Being Mayor Today
Mayor Eddie Francis
one inescapable element that faces anyone who has the honour
of being chosen Mayor of Windsor and that’s responsibility.
though the proportions of the job are vastly different between
now and 1854, when the hamlet across the river from Detroit
officially became the incorporated Village of Windsor, many
of the challenges which faced our first Mayor, Samuel Macdonnell
and his Council, are not all that much different in principle
from those that face the Mayor and Council of the City of
Windsor in the year 2004.
of geography, our growth is confined to three points of the
compass instead of four. The Detroit River prevents us from
extending ourselves northward, and the river both divides
us from Detroit and Southeastern Michigan and links us to
the same time, the river is a natural boundary, a connection
for transport and communication, and sometimes, now as even
then, 150 years ago, an inspiration for planning and concern.
that’s as it should be.
presence of the Detroit River also emphasizes that there’s
a difference between the people of the United States of America
and the people of what we now call Canada South. This helps
us be proud of our similarities but mindful of our differences.
ago we became each other’s best friends and most active
was that way when Mayor Samuel Macdonnell took his oath of
office; it was still that way when I had the same privilege
of swearing my oath in December of 2003.
of the parallels between our personal histories are intriguing.
were both relatively young when we were elected to Council
and then to the position of Mayor; both of us had recently
become lawyers; both of us believed in the potential of Windsor
and its neighbouring communities; and both of us realized
that our communities have the potential to be important and
in fact, vital to the social and economic progress of a free
North America and a free world.
we’ve expressed this in similar ways.
Macdonnell was inspirational in the early development of his
community and emphatic about the need to connect Windsor not
only to Detroit but to the rest of Canada.
did this through property acquisition and development, and
promotion of roadways which led to other regions of our vast
nation. Samuel Macdonell became Mayor in the same year in
which the railway came to the village: 1854.
in the first year of my own term as Mayor, we are also actively
pursing additional and exciting transport and communication
measures to join Windsor not only with Detroit and Southeastern
Michigan but with Canada and the entire world.
marketplace for our products and services has expanded vastly;
but the intent of the measures taken by the Windsor of 1854
and 2004 are essentially the same: to sell and buy and interact
it is with our friendship with our neighbours to the north.
President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated only a few days
after the Union victory in 1865, it was proclaimed that businesses
in Windsor should close on the day of the President’s
funeral, and that as many Windsorites who could, should attend
memorial services for the slain President in Detroit.
return, Detroiters flew the Union Jack shortly afterward in
commemoration of Queen Victoria’s birthday.
were the healing gestures which were encouraged by Samuel
Macdonnell and his colleagues before Windsor became a Town
and then a City.
our new generation, no one has to be reminded of the strengthened
bonds of fellowship between our communities and nations through
two World Wars, other conflicts and peacekeeping assignments,
and most recently, the terrorist atrocities of September 11th,
2001 and beyond.
it is a great honour to follow in the footsteps of Mayor Macdonnell;
to note both the similarities and the contrasts between his
time and ours; and to take pride in the traditions which are
those of generations which are so far separated by time, but
which share so much in determination, destiny and faith in
one another and in the future of our community, then and now.
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