A Mirage on Riverside Drive

Hard to imagine that this hand-colored post card, courtesy of Tim Baxter, is really how downtown Windsor just east of Ouellette Avenue on Riverside (formerly Sandwich) once looked. Today, all the buildings are gone, as is the street car and tracks, those lovely ornate street lights and of course, all the people as this was taken around 1910.

Built in 1909 by renowned architects Carrere and Hastings, the elegant Beaux Art style The Toronto Dominion Bank on the corner (white building) was dismantled when the Norwich Block was demolished in 1999 to make way for the Canderel Building and Chrysler Canada Headquarters.

The bank was put into storage at the Sewage Treatment Plant (of all places). Despite hopes that it would be reused in some capacity along the waterfront or in Olde Walkerville, it continues to remain in bits and pieces at the sewage plant.

A sad metaphor for our city’s inherent disregard for its past.

read more about the Norwich Block here.

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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2 Responses to A Mirage on Riverside Drive

  1. Researching family history and came upon your site. Loved this piece on lost historic buildings – like Windsor, many towns and cities across Canada fail to recognize not only the craftsmanship and beauty of these buildings but also the significant historic value. There are many instances of creative innovation that has allowed for past and present to coexist with beautiful results. Community planners could learn from these examples.

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