Description of Historic Place
Assumption Park is located on Windsor's west side, in the shadow of the Ambassador Bridge to Detroit. It is adjacent to the Detroit River and is situated on Riverside Drive between Vista Place and Huron Church Road. The 27.97 acre park sits just north of the University of Windsor campus.
It is recognized for its heritage value by the City of Windsor By-law 10620. Assumption Park is also recognized for its heritage value by the Ontario Heritage Trust, which holds an heritage easement on the property, and displays a plaque that was erected in 1960.
Assumption Park is associated with the First Nations Peoples and the Jesuit Mission of 1748, and with the beginning of the settlement of the south shore of the Detroit River, Ontario's oldest European settlement.
Jesuit Priest Father Armand de la Richardie, S.J., along with Father Pierre Potier re-established a mission for the Huron First Nations Peoples at this location in 1748. They chose this area along the south shore of the Detroit River in hopes that the mission would be protected by Fort Pontchartrain (located in what is now Detroit) from attacks by the Iroquois and disaffected Hurons. The north side of Assumption Park was given to the priests by the government of New France, as was a sum of 5000 livres to aid them in the construction of mission buildings.
Around the same time the mission was re-established, the government of New France was encouraging settlement in the area (known as Montreal Point). As a result of the population increase, the Huron Mission had to serve the new European population as well as the local First Nations population. In 1767, the mission became the Parish of Assumption, the first parish of what is now Ontario. The park property was the site of a rectory (1748) and the church (1787). In the years between 1806 and 1851, the north portion of the site was used as a cemetery for the parish.
In 1952, Assumption College, the predecessor of the University of Windsor, was given title to the land. In 1990, after leasing the land for some thirty-eight years, the City of Windsor purchased the property from the Basilian Fathers to continue to use it for parkland.
Sources: “Jesuit Mission to the Hurons,” Ontario Heritage Trust plaque, 1960;
“Historical Background on the Jesuit Mission to the Huron's,” Ontario Heritage Trust; “Assumption Park” Ontario Heritage Trust files; City of Windsor By-law 10620, March 25, 1991; “Assumption Park,” in A History of Windsor's Parks, City of Windsor, 2004.
Character defining elements that embody the heritage value of Assumption Park include its:
- location as a Huron First Nations Peoples site, who inhabited this locale
- location as a site for the early settlement as part of New France
- location as a site for the early Jesuit missions in Ontario
- location adjacent to the Detroit River and Assumption Church
- location as an archaeological site containing burials or other remains from the original cemetery/original mission structures