Don’t Know Much About History?


Wow. This is certainly a busy weekend for local history and arts enthusiasts (and for those who aren’t). Doors Open, Walkerville Rocks, Ford City Arts & Heritage Festival, Windsor Essex Open Studio tour  – are on the agenda as part of Culture Days (Sept. 28 to the 30th), plus the grand opening of the Windsor Symphony in the gorgeous Capitol Theatre on Friday night. To top it off, the Windsor Fall Home Show has been thrown in for good measure.

Since there’s so much history being celebrated, it’s the perfect time for yours truly and my partner in crime, (I swear that rhyme was unintended – ok, I did it again) Chris Edwards, to do some signings of our fun local history books “Windsor Then” and “500 Ways You Know You’re From Windsor”. To start, we’ll be at Indigo Books on Friday from 5 – 7, then at the Gourmet Emporium as part of Walkerville Rocks almost all day Saturday, and on Sunday we’ll be in Ford City (look for us at the old photos display at 1023 Drouillard) from 11 to 1, and then we be set up shop next to our buddy, Mark Bradac of Pawnathon fame, at the Home Show from 2-4. (You can bring your old treasures for him to check out and maybe even purchase.)

Have you ever had a look at the Gourmet Emporium in Olde Walkerville? It’s located in a stunningly beautiful old building on the corner of Wyandotte and Chilver. Originally a bank this building had an interesting past. I give you the following story, which we ran in a long ago issue of The Walkerville Times:

The Great Bank Robbery of ’59

by Currie Bednarick

Little do the patrons of a local hair salon know they are being pampered in a building that was once the site of a real-life cops-and-robbers drama.
June 9, 1959 was an unforgettable day to anyone in or near the Bank of Montreal at Chilver and Wyandotte in Olde Walkerville. Two men, Nicholas Hamilton (alias McCormick) of Vancouver and Kenneth Irwin of Toronto, wearing white jackets, hoods, and sunglasses, entered the bank that afternoon, armed and ready to get their black-gloved hands on some easy cash.
Adele Pare, a local housewife, was making a withdrawal when one of the men thrust a gun into her back and grabbed her, exclaiming, “This is a stickup. Do as we say or you’ll get it, and we mean it.” The men forced her and another customer into a corner of the vault along with the bank’s 15 employees. The chief clerk, Norman Wingrover, tripped the alarm along the way. The three female tellers were robbed of a total of $10,733 before the pair attempted to make their getaway.
The first officer to arrive at the scene was Const. Brian Pickup. He had spent eight years as a policeman in his native England before moving to Windsor and joining the force in 1957. Forty years later, Pickup can still recall the incident quite clearly. “A call came out over the radio saying there was a robbery at the bank. When I got there a large group of people had gathered around the building.”
He had only seconds to take in the scene. “As I got to that block, I saw a woman with her hands in the air, and then a man with a bag in one hand and a gun in the other. I didn’t draw my gun because a stray bullet could have gone into the crowd.”
Instead, Pickup lunged for the robber, Nicholas Hamilton, throwing him over his shoulder onto the sidewalk and kneeling on him to hold him down until the other officers arrived.

Unfortunately, he was unable to see inside the bank, and assumed that the man he was holding captive had been working alone. That mistake could have cost him his life.

To read the rest of this story click here walkervilletimes.com.

(I just had to add the poster some very talented person created for the Ford City Festival this weekend. )

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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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