Windsor (Ontario)

Windsor is a mid-sized Canadian city on the southwest tip of Ontario. It's an extremely multi-cultural city with over 20% of its population having been born outside of Canada. The city's rich cultural background is made aware by the Middle Eastern, Italian, and Asian neighbourhoods in Windsor. It is located across the Detroit River from the city of Detroit.

Understand

The Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival celebrates Canada's Canada Day and the American Independence

Founded as a French agricultural settlement in 1748, Windsor has grown into a multi-cultural city of just over 210,000 people. Reflecting its American neighbour across the Detroit River, it has a strong connection with the automobile industry, with Chrysler's Canadian headquarters based in the city.

The river-side area of Windsor has been developed into a lush area of parkland that offer spectacular views of the Detroit skyline, and is the city's most well known feature.

Culture

Even if you spend a day in Windsor you'll notice that Windsor is a very multi-cultural city, especially for its small town feel. Right off the bat, visitors will hear English, French, Arabic and Italian. Near the East side of the downtown area is the North African/Middle Eastern neighbourhoods with a large Lebanese community. South east of the downtown area is the Via Italia neighbourhood with numerous Italian restaurants and shops. West of the downtown area is an area with strong Asian influences..

Climate

The city has quite a wide range in climate conditions, with average temperatures hovering around 21°F (-6°C) in January, while in July the average temperature is around 82°F (28°C) . The late summer is the best time to visit the city, though it can be humid and sultry.

Visitor information

Get in

A monument on the Underground Railroad to freedom.

By air

By train

By car

Highway 401, a major artery that follows the entire southern Ontario coast, has its west termination in Windsor. Windsor is also easily accessible by crossing the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel or the Ambassador Bridge from Detroit. For more information about the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel and Ambassador Bridge and immigration/customs please see the From the United States section.

By bus

From the United States

As of June 1, 2009, U.S. and Canadian citizens are required to present a passport, passport card, enhanced driver's license, or trusted traveller card when crossing the U.S.-Canada border. For more detailed identification requirements, visit Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Although it is efficient for an international border, this is the busiest crossing between the two countries, and is not as quick and casual as it once was.

There are two ways to get to Windsor from Detroit:

A Windsor-Detroit ferry crossing exists, but primarily serves truck traffic (including hazardous material) which cannot use the tunnel. Construction of the Windsor-Essex Parkway, an extension of Highway 401 to a proposed bridge between Brighton Beach (Windsor) and Delray (Detroit), began in 2011; it will likely be several years before the new bridge is completed. In the meantime, all traffic from Detroit lands not directly on the 401 but on Windsor surface streets (Ontario highways 3 and 3B) leading to substantial delays at the border.

Pedestrians cannot walk across the bridge or through the tunnel, they must use the tunnel bus. Bicyclists are also prohibited from using the bridge and the tunnel, and due to licensing regulations cannot use the bike racks on the tunnel bus. The only way someone travelling by bike can bring their bike across the border is to disassemble the bike and put it in a bike bag, which can be brought on the bus.

Alternatives to crossing at Windsor-Detroit include the Bluewater Bridge in Sarnia-Port Huron and the Bluewater Ferry, Sombra-Marine City,  +1 519 331-5944. year-round $6/car.. Sarnia-Port Huron are an hour from Windsor-Détroit by motorcar; Marine City is between Port Huron and Détroit.

Get around

There is a transit system (Transit Windsor) that has a few good routes, namely the Ottawa 4 or Transway 1C lines, but other than that it isn't that great. However, the majority of the hotels and entertainment are concentrated in the downtown area, so walking and cheap cabs are always an option. Windsor is a city that was built for the car, thus earning its nickname the 'Automotive Capital of Canada'. If you are going to get around the entire city, not just the downtown area and immediate neighbouring districts, your best option would be to rent a car.

See

Museums

Historical

Parks

A seagull sculpture in Odette Sculpture Park

Learn

Do

Festivals

Gambling

Music & Theatre

Sports

Buy

Shopping in Windsor can be a treat particularly due to the abundance of ethnic stores littered about Windsor. Theres a store to suit everyone's need, including the American cigar aficionado, who will be delighted to realize that due to Canada's cozier relations with Cuba than America's, Cuban cigars are widely available for purchase. Do realize that even purchasing a Cuban cigar or Cuban products in Windsor, even if consumed on Canadian soil, is considered by U.S. government to be a violation of the U.S. embargo and you may be subject to hefty fines or jail time if caught. In practice, however, this might not be a big problem, as thousands of Americans travel to Cuba illegally every year with no problem.


Eat

Windsor is known for being one of the great food places in Canada, with much of its reputation owing to the many ethnic restaurants in the city ranging from Italian, Lebanese, Chinese (Cantonese/Szechuan), Thai, Indian, Greek, African (Ethiopian/Somalian), Caribbean, as well as other specialties such as vegetarian/vegan restaurants.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Ethanol tourism

Several breweries and distilleries most notably Canadian Club were established in the Windsor/Essex County area due to "dry laws" and the experiment with prohibition in the United States. Today, a large part of Windsor's tourism is still directly related to alcohol, with Ontario's lower drinking age (and more liberal "exotic dance" regulations) drawing countless 19- and 20-year-old Americans over the border for a legal drink.

Bars & Clubs

Pubs and grills

Breweries & Distilleries

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget $110 or less
Mid-range $111 - 140
Splurge $141 or more

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

Downtown Windsor is safe and very lively, even late at night. The biggest danger is getting into a confrontation with an intoxicated person when the clubs close for the night. The usual precautions should be taken, such as, travel in groups, mind your own business, etc. However, the downtown core is usually well policed, so you should have no real problems.

Beginning late into the evening touts will roam the streets offering free admission to bars, clubs, and strip joints. While for the most part touts operate individually you may be approached by two or more touts. Standard precautions should be taken when considering following a tout to a strange location or to a bar that you've never been to before. If you feel uncomfortable walk away.

Warning: It should also be noted that unlike most mid-sized Canadian cities the custom in Windsor is similar to bigger cities like Toronto or Montreal in that drivers will NOT stop for pedestrians crossing a street who are not crossing at a marked traffic intersection (i.e. jaywalking). Jaywalking is specifically legal in Windsor but at the pedestrian's own risk. Windsor does not have stand-alone pedestrian activated crosswalks. Additionally, Windsor drivers tend to be quite aggressive. Windsorites drive similarly to the aggressive (but quick and efficient) Detroit or US East Coast style rather than the more laid back Canadian style. If you like to drive slowly and cautiously you may find yourself getting honked at, yelled at, given the finger, tailgated, etc.

Cope

Religious services

Nearby

Harrow

Go next

Detroit as seen from Windsor

Windsor is the southernmost major city in Canada. Detroit is situated just north of Windsor and offers some of the USA's best museums and cultural attractions, most notably the Detroit Institute of Arts, Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village, and the Detroit Zoo.

For a more quaint experience, Essex County and Pelee Island can be of interest offering many sight-seeing experiences such as wine tours (Colio Wines & Pelee Island Winery) and Point Pelee National Park, which is a 40 minute drive from Windsor to Leamington along Highway 3.

Further out lies Toronto, which is a four hour drive from Windsor. Chicago is also a four to five hour drive from Windsor. Alternatively, Canada's capital, Ottawa is an eight-hour-and-forty-minutes drive from Windsor.

Routes through Windsor

END  W  E  Chatham-Kent London
Ends at  W  E  Chatham-Kent London
Detroit ← Ambassador Bridge  W  E  Essex Leamington


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, December 11, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.