One of the best things about visiting Windsor is going to Detroit. So while on my visit to Windsor, Steve and I went for yet another bit of rust belt city exploration (for more rustiness see my post on Buffalo). We opted to take a 5 minute tunnel bus from Windsor across the border and were dropped off by downtown Detroit’s riverside. Our bus driver told us that we were just in time for Detroit’s Downtown Hoedown. I had no idea what that was but at barely noon there was already a long line up of country hoedowners waiting to get into the festival. We stopped back at the hoedown for a rest at the end of the day, after having wandered through the gorgeous buildings of downtown Detroit. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for some pre-summer festival food; BBQ ribs, and funnel cake.
I do have to say that Detroit is beautiful. Apparently it has even been known as the Paris of the US. There is some gorgeous architecture, and detail to the old skyscraper buildings. Promenade-wide sidewalks line the wall of buildings alluding to some past grandiose time in Detroit’s history. We mainly stuck to Woodward Avenue and it’s neighbouring side streets. The avenue was once known as one of the premier shopping areas in the US. In 1925 the intersection of Woodward and State even documented having over a million people crossing in an 18 hour period. A drastic difference in comparison to the bleak number of people on the streets that day. Anyone we did see on the street was clearly headed for the hoedown.
Like Hamilton, I do see a lot of potential for a Detroit urban renaissance. There’s something fantastic about the already beautifully laid out landscape of this established city. The downtown building density is ripe for prime urban living, people just have to start moving in.
My favourite stop of they day was to the Motown Museum. A bit out of the way of downtown; we had to catch at taxi. The cab driver; born and raised in Detroit, had never heard of the “Motown Museum” but when it was concluded we meant the Motown house we were on our way. The cab driver was awesome and even joined us for the tour. We had the most captivating tour guide and on several occasions he’d have the whole tour of about 40 people singing, dancing, hand clapping and finger snapping out classic Motown hits.