(Clothes worn by famed migratory bird specialist Jack Miner, next to a photo of him, on display at the South Western Ontario Heritage Council: The Many Faces of Heritage Exhibit at the Chimczuk Museum in Windsor, Ontario, on Sunday, August 25, 2019. Photo above by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.)
The peninsula, which is home to Windsor and Essex County, is an area rich in heritage. To prove the point, the South Western Ontario Heritage Council (SWOHC) gathered up a number of historic artifacts and proudly put them on display at downtown Windsor’s Chimczuk Museum under the banner of The Many Faces of Heritage.
The collection pulls from some of the region’s most loved heritage and cultural destinations including its many operational museums.
Without question, the largest artifact is actually a man’s suit. But not any man, it is part of Jack Miner’s wardrobe. Miner is a considerable legend in the region. In 1904 he established a Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Kingsville and five years later commenced to banding waterfowl. This enabled the tracking of the bird’s migratory paths from the US to Canada and played a significant role in the creation of the two country Migratory Bird Treaty of 1916.
Miner, is of course one person. Another section of the display focuses on the many pioneers who arrived in the area from Serbia and who are now celebrated in greater detail at the Serbian Heritage Museum in Windsor, at 6770 Tecumseh Road West.
There are two dolls dressed in full ceremony attire in the exhibit as well as information on one of the most important Serbs of all time, Nikola Tesla. The inventions of Tesla are many and start with the design of alternating electrical current (AC) and cover such novel, at the time, innovations as wireless communications technology.
Another fascinating piece of history is made of cast iron in the form of a small steam engine brought to the Chimczuk from the Essex County Steam & Gas Engine Museum. Located in CoAn Park, McGregor, the Museum resides in a barn filled with various steam engines and is the most southern Steam Museum in Canada.
A number of technical tools are laid out displaying how geographic information was gathered in the Amherstburg and lower Detroit River district. The artifacts are from the Marsh Historical Collection which can be found at 80 Richmond in the town.
Windsor is well known as the first Canadian stop on the Underground Railroad, a series of paths used by slaves on their journeys to freedom. One of the last stops is Chatham-Kent’s Buxton National Historic Site & Museum. The Chimczuk’s SWOHC exhibit includes a peek at some of the history on display in the region’s eastern neighbor.
Located at 21975 Shaad Road, North Buxton, the Buxton National Historic Site & Museum sits on the original site of what was known as the Elgin Settlement, one of the Underground Railroad’s last stops in Canada. Those who venture to the museum will see an 1861 schoolhouse, an 1841 cabin and an 1860 barn.
The exhibit also features a closer to Windsor historic building that is now a museum. Amherstburg’s Park House Museum is in a rare local example of 18th Century French Canadian architecture. Its original waterfront location was ideally suited to providing provisions for the nation’s fur traders.
Some of Windsor’s history is also on display. A photograph from the city’s Archives, of the city’s downtown on the front cover of a 1960 City of Windsor Pride In Progress report, shows a city core dramatically different from today and allows visitors to at least try to spot what has stood the test of time.
Back in the day, 254 Pitt Street was the home of the British American Brewing Company. The long-gone brewer was well known for its trademark “handsome waiter.”
Other sections of the exhibit cover the Canada South Science City, Willistead Manor, Gibson Gallery, Fort Malden, Canadian Transportation and Heritage Museum and the Amherstburg Freedom Museum as well as others. It will remain at Chimczuk Museum until September 29.
Article by Robert Tuomi
For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.