GM Transmission Plant

A few aerial photos of the Kildare Road factory prior to the giant renovation in 1982.

In these old photos you can clearly see the separate buildings. The building on the far right served for many years (1950’s though 1980’s) as Transit Windsor’s Kildare Road garage.

Old saw tooth roofed buildings, along with the old water tower.

After the expansion and renovation… The same as it looks today.

My favourite shot from the batch is this one of the old office building on the east west
(d’oh!) side of Walker at Seminole. Too bad that one didn’t make it.

Have a safe Civic Holiday weekend everyone. See you back here Monday.

The Merloray Building

Another project to add to the Windsor that could have been… Instead it’s just added to the list of Unbuilt Windsor projects. The 18 story Merloray Building, announced February 13, 1929. I suspect the great crash of 1929 helped kill this project…


The above sketch, prepared by Messrs. Pennington & Boyde, the well known Windsor Architects, shows the skyscraper that Messrs. Louis A. Merlo and John H. Ray, propose to erect at the northeast corner of Ouellette and London streets. The structure is estimated to cost more than a million dollars and will be the tallest office building in Ontario, west of Toronto.

Including the tower section it will be 18 stories in height. The top of the tower will be 310 feet above the sidewalk. The 60 feet of Ouellette avenue frontage which forms part of the site was purchased by the Messrs. Merlo and Ray recently at a cost of approximatley $300,000 or averaging $5,000 a foot, the highest figure, it is said, that has been paid for Ouellette frontage to date.

This ad from one of the tenants along the Ouellette avenue frontage quickly followed. They relocated the store and stayed in business for many years. Ironically in 1940, they built a new store on the site of the store they were evicted from for the Merloray project, and ended up back in the same location. That store still stands, and was last home to a fur company.

The store built by Wickham’s on the site of their previous store in 1940.

180 Cabana Road West

Here’s one I’ve been meaning to post for a while. This out of place late 1920’s Tudor revival house sits on Cabana just east of Dougall.

Surrounded by strip malls and 1960’s era homes, it’s always stood out to me, like a fish out of water. Note the circular drive.

But, when the house was built, it was a showplace of the anticipated South Windsor boom of the late 1920’s. The real estate guys were right, South Windsor would boom, however, it wasn’t in 1928, but more like 1958. Those poor developers were about 30 years ahead of their time… Note how big the tree in the foreground is compared to below….

From the Border Cities Star – Saturday June 9, 1928:



21 Shade Trees Dot Picturesque Site Of Dwelling


Every Modern Convenience Of Equipment and Design Included


Occupying one of the most picturesque and beautiful and picturesque sites in the Border Cities at the northeast corner of Dougall avenue and Cabana Road, in Southlawn Gardens, South Windsor, the new $25,000 home of Mr. & Mrs. N.J. Taylor, into which they intend to move Monday, is an inspiration in home beauty.

… Entrance to the home is provided from Cabana Road by means of an artistic red cement circular drive traversing a ground area rendered at once inviting and attractive by reason of the many beautiful trees bordering the drive. …

Other unusual features of this fine home include automatic thermostat heat control in every room, the hot water heating plant being equipped with automatic gas control. A similar device provided for the hot water tank is governed by faucet control, effective at the turning of a faucet in any section of the home. …

$25,000 1928 dollars is equivalent to about $356,844 today.

The house is featured in this ad from a local Realtor, this appeared before the house was finished, running at the end of 1927.

The 1928 ad for the South Windsor Improvement Association, also featured the home.

James Carlisle Pennington

J.C. Pennington was one of Windsor’s most prolific architects. He along with partner John Boyde designed a huge number of schools, churches and other buildings, from the 1910’s through the early 1960’s.

This house on Victoria Avenue was J.C. Pennington’s.

A few years ago at a local bookshop I was looking through the books on the bargain $1.00 table, when I found the inscription above inside one of them.

Windsor Star – August 9th, 1963:

One of Windsor’s best known architects, James Carlisle Pennington died Thursday while visiting his daughter in San Fransisco, Calif. He was 77. He suffered a heart attack.

Funeral arrangements have not been completed. Mr. Pennington lived at 1320 Victoria Ave.

Known throughout the profession for his high standards of performance, Mr. Pennington was the senior partner on the firm of Pennington and Carter and a native of the city where he practiced his profession all his life. He was regarded as the dean of the profession by his colleagues. He began his work here as early as 1908.

His earliest connection with the profession was in partnership with C. Howard Crane, who later became internationally known in the field of architecture. Then for many years, Mr. Pennington conducted business under his own name, designing and building scores of important structures in the Windsor area, including Walkerville Collegiate. He made a specialty of hospital work.

In 1957, Mr. Pennington formed the firm of Pennington & Carter along with William J. Carter, well known architect and former radio station executive. The firm has added many lasting monuments to the city’s building scene, including those at the University of Windsor, Metropolitan General Hospital, Hotel Dieu, Leamington Hospital and the newly projected Grace Hospital, to name but a few.

Mr. Pennington was active in Masonic circles in Windsor and a member of Central United Church.

His wife Hazel died in 1961. Survivors are two sons: James C. Pennington, Carsten, Alberta; Arthur of Belleville; two daughters: Mrs. Reginald (Betty) Franklin, San Francisco; Mrs. John (Dorothy) Findlay, Dresden.

There are three brothers: William and Wesley, both of Windsor and Albert E. Amherstburg. There are five sisters: Mrs. W. O. Austin, Windsor; Mrs. A.L. Laing and Mrs. Ernest Hathway, Toronto; Mrs. D.S. Douglas, Belle River, and Mrs. Keith Laird, Windsor. There are 10 grandchildren.

Today one of the men responsible for designing a huge amount of Windsor, lies in Windsor Grove Cemetery beside his wife Hazel, with nothing to indicate how he is responsible for so much of the architecture that we appreciate today.

711 Riverside Drive East

Last occupied by the Drive Magazine, who has since moved on, this commercial building dating to about 1870, is one of the last remnants of the type of buildings that once lined the streets of Downtown Windsor.

The building contains some old architectural elements not seen in other buildings around town, like these cast iron steel columns flanking the entrance.

However, years of neglect are taking their toll on the building, as you can see, it’s badly in need of a repointing job.

Thankfully, someone took it upon themselves to smash out the lights out front.

This building was once located directly across from the railway roundhouses on the riverfront.

The 1919 through 1924 City Directories, lists the building as being home to Romeo H. Marentette Vulcanizing, Tires and Accessories.

An ad from 1925.

Hopefully someone fixes it up and it gets rented for retail use before it’s too late for this one too. – 10 not 5

As most of you may know there has been a push on to force Council to change from 5 wards with 2 councilors per ward to 10 wards with 1 per ward. This will increase accountability of the councilors to the constituents, and come election time, if someone hasn’t done a good job, then there is a better chance of them ending up out on their ass.

Council hired a consultant, and paid him $20,000 to do a report. They received the report, and after 8 different motions, voted to file the report and take no action. Clearly those against change, are fearful of their re-election chances, and despite the the fact that 31 years have passed since the boundaries were last adjusted, they thought that doing nothing would make this issue go away until 2014…


The municipal act has a provision that allows a petition of 500 signatures to get before the Ontario Municipal Board. This has happened recently in Lakeshore and in London, with the OMB siding with the residents, not with the self serving councils.

The push is on, and we need signatures.

Visit, to download a copy of the petition or to find out where you can go to sign a copy.

Yesterday on Scaledown Radio, Chris and myself had Paul from on air, along with a record 3 councilors talking about this issue. We were joined by Alan Halberstadt, Bill Marra & Fulvio Valentenis.

Today was a BIG day on ScaleDown Radio! Andrew and I welcomed three city councillors on the show to discuss the Ward Boundary Review with creator Paul Synott. We asked the councillors their thoughts on the marathon three and a half hour discussion at city hall last week that ended in a motion to “note and file” the consultants report, as well as their thoughts on the ward boundary process itself.

They are acutely aware of the popular Citizfaction petition underway and the chances that this may just end up at the OMB and, if the precedents are any indication, a decision imposed upon them by the December 31 deadline. It is our impression that they know this is continuing on and that they want to regain at least a little control of the situation.

Citizfaction has two more days with which to collect signatures on their petition, so if you can lend any support at all (even if it’s simply downloading the form, signing it and returning it) it would be much appreciated!

Councillor Alan Halberstadt admitted to crafting a motion of reconsideration of Dr. Williams ten ward option which will be presented to councillors on July 27, and councillor Bill Marra has expressed support of that option as well. We’ll have to see what happens Monday night, but here’s a hint of what to expect at that discussion…

Click here to listen to the show.

So please, sign the petition, download a copy and sign it, even if it’s just you and the people in your household… Every signature counts. Send me an email and we can arrange to get the petition from you…

Kennedy Building

Listed in the 1919 City Directory as the home of the Studebaker Corporation of Canada, this building now home to the Beer Market, has had a long life.

In the early 1920’s (it’s listed as a furniture store in the 1921 directory) it was purchased and became home to the Meretsky & Glitin Furniture Company. In 1927, the furniture store expanded up by two floors, and was renamed the Kennedy Building, in honour of William Costello Kennedy, Member of Parliament and namesake of Kennedy Collegiate. Kennedy served as Minister of Railways and Canals in the government of William Lyon Mackenzie King from 1921 until his death in 1923.

Here is a photo of the building shortly after the construction of the top two floors. I’m not sure what exactly happened to the building, but it’s been badly altered over the years. The photo above appeared in Michael Gladstone White’s “Windsor – A moment in time”, but the photo source is not credited. I would guess the Museum or City Archives are the source for this photo.

666 Chatham Street East

Back in January, a report (which I thought I had, but can’t find…) came across the council agenda, requesting a demolition permit for 666-668 Chatham Street East.

The report stated that based upon inspection the property is structurally sound, and that administration recommended that council deny the request. For what seems like the first time, Council actually listed to administration, and rejected the permit request. The area east of the Casino, is slowly becoming more and more hollowed out. I was happy to see this permit rejected.

However across the street are a pair of turds that have sat vacant and boarded up for years.

This one at the corner of Chatham & Aylmer, has been boarded up like this since it burned in a fire, must be going on three years now… Another eyesore.


Also – as we kick into the weekend, a few news items to pass along, that you might be interested in.

Rick Fullerton, has released Volume II of “Our Town” about the history of Riverside.

Details above if anyone is interested. He’s located right beside Taloola Cafe in the old Crown Inn building.


Also Mike Beachamp’s Cross Canada Project is now shipping.

If you missed the local screenings, or if you saw it and want to check it out again at home, head on over to Mike’s website and easily order a copy. Remember they’ll be shipping from New Zealand (Mike’s temporary home) so it will take a little longer than normal to arrive…

From Mike’s site:

The good news is that last week, 2 big boxes of DVD’s arrived for me at work! The bad news is that I’m no longer able to receive packages at work (seriously). The DVD’s look great, and I’ve shipped out all the pre-orders today. I expect they’ll still take a few weeks being shipped air from New Zealand. The DVD packaging contains a clue to a hidden part of the website where I’ve stashed various photos and videos including a downloadable video of the aborted first draft of this movie I did back in January 2006. The inside of the DVD case is very cool too and I put a lot of work into it. It has (in reallllly small text) every journal entry that I wrote during the trip printed on it. So now that I have the DVD’s, orders placed will ship next day. So go buy the dvd!

If you aren’t aware of the Cross Canada Project, the trailer is above.

Have a good weekend everyone. See you back here Monday.

155-157 Louis

Next to go, is this burned out mess on Louis, right off of Riverside Drive.

It’s about time the city started to take some action on these eyesore properties in the core. It wasn’t that long ago, if something burned down, it was quickly taken care of. These days it seems that these buildings sit around for years.

Click here to read the 155-157 Louis Report to City Council.