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No physical store, no problem, says government pot regulator

Instead of a government-run storefront merchandising plan the new policy will rely on private enterprise to sell to what’s expected to be a huge marketplace.

The one store approach had been criticized in any case because it would have woefully underserved the local market, though more outlets would have been rolled out in later years.

Instead, the new government’s private model will see bricks and mortar outlets open April 1 instead.

Windsor and Essex County still doesn’t know how many stores will open locally though the new government will release details as it continues to formulate the private retail sales strategy.

Where does that leave the Liberal government’s Ontario Cannabis Store, overseen by the LCBO?

It still exists and is very much in the cannabis sales game, and it will still be serving the public when sales begin Oct. 17, only that it will operate the online sales website through which shoppers can place marijuana orders.

“The Ontario Cannabis Store welcomes the direction from the Ontario government to focus on launching our online retail store and begin establishing a wholesale distribution network to supply cannabis to legal private stores in Ontario once legislative requirements are put in place,” OCS president Patrick Ford says.

The new website will be run through Ottawa-based private retail portal Shopify.

“The site is complete and final testing is underway,” Ford said.

More details will be released soon, including about supply agreements and delivery methods.

What happens to any leases the OCS signed with local landlords for government-run physical stores that now will not be needed?

The OCS says these costs are “minimal” and that current leases “will be honoured and we are reassessing the plans for these locations.”

How about people hired to staff those locations?

Says the OCS, in response to questions from, “very few store-specific staff” had been hired and those that have are being reassigned “to new roles where their social responsibility and product knowledge training will be useful elsewhere in the organization, such as in online support.”

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Detroit's Music Hall undergoing a massive $122 M expansion

AE SH - Music Hall expansion

Music Hall for the Performing Arts, an almost century old mainstay in downtown Detroit’s theatre district, will be undergoing a massive $122 million expansion which should be complete late in 2026. The design creates a seven-story 100,000 sq. ft. neighboring building with new concert and recital halls, recording and practice halls, leasable office space and a welcome center. There will also be an alleyway between the buildings which will host live performances. The expansion is being designed by New York-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, which designed the Obama Center in Chicago and David Geffen Hall at New York’s Lincoln Center. Over its history the 1700-seat art deco Music Hall has served as home for the Detroit Symphony and Michigan Opera Co. In recent years it has added the Jazz Café and Rooftop 3Fifty Terrace. – 28/11/23

Last chance for tickets for zany opera revue

The most offbeat opera you’ve probably ever seen is coming to Windsor’s Capitol Theatre this Friday Nov. 17. Ruckus on the Road puts opera through a whole new spin at once zany yet a great way to enjoy a classical art form you probably wouldn’t have otherwise gone to see. “From heart-wrenching tragedies to comedic, satirical parodies, this revue will take you on a journey through the diverse world of opera,” the troupe says. Combining classic arias, duets, and ensemble pieces, in an irreverently fun, and non-traditional way. – 13/11/23

Blight to beauty

AE SH - Detroit 200th City Walls mural

Detroit has now completed its 200th City Walls mural, part of Motown’s Blight to Beauty campaign now in its sixth year. Detroit artist Nicole Macdonald’s Show Love is at 14229 Jefferson Ave in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighbourhood. “The Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood is a unique spot in the city, located on the river with canals and urban gardens,” Macdonald said. “I tried to capture some of this uniqueness while highlighting residents who are working hard to restore and reimagine this corner of the city. – 30/10/23

WIFF to announce its first Canadian film award

AE SH - WIFF Can Film Award

The Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF) is proving its mettle with each passing year. This year, for the first time, it will be awarding a $25,000 cash prize for the top Canadian film. The festival made the announcement at Toronto’s film festival last month. WIFF will screen 10 Canadian films during the festival Oct. 26 – Nov. 5. The films will be shown on opening weekend and the award, chosen by an “independent jury of industry professionals,” will be announced at a special ecent Sunday Oct. 29. – 13/10/23

Highland Games find permanent Kville home

AE SH - Highland Games

The local Highland Games have found a new home. The Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village will begin hosting the games, on a permanent basis, on June 22 next year.  This comes after the once long time – and popular event – "disappeared" from the Town of Kingsville in the 1980s, the Village says. The Games were revived in 2019. Then the pandemic hit, and this year the Jack Miner bird sanctuary hosted them, attended by more than 3000. However, this space proved "too small to house the growth expected." The Games have also been renamed the Kingsville-Essex Highland Games. – 22/9/23

City to get back-to-back film festivals 

AE SH - Media City 2023

The Media City Film Festival, Windsor's internationally renowned experimental film festival moves to mid-autumn this year, almost immediately following, by comparison, the city's more mainstream film festival, the Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF). The experimental festival, now in its 26th year, features filmmakers from around the world, many renowned in the genre of inventive and creative cinema. The festival runs Nov. 7 – 11 and more than 50 films and digital works will be screened. WIFF runs Oct. 26 – Nov. 5. Last year Media City was held earlier in the calendar year. Both festivals stake out the Capitol Theatre downtown as their home venues. – 7/9/23

Photo: Media City

Invitation to Detroit street art summit

AE SH - Detroit street art

The National Street Art Summit ins coming to Detroit Sept. 8. The event, sponsored by the cities of Detroit and Philadelphia, and held in conjunction with the BLKOUT Walls mural festival, will be held at Wayne County Community College's downtown campus on West Fort St. Officials from around the US will take part in discussions on the "rising mural movement in America, what cities are doing to encourage mural art, what cities can learn from each other and what ideas can be exchanged to make life easier for the artists." There will be an entrepreneurial workshop for students and emerging artists the day before the summit. And a tour of Detroit street art will take place afterwards. – 24/8/23

Your name on Leamington Centre 

LT SH - Leam Arts Centre

The Leamington Arts Centre is offering naming rights as it reconfigures and expands its footprint. “Naming rights sponsorships are unique opportunities to support the Leamington arts and culture community while also raising the profile of one's own business, organization, or family name," the LAC’s director Chad Riley says. Business, organizations and individuals can have sections of the building named after them. The LAC is a 10,000 square foot facility of four exhibition spaces, a market place artist market, café and wine bar, an art supply store, an education studio and meeting rooms. For more info go to – 11/8/23

Upcoming concerts at the Colosseum 

AE SH - The Colosseum

Tickets are on sale now for: 

Incubus (August 5), RuPaul’s Drag Race (August 6), Theo Von (August 18),
Jann Arden (August 25), Diana Ross (September 8), Bush (September 14), The Australian
Pink Floyd Show (September 28), Eddie Izzard (October 1), and The Vampire Circus
(October 26)

Cineplex opens to moms and babies

AE SH - Stars and Strollers

Cineplex is advertising Stars & Strollers, a new cinema-going experience especially designed for moms and their babies. “Parents - escape to watch new releases in a baby-friendly environment with soft lighting, reduced volume and other amenities,” the company’s website says. Cineplex's Devonshire Mall cinemas also advertises it. “New films are introduced weekly to this program at select Cineplex theatre locations so you can get back to the movie experience you love. Theatres feature reduced noise, soft lighting and even changing tables and bottle warmers. – 13/7/23

Media City fest teams up with art gallery

AE SH - Kevin Emerson filmmaker

Windsor’s experimental film festival, Media City, is teaming up with Art Windsor-Essex (formerly Art Gallery of Windsor) to present films of the US-based filmmaker Kevin Jerome Everson. Moonshine: The Celestial Films of Kevin Jerome runs through Oct. 1. Media City has a long history of working with Emerson (photo), showing a retrospective of his films more than a decade ago. Emerson’s films often depict working class and African American migration from the South to northern factories. His films have been shown around the world. – 29/6/23

Photo: Oona Mosma of Media City

Detroit's Four Tops ducked destruction

AE SH - Four Tops

Detroit’s famed Four Tops inadvertently lucked out when they missed a flight from London to the US in the late 1980s. They were booked to be on ill-fated Pan Am Flight 103, which was bombed out of the skies over Lockerbie Scotland by Libyan terrorists. The Tops had to change flights because their recording session ran late. Canadian actress Kim Cattrall also missed that flight because she wanted to go to Harrods to pick up a tea pot for her mom. – 15/6/23 - 15/6/23

Fireworks party returns to gallery


Windsor’s main downtown art gallery resumes its annual fireworks night party, the first since 2019. Art Windsor Essex (formerly Art Gallery of Windsor) will host the event June 26. As per the glow of the 65th edition of the Ford Fireworks guests are encouraged to “to dress in their most extravagant attire, reflecting the theme of color, glitter, and light.” There will be live art and musical entertainment with appetizers from Thyme Kitchen and drinks from Maiden Lane Wine & Spirits Bar. Money raised goes support future exhibitions and education programs. Tickets $100 in advance for members, $125 for non-members; $150 at the door. – 1/6/23

Windsor's Cimolino heads up play panel

AE SH - Antoni Cimolino

U of Windsor graduate and Stratford artistic director Antoni Cimolino will helm a series of conversations based on this year’s Stratford Festival lineup. The theme? Duty vs. Desire. Audiences at the live events will also meet the directors “and learn what goes into envisioning and staging performances.” It’s all part of Stratford’s Meighen Forum, a series of talks throughout the season on various themes. The discussions take place July 3 – 9. Cimolino will host July 7 at the Tom Patterson Theatre. Tickets on sale now. – 18/5/23

Photo: Stratford Festival

Museum's new board members adhere to '50-30 Challenge' 


Art Windsor-Essex (former Art Gallery of Windsor) has announced new board members in keeping with the federal government’s “50-30 Challenge” (50 per cent women or non-binary and 30 per cent of “other equity deserving groups” such as racialized or people with disabilities). They are Anthony Youssef, “a Lebanese Canadian art-based researcher whose work focuses on the intersection of politics and material culture.” Anastasia Adams works as a program coordinator at Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and Families providing access “to harm reduction supports,” education, and daily emergency housing for over 100 women and families. Zoja Holman is “a visionary leader” plugged into business strategies who can “create innovative, long term strategies to achieve optimal results.” There are 15 board members altogether.

Hundreds of nominees for this weekend's Detroit Music Awards

AE SH - Detroit Music Awards 2023

Detroit sure has a lot of talent. We always knew that but the flow of musical artists just keeps continuing unabated. We counted more than 100 nominees in six categories alone – about one-third of all nominees – for this year’s Detroit Music Awards, happening Sunday. Categories include Rock, Blues, Electronic-Dance, Country, Classical, Gospel/Christian and R & B. The awards recognize Detroit musicians working locally, regionally and nationally. The first awards show was held in 1992. Besides the award ceremony itself the night is full of performances. These have included acts by such iconic names as Kid Rock, Martha Reeves, Smokey Robinson, Bob Seger, Glenn Frey, The Miracles, Grand Funk Railroad, George Clinton and Parliament, and Ted Nugent. – 20/4/23

Ricci and Danza making an appearance

AE SH - Motor City Comic Con 2023

Christina Ricci and Tony Danza will be popping into the Motor City Comic Con next month in Novi, Michigan, the state’s longest running comic book and pop culture convention which began in 1989. Ricci most recently starred in and produced the Amazon series, Z: The Beginning of the Everything and is known for roles in The Addams Family and Casper. Danza, is best known for co-starring in the TV series Taxi and Who's The Boss? Comic Con takes place May 19-21 at Suburban Collection Showplace located at 46100 Grand River Ave. - 5/4/23

Two Windsorites in Cineplex’s Richard III

AE SH - Colm Feore as Richard III

Former Windsor resident and acclaimed Shakespearean and film actor Colm Feore is Richard III in the Stratford filmed production of the acclaimed play, on screen at Cineplex theatres April 16 & 17. The play is directed by another Windsorite, Antoni Cimolini, a University of Windsor graduate. Cimolini says the play “translates brilliantly to the big screen” with a “ruthless, cunning and charismatic protagonist.” The film will also give audiences nationwide a chance to experience the new and intimate Tom Patterson Theatre, described by The New York Times as “the best new theatre in years.” – 22/3/23

Photo: Stratford Festival

Theatre chain charging for those better seats

AE SH - Theatre seating

Movie theatres are taking a page from what airlines have long been doing - charging different prices for how advantageous the seat is. The US-based AMC theatre chain, which has theatres in Canada, has begun testing “sightline” seats. These are the better seats in the house, but for an increased price. The pricing also works the other way - you'll get a discount for an inferior seat like in the neck-craning first row. AMC is also charging more on opening weekends for blockbuster films. - 8/3/23

Fireworks night shuttle returns

LT SH - Transit Windsor bus

Come late June and the annual Detroit River fireworks, Transit Windsor will once again provide free shuttle service. The shuttle ferried thousands – 12,567 in 2019 to be exact – from Devonshire Mall to downtown and back, saving them a car ride and parking on congested streets. Fireworks night is June 27th. Zehrs, just as it was pre-pandemic, will once again be the shuttle's sponsor. – 22/2/23

Film ‘Women Talking’ would be better on stage, critics say 

AE SH - Women Talking

While 'Women Talking' (now playing locally) by Canadian director Sarah Polley won the People’s Choice Award at the Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF) it didn’t garner a great review from The Detroit News movie critic. Adam Graham lauded the “powerful actresses” including Rooney Mara and Frances McDormand but called the film a “stagey drama.” Graham said the characters “are made to feel like talking heads asked to represent various viewpoints and perspectives more than they feel like living, breathing characters.” And they “come across as overly articulate for a group that has never been formally educated.” Meanwhile London’s Daily Mail also called the acting “superb” but the film is “undermined by its own theatricality. For maximum impact, this story needs a stage, and a live audience,” a conclusion Graham also came to. - 10/2/23 

Noted golfer Alice Cooper live in person

AE SH - Alice Cooper

Detroit native and noted golfer Alice Cooper will be live in person at the Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor Feb. 3 at 7 pm. The shock rocker, whose albums go back to 1969 and whose best-known hits are School’s Out, Eighteen, Only Women Bleed and No More Mr. Nice Guy, will be on stage to discuss his new film, also being shown, Super Duper Alice Cooper. There’ll also be a book signing with the discussion hosted by Gary Graff, former Detroit Free Press writer and author of Alice Cooper at 75, and WDET DJ Rob Reinhart. Cooper, by the way, is also known for his golf prowess. - 27/1/23

Teacher alert – Stratford interactive is here

AE SH - Shakespeare Hamlet

Stratford is, well, bringing Stratford into the classroom. The Ontario seasonal festival has lunched Classroom Connect that will allow students access to the festival’s vast library of digital content including new and classic plays. There’s filmed theatre productions, dance, podcasts, interviews and documentaries, accompanied by lesson plans and study guides. It also includes Illuminated Text which combines animation, calligraphy and street art to “reveal the intricacies of Shakespeare,” the festival says. The interactive experience, for example, allows students to explore text from  Hamlet (photo)  using the learning style of their choice – rhetoric, imagery or sound and rhythm. Cost for up to 150 users is $180 for five months. – 12/13/22

WIFF festival favourites return to the Capitol Theatre

AE SH - WIFF banner

The Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF) is coming back to downtown, less than two months after the yearly 11-day event ended. It will be re-screening "festival favourites" such as French-thriller Black Box, A Year in the Forest, about a local Windsor old growth forest (it actually exists!), Walkerville's Willistead Manor: The Home That Shaped a Community, and Peace by Chocolate, about Syrian refugees in Nova Scotia. Screenings are at the Capitol Theatre Dec. 14, 15 & 16. Check out the WIFF website for more info. - 11/29/22

The Tea Party returning with symphony Feb. 3

AE SH - The Tea Party

The Tea Party will perform for the first time in 20 years with a symphony orchestra when it returns to Windsor for a performance Feb. 3 at Caesars Windsor. The band, which has played the world and calls Windsor home, is known for its progressive rock with Middle Eastern influences dubbed “Morrocan roll.” The band, originally formed 30 years ago, has released eight albums and sold more than three million units. It has received 14 JUNO and 22 MuchMusic award nominations. Its return here will be a benefit for Transition to Betterness and “essential and frontline workers.” It will perform with the International Symphony Orchestra, a 55-member band bridging Sarnia and Port Huron. – 11/15/22

Several public art pieces damaged by elements - good and bad

AE SH - Love for All statue

Public art, being out in public, is subject to the vagaries of the elements. Not just due to the weather but vandalism and theft. Such was the case with several art installations in the city in 2021, the last report available. The Jackson Park Ukrainian Monument granite base suffered cracking and is being replaced. Last spring the Black Historical Murals in Patterson Park in Sandwich Town were vandalized and have now been fully restored by the original artist Jermain Baylis. The Man on the Horse sculpture in the riverfront Windsor Sculpture garden  was stolen but now has been restored “and reinforced,” says the Community Public Art Committee. Meanwhile  Love for All Hatred for None, (photo) a globe raised by sculpted extended arms, on the riverfront and installed five years ago, had its rusting base recast in stainless steel. Finally, the Mary and Henry Bibb plaque located next to Mackenzie Hall was stolen. The plaque was federally owned and Parks Canada was looking at  reinstalling it by the end the year. -10/19/22

Photo: City of Windsor

Yes, it's Comic Con time in the Motor City

AE SH - Motor City Comic Con

Now that we're - almost - free - to cross the border (the Americans still require two shots) you might want to take in the Motor City Comic Con Oct. 14 - 16 at Suburban Collection Showplace located in Novi, Mi. Scores of celebrities from TV, movies and streaming, and Comic and Crafter guests will be on hand for Michigan's longest and largest comic and pop-culture extravaganza since 1989. A vast collection of pop-culture merchandise, like comics, art, t-shirts, movie memorabilia and posters will be available. Over 250 comic book creators, writers and artists attend. Guests can attend panel discussions, attractions and explore various exhibitor vendors. Schedules and additional fees vary per guest and event. To purchase tickets and for more information, please visit - 5/10/22

$200,000 for new museum website

Art Windsor-Essex, the still relatively new name for what was the Art Gallery of Windsor, has unveiled an updated website. Officials (photo) revealed it last week. The bright easy to navigate site breaks down into sections like current exhibitions, what's in the permanent collection and educational opportunities. It was created from a $201,500 grant by the province and Ontario Trillium Foundation. AWE executive director Jennifer Matotek said the website will help get the word to more people. “To meet this demand and maintain our artistic vision, AWE must increase its marketing and communications footprint,” she said. – 9/20/22

It will be a Starry starry night in the Motor City

One of Vincent Van Gogh’s  most famous themed paintings, Starry Night, will have a place of honour at the upcoming Van Gogh exbibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts. It’s the first time in more than a decade this particular Starry Night from Paris's Musée d'Orsay will be on display in the US. It's not the more well known version, on display at New York's Museum of Modern Art. The exhibit, featuring more than 70 works by the tormented Dutch artist, runs from Oct. 2 to Jan 22. The DIA was the first museum in America to buy a Van Gogh painting, Self Portrait in 1922. Appropriately, the exhibit, Van Gogh in America will also celebrate the 100th anniversary of that acquisition. Tickets are on sale now. – 9/6/22 (Updated with correction 9/8/22)

Blushing Peonies Vertical