Royal Doulton Canada

Four Freedoms - little known Olde Sandwich Town intersection

But what you probably don’t know is that this intersection has long been known as the Four Corners of Freedom.

In the late 18th century, after Detroit gained its freedom from Britain, the seat of local British rule moved across the river to Sandwich.

The town, which predates Windsor, ruled the Western District of Upper Canada.

The British purchased the 436-hectare tract of land from the Huron Indians (though surrounding lands were in the hands of French farmers) and surveyors laid out a street grid.

The intersection of Sandwich St (formerly Bedford) and Brock St. was the nexus, with the courthouse, church, school and a public meeting place located at each corner.

The institutions constituted the Four Corner of Freedoms, according to the City of Windsor’s website.

“This was always an assembly point for people in the community,” local historian Terrence Kennedy (above) says.

Yet there is no sign recognizing this.

Kennedy says it’s not for lack of trying.

“We keep telling people at the city hall” to recognize the neighbourhood, he said.

Yet, especially with the opening a year ago of the Chimczuk Museum, the city is concentrating “all the heritage downtown,” says Kennedy. 

Kennedy and other community leaders have been calling for the old jail to be reopened as a public heritage building, perhaps as a Sandwich museum.

“Because we want to repatriate the 400 years of history,” he said.

After the Indians, the French were the first settlers.

“Our first European that showed up here was in 1609 and his name was Etienne Brulé, and he was sent out by Champlain,” Kennedy says.

While community leaders seek greater historical recognition of the area, the public might want to take their own walking tour which is surprisingly extensive.

The Sandwich Heritage Walking Tour has 47 sites to visit, from Assumption Cemetery - where many of the original settlers are buried - to the property of the man who won the contract to shackle local prisoners, Capt. Pierre Marentette.

Also on the tour, the McGregor-Cowan House served as a storehouse for the Hudson’s Bay company.

The community’s first Jewish resident was Moses David, a fur trader, and a mural dedicated to him is at the Dominion House tavern.

The tour guide is available online.

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