Major Papers


Black history, Black Canadian history, McDougall Street Corridor, Black Windsor, urban renewal


In the mid-1950s, Windsor, Ontario embarked on a comprehensive fifteen-year urban renewal initiative aimed at redeveloping the city’s downtown core into a modern, municipal hub and locale for both private and commercial interests and cross-border tourism. The initial focus of this strategy was a neighbourhood situated just east of the commercial district, which had been home to much of the Windsor’s Black population for more than a century. Rooted in a complex interplay of social and economic factors, Windsor’s renewal efforts, guided by a misguided, paternalistic understanding of physical transformation as a catalyst for positive social change, resulted in the demolition of significant physical and cultural spaces, fundamentally altering the character and landscape of this community. Furthermore, a reliance on external experts coupled with minimal community consultation further alienated and marginalised Windsor's Black population, depriving them of agency in the renewal process. Through a meticulous examination of redevelopment records, community archives, and oral histories, this study explores the transformative consequences of redevelopment on Windsor's Black community. This paper will demonstrate how the loss of the community’s physical spaces not only disrupted intricate kinship networks, cultural practices, and economic structures, but also obscured their visibility as one of the city's oldest and most resilient communities.

Primary Advisor

Miriam Wright

Program Reader

Guillaume Teasdale

Degree Name

Master of Arts



Document Type

Major Research Paper

Convocation Year