Welcome to the town that Ford built.
The Ford Motor Company’s Canadian operations began right here in the rural French-Canadian farming community of Sandwich East in 1904. By 1910 the company had sprawled over 100 acres as the community grew around it. In 1912 Ford City was incorporated as a village and officially recognized as a town in 1915. As the town continued grow, so did its boundaries and in 1928 the municipal jurisdiction was changed to East Windsor with a population of 16,000. Drouillard Road became “main street” and a dense mix of retail, service, residential, and church properties lined the street. The area had become a cultural and religious melting pot.
Hard times during the Great Depression caused the province to order amalgamation of East Windsor, Walkerville, Sandwich and Windsor in 1935. Despite losing its independence as a municipality, Ford City remains, to this day, a unique little community.
A Spiritual & Multicultural Village
Ford City boasts 10 places of worship including Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal, and Baptist churches representing the Russian, Slovak, Serbian, Romanian and Spanish communities. These groups represent many of the immigrant families who were founding residents of Ford City.
A Place to Embrace Our History
Ford City played host to the most important event Canadian labour history. The historic Ford strike of 1945 saw 14,000 members of UAW Local 200 take to the picket line for an unprecedented 99 days.
During the great Ford Strike of 1945, a huge barricade of workers’ cars and trucks assembled on 4 November 1945 along Drouillard and Sandwich. Some 2000 vehicles reinforced the United Autoworkers picket line and prevented a violent assault by a joint force of OPP and RCMP ordered in by Tory Premier George Drew and the provincial government. In addition the federal government was readying armoured tank units in Camp Borden to break up the barricade. On 5 November Windsor City Council issued an ultimatum “calling for the Ford strikers to remove the motor-car barricade outside the Ford plant or troops may be called in to remove the vehicles”. Mayor Art Reaume consistently bucked decisions involving the use of police or force against the picket lines.
United Auto Workers Local 200 President Roy England declared such an action would be equivalent to strikebreaking. Chrysler Local 195 walked out in sympathy, and thousands of workers flocked to the picket lines in support. Cross-Canada solidarity for the striking autoworkers led to a settlement 10 December 1945. Roy England summed up: “The provision that everyone covered by the agreement must pay dues for the benefits he receives is in effect a modified union shop. . . . It is true that under the present agreement everyone does not have to belong to the union, as in a union shop, but it is a condition of employment that everyone must pay his dues”.
The historic Ford strike of 1945 had won the unprecedented Rand Formula, named after Justice Ivan C. Rand, himself the son of a railwayman. The watershed victory for the United Autoworkers was a precedent that put into contract terms the concept of union security. In essence “those workers that share in the benefits established by the union should also shoulder part of the burden, the maintenance of the union”. The Rand Formula promoted union stability against company efforts to return to the open shop, and the check-off became a pattern for contracts across Canada in the postwar period.
Inscription on commemorative plaque at the corner of Drouillard Road and Riverside Drive.
Ford City welcomes you to learn more about this and other historical moments told through our murals and stories from business owners & residents.
A Recreational Hub
Gino & Liz Marcus Recreation Centre is the heart of our community and Drouillard Park offers a paved trail, tennis court, plash pad, BMX dirt track with hills, a gazebo, and a sports field; and is considered one of the cleanest parks in the City of Windsor.
Families Are First
The Ford City Residents in Action continues our community’s long tradition of caring residents who create and implement spectacular family events such as the Winter Wonder Festival, Victoria Day Weekend Fireworks, and Summer Fun Day.
A Community That Welcomes All
Ford City welcomes you! Please join us for a drink or a meal in one of our friendly neighbourhood taverns or restaurants. Grab a coffee and help us plant in our Community Garden. Have a seat in the parkette and listen our retirees tell stories of “the old days”.