Patterson Collegiate

Today we had back in time to the corner of the Elliott and Goyeau, where the former Patterson C.I. stood from 1888 until it was demolished in 1979. The School closed in 1973. Photo above dates to 1961.

A post card view of the school prior to construction of the annex. The annex was built in 1917. This postcard was postmarked 1905.

From a photo album dated 1920, here is a shot of the school.

And the annex, also from 1920.

From the August 6, 1936 issue of the Windsor Daily Star:


The two remaining towers on the Patterson Collegiate Institute, which have been standing for forty years, will be leveled off within the next few weeks. One of the two towers is shown above, over the entrance. The main tower, in front of the Collegiate, was removed several years ago. The towers have become dangerous, and school board officials decided to authorize their removal.

Towerless Patterson can been seen in the photo below, c. 1974.

Despite the school closing in 1973, the alumni still held the 120th anniversary reunion this past summer in Windsor. There are some neat photos on their site, including the one above.

The site is still on-line if you’re interested in checking it out.

14 Comments on Patterson Collegiate

  1. That’s a shame it was demolished. They could have turned it into lofts or rehabbed it and turned it into a very elegant City Hall, instead of the blight of a building we have now.

    And, removing the towers because they were unsafe. What nonesense! If part of a building has become unsafe, you fix it not remove it. The city needs to get their act straight and set-by-example. Oh well, too late to rant about it now….

    I’m definitely for moving city hall into one of these very elegant old schools when they close instead of letting them get knocked down. Probably wouldn’t happen in my lifetime, but a guy can dream.

  2. I find it very interesting that in Windsor whenever something needs to get demo’ed there is always the “fire safety” or “unsafe structure” angle and down comes the building.
    I am sure that in some cases it is the truth but I find it hard to believe that is the case most of the time.

    I chalk this up to the school boards turning their backs on the interior of the city. They have helped to induce sprawl more than any of the Wal-marts in this city ever could.

  3. On loft conversion: When I returned to Windsor in 1966 I couldn’t rent a modern apartment. I discovered the city had only a couple of highrise apartment structures unlike London, and Toronto where I had resided. Then most renters lived here in duplexes, four-plexes or walkup three and four storey buildings. Lofts and condominiums were unknown concepts for Windsor which was just seeing its first apartment towers.

  4. rws, welcome to Windsor were the architectural dregs of design come to live out their existence. My mother cried the day the tore down Patterson, she felt the guts of the city were being ripped out. It just wasn’t the building it was the school and the community itself.

  5. OK, so this where the A&P/Food Basics sits now. Can someone tell me what the large rectangular building in the upper middle of the last photograph is? The one surrounded by the long, low, white buildings. That would be the buildings replaced by the large apartment building currently on that spot.

    David, is the Food Basics the “blight of a building we have now”?

    As to the towers… who puts towers into a school design? Obviously a Victorian thing. Seems to me that the towers did not serve much of a purpose for the school and were neglected to the point where they became unsafe. At that stage a decision had to be made about either fixing them, or removing them. Since the towers had no utility for the school the administration chose to spend scarce funds on other projects, and removed them. Can’t say I blame them, really. Would be nice to keep the towers, if you print your own money.

    By the way, have you seen photographs of St. Mary’s Academy?

    ME, I am trying to figure Windsor out. My latest uneducated hypothesis is that there is no real interest in investment in Windsor, so many of the property owners are small-timers, in it for a quick buck. Get into a building and put a bar in it, that kind of thing. These owners don’t have the interest, or the funds, to keep the buildings in good shape and just abandon them when the buildings become uninhabitable. Since nobody wants to take over ownership of such a building, it gets demolished.

    School boards have nothing to do with urban sprawl. Neither does Walmart. The single greatest cause of urban sprawl is the automobile — as great as all the other “causes’ combined.

  6. David_II – The building surrounded by the low white building was the former Mercer St. School. It was by the time of this photo probably vacant, but it was the WOIT (Western Ontario Institute of Technology) which became St. Clair College.

    And yes, this is the same lot the Food Basics sits on. However, look at the aerial photo. Patter sat where the parking lot is today.

    And for what it’s worth, you’re bang on about the car being the greatest evil.

  7. No, our current city hall is a blight. Too plain to be appreciated and too dated to be respected. A city hall should have some classical flair and prestige like Queen’s Park or the Parliament buidlings. Patterson would have made an awesome city hall. It would symbolize our local government’s respect for Windsor’s history. The two buildings would have offered more than enough room. Yet, it’s gone when it could have been saved as a new city hall.

    What buildings are left? JE Benson school’s rumoured to be demolished in the not so distant future? But, it’s too far from downtown like Patterson nor has the same level of detail as Patterson. Begley school on Giles might fit the bill though. I heard rumours that that’s gonna be demo’d too. Very nice classical building and a good size too. But, it’d never happen. Our local government doesn’t give a rat’s ass about finding new ways of preserving historical buildings.

  8. so…..when i look at google earth, food basics is only taking up the empty space south of the P.C.I. so in effect, the whole place was litteraly torn down for a parking lot. how incredibly sad.
    BUT…i do love when you put these old aerial photos in here so i can match’em up on google and see the changes, or more importantly…what remains the same.

  9. David II,
    That is NOT true that school baords don’t help to induce sprawl. When school baords build new schools out on the fringes and close down schools in core areas, the effect of that closing decimates a neighbourhood. Families will go to where schools are located. The better the school the more chance of a family moving closer to that school.
    The School Boards in the Windsor area haven’t done much with regards to building either additional schools or refurbishing the one’s we have (except 2). yet the ‘burbs get very fancy new schools at outrageous costs.

  10. Andrew, when I was writing my original post I was going to mention that the school was replaced by a parking lot, but I deleted that section. Well, it can’t be just a Windsor thing, or we wouldn’t have the song (

    Thank you for the information on the precursor to St. Clair College.

    ME, I am having trouble following your logic with regard to school boards. Schools are built in places where people locate, not the other way around. How could a school board know which area is going to be desirable for residents? You don’t build a school and then hope people will come. The only school I know of that is out in the middle of nowhere is Villanova (did I spell that right?). Even there, I would imagine the school was centrally placed to serve the surrounding communities, not to drag people out to the school.

    You are right when you say that closing schools has an impact on the surrounding community. However, the question of why a school is closed has to be asked. Dougall, for example, was re-built. In the places where schools are closed the number of children is so low as to make the school inviable. All the wishing in the world won’t change that, and the school board can’t bleed money waiting for residents to come back. It ain’t romantic, but it comes down to money — one half-full school has to be closed to fill another one. Choosing which school to close is never easy.

    By the way, if you have any evidence to the contrary, please post it so I can look at it, too.

  11. You bet it’s a shame Patterson was closed in ’73 and razed in ’80,eight short years before its centennial.
    I attended from 1966”71,and as I had myriad problems-extreme OCD,co-ordination isses and small size-in Grade Thirteen at 18 in Oct.1971,I was,as now 5’8”,but just 130 lb.(I’m 205-214 lb. with 17.25” biceps today0
    juxtaposed to a 154 IQ-genius level-I needed and received MUCH AID from virtually all staff and most fellow students.(Incidentally,one Grade Thirteen teacher told me she found me EXTREMELY handsome,an opinion most Windsor ladies hold of me two generations later at age 57!!!)

  12. Hi: I’m doing some Family History Research on my Great Uncle Arthur James Horrell who use to attend Patterson Collegiate Institute in Windsor from 1933-1938. My Great Uncle grew up in Windsor and I was wondering if there was anyone in the area who possibly has a year book from that time period? Feel free to contact me at if you are able to help in any way. I think it’s great that old pictures such as the ones on this site are still around because history like this is hard to come by anymore.

  13. Nicole, did you try the link at the bottom of the article for the alumni association? The 125th reunion will be in September.

Comments are closed.