(Note: This post was written by Laurel Regan and originally published in a separate blog called “Why Windsor…”, which was later merged with Alphabet Salad.)
Windsor’s riverfront, with its nearly 5 kilometre long stretch of gorgeous parks and walking paths, is probably my most beloved destination in the city. I’m happy to visit the riverfront all year long, but summer weekends in particular don’t feel complete without at least some time spent watching the boats pass by, feeling the spray from the Peace Fountain, letting the grass tickle my toes, and smiling at my fellow Windsorites who are enjoying these things along with me.
This summer, along with a small group of friends, I am working through a twelve-week program called The Artist’s Way, which is meant to aid you in developing and exploring your creative abilities. For those who might be unfamiliar with the program, one of the strategies employed in the program is “Artist’s Dates” – solo excursions to places that delight your soul – which are designed to “refill the well” of your creativity.
Since the riverfront is such a favourite spot for me, I decided to include it in my Artist’s Date this past weekend. I spent a happy afternoon meandering, people-watching, taking photos, and enjoying the views – and, at the heart of my date, hopping on board the city’s solar-powered “Art Cart” for a guided tour of the Windsor Sculpture Park.
Despite the fact that Art Cart tours have been running for several years, rumour has it that even many long-term Windsorites aren’t aware of their existence – and if they are, they haven’t yet ventured out on one of the free tours themselves. Since I’m still very much a newcomer to the city, having lived here for less than two years, I often find myself in “tourist mode” and so was happy to take advantage of this opportunity to get a little better acquainted with my new home.
After a short wait in the shade of a tree at the foot of Ouellette Avenue, I spied the Art Cart in the distance wending its way back from the previous tour. After its passengers had disembarked I chatted with the driver for a few minutes while we waited for additional passengers to gather, and by the time we left for the next excursion the cart was full to its five-people-plus-driver capacity. On my particular tour, our group included two young women who were born and raised in Windsor but had never taken the tour, and two women visiting from Cleveland, Ohio who had overheard the tour guide’s introductory words and were so intrigued they asked if they could join the group.
Our host did double duty as both driver and tour guide, and he was a delight. He kept us interested and entertained throughout the hour with plenty of information about the many memorials, landmarks, and sculptures that dotted the landscape, and filled in the gaps with juicy tidbits of Windsor and Detroit history. I discovered in the following days that many of the facts I’d learned on the tour had stuck, as several times I found myself sharing various items of trivia with anyone who would listen!
I won’t spoil it for you by giving away any of the specific details… but I will say that if you find yourself down by the river on a nice summer afternoon, you won’t regret spending an hour of it on board the Art Cart.
For more information – including details on arranging private tours – visit the City of Windsor Art Cart Tours page.