Place:Ford City, Essex, Ontario, Canada

NameFord City
Alt namesEast Windsorsource: Natural Resources Canada Database of Geographic Names
TypeFormer community
Coordinates42.316°N 82.983°W
Located inEssex, Ontario, Canada     (1912 - 1935)
See alsoSandwich East, Essex, Ontario, Canadatownship in which Ford City formerly located until 1935
Windsor, Essex, Ontario, Canadacity which annexed Ford City in 1935

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Ford City was a community in the Canadian province of Ontario, located within the municipal boundaries of Windsor. The community was founded by the Ford Motor Company in the early 1900s as a separate company town where Ford had a big plant at the corner of Riverside Drive and Drouillard Road, which at one point employed 14,000 people.

The boundaries east to west were Pillette Avenue to Walker Road, and the north and south boundaries were Riverside Drive to Grand Marais Boulevard. Ford City's downtown main street was Drouillard Avenue, named after François Drouillard (an early settler who owned a farm along the general location of the street, which evolved from a private path on his property). The last remaining building of Ford is the engine plant.

The town was sparsely-populated and mostly farmland until the Walkerville Wagon Works partnered with Henry Ford (the namesake of the town) to build and import automobiles to Canada at a lower tariff rate by having the Ford Motor Company provide them with the incomplete automobiles and their parts, with Walkerville Wagon Works performing final assembly for domestic (Canadian) purchase. This partnership was Ford Motor Company of Canada, and by 1910, it would move to an even bigger facility in Ford City. By 1913, the community was incorporated as a village with Charles Montreuil as its first mayor, reaching town status just two years later. In 1928, the town legally changed its name to East Windsor and incorporated itself as a city in 1929, though the Great Depression took its toll on the community. With the town facing bankruptcy in 1935, Ford City was merged into the City of Windsor by the provincial government, along with the towns of Sandwich and Walkerville.

The community of Ford City first made national headlines on August 22, 1917, when hundreds of French Canadian parishioners mourning the death of their nationalist pastor, Fr. Lucien Alexandre Beaudoin, formed a blockade refusing to admit their newly appointed priest, Fr. François Xavier Laurendeau, on the pretext that they believed he was in favour of the provincial school policy, Regulation XVII, which had severely restricted the use of French in the area`s bilingual schools. For more than two weeks, the parishioners mounted an around the clock blockade refusing the priest`s admission to the parish grounds and residence. On September 3, the Catholic Bishop of London, Michael Francis Fallon, sent the parishioners an ultimatum: accept the new priest or face the closure of the church. The warning failed to produce any results. On Saturday, September 8, 1917, Fr. Laurendeau returned to the parish with a police escort of 12 constables. The protesters, who were tipped off by a phone call of their pastor`s impending return, rang the church bells, and the grounds were soon occupied by more than 3000 parishioners. When Laurendeau and his police escort arrived they faced a sizeable blockade. The police escort pulled out their billy clubs to make their path through the crowd. Amid the pushing, shoving and shouting, someone threw the first blow and a full-scale riot broke out. Through a shower of bricks, rocks, fists, brooms and clubs, the constables managed to reach the church residence. The mayor, Albert Maisonville was forced to read the Riot Act and call upon the military for back up. When the riot finally settled down, nine men had been arrested, and nine people had been seriously injured, including two elderly women who fiercely resisted the policy on the front steps of the church rectory with broomsticks. For more than a year, the parishioners boycotted masses celebrated by Laurendeau and appealed to Pope Benedict XV to replace him. In October 1918, the Vatican ordered the parishioners to accept the new pastor under pain of excommunication, ending the boycott. These events came to represent the culmination of the French-speaking community`s resistance to Bishop Fallon and his vocal support of the Ontario Government`s imposition of Regulation 17.

The area is also famous for the historic 99-day 1945 Ford Strike during which the workers fought to be unionized, and set up a blockade around the plant. The Rand Formula was created at the end of the strike where workers would have to pay union dues for having a union in their workplaces, which set the standard for all unions in Canada. Ford left Windsor for Oakville in 1953, closing the Riverside Drive plant by 1960 and leaving thousands unemployed as only the casting and engine plants remained.


A map showing the townships of Essex County as they existed from about 1800 till the 1880s. From 1800 until 1840 Ontario was known as Upper Canada, and from 1841 until 1867 it was known as Canada West.Image:Essex 1885 Ont Arch redraw.png
A map of 1951 illustrating the townships and larger urban areas as they existed in Essex County from the 1880s until 1999.
A map of Essex county since the municipal reorganization of 1999. Discussions started in 1990, but regulations were not put in place until 1999. Except for the City of Windsor, the new municipalities are called "towns".

The first two maps are based on illustrations in the Archives of Ontario website. The third map is based on one in Wikimedia Commons.

Research Tips

The primary source for basic documents (vital statistics, land records, wills) for people who lived in the Province of Ontario is the Archives of Ontario, 134 Ian Macdonald Blvd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M7A 2C5.

Early Records

Civil registration did not begin in the province until 1869. Before then there may be church records of baptisms and burials. For the most part these are still held by the denomination who recorded them. Copies of marriage records made pre-1869 had to be sent by individual clergymen to the registrar of the county in which the marriage took place. These marriage records are available through Ontario Archives, on micorfilm through LDS libraries, and on paid and unpaid websites, but because they were copied at the registrars' offices, they cannot be considered a primary source.

Vital Records after 1869

Birth, marriage and death registrations are not open to the public until a specific number of years after the event occurred. Births to 1915 are now available [October 2014]; dates for marriages and deaths are later. Birth and death registration was not universally carried out in the early years after its adoption. Deaths were more apt to be reported than births for several years. The more rural the area, the less likely it would be that these happenings were reported to the authorities.
Images and indexes of civil registrations for the "viewable" years can be found on paid websites, and indexes only on FamilySearch. The FamilySearch Wiki on Ontario Vital Records explains how these records are organized and their availability.
In September 2014 announced that its paid website has been subjected to a "houseclean" of its Ontario BMD database, adding data that had been omitted and making many corrections. Its provision now includes

  • Births, with 2,172,124 records covering 1869-1913.
  • Marriages, with 3,393,369 records for 1801-1928 including Ontario county, district and Roman Catholic origins as well as province-wide civil registration.
  • Deaths, with 2,190,030 records comprising Ontario civil registrations of deaths, 1869-1938 and registrations of Ontario overseas deaths for 1939-1947.

Land Records and Wills

Information on how to access land records and wills is best sought on the Archives of Ontario website. An ancestor's land holding might be found on Canadian County Atlas Digital Project if he was in occupancy circa 1878.

Association for the Preservation of Ontario Land Registry Office Documents (APOLROD). A list of Land Registry Offices for all Counties of Ontario.


The original censuses are in the hands of Library and Archives Canada, known to Canadians as "LAC". Copies of original microfilms are online at the LAC website for all censuses up to 1921. Each census database is preceded with an explanation of the geographical area covered, the amount of material retained (some census division material has been lost), the questions on the census form, and whether there is a name index. Census divisions were redrawn as the population increased and more land was inhabited.
Other websites, some paid and some free, also provide Canadian census originals and/or indexes online. One can also view censuses on microfilm at the LAC, at the Archives of Ontario (see address above), or at large libraries throughout Canada.

Hard-to-Find Places

E-books, Books and Newspapers

  • The Internet Archive, particularly texts from Canadian universities, can contain interesting material
  • Our Roots is a Canadian website similar to The Internet Archive
  • Global Genealogy is an online bookshop specializing in Ontario material who will ship anywhere in the world.
  • The Ancestor Hunt is a blog listing old Ontario newspapers that are available online, both free and pay websites. This is a very extensive list.

Some websites with more local information on Essex County

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Ford City, Ontario. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.