Originally planned during early 1960s and the period of urban renewal for the core, the local unions in Windsor met and decided to all join forces and build a large office building that would bring all the local unions together under one roof, where jointly they could pool resources to erect a new office building. The first plan involved meeting with a local realtor/developer who proposed to build the building below and lease space back to the respective unions.
LABOR TEMPLE – Preliminary drawings of the city’s new Labor Temple, proposed for the property immediately east of the new Essex County Court House, are shown. The elevation is that on Chatham St. The other boundaries are University and Windsor Aves. Cost of the structure will depend on the size finally approved by a special committee now at work. Main floor space will include: Library and reading room; large meeting room and social hall; cafeteria and kitchen; display room of Windsor made products. Upper floors will contain office space. Size or cost have not yet been determined. J P Thomson Associates are architects.
The unions all got together, crunched some numbers and decided they could build the building themselves cheaper than the developers plans, and the plan above died as the local labor group started plans to move forward on their own.
Originally the plan was to build in the redevelopment zone bounded by Riverside, Windsor, Pitt & Market Lane (east of Windsor Ave). With hopes to expand the zone to McDougall. Of the 72 labor locals in Windsor in 1965, 42 of them had signed on to to be part of the new building.
By July, 1965 the location had shifted to Riverside Drive West at Church Street. It was going to be opposite the new Canada Square Hotel Complex. A key part of the plan was for the Labor Temple to share heating facilities with the proposed Hotel across Riverside. The building never came to be. I haven’t been able to pinpoint what killed it. There were talks that the UAW wasn’t going to be part of it, preferring to go on their own, but I suspect the death of the high-rise hotels across Riverside Drive, and the loss of shared central heating probably made the project unfeasible.
Another one to add to the Windsor that could have been files…