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Windsor Waterfront
Windsor waterfront with the Ambassador Bridge in the background.

Are you thinking about moving to Canada? Many new immigrants choose the province of Ontario, and the city of Windsor specifically, as their new home. Where you choose to move is a decision that will affect your life for years to come. 

So, before you choose a destination, you need to compare cities. Research the cost of living, the housing market, local economy, education options, and things you can do for fun. 

Windsor, Ontario is one of the many cities in Canada that you can consider. It is located in Southwestern Ontario on the United States border with Detroit, Michigan. It is known as the “Automotive Capital of Canada.” The city is also surrounded by a rich agricultural region in Essex County.

Learn more about the city and get helpful information about living and working in Windsor.

About Windsor, Ontario

Windsor is the southernmost city in Canada and is home to the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest commercial border crossing between Canada and the United States. 

The area was originally settled in 1749 as a French agricultural region. Then in 1797, post-American Revolution, it was established as a settlement named “Sandwich.” It was later incorporated as the city of Windsor in 1854, after the town in Berkshire, England. 

Today, the city is a major contributor to the auto industry in Canada. It’s known for its industrial and manufacturing industries. It is a hub for commercial transportation and it has grown to the third-largest city in Southwestern Ontario, behind London and Kitchener-Waterloo.

How Many People Live in Windsor, Ontario?

According to the 2021 census data, the city has a population of 229,660 people. This makes it the 15th largest city in Canada and the 7th largest in Ontario. Since 2016, the population has grown by 6.3%. The Windsor and Detroit area is the most populated trans-border area in North America.

How to Find a Job & Build a Career in Windsor

Windsor’s Local Economy

Windsor is a well-known leader in the automotive industry. There are more than 90 auto and parts manufacturers located in the region. This includes Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler. It is also a tourism destination due to its proximity to the U.S. border. The main drawback of the local economy is its relatively high unemployment rate compared to other cities in the province. It sits at 10.7% (as of February 2022). The national average is 7.7%.

The top industries are:

  • Automotive
  • Manufacturing
  • Government services
  • Tourism
  • Education.

Major Employers in Windsor

Most of the major employers in this city are found in manufacturing. Other employers include:

  • Stellantis
  • Ford Motor Company
  • FCA Canada
  • Caesars Windsor
  • AP Plasman Corp.
  • Sutherland Group Canada
  • VistaPrint
  • Valiant TMS
  • TRQSS Inc.
Downtown Windsor business area
Downtown Windsor Business Core.

Career Pathways in Windsor

Auto and parts manufacturing is the top industry for those looking to work in Windsor. There are a few ways to search for jobs in the city. You can look for work using workforce WindsorEssex, Government of Canada Job Bank, and local employment recruiters. They include Aerotek, Prostaff Employment Solutions, Canadian Executive Search Group, and others.

For information, tools, free webinars, and more visit our Finding a Job in Canada resource page. Get the help you need to achieve your career goals in Canada!

The Windsor Housing Market

There are plenty of housing options. The city is divided into four distinct sectors: Downtown, East End, West Side, and South Side. Within each of these areas, there are unique neighbourhoods. For example, some are geared to young families, others to older adults, or to singles, or even to a mix of residents. Before you decide where to live, it’s vital to consider how suitable the neighbourhood is for your lifestyle.

Sandwich Town neighbourhood in Windsor.
Old Sandwich Town neighbourhood. Windsor is one of the most affordable large cities in Ontario.

Is Housing Expensive in Windsor, Ontario?

Windsor is one of the most affordable large cities in Ontario. Even with housing prices on the rise, the city has not seen the steep increase in prices as other large cities in the province. Housing costs are still lower than the national average.

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Related Post:

Renting in Canada: What Newcomers Need to Know

Finding a Place to Rent in Windsor 

Windsor has rental units available across the city. Rent can start at as low as $900 per month and up. The average rent for an apartment is $1,142 for a Bachelor, $1,181 for a 1 Bedroom, $1,396 for a 2 Bedroom, and $1,698 for a 3 Bedroom. Rental rates are more affordable than in many other cities in Ontario. 

Searching online is an effective way to find available units. Use Rentals for Newcomers to search for available rental units in Windsor. You can find current rental prices and available units in Windsor.

When renting in Canada, it’s important to consider renter’s insurance. This coverage protects you and your family in the event of damage, a break-in, or fire. As well, most property owners today will require that you have insurance as part of your rental agreement. 

Buying a Home

Windsor is one of the most affordable larger cities. According to Royal LePage, the average price of a home in Canada is now $779,000 (as of January 2022). And the average price for a single-family home in Windsor is $553,100 as of February 2022, according to The Canadian Real Estate Association. The average price for a townhouse is $433,900 and the price for a condo/ apartment unit is $346,600. 

Find out more about buying your first home in Canada: First Time Home Buyer: Newcomer Tips.

Driving & Public Transit in Windsor

Driving in Windsor, Ontario

As the southernmost city in Ontario, Windsor is the endpoint for the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. It is the final stop for Highway 401 and Via Rail. Local highways such as E.C. Row Expressway and Highway 3 connect the city to surrounding communities. 

The city has two border crossings, the Ambassador Bridge, and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. There is also a Canadian Pacific Railway tunnel, and the Detroit–Windsor Truck Ferry.

The Ambassador Bridge
The Ambassador Bridge is North America’s #1 International Border Crossing.

With an international border, there is significant commercial traffic. All drivers must have a valid Ontario driver’s licence.

Get more information about driving in Canada:

Driving in Canada: 10 Essential Facts to Know

Driving Test in Canada: A Full Guide

Tips for Winter Driving to Ensure Your Safety

Windsor Public Transit

Transit Windsor supplies bus service to the community. It runs 15 bus routes. Service extends to LaSalle, Essex, Kingsville, and Leamington. There is also service to downtown Detroit via Tunnel Bus for special events and for those who work or go to school across the border.

Community Support for Newcomers

The Windsor Essex County Local Immigration Partnership offers a strong support system for newcomers. It is an initiative of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to help communities offer comprehensive newcomer services. Other settlement agencies in Windsor include the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario, the Multicultural Council of Windsor-Essex County, and New Canadians’ Centre of Excellence Inc.

Learn more about Services in Canada to Help Newcomers Settle.

Language Support in Windsor

As a permanent resident of Canada, you are eligible for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) offered by local settlement agencies. You can have your language skills assessed by the Language Assessment and Resource Centre.

Language support is offered by College Boreal, and other agencies such as Unemployed Help Centre, The Windsor Women Working With Immigrant Women, and Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc.

Personal Finance & Banking

All newcomers need a good financial plan to help them have a successful transition to life in Canada. Local banks offer programs for new immigrants to help them open a bank account, get a credit card, qualify for a mortgage, and access other financial products. Visit your local branch or apply online. 

Get more banking tips for newcomers:

Top 10 Financial Steps to Take Before You Leave for Canada

Move to Canada | Transferring Cash & Valuables

Open a Bank Account Before Arriving in Canada

For more information about your financial first steps in Canada, visit our banking in Canada resource page. Get the information you need to manage your finances in Canada!

Windsor’s School System

The province of Ontario oversees the school system in Windsor. Residents have access to public, private, and catholic education. And, the city is home to several post-secondary schools.

Education in Windsor
Residents have access to public, private, and catholic education. The city is home to several post-secondary schools.

Elementary and High School Education

City of Windsor elementary and secondary schools are regulated by four school boards:

Private school is also available to students from kindergarten to grade 12. In total, there are 55 elementary and 15 high schools.

Post Secondary Schools

Windsor is home to one university and two colleges. They are the University of Windsor, St. Clair College, and College Boreal. Collectively, they offer programs to over 20,000 students annually. 

Read more about education in Canada:

Schooling in Canada | A Look at the Education System

Higher Education Offers Benefits to Newcomers

Learn more about Windsor’s world-class education system.

Where to Get Medical Care in Windsor, Ontario

There are two hospitals in the city, Windsor Regional Hospital and  Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. These are the places to visit in case of a medical emergency. Windsor Regional Hospital also has formal and informal agreements with Detroit-area hospitals to provide expanded healthcare services. 

For non-emergency care, visit a local walk-in clinic. In case of an emergency call 9-1-1. This number is the same no matter where you live in Canada. 

Residents must obtain a health card to receive free medical care provided by the Ontario Health and Insurance Plan (OHIP). Click here to learn how to apply for OHIP. You can get additional coverage through private health insurance plans. Some employers offer medical benefits through their employee benefit plan.

How to Find a Family Doctor in Windsor

Finding a family physician is important to help you maintain your health. You can search for a family doctor by using Health Care Connect, through the Essex County Medical Society, or by using College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario – Doctor Find. Doctor availability changes over time. So, you may be placed on a waiting list until a doctor becomes available. Get more information about health care in Canada: Steps to Access Free Health Care in Canada

Things to do in Windsor
Top left: The Canadian club brand centre, Top Right: Ontario Hockey League, Bottom Left: Art Gallery of Windsor, Bottom Right: Peche Island

What is Day to Day Life Like in Windsor?

Things to Do in Windsor

This city offers residents a diverse list of things to do. From local festivals, biking on trails along the Detroit River, checking out musical acts and events at the casino and enjoying the outdoors, there is something for everyone.

Public Spaces & Attractions 

This city is well known for being the home of Caesars Windsor. But there is much more to do than test your luck. Great restaurants and events are happening all the time. Other great attractions in the area include The Canadian Club Brand Centre and Hiram Walker & Sons Limited distillery and the Art Gallery of Windsor. If you like waterparks, take the family to Adventure Bay Family Water Park.

Things to do in Windsor 2
Top Left: The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor, Top RIght: Little Italy District, Bottom left: Adventure Bay Family Water Park, Bottom Right: Caesars Windsor Casino

Restaurants & Nightlife

In addition to the restaurants and nightlife at the casino, the city offers a great riverfront park system with fine restaurants. If you enjoy Italian food, check out Erie Street, Windsor’s Little Italy called “Via Italia”. You can also sample wine in the Lake Erie North Shore Wine Region in Essex County.

If you enjoy festivals check out the Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival during Canada Day, the Bluesfest International Windsor each July, and Detroit Windsor International Film Festival.

Nature & Natural Landscapes

Windsor has an extensive bike trail system that includes the Riverfront Bike Trail, Ganatchio Bike Trail, and Little River Extension. Other things to check out in the area include Peche Island, taking a walking tour of Ford City, or visiting the Ojibway Prairie Complex.

Sporting Events & Concerts

This city is home to the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League, Windsor Express of the National Basketball League of Canada, and a variety of minor league teams. You can check out local concerts at The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor, Rockstar Music Hall and other local music venues.

Culture & Diversity in Windsor

Diversity

This is the fourth most diverse city in Canada. There are more than 170 ethnicities and 70 languages spoken. About 23% of the population are immigrants. This is more than 75,000 residents. The biggest minority groups are Arab (7.4%), Black (4.9%), South Asian (4.4%), and Chinese (3.4%).

Worship

This city has a diverse religious community. About 40% identify as Catholic, 22% Protestant, 6.9% Muslim, and 4% Orthodox. 20% of residents have no religious affiliations.

The Weather in Windsor

Windsor has a humid continental climate. And because of its southern location, it has the warmest climate of all Ontario cities. Windsor actually has the same latitude as Northern California. The average temperature reaches above 10°C (50°F) 223 days of the year.

It gets less snow than other cities in the province. Summers are hot and humid, with an average temperate of 23 degrees Celsius. Winters are mild, with the temperature dipping down to an average of -3 degrees in January.

Beautiful Spring Day in Windsor
Because of its southern location, Windsor has the warmest climate of all Ontario cities.

Common Questions Immigrants Ask About Living in Windsor

Is Windsor a Good Place for Immigrants?

Yes. Windsor is one of the most culturally diverse cities in Canada. It offers affordable housing and close access to the United States. There are largely Middle Eastern, Italian, Asian, and European communities.

What are the Benefits of Living in Windsor?

Windsor is known for having more affordable housing prices. You are only 10 minutes from Detroit and the city offers great entertainment options for a city its size. It is an ideal location if you plan to work in manufacturing or tourism.

What are Some Potential Disadvantages of Living in Windsor for New Immigrants?

The big potential drawback of moving to Windsor is the local economy. The city has a higher than normal unemployment rate. It is also relatively focused on industrial and manufacturing careers. But, on the other hand, being so close to Detroit also opens other career opportunities. 

For more information, tools, and free webinars about living in Canada visit our Settling in Canada resource page. We’ll help you to settle successfully!