Parkette featuring statue of Hiram Walker approved by Windsor city council

·2 min read
A concept design of the parkette to be built in Walkerville. (City of Windsor - image credit)
A concept design of the parkette to be built in Walkerville. (City of Windsor - image credit)

Windsor city council has approved the final design for a parkette in Olde Walkerville. The parkette will be located at the corner of Devonshire Road and Riverside Drive and feature a bronze statue of Hiram Walker.

The statue depicts Hiram Walker in a walking pose atop six whiskey barrels. He has blueprints under his arm and he's headed into Walkerville to build the town.

"Normally, you see Hiram Walker depicted as an older fellow. I wanted him to be young and youthful, more, in his 50s when he was just getting out, developing Walkerville," said sculptor Mark Williams, who created the eight-foot statue two years ago.

The bronze statue of Hiram Walker will be the centre piece of the new parkette.
The bronze statue of Hiram Walker will be the centre piece of the new parkette.(Mark Williams)

It took the city that length of time to find the right location and then negotiate with the Hiram Walker distillery for the small parcel of land. It will act as a cornerstone of the city's planned distillery district.

"Having him be kind of a key piece in this gateway into old Walkerville is a really good fit," said Heidi Baillargeon, manager of parks development.

Baillargeon said the design by architectural firm Brook McIlroy also features cobblestone paving, benches, lighting, landscaping and some decorative granite retaining walls with planters. The statue is currently in storage awaiting the completion of the parkette.

The corner of Devonshire Road and Riverside Drive is where the parkette will be located.
The corner of Devonshire Road and Riverside Drive is where the parkette will be located.(Dale Molnar/CBC)

Chris Edwards, publisher of Walkerville Publishing says Walker was a humble man who would probably be a little uncomfortable with the honour, but Edwards says it will be a real asset to the area.

"I think it brings a lot of attention to Walkerville.It should certainly, once COVID settles down and people sort of get back to normal, should drive a lot of traffic ... People will want to see it."

Even though in real life Hiram Walker was only about five feet tall or so Williams made the statue eight feet tall on purpose to reflect how much larger than life Walker was.

"When you think of everything he's done ... Walker farms that used to be out there and all the trains all the way through the county. So, yeah, he was pretty big for a little guy," said Williams laughing.

Now that council has approved the project, it will be tendered out — with the $1,174,432 parkette expected to be finished by July, just in time for Walker's birthday.