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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Again with the waterfront…

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Spent part of the afternoon wandering along the Windsor waterfront & Detroit River. On the west side — “downriver” — Windsor looks over at Zug Island in Detroit (though this picture is from about 2k away). Steel plants, the original Ford plant nearby and (they say) the world’s largest sewage treatment plant (whenever I’d heard that I’d be in awe of how badass Detroit sewage must be, like the city itself).

The E.C. Row Expressway in Windsor, heading West, has a fantastic view of Zug for a bit where it looks like the freeway goes right up to it, and the river isn’t there. It was most magnificently apocalyptic at night, when the constant burn-off fires would light the clouds of smoke and steam, just like in the opening scene of Bladerunner (and instead of a Vangelis synth soundtrack, I’d listen to Detroit radio, the finest terrestrial stations one can find — sometimes hour after hour of booty music from a downtown club, with live MC’s calling out and inviting me, the listener, to come on down and see the hot thonged ass shaking in person). Anyway, on this fine brilliantly green day (past Chatham everything is green and nearly in bloom already) looking over at Zug, I was glad our Toronto worry is limited mostly to the question of that power plant.

If they do built it, they should turn it into a tourist attraction. Glass walls and such. So we could lay on the grass surrounding it and watch the power get made, if that’s possible. The dogs of Toronto could come and lay on the grass too.
There is a huge American flag along the river. The strips were flowers (dead/dormant now) and the stars white concrete. All this next door to the Canadian Vietnam War Memorial, for Canadians who died fighting there. America is never far away in Windsor, physically or psychologically. We dated Americans, went to their bars, they came over to Windsor in droves.

Last night on Windsor’s main street there must have been thousands of 19-25 year old American youths, the girls in almost no clothes, the guys in horrible baggy shirts and baseball caps. Like a Good Friday procession in a badly dressed Sodem.
I forgot my passport on this trip. I thought maybe I’d go over and see if Detroit bike stores had a neat old fender-type used bike that I could bring back to Toronto (I figure in Detroit, where everybody drives, and only the crazy and hardest of core bike, the used bikes won’t be as picked over as they are in Toronto). It’s just as well — the Detroit border crossing was never an easy thing. The big-bad-city was no Niagra Falls or one of those weird rural crossings between Quebec and Vermont, but it’s gotten even more difficult over the past few years, and questions from US customs agents more….John Ashcroftish. So, no America this week.
For fun, below, is Paul Martin Sr’s house, where he lived until he died. Not sure if this is where poor Paul Martin Jr. grew up, but he most certainly visited in later years. It’s for sale again — after the Martin’s died it changed hands continuously — mostly “new money” types (once bingo hall owners if I recall, at one time a big Windsor industry before the Casino’s came) who could never hold on to it for long, but were interested in the instant landmark status (as new money usually is). Always had the best roof in town though. Nothing about this house says Mr. Dithers, so I blame Montreal for that, not Windsor.


One comment

  1. Weird…I always thought Niagara border guards were much nastier/devoid of humanity than those at Detroit/Windsor. If anything, I’ve had problems trying to get away from bad-joke cracking Detroit guards!