Updated: Sep 17, 2019
Staying in Detroit? Why not take a take a trip to another country?
1. Detroit-Windsor Tunnel: Built in 1930 using the immersed tube method by the same outfit that built the Holland Tunnel. One lane in each direction: $5.00 or C$6.25/each way (cash of charge, but make sure you get in the correct lane).
-Duty Free: Stay right when approaching the toll booths and enter toll booth #5. Make an immediate right after payment and enter the Duty Free parking lot. The prices are just a little less than you would pay in Michigan (State Minimum Pricing prevents lower prices). A bottle of Canadian Club (1.14 lit) $18/C$24. Basically, you save a few cents and the duty free makes a few dollars.
2. Windsor City Parking Garage: It's near the riverfront and the Best Western Plus. Basically C$16/day.
3. The Coffee Exchange: Nothing special, but close to the riverfront.
4. Riverside Walk:
-Start at the Great Canadian Flag Project: I'm going to assume that the size of the flag (that's a big flag, Red!) has something to do with the size of the Great Canadian Flag Debate. I'm going to take a chance and assume most people don't know the history behind the Canadian flag: For most of it's history, Canada used this flag, then in 1965, after the Great Canadian Flag debate, Canada used this flag.
-Dieppe Gardens: Honours these who died during Operation Jubilee, a daring (if very unsuccessful) raid on the German occupied city of Dieppe, France by 5,000 Canadians, 1,000 British and 50 U.S. Rangers on 19 August 1943. There are five flags in a semi-circle around the plaque:
*The Canadian Flag(🇨🇦): The de jure and de facto flag of Canada since 1965. The maple leaf has historically represented Canada (possibly since the Boer War) as have red and white (the two red bars may represent the Atlantic and Pacific Coat).
*The Union Jack(🇬🇧): Was the de jure flag of Canada until 1965 and is still officially flown throughout Canada.
*The White Ensign: Flown by all ships of the Royal Navy. This was the ensign flown by the Royal Canadian Navy during WWII.
*Canadian Red Ensign( 🇧🇲): Was the de facto flag of Canada from 1946 until 1965.
*The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Ensign: Was the flag used by the RCAF during WWII. It was based on the Royal Air Force Ensign. The current RCAF Ensign replaced the Union Jack with the Maple Leaf (in the canton) and a more stylized maple leaf in the roundel.
-The North Wall: 30,000 Canadians enlisted in the U.S. military in order to serve during the Vietnam War. This memorial honors the 147 who died and seven who are MIA. It was actually against the law for these Canadian to serve, but they did it anyway.
-Windsor Sculpture Garden: Running South from the flag along the riverfront there are 35 contemporary sculptures.
Note: if you need more art, the Art Gallery of Windsor is nearby.
5. Pizza: Who knew Windsor had its own style of pizza? It's a NY-style pizza with shredded pepperoni and canned mushrooms (at a minimum), which, according to the Daily Hive, has "no real emphasis on fresh or gourmet toppings" [emphasis added]. Had mine at Sam's Pizzeria and Cantina, you may want to have yours some place else (Armando's, Antonino's, or Riviera).
5. Best Western Plus Waterfront Hotel: Reasonable prices ($123.67/C$164.43) and all the rooms have a view of Detroit. It also comes with a free breakfast, which tastes like it's free.
-C$15/day parking. Park at the Windsor City Parking Garage (directly across Pitt St W). When you check-in inform the front desk and they will charge you accordingly. You will need to exit the garage prior to 1:00 pm to avoid a further charge.
-When booking specifically request an upper floor room (floor 22 is the top) and room xx13, xx14, xx15 or xx16 (as these rooms have the best view of Detroit).
-Other places to stay with a view of Detroit: Holiday Inn Express Windsor Waterfront, Caesars Windsor, TownePlace Suites by Marriott Windsor. Note: Every room at The Best Western Plus has a Detroit view, which is not true for these other hotels.
6. Drink with a view:
-Fourteen: closed Monday. I think this is your best option/view, though unfortunately I cannot personally vouch for it. Don't eat there, just get a drink.
-Vu Bar (at Caesars Palace): closed Sun-Thurs
-The Eastwood Grill & Lounge: open seven days a week
7. Ambassador Bridge: It's 90 years old (and looks every year of it) and is most likely the largest privately owned bridge in the world. Two lanes in each direction, but due to repairs, is basically one lane. $5.00 or C$6.25/each way (cash or credit card).
-Duty Free Shop: Can be difficult to access. Enter from College Avenue (the southern entrance) and be prepared to produce your license plate number. A bottle of Canadian Club (1 lit) $12.84/C$18.
-The busiest crossing on the Canada–United States border.
-There was a real désordre about how the owner (billionaire Manuel Moroun) underhandedly tried to stop a publicly funded competitor bridge from being constructed, so he could maintain his monopoly. He lost and the Gordie Howe International Bridge is now under construction.
Note: you ever notice that capitalists will never miss an opportunity to expound on all the benefits of capitalism (lower prices, increased efficiency, new ideas, blah, blah, blah), but as soon as they can, instead of trying to beat the competition, they just try and prevent it? Instead of building a better bridge, Monsieur Moroun spent over $30 million lobbying to prevent the competition from building one. And the beat goes on . . .
1. Try to visit Thurs-Sat, as Windsor rolls up the streets Sun-Weds (definitely do not visit on a Monday, what was I thinking?!)
2. No need to change money, credit cards are widely accepted.
-If you pay in USD (cash that is), you may very well get change in CAD at a disadvantageous exchange rate. If you end up with CAD, use it to pay the bridge/tunnel toll (C$6.25) back to the US (or at the duty free shop).
3. Here is the details from someone else's trip to Windsor.
4. Review the current exchange rate here.