The McDougall Street Corridor in Windsor, Ontario is a historic Black community that emerged during the mid-nineteenth century as a refuge for freedom seekers and free people of colour escaping enslavement and oppression through the Underground Railroad. The thriving community in the city’s core founded churches, businesses, social clubs, halls, and a credit union and found creative ways to combat discrimination while providing services they were often denied elsewhere. However, housing segregation persisted until the 1960s, and Windsor’s urban renewal policies destroyed many social and familial bonds, leading to the loss of Black property ownership, independence, and organizing power.
“We Were Here: Bringing the Stories of Windsor’s McDougall Street Corridor to Life” is a placemaking project funded by the University of Windsor and Fed Dev Ontario (Government of Canada), highlighting the archival research of UWindsor Masters in History student Willow Key and supported by a collaborative of the Essex County Black Historical Research Society (ECBHRS), the Leddy Library, the Centre for Cities (C4C), Parallel 42 Systems, and the UWindsor School of Creative Arts (SOCA). Today, visitors can take a walking tour of the McDougall Corridor to learn about the community’s rich history, which includes Landrum Hall & Frontier Social Club, the Walker House Hotel, and the Mercer Street School, among other notable landmarks, and explore the online resources.
McDougall Corridor Walking Tour