San Diego has Tijuana. Detroit – we’ve got all kinds of things. But one of the most overlooked benefits of the Motor City? You can be on international soil in a matter of minutes, assuming you don’t offend the Canadian Border Patrol. Windsor: It’s not just for 19-year-olds! Here’s a few things you likely didn’t know about our Southern (?!) neighbor:
1. It's the only part of Canada South of the US
Well, the lower-48 that is (sigh, Alaska's always messing things up). Windsor is actually directly South of Detroit. So go ahead and wave to your neighbors to the South, they're likely nice enough to wave back. Also, could this mean that the "South Detroit" Steve Perry recalls so emotively in "Don’t Stop Believing" is actually Windsor?
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2. It’s Canada’s most Southern city and known for its "mild climate"
Before you go complaining about our frigid temperatures of late on all form of social media, remember that our climate here is "mild" to most Canadians. In fact, Windsor is known as the City of Roses.
3. Birthplace of... Shania Twain?
Country music from Canada's Deep South. OK, so this is not really a useful piece of information, but we bet you didn’t know it, eh!
4. They helped us through Prohibition... quite a bit
During what we’ll refer to here as The Dark Ages, more than 75% of the booze to enter the United States crossed the Detroit River from Windsor to the Motor City. When the Detroit River would freeze during the winter, rum-runners would simply drive the hooch across.
5. You have incentive to gamble there
The Canadian government doesn’t tax casino winnings, so slot it up to your heart’s content and buy a bigger piggy bank.
6. 1/5 of the population is foreign born, making it the country's most diverse city after Toronto
It's unclear exactly how much of that 20% is made up of Americans who stuck around after killing it at the casinos.
7. Prostitution is legal(ish)
But before you start identifying the ATMs that don’t charge extra fees on foreign cards, know that there are still some pretty basic regulations in place (i.e. your rendezvous can’t happen in public).
8. So are Cuban cigars, rum, and more authentic absinthe
9. Shockingly illegal? Flutes.
Bad news for those flutists who were planning to serenade the streets of Windsor to the tune of, say "O Canada" or one of Rush’s deep cuts -- it is illegal to play a mouth instrument in Windsor’s public spaces... kinda like their rules on prostitution. Heyo! But never fear -- you can still be THAT guy, just with a guitar instead
10. There’s a mysterious hum
If the US somehow hadn’t done enough over the years to annoy Canada, we have certainly managed to get the attention of Windsorites with the vibrations of Zug Island; you know, that island in the river with all the charms of a would-be love child should Chernobyl and Gotham City ever procreate. Residents of one Windsor neighborhood reported a strange-yet-maddening hum beginning in the summer of 2011. All signs point to the hum emanating from Zug.
11. It has the best Italian restaurants. For real.
Windsor’s Little Italy district is equal parts quaint, authentic, and touristic. Between 1920 and 1930, the number of Italian immigrants in Windsor tripled, bringing with them culinary traditions that have stood the test of time.
12. Canadians really are that polite. Like, almost unsettlingly polite.
But don’t get used to it. The US Border Patrol will be there to take you off your happy little maple-leaf emblazoned cloud and put you right back in your place.
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