How a painted Ford City crosswalk tells a story about Windsor's past and present

A new, hand-painted crosswalk in Ford City is a nod to the area's industrial history and current revitalization.

Julie Hall designed and painted the crosswalk on the west side of Drouillard Road

View the first hand-painted crosswalk in the City of Windsor

6 days ago
Duration 0:52
The Ford City Business Improvement Association has installed the first hand-painted crosswalk in the City of Windsor. The Crosswalk titles "Plant 1" is an acknowledgment of Ford Canada headquarters and assembly plant on riverside drive that was demolished in 1970.

A new, hand-painted crosswalk in Ford City is a nod to the area's industrial history and current revitalization.

The crosswalk, installed through the Ford City BIA, can be found on the west side of Drouillard Road, crossing Whelpton Street.

Artist Julie Hall designed and painted the piece earlier this week.

Speaking with CBC Radio's Windsor Morning on Thursday, Hall described it as an informal grid that features a palette of  muted and vintage-inspired colours.

"Each panel has a black graphic on top that recognizes some of the plant species that I was inspired by for this piece," she said.

Those species, she said, are the ones she spotted while checking out the site of the original Ford Canada facility on Riverside Drive East, which was demolished in 1970. 

LISTEN: Artist Julie Hall on her crosswalk design 
Artist Julie Hall speaks with CBC Windsor Morning host Nav Nanwa about hand-painting a new crosswalk in Ford City.

She sees a connection between those plants sprouting up in a former industrial space and the community of Ford City.

"I think...the first plants to sort of populate an area are brave, right? They're the first ones in there, and it's a story to me of resilience, co-existence, remediation or recuperation, and it also acknowledges our industrial legacy and our natural history as well."

The new crosswalk, located at the west side of Drouillard Road crossing Whelpton Street, was painted on May 9 and 10 by Julie Hall. (Darrin DiCarlo/CBC)

Along with creating visual interest, Hall said she wanted the crosswalk to make pedestrians feel welcome, and the area to feel walkable.

According to the BIA, it's the first hand-painted crosswalk in the city.

Ford City BIA Chair Shane Potvin said the piece brings vibrance to an area that already has a good showing of public art.

"I think this just adds another layer to that," he said.

The piece got positive reviews from those who spoke with CBC News in the area on Thursday.

"I think it's wonderful. I think it really livens up the corner," said Sandra Prince. 

"I've never seen something like that before but it's really nice and [I] hope to see a lot more of it," said Brett Prince.

With files from Darrin Di Carlo and Windsor Morning


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