Bluesfest Windsor took top honours as the best music festival during the third annual Best of Windsor Essex Awards, announced by Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, during a special ceremony on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Festivals that also took top honours include Art in the Park, Bright Lights Windsor, The Harrow Fair, and Carrousel of the Nations. The popular Best of Windsor Essex social media campaign drew a tremendous response where Windsor Essex businesses received over 8,500 nominations, with 212 finalists across 42 awards. Voting categories included the best in: Arts & Entertainment, Attractions & Events, Drink, Food, Outdoor Adventure, Stay, and Photo Op.
(Photo above: LiUNA’s Bluesfest Windsor crowd enjoying the festival at Windsor’s Riverfront Festival Plaza. Bluesfest Windsor was named the 2018 Best of Windsor Essex Music Festival Award Winner by Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island. Photo by Jose Ed Ramirez / Eyes On Windsor.)
In addition to commemorative plaques, a letter of congratulations and bragging rights, winners will also be mentioned in TWEPI’s 2018/19 Official Visitor Guide and TWEPI’s micro-site, bestofwindsoressex.ca. This specifically designed site will feature a mini-profile and photo of each winner and a highlight of the top 5 finalists per category.
Finalists and winners will be able to use this campaign to differentiate their business, increase their visibility, validate their achievements, and act as a strong testimonial of their offerings. Furthermore, this campaign has created an authentic list that is expected to resonate with visitors, giving TWEPI the opportunity to highlight some of the best of what the region has to offer.
“Once again, a high engagement rate from both businesses and their fans alike underscores an enthusiasm and pride of place from Best of Windsor Essex voters. We anticipate that this list will inspire locals and visitors alike to explore our region’s iconic experiences, hidden gems and everything in between,” says Gordon Orr, CEO of Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island.
Best of Windsor Essex Arts & Entertainment Awards 2018
Best Art Gallery or Art Space Award
Art Gallery of Windsor
Finalists included Gibson Art Gallery, Leamington Arts Centre, Merils’ Eatery & Beverage House, and Nancy Johns Gallery.
Best Cultural or Historical District Award
Finalists included Amherstburg, Ford City, Kingsville, and Olde Sandwich Street.
Best Entertainment Venue Award (over 1,000 seats)
The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor Award
Finalists included Chrysler Theatre, Leamington Amphitheatre, Riverfront Festival Plaza, and the WFCU Centre.
Best Live Music Space Award (under 1,000 seats)
Capitol Theatre Windsor
Finalists included Bank Theatre, Olde Walkerville Theatre, Phog Lounge, and Windsor Beer Exchange.
Best Museum or Heritage Space Award
John R. Park Homestead
Finalists included Amherstburg Freedom Museum, Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village, Chimczuk Museum, and Fort Malden National Historic Site.
Best Shopping District Award
Old Walkerville BIA
Finalists included Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce, Kingsville BIA, Ottawa Street BIA, and Pilette Village BIA.
Best Tour Experience Award
EPIC Wineries / EPIC Wine Route
Finalists included Rum Runners Tour, Urban Surf Co., Windsor Adventures Inc., and Windsor Eats.
Best of Windsor Essex Attractions & Events Awards 2018
Best Local Attraction Award (Family Friendly)
Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens
Finalists included Breakout Kingsville, Adventure Bay Family Water Park, Point Pelee National Park, and The Fort Fun Centre.
Best Local Attraction Award (Gaming)
Finalists included Breakaway Gaming, Chances Gaming, and Leamington Raceway.
Best Local Attraction Award (Historical)
Fort Malden National Historic Site
Finalists included Francois Baby House, John R. Park Homestead, Walkerville Brewery, and Willistead Manor.
Best Local Festival Award (Arts)
Art in the Park
Finalists included Art by the River, CC’s Events Handmade Extravaganzas, Walkerville Art Walk, and Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF).
Best Local Festival Award (Community Holiday Event)
Bright Lights Windsor
Finalists included Amherstburg River Lights, Kingsville Fantasy of Lights, Walkerville Holiday Walk, and Willistead Holiday House Tour.
Best Local Festival Award (Family & Fairs)
Finalists included Ford Fireworks, Lasalle Strawberry Festival, Open Streets Windsor, and Tecumseh Corn Festival.
Best Local Festival Award (Food & Drink)
Carrousel of the Nations
Finalists included Amherstburg Rib Festival, Fork & Cork Festival, LaSalle Craft Beer Festival, and Windsor Craft Beer Festival.
Best Local Festival Award (Music)
Finalists included Chaps & Spurs Country Festival, Fork & Cork Festival, Island Unplugged Music Festival, and Kingsville Folk Music Festival.
Best Mall Award
Finalists included Tecumseh Mall, and Windsor Crossing Premium Outlets.
Best WE Made It/YQG Made Store
Urban Art Market
Finalists included BB Branded, From Our Hands To Yours, Pelee Art Works, and Shop Eco.
Best of Windsor Essex Drink Awards 2018
Best Brewery Experience Award
Finalists included Brew Windsor, Craft Heads Brewing Co., FRANK Brewing Co., and The Grove Brew House.
Best Coffee House Award
30ml Coffee Co.
Finalists included Anchor Coffee House, Cafe March 21, Coffee Exchange, and Merlis’ Eatery & Beverage House.
The Art of a Cocktail Award
Finalists included Blind Owl, F&B Walkerville, Jack’s Gastropub, and Panche Ultralounge.
Best Winery Experience Award
Pelee Island Winery
Finalists included Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards, Muscedere Vineyards, Oxley Estate Winery, and Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.
Best of Windsor Essex Food Awards 2018
Best Around the World Eats Award
Spago Trattoria E Pizzeria
Finalists included Eddy’s Mediterranean Bistro, Koi Sushi, Mazaar Lebanese Cuisine, and Mi Casita.
Best Breakfast Award
Back Road Cafe
Finalists included Maria’s Restaurant, Paul’s Kitchen, Stacks, and TOAST.
Best Burger Joint Award
Mamo Burger Bar
Finalists included Gilligan’s Restaurant, Jack’s Gastropub, Joe Schmoe’s Eats N Drinks, and Motor Burger.
Best Farm to Table Dining Award
The Twisted Apron
Finalists included Billy’s Taphouse, Jack’s Gastropub, Oxley Estate Winery, and Rino’s Kitchen.
Best Perch Award
Finalists included Birdie’s Perch, Kingsville Golf and Country Club, Oxley Estate Winery, and Paula’s Fish Place.
Best Pick Your Own Spot Award
Thiessen Apple Orchards
AFinalists included Kennette Orchards, Meleg’s Orchard, Nickels Orchards, and Wagner Orchards.
Best Pizza Pie Award
Finalists included Antonino’s Original Pizza, Capri Pizza, Giovanni Caboto Club, and Naples Pizza.
Best Sandwich Shop Award
Finalists included Bread Meats Bread, Malic’s Restaurant & Deli, Smashed Apple Catering, and Toasty’s Grilled Cheese & Salad Bar.
Best Sweet Treat Award
Sweet Revenge Bake Shop
Finalists included Klueless Cupcakes, Lakeside Bakery, Little House of Cupcakes, and Riverside Pie Cafe.
Best Wing Stop Award
Rock Bottom Bar and Grill
Finalists included Hurricanes Pub & Grill, Joe Schmoe’s Eats N Drinks, John Max Sports Bar & Wings, and Loose Goose Resto Pub & Lounge.
Best of Windsor Essex Outdoor Adventure 2018 Awards
Best Beach Award
Point Pelee National Park
Finalists included Cedar Beach, Colchester Beach, Sandpoint Beach, and Seacliff Beach.
Best Golf Course Award
Kingsville Golf & Country Club
Finalists included Ambassador Golf Club, Oxley Golf Course, Rochester Place Golf Club and Resort, Roseland Golf & Country Club.
Best On The Water Activity Award
Urban Surf Company
Finalists included Point Pelee National Park, River Canard Canoe Company, Semmer Wave Rentals Colchester, and Windsor Adventure Inc.
Best Park or Garden Award
Point Pelee National Park
Finalists included Coventry Gardens, Jackson Park, Kings Navy Yard Park, and Lakeside Park.
Best Picnic Spot Award
Point Pelee National Park
Finalists included Kings Navy Yard Park, Lakeside Park, Peche Island, and Reaume Park.
Best Trail Award
Essex Region Conservation Greenway
Finalists included Ganatchio Trail, Malden Park, Ojibway Nature Centre, and Point Pelee National Park.
Best of Windsor Essex Places To Stay Awards 2018
Best Bed & Breakfast Award
The Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast
Finalists included Bondy House, Inn 31, Kingsville House, and Woodbridge House.
Best Campground Award
Camp Henry at Point Pelee National Park
Finalists included Holiday Beach, Sturgeon Woods Campground, Wildwood Golf & RV Resort, and Willowood RV Resort.
Best Cottage Award
Holiday Beach Cottage
Finalists included Breakwater Cottage (Pelee Island), Otentiks at Point Pelee National Park, Pigeon Bay Cottages (Kingsville), and Stone’s Throw Cottage (Oxley).
Best Hotel/Motel Award
Finalists included Best Western Plus Leamington, Best Western Plus Waterfront Hotel, Holiday Inn & Suites Ambassador Bridge, and The Grove Hotel.
Best Photo Op Award
City of Windsor Waterfront
Also nominated were Fort Malden National Historic Site, Jackson Park, Kings Navy Yard Park, Lakeside Park, Leamington Marina, Peace Fountain, Point Pelee National Park, Willistead Manor, and Windsor Sculpture Park.