Windsor celebrates oldest living residents for 125th birthday

At age 102, Ovile Lesperance is one of 34 centenarians being honoured by the city this year as officials celebrate Windsor’s 125th birthday.

Ovil Lesperance, 102, was still in high school when the Ambassador Bridge was being built

On Tuesday, Mayor Drew Dilkens visited 102-year-old Ovil Lesperance, one of 34 centenarians being celebrated this year during Windsor's 125th birthday. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Ovil Lesperance was a budding teenager at Assumption high school, while workers were still constructing the Ambassador Bridge, which wouldn't open until 1929.

At age 102, he is one of 34 centenarians being honoured by the city this year as officials celebrate Windsor's 125th birthday.

On Tuesday, Mayor Drew Dilkens popped in to see Lesperance, who still lives in the home he built in 1948 next to the Roseland golf course.

"You've witnessed change and progress. You are a living link to our history and an important part of who we are today," Dilkens said during his visit.

Lesperance retired from bus driving in 1965. He has four children, 13 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

The mayor went through Lesperance's high school yearbook and listened to stories about how the city changed over the past 100 years.

The retired bus driver recalled how he and a friend hitchhiked from Detroit to Chicago in the 1930s to go to the World's Fair. They walked most of the night, but eventually made it.

"One of the rides we had, the guy had a gun on the floor beside him," Lesperance said.

Dilkens plans to visit as many of the centenarians as he can this year, having similar conversations with them, hoping to celebrate the people who helped form the city.

Because Lesperance is a big Windsor Spitfires junior hockey fan, the mayor gave him a championship hat earned when the team won the Memorial Cup.