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'Windsor is Canada's best kept secret': Thousands expected in Windsor to see Ford Fireworks show

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Thousands of people are expected to flock to Windsor when the 66th annual Ford Fireworks show takes place over the Detroit River Monday night.

Tourism officials in Windsor-Essex credit the annual event for boosting Monday sales at many waterfront accommodations, noting several downtown hotels had sold out well in advance.

"We know that for a Monday night, the hotel occupancy is strong," said Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) President and CEO Gordon Orr. "There's three hotels in downtown Windsor that are already sold out. The rest are enjoying healthy occupancies and higher than average daily rates. So, it's a really, really good day for that."

Orr said the economic footprint Ford Fireworks fans leave behind is great, suggesting the event is an exciting way to start the summer tourist season off with a bang.

"It's an exciting day for us to celebrate our freedom and friendship with our counterparts in the U.S. and there's a great vibe in downtown," Orr said.

"On top of all of that, of course, is the layered Game Seven and the block party that's going to be happening down by the Bull and Barrel. So we're expecting a huge influx of visitation to downtown and people are going to see [a] stronger downtown than that ever seen in the last number of years. And we're excited to welcome them here," said Orr.

First time spectators Phillip Daw and Rosemary Fife of St. Thomas, Ont., booked their hotel room at the Best Western on Riverside Drive two months in advance.

"We read that there's a million people that come to see this and we wanted to be a part of that this year," Fife said.

"We're really close to Caesars, so that's on the agenda and Spago's for dinner," Daw added.

Quality Inn & Suites Downtown Director of Sales Daniela Maceroni said there was no vacancy ahead of Monday evening, noting many Americans had made reservations.

"This is fabulous," she exclaimed. "Fabulous for Windsor. Fabulous for us. It's going to be a great day. Great weather. Can't complain."

Maceroni told CTV News, "We actually filled up this weekend. It was really good. Usually we never fill up on the weekends, but this year we did. We just got busy because I guess the weather is good. People are excited to get out and about."

The Quality Inn in downtown Windsor on June 24, 2024. (Chris Campbell/CTV News Windsor)

Meantime, other American tourists arrived early on Monday to claim good viewing seats along Windsor's waterfront.

"Let me tell you, Windsor is Canada's best kept secret," stated retired U.S. Army veteran Bernard Holcombe of Detroit. "The fireworks are great. The view is great!"

Holcombe said he and his family have been watching the fireworks show from Windsor for the last 23 years.

"The people are great. The hospitality is great. No bad things so to speak going on and you guys know how to handle your business. It's a beautiful place, beautiful atmosphere," he said.

St. Clair College Centre for the Arts Senior Director Joe D'Angela said hundreds of tickets had been sold for their fireworks night charity event that boasts one of the best views in the city to watch the display.

"Quite honestly, it's such a unique vibe downtown on this particular night," D'Anegla explained. "With all the streets being closed and obviously having those Dieppe Gardens in front of us and Riverside Drive, the amount of activity, is just absolutely fantastic to see everybody come down and celebrate this wonderful event every year."

"We've sold over 600 tickets. This year's charity is Fight Like Mason, which is a great organization and we're happy to present them with total proceeds at the end of the event," he added.

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