Walkerville’s Revitalization

Windsor has been revitalizing sections in the city with the hardworking Business Improvement Associations. The Walkerville BIA has transformed their neighbourhood into a must-be-scene.

joancharettePhoto courtesy of Joan Charette

Walkerville BIA Co-ordinator, Joan Charette, says the neighbourhood has been steadily gaining popularity and that businesses are interested in opening up in the area.

“There’s a few people that would like to come into Walkerville [but]there’s a bit of a waiting list. [There are] a few people that would like locations in there but there’s just no place for them to go at this time.”

One business is pre-heating as it is in its construction stages. The Little White Kitchen Baking Co. is located next to City Cyclery on Lincoln Road. Owner, Michele Bowman, currently only creates gluten-free breads and desserts given her close-quartered work area to keep her customers safe.

Walkerville's RevitalizationPhoto of an ice cream sandwich by The Little White Kitchen Baking Co.

She plans to expand her range in her new shop with breads like sourdough and artisan, non-gluten pastries, and her ice cream and ice cream sandwiches. Bowman originally planned to open on Drouillard Road but faced obstacles.

“The landlord I don’t think was prepared for the scope of work, he was an older gentleman, and it just wasn’t going well. So many delays, my landlord was busy with his own other company and I don’t think he was really prepared for what he would need to invest in fixing his space up.”

Bowman says she wanted to be a pioneer in Ford City with its great community and although things did not work out for her she encourages businesses to open up on Drouillard.

But every situation has a silver lining and for Bowman that was Walkerville.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 12.37.03 PMPhoto of Michele Bowman, owner of The Little White Kitchen Baking Co.

“I really do love Walkerville, I’m friends with the owners of City Cyclery. I’ve got friends all over this area so I do love Walkerville I think it’s a fabulous neighbourhood with lots to offer lots of fun, little quirky places to go and little places to eat.”

The Walkerville BIA Co-ordinator says that the restaurants in Walkerville tend not to overlap giving the neighbourhood a unique palate. Restaurants range from Vito’s Pizzeria, the Walkerville Tavern, O’Maggio’s Kildare House, The Willistead, Sushi Guru, and more.

Bowman says Walkerville was her next choice.

“Walkerville was definitely my next choice just because I know that my style of baking and a lot my clients are from Walkerville. It’s a great walking community too so which is nice walk-ins and it’s a friendly safe neighbourhood which is great too.”

Bowman aims to open The Little White Kitchen Baking Co. doors around mid-April for a refreshing spring opening.

Walkerville's RevitalizationPhoto of Ward 4 Councillor, Chris Holt, courtesy of The Windsor Star

Ward 4 Councillor, Chris Holt, says that The Little White Kitchen Baking Co. will be a great addition to the neighbourhood.

“Now that Walkerville has gotten to a certain point you know you’re looking for other little things, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker to add in the mix of businesses.”

The Ward 4 Councillor says Walkerville has been going through a strong revitalization period and believes people want to learn from their positive experiences.

“People are really trying to look at Walkerville and saying what can I learn from their success? What are they doing that I can bring back to my neighbourhood, to my hometown and replicate?”

Walkerville's RevitalizationPhoto of Walkerville clock

Holt says that Walkerville is the hottest, hippest, and coolest area in Windsor with its urban-designed neighbourhood and its recently streetscaped main street.

“Walkerville really is capitalizing very well on the history, the heritage of the neighbourhood and the physical built environment that makes it very walkable. You know, you come down Walkerville BIA in the summertime and people are milling about everywhere, you don’t even see that in downtown Windsor. People just want to be there it’s a very inviting environment to be in.”

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