Taking a bite out of Sandwich Towne

University of Windsor students enrolled in a digital journalism course are working collectively on an exciting project this semester, a documentary about Sandwich Towne called The Other Side of the Bridge.

Mackenzie Hall in the heart of Olde Sandwich Towne, headquarters for the documentary “The Other Side of the Bridge." Photo by Lindsay Sheppard.
Mackenzie Hall in the heart of Olde Sandwich Towne, headquarters for the documentary “The Other Side of the Bridge." Photo by Lindsay Sheppard.

Mackenzie Hall in the heart of Olde Sandwich Towne, headquarters for the documentary “The Other Side of the Bridge.” Photo by Lindsay Sheppard.

Lindsay Sheppard

Reporter

University of Windsor students enrolled in a digital journalism course are working collectively on an exciting project this semester, a documentary about Sandwich Towne called The Other Side of the Bridge.

The project is supervised by UWindsor resident writing professional and the City of Windsor’s first Poet Laureate, Marty Gervais.

The project is currently in the initial stage of collecting research, interviews, and data. The end goal of the project is to produce a documentary and then present the research to the community.

Emily Nicholls, a second-year digital journalism student who is part of this project, expressed her excitement to be part of the team.

“Researching Sandwich Towne has opened my eyes to a very unique and charming town, which I happen to call home,” said Nicholls.  “I am proud to live here and I hope others can see how wonderful it is when this project is completed.”

“At this point we are researching as much as possible about Sandwich’s interesting past, its precarious present and where its future may be headed. Through this process we are hoping to expose the life of the community and the spirit that Sandwich Towne still has—while being objective, of course,” added Nicholls.

Their research spans over two hundred years of history, from the building of the Duff-Baby house in 1792, the underground railroad, the prohibition era rum running, right up to the current fight with Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun about the vacant houses on Indian road.

Gervais highlighted one interesting story about a Methodist pastor at Bedford United Church who shot and killed a tavern owner during prohibition and was tried for murder at Mackenzie Hall. His photograph still hangs in the front entrance of the gospel church located on Mill Street near Brock.

The “gun-toting Methodist” is just one of the many incredible stories uncovered by this project.

Gervais said the foundation for their project is a focus on the concept of shaping the future from the past.

“We’re going to the community with a question and that question is: is Sandwich worth saving?” said Gervais.

Responses have varied dramatically. The students have unearthed some compelling information about the history of the West-Windsor area, which they post regularly to an online blog.

“What we’re doing is not a regular assignment that you would get in classes at the university. We’re actually going to hand this material over to the community so that in 20 years from now… they’ll be able to reference our material,” said Gervais.

Gervais is very proud of the work the students are producing, saying, “We’re going to give them something that will be meaningful and important, and will matter to the community. It’s pretty amazing.”

According to Gervais, there has been incredible support for the project from both the university administration as well as city officials.

“We’ve had amazing support from city council, in particular with Ron Jones. He is a person who is born and raised in Sandwich and is 100 per cent behind this project and was instrumental in getting city council to give us the facilities at Mackenzie Hall,” said Gervais.

The final documentary will be screened at the end of March, with dates to be determined. The project blog can be read at www.the30.ca, their Twitter is @sandwichtowne14, and they can be found on Instagram at @sandwichtowne2014.

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