Windsor council to erect statue in Sandwich roundabout despite resident concerns

Council voted unanimously in favour of building the roundabout. In a separate vote, councillors also approved the towering bronze statue be placed in its centre, despite the protests of residents.

Due to the statue's height one resident worries statue will show off too much of the horse's anatomy

The City of Windsor Heritage Committee approved a proposed roundabout at Sandwich Street and University Avenue despite concerns from community members it could cause more car crashes. (City of Windsor Heritage Committee)

A massive statue of General Isaac Brock and Chief Tecumseh will crown a roundabout at the entrance of the historic Sandwich neighbourhood, despite concerns it will be unsafe, inaccessible and could make the neighbourhood look like the back end of a horse.

City councillors voted unanimously in favour of building the roundabout Monday night. In a separate vote, the politicians also approved the towering bronze statue be placed in its centre, despite the protests of residents.

Citizens, including Sandwich Improvement Area chairperson Mary Ann Cuderman, argued the towering sculpture should be placed in Patterson Park, rather than the nearby intersection of Sandwich Street and University Avenue.

Anatomy lesson over history

The main arguments against the roundabout location were the possibility of a distraction for drivers and the fact students wouldn't be able to easily approach the statue to learn more about it.

Resident David Hanna raised a different perspective. Due to its height, he said people staring at the art piece might end up with a biology lesson rather than a history one.

"Putting the statue on such a high plinth will allow all people to see the horses, um, anatomy, rather than the detail of the work itself," he explained.

Cuderman, along with other residents, imagined the statue in Patterson Park as part of a walking tour where people could learn more about the neighbourhood's history in peace.

'It's an attack on our heritage'​

Sandwich resident Terrence Kennedy also weighed in, describing the proposed roundabout location as "disgusting" and an "attack on our heritage.

But council members, including Mayor Drew Dilkens, argued it would better serve as a centrepiece that draws visitors into the area.

"This is going to be a spectacular addition," he said, adding the sculpture could be vandalized if left in a park.

Dilkens also referenced the wishes of the late John Muir, a prominent Sandwich community member who started the statue project.

Muir's hope was always to have the artwork in a roundabout, according to the mayor.

Statue will be a landmark

The statue of Major-General Isaac Brock and Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, the leaders who captured Fort Detroit, was created by sculptor Mark Williams.

Coun. John Elliott said by placing the statue of Brock and Tecumseh at the centre of a roundabout in Sandwich it will become a landmark to draw in visitors. (Aadel Haleem/CBC)

Coun. John Elliott, who made the motion to place the sculpture in the roundabout, had to fight to have his voice heard over unhappy constituents as he stated the location would draw drivers into the neighbourhood.

"I like it as a landmark piece," he said. "It's an introduction to Sandwich."