Downtown Windsor Revitalization Offers Lesson for Jax

August 5, 2014 1 comment Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Downtown revitalization efforts aren't just for United States cities. Canadian cities have worked hard to promote vibrancy in their own urban cores as well. Today, we take a visual tour of City Centre Windsor and ponder if there are applicable lessons for Jacksonville.

Detroit Riverfront

Windsor's Department of Parks and Recreation maintains 3,000 acres of green space, 180 parks, 40 miles of trails, 22 miles of sidewalk, 60 parking lots, vacant lands, natural areas and forest cover within the city of Windsor. The collection of parks that make up "Riverside Park" have incrementally replaced aging riverfront rail yards. The Roy A. Battagello River Walk Bike Trail is the current backbone of the "Windsor Loop" bike trail network. Of the parks lining Windsor's waterfront, the largest stretches 3.1 miles overlooking the Detroit skyline. It extends from the Ambassador Bridge to Hiram Walker's Canadian Club distillery.

Canadian National Railway Ferry Levelling Ramps are former decks for loading railroad cars onto ferries, to cross the river to Detroit.

The Spirit of Windsor, a Pacific Type 4-6-2 Steam Locomotive. Its Engine number is #5588 and stands where the train station used to be.

"The Bistro" opened in summer 2007.

Dieppe Gardens

Via Italia

Little Italy, or "Via Italia", as it is affectionately called is home to many Italian families and businesses and a popular City Centre destination. It is known for its restaurants and clothing boutiques. It is situated along Erie Street, from Moy Avenue in the east to Goyeau Avenue to the west.

Tale of the Tape:

Windsor Population 2011: 210,891 (City); 319,246 (Metro) - (incorporated in 1854)

Jacksonville Pop. 2013: 842,583 (City); 1,394,624 (Metro) - (incorporated in 1832)

City population 1950: Jacksonville (204,517); Windsor (120,049 in 1951)


City Land Area

Windsor: 56.72 square miles
Jacksonville: 747.0 square miles


Convention Center Exhibition Space:

Windsor: Caesars Windsor (yb. 2008) - 100,000 square feet
Jacksonville: Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center (1986) - 78,500 square feet

Adjacent to Convention Center:

Windsor: Caesars Windsor Forum Tower (389 units) & Augustus Tower (369 units)
Jacksonville: N/A


Tallest Building:

Windsor: Caesars Windsor Augustus Tower - 364 feet
Jacksonville: Bank of America Tower - 617 feet


Downtown Nightlife:

Windsor: Ouellette Avenue, Chatham Street
Jacksonville: The Elbow  


Common Downtown Albatross:

An abundance of surface parking lots

Who's Downtown is more walkable?

Windsor: 81 out of 100, according to
Jacksonville: 73 out of 100, according to

Article and photographs by Ennis Davis, AICP

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