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Ford City Business District - Circa 1999

By Elaine Weeks

ford2.jpgWhen the Ford Motor Company's head office and assembly plant moved to Oakville near Toronto in 1953, Ford City suffered a serious decline. Today, little is left of the town that Ford built. Drouillard Road earned a reputation as an eyesore with its rundown buildings and was home to motorcycle gangs and various street toughs.

Recently, as part of a revitalization project, a plan was hatched to recapture some of the rich history of the area. A community mural project that depicts the boom times of the twenties, thirties & forties, has the backing of the area business improvement association, Ford Canada, the federal government and the City of Windsor.

fordmural1.jpgFour artists are recording the history of the area with paint and steel: Mark Williams, a Ford employee is the lead artist of the project and is creating a large sculpture of Ford workers circa 1950 which will grace the parkette at Drouillard and Whelpton; the other artists include Donna Mayne an airbrush specialist, Steve Johnson, cartoonist and Yong Sheng Xuan is an illustrator of children's books. They are working on large, incredibly striking murals that will include scenes from the Prohibition era, automotive machinery, local residents, street scenes and quitting-time snapshots. The murals will be applied to selected buildings in the area in the near future.

The perception of crime in the area is actually a misnomer. The crime rate is relatively low but even so, the stereotype still persists. On the up side, office space is plentiful, rent is cheap and business people venturing into the area are finding it very affordable to set up shop. The East Windsor Citizen's committee is sponsoring a summer beautification project which will see area young people hired to help keep Drouillard Road clean and also assist some of the older residents with yard work. Kim Crapper, the Marketing Officer of the Ford City Business District is working to change perceptions by encouraging the cleanup of storefronts, installation of planter boxes and the erection of new light standards.

fordmural2.jpgTo learn more about the murals visit The Ford City Business District office which is located in the old bank building at 999 Drouillard Road or, call 254-4111

Ford City Photo Gallery.

 


 

 

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