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  1. #1

    Default Has anyone relocated from Toronto to Windsor?

    I am thinking of relocating from Toronto to Windsor.

    I am in my 30's, single and own my own business so looking for a job won't be an issue.

    I am looking at Windsor for its lower cost of living, less congested environment, taking courses at University of Windsor and of course, easy access to Detroit (Tigers games, concerts in particular).

    I would probably move to Detroit itself but am not American so need to stay in Canada. I plan to get a NEXUS pass.

    I was thinking of looking for housing in either Riverside or South Windsor.

    I was wondering if anyone can share their experience of living in Windsor, crossing into Detroit for cultural events, shopping, etc and in particular anyone who has relocated from Toronto.
    Last edited by Toronto99; January-25-10 at 06:12 PM.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toronto99 View Post
    I am thinking of relocating from Toronto to Windsor.

    I am in my 30's, single and own my own business so looking for a job won't be an issue.

    I am looking at Windsor for its lower cost of living, less congested environment, taking courses at University of Windsor and of course, easy access to Detroit (Tigers games, concerts in particular).

    I would probably move to Detroit itself but am not American so need to stay in Canada. I plan to get a NEXUS pass.

    I was thinking of looking for housing in either Riverside or South Windsor.

    I was wondering if anyone can share their experience of living in Windsor, crossing into Detroit for cultural events, shopping, etc and in particular anyone who has relocated from Toronto.
    I used to work in Toronto. I couldn't stand the outrageous real estate prices and the unbearable traffic. Windsor is so convenient for everything. This is area is a million times better overall than the GTA. You'll like living here. I moved down to Windsor four years ago to go in business for myself investing in real estate. I am also a realtor. PM me if you need help finding a place in Windsor.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for your quick response Dave.

    I was wondering if you could fill me in on the overall feeling amongst the people of Windsor these days.

    Obviously I know the state of the economy and unemployment rate, I read a real sad feature on the economy of Windsor in the Toronto Star a year ago and its effect on the people...but what its like for you on a day to day basis. I guess I don't want to move into an area where everyone is depressed...but who knows, the economy here is doing okay but everyone in this city is pretty miserable.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toronto99 View Post
    Thanks for your quick response Dave.

    I was wondering if you could fill me in on the overall feeling amongst the people of Windsor these days.

    Obviously I know the state of the economy and unemployment rate, I read a real sad feature on the economy of Windsor in the Toronto Star a year ago and its effect on the people...but what its like for you on a day to day basis. I guess I don't want to move into an area where everyone is depressed...but who knows, the economy here is doing okay but everyone in this city is pretty miserable.
    Windsor and Metro Detroit is all about who you know and what circles you hang around with. You can experience everything Toronto has in this area. You can go to Somerset Mall in Troy (a suburb of Metro Detroit) and spend 15 minutes to find parking just to see the exact same stores you'd see on Rodeo Drive and spend $950.00 on one dress shirt at Nieman Marcus. Bob Zuckelman, a Windsor resident, returned his $1.75m Veyron to the Bugatti dealership in Troy a few months ago because it was a 2008 not 2009. Every day, you'll probably see one Ferrari owner whipping around the corner. Windsor has golf courses that charge a $40,000 initiation fee, yacht clubs that charge $20,000 to join, and there's also publicly owned ones that are a lot less. You have as many wineries in the area as the Niagara Region. You have the second largest bowling alley in Windsor. Canada's largest indoor paintball arena in Windsor. Amazing parks. Tonnes of nighclubs Lot's of classical architecture. A beautiful riverfront. It has everything. It's probably the most poorly marketed city in the country.

    There's lots of people who are doing very well in this city and there's lots who are not. If you hang around with welfare cases in downtown, you're gonna get depressed. If you live in Gundy Park, South Windsor or Russell Woods, Tecumseh, you're gonna meet the right kind of people and have a much better experience. It's the same everywhere. It's all about the people you choose to associate with which will determine the kind of experience you're gonna get from this area. Metro Detroit/Windsor has over 5million people. They continue to live in this area because it has something for everyone.

  5. #5

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    Seriously, hit me up if you come down here and I'll give you a tour of the area I'm in my mid 30s too. I think we're very much alike.

  6. #6

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    Thanks Dave, I really appreciate your offer.

  7. #7

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    While I certainly don't have the insights of a Windsor resident like Dave, I've lived in the Toronto area the past 30 years after growing up for 20 yrs half way between Windsor and Toronto.
    I always dreamed of moving/retiring to the Windsor area because of the reasons you mentioned. You get the best of both worlds - small town Ont. with big city amenities at your doorstep. Housing is incredibly cheap. A ranch bungalow in any Toronto suburb is easily twice the cost.
    On the downside, Windsor's downtown, like many others in Ont.-Hamilton, St. Catharines, Brantford, etc. has really taken a hit. Where some downtowns have replaced traditional retail with coffee shops, boutiques, etc. Windsor is basically just a few banks and bars now. The casino has hurt far more than it has helped the streetscape. I used to play tennis at a great indoor/outdoor club on the Huron Church Road that has disappeared, no doubt partly due to the economy.
    If you're a baseball fan though, Detroit has always had it way over Toronto, which is definitely not a baseball town, partly due to that concrete bunker they play in.
    While Toronto, like Chicago, may be great to visit, it's getting a little overwelming to live in. Good luck with your decision.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    2,260

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    I don't live in Windsor, but I was impressed with this neighborhood when I visited it:

    http://walkervilletimes.com/virtual-tour/tour1-hw.html

  9. #9

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    VERY interesting thread for me too...My spouse got a job in Detroit area, and I commute to visit on weekends from Toronto. We are thinking to live on the Windsor side as well..but don't know if I want to leave Toronto. I really enjoy spending time in Detroit...and would move there (selling my Toronto home would get me a great house there)..but of course I can't do that because I am Canadian. I have seen articles in the Toronto Star saying that The Windsor area is a great place to settle, because the weather is so much better than anywhere else in Ontario. I wonder if the boarder was more open and allowed Canadians to settle on the Detroit side, and travel back home to work, if it would help bring more investing into the area to help.

  10. #10

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    I didn't realize that all of downtown were welfare bums? Surprising because of the 5,500 people that call downtown their home quite a few are way above the average income.

    There are some very nice places to live within the downtown area whether you want house or condo living. But there are some sketchy areas as well. You will know them when you see them.

    Windsordave is right about all of the positives in Windsor andjust how poorly it is marketed (shame on you Gordon Orr and shame onboth the county ahd city councils for their constant infighting).

    It all depends on what youwant. If you want a nice older house then try Riverside, Walkerville and parts of downtown.
    If you want mid century living (ranch houses) then S. Windsor is it as are parts of Riverside.
    If you want bland raised ranches (houses attached to garages) then the 'burbs are for you.

  11. #11

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    Thanks Goat...to start I would probably be looking at a condo in a newer building...I know the high rises are downtown but are there low rise condo units away from downtown you can think of?

  12. #12

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    I'd like to relocate from Detroit to Toronto.........

  13. #13

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    Davewindsor, if you're not on the Windsor welcoming committee, you should be. Good stuff.

  14. #14

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    Welcome to Windsor-Detroit! You will be joining a great metropolitan community as big as the one you are leaving and will have all its amenities for far less the cost. There are some incredible housing bargains near the shore just east of downtown near the art museum. Goat knows all about those.

    Walkerville is also a delightful setting with solid architecturally interesting housing and charming shops and restaurants. Walkervillepub can fill you in on that end of town. Windsor also has some great living areas around the University and nearby Sandwich.

    Once settled, you will be a 2-3 km from major leagues sports venues, fabulous art and cultural institutions and great night life.

  15. #15

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    If you are from Toronto and have purchased real estate in the last ten years- you won the lottery! Sell your place, move down here and enjoy the benefits of one of the cheapest places to live in Canada.

    As the head of the Downtown Windsor BIA I take great exception to the comments about "downtown welfare bums" -WTF does that come from? While our downtown certainly has vacancy issues, welfare bums are certainly not a problem at all.

    Ask fiddler extraordinaire Ashley MacIsaac- he just moved here and he could theoretically live anywhere on the planet- as Lowell said, my neighbourhood, Walkerville, is an idyllic 19th century company town with beautiful homes at stupid prices- check out my website listed above for anything you need to know about Walkerville:

    www.walkervilletimes.com

    There is a movement of folks migrating here from TO- you can buy a house for $100,000 near the aforementioned RiverWalk, fix it up and you are good to go.

    Take the 100 mile peninsula challenge; this is for retirees but is instructive:

    http://www.retirehere.ca

    http://www.yourhome.ca/homes/realest...draws-retirees

  16. #16

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    Along with WalkervillePub's great www.walkervilletimes.com I encourage you to immerse yourself in Andrew in Windsor's http://www.internationalmetropolis.com/.

    Between the two you will have the skinny on a great city.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by GOAT View Post
    I didn't realize that all of downtown were welfare bums? Surprising because of the 5,500 people that call downtown their home quite a few are way above the average income.
    I hope you're not putting words in my mouth. I never said "welfare bums"; I said welfare cases. Most of the geared to income high rises run by Windsor Social housing are in downtown, ex. 920 Ouellette, Cencourse, Glengarry Towers, etc.. Social services has been consolidated to mostly.400 city hall square. There's the downtown YMCA, Good Fellows, Downtown Mission, the Salvation army housing, the Methadone clinic on University, etc. People on welfare are going to mostly congregate around where the city sets up social services infrastructure and that's mostly in downtown. This is part of what makes it a very challenging area. Even though downtown has a lot of commercial vacancies, I have nothing against downtown personally. In fact, I own quite a few buildings in downtown. I live in the outskirts of downtown too. If you see all the welfare cases at Tim Horton's, McDonald;s or around downtown, it can get pretty depressing and I've heard a lot of out of towners tell me how much the City of Windsor sucks even though the only place they checked out while passing through Windsor was downtown on their way to the casino or tunnel.

    They never went to Devonshire Mall or Tecumseh Mall or another area of Windsor that would give them a completely different story. The parking lot is almost filled at Devonshire Mall. All the stores are rented. You walk into the Chapter's/Mall entrance and there's a bulletin board with dozen's of help wanted ads for different stores in the mall. People are well dressed. You go to the Keg Steakhouse on a Friday night for a $40 steak and it's packed chair to chair . A completely different story of Windsor than from what you'd get driving around downtown Windsor..

  18. #18

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    yo ive lived in Windsor for some time now. Like said above, there is some evident 'welfare' people down town but its not a big problem. Downtown is a dense area, of course there is going to be that type there. Though there is also nice areas downtown, good middle class section, take a drive down Victoria street, you'll start to understand. Denonshire mall is always filled. Go down south on walker road, what do you see? A host of new businesses coming up, got a good coscto, best buy, future shop all down there. You'l find something you like in Windsor, its a diverse town physically and demographically.

  19. #19

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    davewindsor...fair enough.

    Low rise condos? There not that many in the city. I think Colonade at the Park on Riverside Dr. just east of Walkerville might be a place. Also there is a school that is now lofts on Irvine St (St. Genevieve lofts) as well as a few smaller apartment buildings on Riverside Dr with a great view of downtown Detroit.

    Should you ever want a tour of Windsor there are many people on this site that would show you some very nice places to live (or a realtor who knows Windsor. Some just know the 'burbs).

    As Walkerpub stated. You will get more living our of Windsor $$$ wise than you can in T.O. The cost of living here is quite low compared to T.O. I know of a few people who have sold their houses in T.O. to settle inthis region. Their houses in E York went for approx. $325,000. They bought a house here for $110,000 (some paid $160,000) and still had cash to spend.

  20. #20

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    Thanks to everyone for your feedback, I am continuing to do research on the Windsor region and will come back with additional questions.

  21. #21

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    From the Windsor Star on 1/27:

    Windsor is turning the economic corner thanks to major construction projects and a revived auto industry, says a national economic outlook issued Wednesday.
    The region’s economy is expected to grow 2.6 per cent this year — the first expansion in four years, says the Conference Board of Canada’s latest metropolitan outlook.
    It will be a modest but steady climb over the next four years as Windsor regains its foothold with annual economic growth of 2.7 to 4.1 per cent, the report says.
    The numbers look small, but the optimism is huge among business owners who’ve hung on through the worst and see prosperity on the horizon, said Ed Miles, treasurer for the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce.
    “When you’ve been knocked down so far it’s easy to come back, but I think we’re going to look back and say 2010 was an excellent year,” he said. “It’s an excellent year to buy a house. It’s an excellent year to invest in a business.”
    Miles, a Windsor chartered accountant for the past 20 years, said he is hearing the signals from clients that the region’s growth could surpass the Conference Board’s predictions.
    “All the main economic factors for us are headed upward,” he said.
    The one disheartening message from the board’s outlook is that unemployment will remain high, dropping from 14 per cent in 2009 to an average of 11 per cent this year, he said.
    Between 2006 and 2009 the region lost almost 10,000 jobs and a record 2,000 residents a year. The Conference Board predicts the unemployment rate will drop to eight per cent by 2014 and the region’s population will start to grow again after 2011.
    There is more work to be done, said Coun. Bill Marra, who has been calling for the last year for the region to unite to produce a 15- to 20-year economic master plan.
    But the conference board outlook is a good psychological boost, he said.
    “There are some good news signs out there and I think there’s reason for optimism,” Marra said. “(Wednesday’s) news will be very welcome and, hopefully, create a little bit of momentum for people to look twice — maybe even three times — to this part of the country for investment. We’re primed for that kind of investment. When you look a the cost of doing business here in Windsor-Essex, I think it’s attractive.”
    That combined with economic stimulus provided by the provincial and federal governments in the past year, will payoff with jobs in construction and new green energy enterprises that opened their doors in 2009, says the Conference Board.
    “Recent announcements are very good. I think we’re making some good decisions municipally ourselves, but we really need to focus on creating a master plan,” Marra said.
    Miles agreed that having a regional plan will be helpful in attracting new businesses and jobs.
    “Anywhere that’s been put in place it’s been seen to be successful,” he said.
    Windsor won’t be alone when it comes to improving its economic fortunes, as cities across Canada are poised to do this year.
    Winter Olympics host Vancouver is standing at the top of the heap, according to the Conference Board. After contracting 1.8 per cent in 2009, Vancouver’s economy is expected to grow 4.5 per cent in 2010.
    “Vancouver is poised for a substantial rebound,” said Mario Lefebvre, the board’s director of municipal studies. “In addition to the boost provided by the Olympic Winter Games, housing construction and consumer spending are forecast to rebound strongly this year.”
    The board echoes the Bank of Canada in forecasting the national GDP will rise in 2010 by 2.9 per cent.
    After Vancouver, the economies of Toronto and Kitchener will show the most impressive growth in 2010 at 3.5 and 3.3 per cent, respectively.
    The manufacturing sector — forecast to grow in Toronto for the first time since 2005 — will be a key factor in the growth of several Ontario cities’ economies, the Conference Board says.
    Auto manufacturing will play a part in a projected 3.2 per cent GDP growth in Oshawa along with an expected doubling of housing starts from 2009 levels, the report says.
    A “modest” rebound in the high-technology sector will help Ottawa-Gatineau achieve 3.2 per cent growth.
    Edmonton and Calgary, which both experienced their first downturn in more than a decade in 2009, will bounce back in 2010. The board forecasts population growth and housing starts will help Edmonton to post growth of 3.2 per cent next year, while construction and retail sales should help Calgary’s economy grow by three per cent.
    Halifax, which topped the rankings as one of the few cities to post growth in 2009, is expected to once again post economic growth in 2010, with consumer spending and manufacturing boosting GDP by 2.4 per cent.

  22. #22

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    yup... i made the move east up the 401 almost two years now and windsor/detroit, like anywhere else in the world, is what you make of it. what are your expectations?
    sounds like you want d'town... if you are looking for liveability look to walkerville, do a search for club lofts, right up the street from the market. if you want a place to puke... try tecumseh, lasalle or even south windsor. rule of thumb... keep within 4km of the river if you want to stay sane.
    living there in my formative years could not have been better. every weekend in detroit, come back to windsor for sanity... best of both worlds. immersion in both cultures couldn't have been more perfect! living in toronto (canada) has really made me appreciate the windsor/detroit experience! the temperament of a canadian with a lil' american edge and not having to grow up with crappy canadian pop culture!
    as far toronto/windsor... the ethnic mix is the same in windsor as t.o. , just that the restaurants are half the price! forget the t.o. political correctness... blue collar all the way baby! like the tragically hip? say goodbye (and good riddance)... that goes for aprilwine, kim mitchell, chilliwack, lighthouse and other cancon pap! public transportation?!?! bring your car! historic buildings?!?! you are going to the library my friend, as windsor has sent that to the landfill (walkerville excepted try as they may).
    i suggest you cash in your chips (get used to casino lingo)... if you are selling in toronto... live like a king in windsor/detroit move back to t.o. after the bubble bursts if you no like!

    good luck!!!

  23. #23

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    Thanks for the bump. I have not made a trip yet to Windsor since my original posting but have spent more time online.

    The condos on the river look fine. I also like the ranch houses in South Windsor. I could buy a whole house for half the cost of living in a crummy one bedroom box in Toronto.

    Can you guys talk a bit about outdoor opportunities in the city proper, specifically bike paths and parks.

    Also what do you think in the long term economic outlook for Windsor in light of the collapse of the auto industry.

  24. #24

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    I'm the OP...after a 1.5 years of my original post still stuck in expensive, cramped Toronto but still considering Windsor. I've taken a couple trips the past while to Windsor/Detroit....love the area. Friendly people, laid back, lots to do, big fan of Ann Arbor. Just a fantastic, diverse region.
    Last edited by Toronto99; July-23-11 at 08:28 AM.

  25. #25

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    Then come on and move already! Don't be too late and miss all the cheap housing that exists. Inventory levels are already diminishing.

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