Suggested Civic Centre

This comes from regular reader Mike F. who came across this rendering from the Border Cities Star, November 1, 1930:

Location of the proposed new Canadian National Railways station on the riverfront, at the foot of Windsor avenue, with a city hall square at the avenue’s head, is provided by Thomas Adams, city planner, in the sketch above, provided to the Windsor Council late yesterday. Originally, Mr. Adams proposed establishment of a civic centre around the present city hall park, with the railway terminal there. In view, however, of an apparent preference by the C.N.R., for a waterfront location, he suggests the Windsor avenue site, instead of at the foot of Brock street, proposed by the railway. The station, he recomends, should be raised on a steel and concrete terrace to the level of Sandwich street, with the station proper and a park-garden scheme placed above the tracks and passenger platforms. On the opposite corner of Sandwich and Windsor he would place a post office-customs building and a general purpose building of handsome design, with a street car-radial terminal at the rear of the latter. A new city hall should be on the east side of the present city hall park, fronting on it, and with Assumption street connecting with it by a vehicular arch in the middle of the hall.

13 Comments on Suggested Civic Centre

  1. I sent you an e-mail with a link to that a long time ago, in the summer or something! ME!:P

    What a wonderful thing this would have been. I wonder if it would still be standing.

  2. The rail stations on Detroit’s waterfront have since long gone , I think they linked ferries with rail service. I don’t think the one in Windsor would have survived. I dropped a friend off at the Amtrack station in Detroit a few years ago and if he didn’t point it out I would have driven right past it ,it was just a little hole in the wall smaller than Windsors new one. The Detroit stations were regal in their time but are just ghosts of our past !!!

  3. I don’t know if Mike intended to make “waterfront stations” plural, but after the move from the Third Street Depot to MCS by the Central in 1913, the only true waterfront station in Detroit was Grand Trunk Western’s Brush Street Depot, most definately not “regal in (it’s) time.”

  4. What a concept.. to locate our civic buildings in a location of prominence! We recently had an opportunity when we built the new train station’s to configure it on the site so it addressed the city properly, even relocate the station further down the line on the historic Walkerville site, but we decided to leave it tucked away behind parking lots and warehouses.

  5. We did not have an oportunity to even have a say in the location of the new train station, that was decided by some people in Toronto or Ottawa. Via Rail built on land they already owned, so their was no need to make changes to the rail, or spend anymore than bare minumin for the station. As far as Via is concerned where at the end of the line in Windsor.

  6. Richard. You’re absolutely correct. I didn’t intend my comment as some sort of mistake on the City’s part. But on that note… it’s sad we don’t have a say. It is clear from Andrew’s post that the city planners and local government had much more influence on decisions made in their towns and cities in the first half of the last century. It seems after WWII government transportation planning agendas began to trump and municipality’s plans.

  7. Windsorshane, the OMB has been nothing but horrible for all cities in Ontario. It is a big money eating pit that destroys cities and cares nothing about residents input.

    Interesting that they were talking about a museum even then! I bet we will still be talking about an all encompassing museum in the 22nd century (yes, I plan to live that long). Sadly, the land on the southeast corner of Church and Riverside Dr (former Docherty hole) would have been perfect…but we let the city’s “good” friend Farhi scoop it up and most of the vacant land west of downtown. Just so he can speculate and “develop” nothing..much like he has done in London.

  8. Dave.. What we need to do is light a firecracker under these absentee land owners who sit on vacant land waiting for god knows what. Anyone who ownes property with a dwelling, a commercial building or a building of any type for that matter is subsidising those who own surface parking lots or empty grassy percels.

    It’s not as if the city stops plowing the roads infront of those empty lots, or when the road is resurfaced, they don’t pave only in front of the lots with buildings on them. So why do we give land owners tax breaks for sitting on empty land downtown?

    There was an interesting article on Planetizen last week about changing the tax systenm to actually encourage development downtown, and to relieve some of the high taxes for the folks who alrady have good properties in the core.

  9. Always an interesting forum. Dave mentioned museum in his post: Does anyone know the latest on the Czimchuk (sp?) museum?
    I recently saw the drawings of the new Penalty Box at the old Junction. The owners have gutted the inside of the old Dept. of Finance building next to it and are talking to the Science Centre and proposed the museum idea to the City. I don’t know where they are with it but they are trying to do something and have a LOT of square footage available. Plenty of parking too. There is a proposed patio overlooking the ravine.

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