.

Al Maghnieh said he couldn’t justify the cost of devoting city staff to the subject.

Ron Jones pointed out that there’s already an administrative backlog on bylaw issues – and then raised the specter of avian flu.

Drew Dilkens said,  “At this critical time for our city, is this where we want to allocate resources? Fundamentally, it’s about priorities.”

Read more here:

All this reminds me of a story we ran in our very first issue of “The Walkerville Times”, which was released in March 1999.  Thought I’d re-run it here.

Livestock on the Loose

Get a Horse! Stable on Tuscarora near Kildare in Olde Walkerville. photo e. weeks, 2/8/11

Back in the 1890s, some people in the town of Walkerville owned sheep, cows and other livestock. Occasionally, these animals went astray and became a nuisance to residents, especially in the Lincoln Road area, which had recently been developed. A town pound keeper was appointed in 1893 whose duties were to rid the municipality of wandering nuisances like horses, cattle, sheep, goats, swine and geese.

The pound keeper used his own property for the retention of the various animals. At times, irate householders brought animals, which had damaged their properties, to the pound. The pound keeper then charged damage fees from the owner of the impounded animal before it was freed. The keeper received fifty cents per day of confinement for a horse, thirty cents for cattle, swine fifty cents, sheep and goats ten cents each. Geese were hardly worthwhile, netting him a mere five cents a day.

Author’s Note: There was no mention of what chickens brought in. It’s likely they didn’t even wander off.  I would hazard a bet that not one person minded a few chickens in their neighbours’ backyards then!

About Elaine Weeks

How history was taught in my day: memorize lots of boring dates and facts, watch corny old black & white history films. There was one bright spot, however. Grade 9 history at Walkerville Collegiate with Miss Falls (Georgina) when she taught a section on local history and took us on a field trip to explore some of Windsor's built heritage. Due to a series of peculiar events, celebrating local history became part of my business. My company, Walkerville Publishing Inc., (partner is Chris Edwards) launched "The Walkerville Times" in 1999 and we produced 61 issues - the last in 2016. In 2004, we began producing local history books; that year we released "Best of The Times Magazine". Our current titles include 5000 Ways You Know You're From Detroit, 500 Ways You Know You're From Windsor, Walkerville - Whisky Town Extraordinaire, and Windsor Then - A Pictorial Essay of Windsor's Glorious Past. I also wrote a novel, Time Trespasser, that blends time travel with local history. I am working on a sequel. I am a writer, editor, blogger, photographer, mother, wife, sister, activist, traveller, gardener, knitter, glass is nearly full person.
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