This week, history was made by bringing history to life.
We hosted a solo piano recital in the lobby of Windsor City Hall, treating our visitors and guests to the music of Chopin, Bach and other renowned composers performed by first-year University of Windsor student Samuel Fedele.
What made this concert special wasn’t just that it was the first of its kind to be held at 350 City Hall Square, but that the music was performed on a uniquely Windsor instrument — a Hiram Walker family baby grand piano generously donated to the City of Windsor by Beach Grove Golf and Country Club.
Perhaps you have seen it on a recent visit. It stands in the lobby of our new city hall, next to council chambers.
The piano is legendary.
The whisky stains and small cracks and scratches under the lid give us all the clues we need to get a sense of its storied and colourful past as the source of endless hours of entertainment to countless guests to Windsor over the past 95 or so years.
The piano was built by Canadian craftsmen at the renowned Heintzman piano company sometime in the mid-1920s.
Around that same time, it was purchased by Hiram Walker’s grandsons, Harrington Edward Walker and Hiram Holcomb Walker, for use in what was then their newly-built Beach Grove Country Club, a private members club, where they were charter members.
Except for a mysterious absence of unknown duration – it could have been a day or a few years, nobody knows for sure – this Heintzman piano has stood as a familiar fixture at Beach Grove for nearly a century.
It has been a meaningful part of our community and is yet another important link to the ongoing story of the Walker family’s contributions to our city, which have shaped everything from our history, economy, neighbourhoods, architecture and culture.
I thank Beach Grove Golf and Country Club for entrusting the City of Windsor as the steward of this unique piece of our heritage and giving us this wonderful opportunity to display the piano at city hall for everyone to enjoy.
-Mayor Drew Dilkens