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City To Celebrate Hiram Walker’s 206th Birthday With Two-Day Festival, Unveiling Of Sculpture And More

Tuesday June 28th, 2022, 9:00am


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The Canada Day long weekend will bring the Hiram Walker 206th Birthday Celebration to Windsor’s historic Walkerville neighbourhood.

In 2016, in honour of Walker’s 200th birthday, the city announced plans to commission a larger-than-life bronze sculpture commemorating Walker and his contributions to the community. Sculptors Mark and Laura Williams signed on to create the statue and its base of whisky barrels. Later, the City began construction of a new Hiram Walker Parkette to showcase the sculpture at the southeast corner of Devonshire Road at Riverside Drive East as a neighbourhood gateway under the Walkerville Districting Plan. The City postponed the unveiling from 2020 to 2021, and finally to this year due to COVID-19 pandemic precautions.

Now, the celebration dates have been set. On Friday, July 1st, and Saturday, July 2nd, the City of Windsor is partnering with the Walkerville Business Improvement Association (BIA) to host the Hiram Walker 206th Birthday Celebration and the Walkerville Art Walk.

The two-day celebration will feature a wide array of activities, including the sculpture unveiling, the grand opening of a new historical exhibition, street closures, heritage walking tours, a children’s village, family activities, vendors, artists and artisans, live music, antique automobiles, and a fundraiser dinner to cap it all off.

Walkerville Art Walk

Friday, July 1st, from 4pm to 10pm and Saturday, July 2nd, from 10am to 7pm.

Friday street closures: Wyandotte Street from Gladstone Avenue to Devonshire Road.

Saturday street closures: Wyandotte Street from Gladstone Avenue to Argyle Road, and Devonshire Road from Riverside Drive to Wyandotte Street.

Everyone is invited to enjoy vendors, artists and artisans, musicians, activities, patios and more. This year’s vendors include Border City Custom Prints, Walkerville Candles, What’s Poppin’ Popcorn Factory, Terra Green, Sweet Moments Cookie Co., The Art Lab, Gagne Illustrations, and many more! The full list of 40-plus vendors can be found at online.

“Hiram’s Heritage” Barrel Finished Scotch Ale

Available as of Friday, July 1st
Walkerville Brewery, 525 Argyle Road
In describing their special limited edition brew, Mike Brkovich of The Walkerville Brewery says, “This traditional style scotch ale is small batch brewed and bottled by hand. It is finished in once used oak whisky barrels. The final beer is unfiltered, smooth drinking with dark roast and biscuit flavours on the palate and nose. A modern homage to our founder Hiram’s heritage. It will be available exclusively at The Walkerville Brewery in 500-milliletre commemorative bottles.”

Hiram Walker Commemorative Statue Unveiling

Saturday, July 2nd, at 10am
New Hiram Walker Parkette (Devonshire Road at Riverside Drive East)
Celebrate the official unveiling of the new larger-than-life bronze sculpture of Hiram Walker. The work of art was created by Mark and Laura Williams, and cast in bronze by John Vickers at Hopper Foundry.

Hiram Walker 206th Birthday Celebration Street Festival

Saturday, July 2nd, from 10am to 7pm
The City’s ShowMobile main entertainment stage will feature guests from Windsor’s Poet Laureate & Storytellers Program, and live music from Leave Those Kids Alone, Crissi Cochrane, Tara Watts, Abridged Opera, and The Rum Runners 1920s Band.

J.P. Wiser’s Distillery will run public tours of their facility, where guests can experience the story of Canadian whisky – from its vibrant history to the craftsmanship and process behind making it. Tour-takers will have an opportunity to sample some of the distillery’s award-winning whiskies, including J.P. Wiser’s Deluxe, Lot No. 40 Rye Whisky, Pike Creek 10 Year, Rum Barrel Finish, and J.P. Wiser’s 15 Year Old. Advance bookings are highly recommended. All tour details and bookings are at online.

Beam Suntory – Canadian Club Whisky will be part of the festivities in honour of the birthday of founding father Hiram Walker. They’ll be offering Canadian Club 1858 and the Canadian Club Classic 12 Year whiskies as well as the Canadian Club Ready-to-Drink, which mixes the award-winning whisky brand with fresh ginger to create a lighter drink.

The Children’s Activity Village on Devonshire Road will have birthday cupcakes and custom Hiram Walker celebration top hats (both available while supplies last), the WINDSOR Sign set up for photos; a children’s activity from the Windsor Sculpture Park Conservation students; Museum Windsor games, vintage toys, and Walkerville Heritage Walking Tours (11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.); Mickey and Minnie roaming characters; Ted Paints Faces face-painting; inflatables including the wiggle riders race track and basketball net; the Art Lab Slime Bar; roaming character actors from the Rum Runners Tour; the Islamic Circle of North America Sisters booth; classic cars, including Model T’s from the Canadian Transportation Museum and Heritage Village parked for photos; and 25 local Windsor-Essex makers and artists showcasing and selling their work in connection with day two of the Walkerville Art Walk.

Over on Wyandotte Street, 42 local makers and artisans will be lining the street for the Walkerville Art Walk, with Walkerville BIA businesses extending their storefronts, and restaurants operating patios. The Walkerville Brewery on Argyle Road will offer a Beer Garden, including live music, delicious eats, and the limited edition “Hiram’s Heritage” Scotch Ale.

Friends of Willistead Memorial Gathering at St. Mary’s Cemetery

Saturday, July 2nd, at 11:30am
St. Mary’s Anglican Cemetery, 1983 Mary’s Gate Street

The Friends of Willistead will bring flowers and wreaths, and lead a short memorial tribute at the graves of Edward Chandler Walker and his wife Mary. The Walkers built Willistead Manor between 1904 and 1906. In naming the estate, Edward commemorated his older brother Willis, who had died some years before. Edward and Mary lived in Willistead Manor together for a short time until his death in 1915. Five years later, the Walker Family deeded Willistead Manor to the town of Walkerville. Mary Walker left the Manor and never returned. Edward and Mary were both born in Detroit, found each other and married, travelled the world together and are buried next to each other in Walkerville.

Tours of Willistead Manor & The New Coach House Exhibition

Saturday, July 2nd, from 2pm to 4pm.  Tours are free.
Willistead Manor & Coach House, 1899 Niagara Street

Experience the story of a family that shaped a community. Learn about the history of Hiram Walker, the formation of Walkerville, Edward and Mary Walker, Willistead Manor, and much more in this new and permanent Coach House exhibition designed by HCA Mindbox, and supported by The Merinoff Foundation, the Walker descendants, Willistead Manor Inc., the Friends of Willistead, and the City of Windsor. Visitors can also tour Willistead Manor, which is re-opening its doors for public tours for the first time since the start of the pandemic.


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