Summer in the City: Mid-20th Century


Ouellette Avenue, looking north towards Detroit near Park Street, early 1960s. (courtesy Tim Baxter)

* Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty

So go downtown, things’ll be great when you’re
Downtown…

Are you pining for the good ole days when the streets of downtown Windsor were alive with people bustling between all those wonderful department stores, jewelry shops, fur boutiques and movie houses? Well, you can still go back to those heady days by rifling through the pages of our latest book, “500 Ways You Know You’re From Windsor”.

In the featured photo above, you can see once familiar landmarks including Birks Jewellers, the George Wilkinson ad and a billboard welcoming U.S. travellers to our city as they exited from the Detroit/Windsor tunnel.

“I recall going downtown on the Eire bus for seven cents and hanging around in Smith’s and the Metropolitan Store,” said local radio personality Wayne Stevens. “It was a maturing thing to go by yourself those Saturdays to the Palace or Vanity to see a movie, a cartoon and then another movie – all for a quarter!”

In 1954, Windsor celebrated its 100th anniversary. This giant cake stood on Ouellette Avenue south of Park Street above the Tourist Information Centre. (courtesy Andrew Foot)

Above is another photo featured in the book. I wonder what happened to that cake? (Hey, I just noticed that the guy in the foreground looks like my dad!)

If you’d like to get a signed copy of “500 Ways…” come to Juniper Books (Ottawa Street between Kildare and Argyle) or From the Heart Gifts (Ottawa Street just west of Hall) today (July 4) from 4 – 6 pm. Books are $30. The author, Chris Edwards, will be signing at Juniper and History Babe will be signing at From the Heart. (We’re having a friendly competition.)

Hope to see you soon!

p.s. If you can’t make it, you can order online. All retail locations can be found on our website: walkerville.com.

* words from “Downtown” by Petula Clark

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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 peculiar series of events, celebrating local history became part of my business. My company, (partner is Chris Edwards,) Walkerville Publishing Inc., launched "The Walkerville Times" in 1999, which in due course became "The Times Magazine". Our goal was to make history real. I am a writer, editor, blogger, photographer, mother, wife, sister, activist, traveller, gardener, knitter, masters track & field competitor (when I have time), glass is nearly full person.
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