The Windsor Club was founded on November 13, 1903 by sixty-five (65) members. On March 10, 1904, the Club opened its new home in a building located at 25 Chatham Street East near Ouellette Avenue in Windsor, Ontario. The club enjoyed many years at that location but closed its doors in November 1928 due to declining membership largely from increased competition from golf and country clubs. From 1930 to 1933, some former members met informally in the Canada Trust Building. In 1933, rooms were rented in the Prince Edward Hotel, the premier hotel in the area, where operations were conducted under the unincorporated name of The New Windsor Club.
The club reorganized in 1935 and prospered despite the depression. By 1937, it had outgrown the original three rented rooms and The Prince Edward Hotel was encouraged to build a tenth story addition exclusively for the Club's use. This was completed in early 1938 with a grand opening in March of that year.
In 1968, after 33 years, the hotel closed. The Windsor Club relocated temporarily, in somewhat cramped quarters, in the Norton Palmer Hotel, a leading hotel in the community at the time. The search began for more suitable premises and eventually, in November 1968, the club moved to the Bartlet Building, in downtown Windsor. The space was formerly occupied by Bell Telephone.
The Club resided in the Bartlet Building for 19 years until it faced divergent options to either undertake substantial renovations to an older site, coupled with a substantial rent increase, or relocate to new site. It was decided that a new site would be more fitting for the pre-eminent stature of the finest private club of the community. Consequently, in 1987, the members of the Club resolved to move to the penthouse floor of the office building located at 100 Ouellette Avenue.
In the spring of 2014, the Club was offered the opportunity to occupy a 'Signature' building once reserved for Hiram Walker's private executive functions: the Wiser's Reception Centre, located in Building 25 of the Hiram Walker campus at 2072 Riverside Drive East.
After a unanimous vote of the membership on January 17, 2015, the Club elected to move to its first standalone building in the historical Distillery District of Windsor.
Born as employee housing for a burgeoning whisky distillery, the hamlet known first as Walker’s town evolved into a 19th century model community unlike any other in Canada, possibly even all of North America. Its benevolent dictator, Hiram Walker, conceived of everything to ensure the comfort and well-being of his denizens. From well-constructed & conveniently located housing to free clean running water & electric lights, paved roads, fire and police protection, a public beach, schools, churches, ferry system, electric trolleys – and even a railroad—Walkerville had it. Learn how one man’s vision of a Utopian community became, due to its geographic location, not only the home of his world famous whisky, but the birthplace of the Canadian automotive industry and ground zero for cross border smuggling during the wild days of Prohibition, please visit www.walkerville.com.
'Signature' Heritage Building
The Wiser's Reception Centre is situated east of the 1892 Mason & Rice-designed Hiram Walker office building, set back from the street and at the edge of the Detroit River.
It was constructed in the contemporary style in 1964 as the 'Reception Centre', identified as Building # 25, primarily used for company functions. It was built at the same time as the three-storey executive office Building # 26 to the east. The building was designed by Smith, Hinchman & Grylls Associates (Canada) Ltd., the Windsor office of the Detroit architectural firm of the same name (now SmithGroupJJR), and believed to be the work of architect Sigmund Blum. The Detroit firm, founded in 1853, designed many prominent buildings in Detroit, including the Guardian Building (1929), First Federal Building (1965), and Ford Field (2002). Their architects included Wirt C. Rowland and Minoru Yamasaki. The same firm designed the J.M. Davey Terminal at Detroit-Wayne County Airport (1966, demolished 2005) and the Edward H. McNamara Terminal at DTW (2002).
In recent years the Reception Centre was renamed 'Wiser's' for the Canadian whisky brand produced by current owner Pernod Ricard, thus differentiating it from the Canadian Club brand founded by Hiram Walker.
Work got underway to renovate the Wiser's Reception Centre with a functional commercial kitchen in the summer of 2015. The Windsor Club opened the doors to this spectacular waterfront location on December 1, 2015, just in time for the festive holiday season.