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Arts & Culture

Art Gallery of Windsor
401 RIverside Drive West
(519) 977-0013
AGW Website

The Art Gallery of Windsor collects, conserves, interprets, and presents Canadian art. It is a place to view significant works of art by local, regional, and national artists; a place to see what Canadians have been making and thinking about for longer than Canada has been a country. The AGW is a valuable cultural resource for the Windsor area, and provides the special service of showcasing Canadian art in a city that has the busiest border crossing between Canada and the United States.

The Art Gallery of Windsor began in 1943 in Willistead Manor, where exhibitions borrowed from other galleries and organizations could be displayed. Incorporated in 1944, the Gallery soon began building its own collection and presenting exhibitions and education programs. The AGW moved into a renovated brewery warehouse on the riverfront in 1975, gradually earning its status as one of Ontario's most significant galleries. The Gallery temporarily relocated to the Devonshire Mall in 1993, when its Board of Directors made the decision to rent its riverfront location to the Province of Ontario. Bringing the Gallery into the mall has moved art a little closer to the world that inspires it. In shopper's paradise the Gallery offers one of those few things in life you do not need to purchase in order to possess. In 2001, the AGW returned to its former downtown waterfront site by way of a new building -- a state-of-the-art facility by which the AGW can reassert its presence in downtown Windsor.

The Gallery's collection is made up of over 3000 works of art, including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures, illustrations, and videos. All works are relevant to our Canadian cultural heritage, and cover the period from about 1750 through to the present day. The collection is particularly strong in late 19th-century Canadian painting and in works of early 20th-century Canadian modernism. Through our acquisitions program, we add an average of 50 works per year. The Gallery presents a comprehensive installation of its collection through changing exhibitions.


Artcite Inc.
109 University West
(519) 977-6564
Artcite Website

Incorporated in 1982, Artcite Inc is Windsor's only artist-run centre dedicated exclusively to the presentation and promotion of contemporary and experimental art forms. Artcite Inc maintains a balanced and diverse program of visual art exhibitions and events, including: performance, film and video screenings, artist's lectures and workshops, and presentations of experimental music and interdisciplinary art production. The organization is directed by a volunteer Board, staff and voting members, the majority of whom are working artists of various disciplines. Artcite Inc has been a focal point of the arts community since we opened our doors in 1982. The only gallery in Windsor committed solely to the presentation of contemporary artforms, Artcite Inc fills a need within the community that speaks of its accessibility and value to the public at large.

Currently located in Windsor's burgeoning downtown core, Artcite Inc strives to present new and experimental art and exhibitions that are politically and socially engaged; changing monthly exhibits in the gallery space showcase a variety of local, regional, national and international artists. During our 20 years of operations, Artcite Inc has featured diverse emerging and reknowned visual artists, collectives, performers, critics & curators.


Capitol Theatre
121 University West

Managing Director (519) 973-1238

Windsor Symphony Orchestra Administration Office: (519) 973-7238 

The Capitol Theatre was built by Marcus Loew of Loew's Vaudeville Theatres and opened on December 31, 1920.  Designed by prolific theatre architect Thomas White Lamb, the "modern" single floor theatre took on his trademark stye of Adam-Empire. The theatre was financed through both common shares and preferred shares, which were purcahsed by approximately 800 Windsorites.

After several years of success and increased competition, the theatre was leased to Famous Players Corporation, who purchased it in 1929. 

The theatre went under serious rennovations in the summer of 1932 and again in 1949, but it continued to be a landmark in downtown Windsor. The advent of the multiplex and high operating costs eventually caused the permanent closure of of the theatre in April 1989.

In 1989, the Mady Development Corporation purchased the building but closed after a short period of time. 

At threats of demolishing the building to build a parking garage, The Arts Council of Windsor and Region leased the building with the option to purchase. In 1993, Mayor Mike Hurst and Windsor City Council voted to provide funds to purchase the theatre. Thus, the Capitol Theatre and Arts Centre, a self-funded public trust to operate the theatre, was born.

After extensive rennovations, the theatre re-opened with a Gala-event on September 8, 1995 and became a Heritage Site under the Ontario Heritage Act in April 2000.

The Capitol Theatre and Arts Centre is now the home of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra!   


Chrysler Theatre
20 Riverside Drive
(519) 252-6579
Chrysler Theatre Website

  Brief Timeline
1957 - Construction of the "Cleary Auditorium" begins.  Money for the auditorium was donated by the family of the late Francis Cleary, former lawyer, mayor of Windsor (from 1883-1885) and president of the Essex County Historical Society.  Mr. Cleary left funds to the city, provided they would be used for a civic auditorium and guest house, to highlight our spectacular riverfront view.
1960 - The "Cleary Auditorium" officially opens.
1960 - The Windsor Light Opera Association makes the Auditorium its permanent home.
1961 - The Windsor Symphony makes the Auditorium its permanent home.
1974 - Windsor's first "Carousel of Nations" festival.  Though most of the festival was held at St. Clair College's Patterson Campus, the weekend's finale featured a concert at the Cleary Auditorium with eighteen groups playing to an audience of over 800.
1989 - City begins renovations on the Cleary Auditorium.
1991 - October 1st, Renovations are completed on the new and improved "Cleary International Centre".  Though the majority of these renovations were funded at the federal and provincial levels, additional contributions were received from Chrysler Canada and the private sector, including a substantial gift from local industrialist/philanthropist Anthony P. Toldo.
2007 - March 9th, St. Clair College takes ownership of the Cleary International Centre, rebranding it the "St. Clair Centre for the Arts" (School of Media, Art and Design).  The move adds St. Clair's Music Theatre Program to the Chrysler Theatre's roster of local talent.

Why it exists...
The Cleary Auditorium was originally conceived as a place for community organizations to present their productions.  Until the construction of this civic auditorium, many of these performance groups held their shows at Walkerville Collegiate High School.  The building also houses a tremendous amount of convention space for weddings, conventions, business meetings and trade-shows.  
What you'll see...
As well as showcasing Windsor's artistic community (Rose City Rising Stars, The Dance Barre, Theatre Alive, Windsor Light Opera, Windsor Symphony Orchestra), the theatre is also used as a rental facility for touring acts.  In its fifty year history, the Cleary Auditorium/Chrysler Theatre has seen a cross section of big name performers.

Local Groups:  
Touring Dance Companies and other Performance Groups:  Ballet Jorgen, Barrage, Bowfire, Canadian Children's Dance Theatre, The Moscow Ballet, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
Musicians:  Tori Amos, Jann Arden, Barenaked Ladies, Pat Benetar, Blue Rodeo, Michael Bolton, Pat Boone, Alice Cooper, Chantel Kreviazuk, Englebert Humperdinck, Tom Jones, Gordon Lightfoot, Sarah MacLachlan, Rita MacNeil, Anne Murray, Wayne Newton, Donny Osmond, Jody Raffoul, Martha Reeves, Smokey Robinson, Rush, Frankie Valli, Roger Whittaker.
Comedians:  George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Gerry Dee, Phyllis Diller, Dereck Edwards, Andre-Phillippe Gagnon, Ron James, Bob Newhart, Don Rickles, The Second City Touring Company, The Smothers Brothers, The Trailer Park Boys, Weird Al Yankovich.
Children's Entertainment:  The Backyardigans, Bear in the Big Blue House, The Big Comfy Couch, The Doodlebops, Franklin the Turtle, Frenchstock, Little Bear, Fred Penner, The Wiggles. 


Windsor Community Museum
254 Pitt Street West
(519) 253 1812
WCM Website

Windsor's Community Museum has a wide array of collections documenting the rich history of Windsor and Essex County.

Artifacts: Over 15,000 artifacts are carefully stored in the Museum's underground storage facility (under the patio next to the Museum). The oldest artifacts, archaeological material, date from as early as 3,000 B.C. with the most recent being examples of local contemporary culture.

Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Postcards & Photographs: This collection depicts various scenes related to the history of Windsor & Essex County, such as archaeology, architecture, specific communities, industry, persons, transportation, etc.

Cartographic & Map Collection: This collection is a well-preserved series of maps dating from the mid-seventeenth century to the present. Many of the maps show patterns of land development, detailing such aspects as lot divisions, geographic features and proposed developments. The collection also includes Fire Insurance Plans, which detail site features and structure construction, dating from 1885.

Book Collection: The book collection may be accessed using Webcat but is intended for reference use only. The collection encompasses a wide variety of subject matter including local history, biographies and museology. Dozens of the Museum's books pertaining to local history are quite rare.

Archival Collection: The Museum has a large archival collection which may be accessed either through microfilm or microfiche. It contains a wide variety of documentation and is quite comprehensive in its coverage of the history of Windsor from the time of French settlement until the 1950s.


Windsor Symphony Orchestra

487 Ouellette Avenue
(519) 973-1238
WSO Website

The history of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra has spanned three generations, with its roots in the boom years of the 1940's to its present incarnation as the nation's most dynamic regional orchestra.

The Windsor Symphony Orchestra now reaches more listeners than in any time in its 60 year history. The WSO's commitment to excellence and consistent emphasis on education, and community outreach, have galvanized a new generation of music lovers in Windsor and Essex County and will continue to bring inspired music-making and notoriety to our region in the future.

Rich in tradition and vision, the WSO is recognized throughout Canada and North America. The 43-member Windsor Symphony Orchestra has a proven reputation for musical excellence and innovative programming. Its dynamic Music Director, John Morris Russell, recently signed a new five year contract that will extend his musical leadership of the orchestra through 2012. The WSO is looking forward to his continued musical leadership and his challenging, diverse and exciting orchestral programming for the next few years. The orchestra performs to critical and audience acclaim, as well as to full houses, at nearly every concert and now makes its home at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Windsor.



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