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Unearthing history

One afternoon around a year or so ago, Peter and I took a walk through our neighbourhood and down Wyandotte Street with a summery treat in mind – ice cream from a favourite local spot, the Old Town Sweet Shop in Old Walkerville.

Our neighbourhood in Windsor, known on today’s maps as Walkerville, is right on the border of the area now referred to as Old Walkerville, which actually used to be the town of Walkerville before its amalgamation with Windsor in 1935. (Is that confusing enough for you?!)

Old Walkerville is, in my opinion, one of the most delightful and character-filled districts in Windsor. With its eclectic assortment of shops, restaurants, period houses, and park areas, I’m grateful every day that we were able to buy a home within easy walking distance of such a charming and vibrant area.

It’s not all beautiful, though… at least not yet. While incredible improvements and developments have taken place in the area even in the short time that we’ve been living in Windsor, there are still a few blemishes. Along the way on our ice cream walk we passed one such eyesore: an old, abandoned theatre first known as The Walkerville Theatre and later The Tivoli Theatre, now plastered with real estate “Power of Sale” signs, its decrepit storefront sticking out like a sore thumb. “What a shame,” I mused wistfully. “Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a functioning theatre in our own neighbourhood? I wish someone with enough money to do the necessary renovations would come along and bring it back to life!”

It was a throwaway comment, really (though it did send Peter off in an interesting creative direction, which is perhaps a topic for a future post!) – so imagine my excitement when, more than a year later, I came across two articles informing me that my wish was coming true… someone had purchased the theatre and was going to restore it!

On Friday afternoon, thanks to Peter’s initiative, we were fortunate enough to be able to tour the theatre, and even have a brief chat with one of the new owners, Mary Lambros, who shared with us some of their plans for the building and also educated us on a few fascinating historical details of both the building and the area.

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Renovation in progress!

Peter and I are still relative newcomers to Windsor – in a city where so many of its residents have been here for a lifetime, our not-quite-two years is a mere drop in the bucket! – but we are both quickly growing to love and appreciate our city and are thrilled with each new tidbit of discovery from its rich prohibition-era history. Though we only had a short time to meet with Mary, I felt as though I could have talked to her for hours – there is so much to learn and unearth about this neighbourhood!

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Theatre details.

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Theatre details.

I’m not sure I can communicate just how delighted I was to hear about the new owners’ plans for this building. From what I understand, they are doing exactly what I would have chosen to do had I the money, resources, and know-how necessary to undertake such a huge task – stripping away all of the modern “upgrades” and restoring the whole place, right down to the last details of trim and moldings, back to its original look, feel, and intent.

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Roof details.

We will definitely follow the developments as this lovely old historical landmark is brought back, bit by bit… and will line up at the box office door just as soon as the first event is scheduled!

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Theatre balcony.

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View from above.

Just another reason to love living in Windsor!

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

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