Old Newspaper StoriesOld Photographs

Wigle Park – 1909

A view of the Wigle Park Fountain – August, 1909 – Mayor Wigle to the right

The Wigle Park Fountain, designed by Watt & Crane, 1909, made out of cement. Lost somewhere to time. It likely wasn’t built to survive being constantly wet, and likely deteriorated over time.

Did you know that Wigle Park, opened in 1909, was Windsor’s first city park? Located at Erie & McDougall, the field house on the corner is also the oldest park structure in the city. From the City of Windsor’s Parks History document:

Wigle Park
Commonly known as: Wigle Park, Wiggle Park
Former/other names: none
Location: bounded by Erie, McDougall and Mercer Streets
Property acquired: 1906
Acreage: 5.31
Official designation: Neighbourhood park
Established in 1908, Wigle Park was Windsor’s first official park and the field house remains the
oldest park structure in the City. Bounded by Erie, McDougall and Mercer Streets, the property
was acquired from Mrs. F.J. Holton in 1906, via a tax sale. Construction at the site began in 1907
and official opening ceremonies were held in 1909.

Named after Colonel Ernest Samuel Wigle, a two-term Windsor Mayor (1905-1909; 1936-1937),
the park’s development played an important symbolic role in the area, which at the turn of the
century was decidedly undeveloped. In fact, Giles Boulevard, rather than Erie Street, was the main
east-west thoroughfare in the area. By developing the park site, Windsor, with Mayor Wigle at the
helm, sent a strong message to potential land developers, many of whom had been justifiably wary
of investing their time and money in a district which for some time had been virtually ignored by
elected Windsor officials. Today, the Erie Street area is a perennial favourite with tourists, a
vibrant, cafe-lined slice of true Italian heritage, undeniably a powerful testament to Wigle’s
turn-of-the-century foresight.

Wigle, known simply as “The Colonel,” was a proud descendent of United Empire Loyalist stock,
a University of Toronto graduate (1884) who studied law with Windsor’s White and Ellis firm until
1897, when he officially became a barrister and solicitor. During his distinguished career in public
office, Wigle served on the Board of Education for more than a decade and once took an ill-fated
run at federal political office. Renowned locally for his versatile athletic skills, “The Colonel” was
a powerful force behind the park’s establishment.

In keeping with Ernest Wigle’s lifelong interest in athletics, Wigle Park is today a relatively high
profile sports park, featuring a soccer field and a softball diamond. A variety of playground
equipment is also available at the park.

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