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Baby Park

Back in 2007, this website took a look at Boose’s Tourist Camp on Dougall Ave at Eugenie. In the 1920s & 1930s, as more people acquired cars, Motor Touring was quite popular and all those road trips meant that people needed somewhere to stay. Tourist camps began popping up. Early on they took the form of small houses or cottages that could be rented for the night, eventually evolving into what is today’s motel. I’ve always been curious about what kept popping up back then as Baby Park. Baby Park was on the land where Dorwin Plaza is today, and has always been kind of a mystery to me.

Survey Map from c. 1932

As shown on the map above, the land belonging to George Boose at Eugenie & Dougall is visible, as is the large portion of land north marked as Baby Park (Leased by the City of Windsor).

This location on Dougall, was odd for a city park as it was outside of Windsor city limits. This was actually located in Sandwich West Township. The property was a 65 acre parcel of treed land owned by the Essex Terminal Railroad.

The ETR then leased the property to the city of Windsor for $1.00 a year + taxes. The city began leasing the property in 1922 and established Baby Park. Half the property was set up as a public park, and the other half set up as a tourist camp. In 1924 the City of Windsor Parks Commission turned over half the park to the Essex Automobile Club to establish and operate a tourist camp at Baby Park. George Boose, who ran the service station, store and restaurant next door, ran the registrations of the camp for the Automobile Club.

By 1926, the Parks Commission had tossed aside the Essex Automobile Club, and leased the park directly to a concessionaire, who operated the park. The fees obtained from the operator were spent on cutting grass and general maintenance on the park. The municipally run tourist camp at Baby Park, shut down at the end of the 1928 season, as new provincial regulations for tourist camps were being implemented in 1929.

It appears that Boose’s took over an set up a private camp after the city opted out. Boose’s Tourist Camp operated from 1929 to 1948. It seems like a tourist camp/trailer park continued to operate until about 1955. After 1955 the property was redeveloped as Dorwin Plaza, although it is unclear if it was the Essex Terminal Railroad who continued to own the property until that time.

Ad from April, 1955

I wonder if any of the cottages were moved and remain ti this day? George Edgar Boose, who operated Boose’s for so many years, passed away in July, 1979.

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