The Hub November 2016 | Page 27

square mile in Sandwich than any other part of Windsor . Not because people in Sandwich necessarily cared more about heritage than anywhere else , but simply because the bridge went up and people ignored the town . It ’ s like Windsor stopped at the bridge .”
According to Gervais , although the historic buildings remained , the economy and social aspects of Sandwich “ slowly died .” The impact is still seen in 2016 , as discussion around plans for a new crossing inevitably involves concerns about neighbourhoods west of the bridge .
The Ambassador Bridge has also influenced the culture and traditions of Windsor and Detroit . Long time or lifelong residents of the area have formed close bonds with people and places “ over the river ” that are not always typical between neighbouring countries .
In the early 1920s , before the construction of the Ambassador Bridge , Detroit and the rest of the U . S . were living through Prohibition , with the production , sale and consumption of alcohol severely curtailed .
“ Before the bridge and tunnel , people used to get on the ferry boats and smuggle ,” said Gervais . “ Women and men would wear these big long coats , and inside would be the huge handmade pockets sewn into carry liquor . Women would also wear liquor strapped underneath their dresses with a coat
over top . It was easy to do this on a ferry boat , and then now suddenly you can get into a car and drive across .”
It became easier to transport alcohol and other items across the border . After Prohibition ended , contraband alcohol gave way to commercial goods , then drugs and people , The smuggling continued from the 1920 all the way up to September 11 , 2001 .
“ You used to be able to cross the border with a driver ' s license or your birth certificate , and if you forgot both sometimes they would let you cross anyway ,” said Gervais . “ Now you need a passport and to declare all goods .”
Trucks continued to transport goods between the two cities using the bridge . Although the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel had opened in 1930 , it wasn ’ t an option due to the size of most trucks . Bridge traffic grew as trade increased .
During and after the Second World War , both Windsor and Detroit experienced a heightened awareness of their proximity to a foreign country . “ During this time people were accusing their neighbors of being communists , it was a tense time ,” said Gervais . “ Some Americans began looking at Canada as a threat .”
This passed through the 1950s when over the border shopping became popular , at a point when the American dollar was worth less than the Canadian dollar . Gervais

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