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Charles
Brooks
Memorial

Peace Fountain

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The ARCH

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Boardwalk

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Floating

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Renewable Energy

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First

we want to understand the past to envision the future

The Charles Brooks Memorial Peace Fountain sits on the traditional territory of the Three Fires Confederacy of First Nations, which includes the Ojibwa, the Odawa, and the Potawatomi. We respect the longstanding relationships with First Nations people in this place in the 100-mile Windsor-Essex peninsula and the straits – les détroits – of Detroit.

Water is the lifeblood of the Earth and First Nations recognize water as a sacred gift that connects all life. All First Nations place a high importance on water, and practice sacred ceremonies to ensure waters are respected and that these water ceremonies are passed on to future generations.

Early map of Detroit River showing settlements on either side of the river

May 19, 1790: Treaty 2, or the McKee Purchase, is signed.

The British Indian Department and the principal chiefs of the Ottawa, Potawatomi, Chippewa and Wyandot negotiated a treaty whereby the British Crown acquired title to what is now southwestern Ontario.

Early map of Essex County showing administrative divisions

1854: Windsor Incorporates

The village of Windsor incorporates, and in the same year, is connected to the Great Western Railway.

Walkerville Wagon Works factory interior

1914: Automobile industry rises

Windsor's automobile industry gets underway with Walkerville Wagon Works building the Ford Model A. Unions are formed later to support autoworker's rights.

The automotive industry moves in, creating jobs for many.

Postcard image of Reaume Park and Riverside Drive

1931: Reaume Park opens

Joseph L. Reaume donates 4.7 acres of his property to be used as a waterfront public park.

Windsor’s longstanding commitment to public beautification begins with a generous donation.

Charles Brooks and unnamed associates with their hands in the air celebrating

1957: Local 444 founded—Charles Brooks elected president

Charles Brooks was elected as the first president of Local 444, a union for hourly works at the Windsor Chrysler facility. Brooks served as president for 21 years. Under his leadership, Local 444 won significant improvements in wages, improved working conditions, pensions, extended medical and drug coverage, and relief time.

Picture of Windsor's Solidarity Tower--a tall, multi-unit residential building built in the 1970s of concrete and brick

1970: Charles Brooks champions co-op housing for Windsor's working class

Charles Brooks championed building co-op housing in Windsor to house more workers. Solidarity Tower is one of these projects, and remains one of the most desirable middle-income high-rise residences in Windsor.

Scene of Coventry Gardens with flowers in the foreground and trees in the background with lots of dappled light

1975: Coventry Gardens opens

The seven-acre Coventry Gardens, named in honour of Windsor’s twin city of Coventry, England, is added to the original Reaume Park.

Fundraising event with a artistic rendering of the future Peace Fountain and two individuals updating the fundraised amount

1976: A new fountain proposed for Reaume Park

Fundraising gets underway for a proposed new fountain at Reaume Park. Local unions contribute significantly.

Large group of people attending a memorial service for Charles Brooks in the winter.

1915-1977: Charles Brooks

Charles Brooks left a significant legacy of success with workers rights. Brooks also founded the first industrial credit union in Canada, served as President of the Cooperative Dwellings Association, served as President of the Canadian Council of the UAW, and was named Man of the Year by the United Community Services in 1974.

Peace Fountain at sunset

1978: Peace Fountain opens; welcomed as a technological marvel

In memory of the union leader’s contributions to social progress and commitment to worker welfare, the Charles Brooks Memorial Peace Fountain is constructed. A major technical innovation, it is the only international floating fountain in the world, and has the ability to pump water 70-ft in the air.

The Peace Fountain is a place of community gathering and a significant tourist site. However, it requires extensive upkeep.

1987: "Peace fountain: A spray of trouble"

The Windsor Star; 26 Dec 1987: A6

"Since it was built at an initial cost of about $500,000 just over a decade ago, the fountain's repair bills and maintenance costs have reached close to $800,000."

1988: "Peace Fountain's future slowly sinking"

By Marty Beneteau Star City Hall Reporter. The Windsor Star; 17 Mar 1988: A3

"Its 1988 season almost certainly down the drain, the Peace Fountain will need help from a community "white knight" if it is to light up the riverfront sky again. Windsor's most troubled tourist attraction requires $453,500 in repairs to correct a serious design flaw in its tank system"

Early 1990s economic boom and optimism ushers in new ideas for the future of Windsor, including the casino in 1994, as well as radical plans for the Windsor waterfront.

Architectural drawing by James Wines of his proposal for Windsor Waterfront, showing a building embedded in the landscape with an undulating earthen roof connecting Riverside Drive to the waterfront, and enclosing a large cavernous interior

1990: Radical ideas for the waterfront

City of Windsor hires New York based architect James Wines to imagine a radical and exciting new waterfront experience. His ambitious vision featured a park dedicated to all aspects of the environment, including an aquarium, a botanical garden, an environmental study centre, an eco-market, an eco-play park, a leisure park, and a protected bird sanctuary.

2019: "Windsor council to hire consultant to design new Peace Fountain"

CBC News;  2 Dec 2019

"Windsor city councillors unanimously voted Monday evening to hire a consultant to design a structure that could eventually replace the 41-year-old Charles Brooks Memorial Peace Fountain. Council also voted to make immediate repairs on the fountain, in order to meet Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) standards."

The Peace Fountain continues to operate, though as it is nearing the end of it's life, it requires increasingly expensive repairs.

2020: RFP issued to reimagine the Peace Fountain

In early 2021, a request for proposals was issued by the City of Windsor to find a consultant to reimagine the Peace Fountain.

2021: The Peace Fountain is reimagined with you

What's your Peace Fountain history?

Survey Ended
Memorial Plaque for Charles Brooks  at the Peace Fountain.

Community

Environment

Memory

Drawn from public feedback, we've identified these three major themes for the Peace Fountain. We want to hear from you about the role these could play in the future of the fountain.

This survey is organized in 3 parts, and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Community

Site analysis rendering of Reaume Park and surroundings highlighting community aspects.

The Peace Fountain is a destination and gathering place for locals and tourists alike; an attraction that draws visitors in by virtue of its beauty and acclaim.

The fountain provides a welcoming environment, host to everyday adventures and memorable life events. The relationship between the Peace Fountain and those who visit is what truly gives the site vitality and meaning.

What if we could strengthen the connection between the Windsor community, the Peace Fountain, and Reaume Park by inviting visitors to engage with the site in original, innovative, and inspiring new ways?

Environment

Site analysis rendering of Reaume Park and surroundings highlighting environmental aspects.

EGO

ECO

We are going from an ego-centric to a holistic understanding of our relationship to the environment. The newly renovated Peace Fountain has the potential to enhance its surrounding environment by introducing an innovative design approach that incorporates nature's elements.

The Peace Fountain currently consumes enough energy to power more than 50 homes annually. In addition to its energy usage, the fountain is costly to operate, maintain, remove, and reinstall.

Now is the time to promote significant steps toward change. Can a new Peace Fountain be net-positive in its energy usage and environmental footprint?

Site analysis rendering of Reaume Park and surroundings highlighting memory aspects.

Memory

Reaume Park is a place of memories--those formally recognized with monuments, plaques, and benches, as well as those developed through individual and collective experiences across generations. Once considered a bold visual statement whose meaning and message touched all who visited, the Peace Fountain is a landmark that bridges the past and present, while shining a light toward the future. 

We recognize the fountain as an opportunity to make a bold statement about the city and its community that packs a visual and emotional punch.

The reimagined Peace Fountain holds the power to offer visitors an attraction where memories of yesteryear live on, and where new memories are made.

Concepts

Inspirations

We began by imagining how to make an engaging and meaningful destination fountain that also reduces energy use and operations / maintenance challenges.
Visibility of the fountain was a key criteria—from within Reaume Park and from afar. The fountain is an important backdrop for photos within the park, and its visibility from afar contributes to the fountain’s landmark quality.
We looked at designing an arch to span the bay, and explored numerous forms, possibilities, and locations.
We imagined the fountain as a Platform for Public Art - an interactive fountain that hosts curated artistic overlays by local and international artists to expand art opportunities for the community as well as to develop continuously changing programming to inspire Windsorites to visit frequently.  
We looked at different waterflow possibilities along the edge of the boardwalk:
We looked at fountain designs that incorporated seating.
We incorporated interactivity, lighting, and multimedia overlays in the fountain designs, using the latest technologies to make for an enhanced experience.
We looked at how the fountain can make boardwalk a more engaging space:
Rather than one large raft, which is difficult to remove every year, we looked at having multiple smaller rafts which could be more easily removed from the water.
We looked at different waterflow possibilities for the arch option.

3 Design Directions

See final diagrams in Design tab
Arch
Boardwalk
Floating
Possible waterflow:
Positioning the rafts:
Augmented Reality Viewers:
Rafts removal process for winter:
Analyses (Transsolar):
Possible water spray options:
Plaza Moments:
Structural diagrams
Analyses (Transsolar)
Possible ground surface variations:
Possible waterflow:
Structural details:
Placement on site:
Arch servicing rooms (bases):
Structural Diagrams (Walters)
Structural Analyses (ARUP)
Analyses (Transsolar)

Arch

Boardwalk

Floating

Sustainability

DECEMBER 2021
Here we established the main themes of the project. What does the fountain represent, and what values will it bring into the future? What role should this site play in the community?
NOVEMBER 2021
A look back at the history of the Peace Fountain. Windsorites shared their memories to help the design team understand what meaning this site holds.
FEBRUARY 2022
Preliminary design concepts based on input received from Memories & Visioning. Concepts were distilled into three primary design directions.
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