‘Detroit News’ Report on Border Town as ‘Sin City’ Upsets Mayor

By: Mark Fitzgerald

Windsor, Ontario’s mayor and downtown business officials are upset with a Detroit News article that pointed out something well-known to many male visitors with an expense account: The Canadian border town permits sex-for-money escort services, sells Cuban cigars, and is home to some acclaimed strip clubs.

The object of their ire is a Jan. 1 report by News business writer Louis Aguilar headlined, “Is Windsor the Super Sin City?/Canadian town’s sex trade may lure game revelers to cross border.”

“The testosterone-charged throngs of Super Bowl XL may temporarily turn this pleasant border town into Sin City North,” Aguilar wrote. “There are things you can get in Windsor that you cannot legally get in Metro Detroit. Cuban cigars. All-nude strip clubs. Sex for money.”

In anticipation of Super Bowl crowds, the story reported, Havana Heaven and other retailers are stocking hundreds of extra Cuban cigars.

The News said the all-nude clubs known in the region as the “Windsor Ballet” are also gearing up for a big week: “Clubs like Cheetah’s of Windsor say women from around the world have been applying in droves to bare it all and dance during Super Bowl week.”

Escort services reported that they received requests for reservations beginning more than a year ago, according to the News.

While street solicitation of prostitution is illegal, sex-for-money arrangements through “escort services” is legal in Windsor.

The article quoted the owner of four all-nude clubs as saying Super Bowl week is “like a dream” for his and similar vice businesses.

The News noted that Windsor is also home to many more wholesome attractions, such as its collection of fine restaurants.

But Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis was “singularly unimpressed” with the story, according to a Toronto Star report by Nicolaas Van Rijn. Just last week, Francis had declared that the Super Bowl crowds would see a Windsor far different than “the old cliches” about vice.

The head of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association is downright steamed at the News. “It’s unfortunate that they’re making these comments about their neighbor,” Judith Veresuk was quoted as saying. “There are quite a few alternate venues we’re hoping to bring people to.”

News Business Editor Mark Truby noted in a telephone interview that the paper had mentioned the family-friendly activities available during the run-up to the Feb. 5 Super Bowl.

“Certainly when the reporter went there, a lot of the [vice industry] companies were gearing up for the Super Bowl, but we also made the point that Windsor’s got a very nice restaurant business district and other family-oriented businesses that will benefit as well,” Truby said.

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