Best of Windsor Essex

Numerous local events, festivals and sites of for TWEPI “Best of Windsor-Essex” awards



By Ron Giofu


A number of Amherstburg sites, events and businesses have been nominated for Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) awards but they need the support of the public to win them.

The Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest has been nominated in the “Best Local Festival – Food & Drink” category but people have to vote for them online at

The Ribfest is in its ninth year and committee chair Carl Gibb said the idea originated from current Rotary Club president Dan Hunt. As many as 15,000 people have attended in some years with the hope this year being for 20,000 people.

“It feels good to be recognized,” said committee member Laura George.

George said the Ribfest is evidence that good things happen when people work together. She added the

Gibb said this year’s festival, planned for July 6-8, will see the committee “ramping up the food choices and entertainment level.” Proceeds from the Ribfest will be put towards “a major project for the town.”

Over 150 volunteers are needed annually for Ribfest. Those interested in volunteering for this year’s Ribfest can contact George at 519-982-2684.

The Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest is one of the Amherstburg-related business, festivals, sites or organizations up for a “Best of Windsor-Essex” award.

Other nominees include a former winner in the Gibson Gallery. The Gibson Gallery is nominated in the favourite art gallery or art space category. Art by the River is nominated in the Best Local Festival – Arts category. In the Best Local Festival – Community Holiday Event category, the River Lights Winter Festival is one of the nominees.

There are two Amherstburg nominees in the Best Museum/Heritage Space category. The Amherstburg Freedom Museum and Fort Malden National Historic Site are up for that award. Fort Malden is also nominated in the Best Local Attraction – Historical category and the Best Photo Op category, with Navy Yard Park also being nominated for the latter.

The Fort Family Fun Centre can be voted for the Best Family Friendly Attraction.

Nominated in the Best Cultural or Heritage District category is the Amherstburg historical district. The Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce received a nomination in the Best Shopping District category.

An “Art of the Cocktail” nomination went to Wolfhead Distillery while Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery received a nomination in the Best Local Winery category. Maria’s Restaurant was nominated in the Best Breakfast category while the Best Burger section saw Gilligan’s get a nomination.

Three pizza restaurant chains with Amherstburg locations received nominations in the Best Pizza category, with those including Armando’s, Capri and Naples.

The River Canard Canoeing Company was nominated in the Best On the Water Activity category while the King’s Navy Yard Park received nominations for the Best Picnic Spot and Best Park/Garden awards.

Wildwood Golf & RV Resort and Willowood RV Resort each received nominations for Best Cottage and Best Campground with the latter also having Holiday Beach nominated.

Smashed Apple Gourmet Catering is up for Best Sandwich Shop while the Bondy House is up for Best Bed & Breakfast.

Voting is underway and runs through March 11 at 11:59 p.m. Winners will be announced by TWEPI April 17. People can only vote once per e-mail.

Amherstburg does well in TWEPI’s “Best of Windsor-Essex” awards



By RTT Staff


Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) announced the winners of the second edition of the “Best of Windsor Essex” awards last Wednesday with Amherstburg doing well in the balloting.

The awards, a campaign by TWEPI that ran from January to February 2017, tried to put together the most comprehensive list of the “Best Of” things to see and do in the region. According to a media release put out by TWEPI, this year’s campaign drew on the success of last year’s inaugural campaign and was able to draw “an even more enthusiastic response from local residents and visitors eager to share their favorite attractions.”

TWEPI states that in the first phase of the campaign, over 785 unique Windsor-Essex locations were nominated for the 43 awards. Those nominations were then pared down into the top five in each category.

The second phase then began with over 7,000 people voting again on the top five in each category for their favorite spots in Windsor-Essex.

TWEPI states this campaign “has created an authentic list that is expected to resonate with visitors, giving TWEPI the opportunity to highlight some of the best of what the region has to offer.”

Military Heritage Days4

Fort Malden won TWEPI’s “Best Local Attraction - Historical” award.

“This year’s campaign drew an even higher engagement rate than last year from both businesses and their fans alike. Locals are justifiably proud of our area and we anticipate that this list will inspire locals and visitors alike to explore our region’s iconic experiences, hidden gems and everything in between,” says Gordon Orr, CEO of Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island.

Amherstburg businesses, attractions or historic sites made the list 18 times with three being named as winners. Wolfhead Distillery won for “Best Distillery Experience” while Fort Malden National Historic Site captured the “Best Local Attraction – Historical” award. Armando’s won for “Best Pizza,” with that award covering all Armando’s locations in the area.

The Gibson Gallery, a winner of a “Best of Windsor Essex” award in 2016, was a finalist for “Best Art Gallery or Art Space” in 2017. The Amherstburg historical district was a finalist in the “Best Cultural or Historic District” category while Fort Malden was also a finalist in the “Best Museum or Heritage Space” classification.

The Libro Centre was a finalist for the “Best Local Attraction – Sports.”

Wolfhead was also a finalist in another category as well, that being the “Best Craft Cocktail” grouping. Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery was a finalist for “Best Winery Experience.”

Smashed Apple Gourmet Catering were finalists in the “Best Chef-Inspired Dining” and “Best Sandwich Shop” categories while Maria’s was a finalist for “Best Breakfast.”

There were four Amherstburg-related finalists as it pertains to outdoor adventure categories. The River Canard Canoe Company was a finalist for the “Best on the Water Activity” award while Navy Yard Park finished in the running for the “Best Park or Garden” award. Holiday Beach Conservation Area was a finalist in the “Best Picnic Spot” category while the Cypher Systems Greenway was nominated in the “Best Two-Wheel Adventure” category.

There were two local businesses in the “Best Cottage or Campground” group including Wildwood Golf and RV Resort in McGregor and Willowood RV Resort.

Visitor information manager Jennifer Ibrahim said it’s a great sign for Amherstburg that so many locations within this community either won an award or were in the running.

Many finalists were Amherstburg organizations and it goes to show you that a smaller community like Amherstburg can hold its own,” said Ibrahim.  “Being a ‘Best Of Windsor Essex’ winner means the region likes what these businesses are doing and wants them to keep doing what they do best!  Our local winners, Fort Malden National Historic Site, Armando’s and Wolfhead Distillery are examples of three completely different organizations that deliver valued unique experiences to their guests.  If someone hasn’t been to any of the listed nominees, they should check them out and see what all the excitement is about.”

Businesses, organizations with Amherstburg ties named “Best of Windsor-Essex”



By Ron Giofu


Six businesses or organizations with a connection to Amherstburg have been named as one of the “Best in Windsor-Essex.”

Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) announced the winners of the first-ever “Best of Windsor-Essex” contest. TWEPI described the “Best of Windsor-Essex” as a new campaign that ran in November and December last year “with the ambitious goal of putting together the most comprehensive list of the ‘Best Of’ things to see and do in the region.”

Smashed Apple won the award for best food truck while Armando’s was named best pizza place, according to TWEPI’s voters.

Precision Jewellers was named best jewellery store while Holiday Beach Conservation Area was named the best campground.

Best of Windsor-Essex award winners (TWEPI photo)

Best of Windsor-Essex award winners (TWEPI photo)

The Windsor Parade Corporation’s Amherstburg Santa Claus Parade was dubbed best parade in the region while the Gibson Gallery was named best art gallery.

Amherstburg’s tourism department was thrilled with the results and how local nominees did.

“The Best of Windsor Essex was Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island’s first social media campaign for our region.  Several Amherstburg businesses and events were nominated,” said tourism co-ordinator Jennifer Ibrahim. “Because it is those in our region that were encouraged to participate, being nominated in itself is a great honour. Amherstburg did a great job in winning their share of awards. These awards showcase the talent and business savvy of our community and highlight even more reasons why visitors should come to Amherstburg. “

The campaign appealed to the public through two different phases with the first phase seeing residents and visitors invited to nominate their favourite business, organization or attraction through a 61-question survey. TWEPI stated over 1,000 people filled out that survey.

Phase 2 saw choices narrowed down to the top five in each of the 62 categories.

Winners received commemorative plaques and a letter of congratulations at an awards ceremony held last Wednesday. TWEPI states that winners will also be listed in its 2016/17 official visitor guide and TWEPI’s micro-site,

“The level of engagement generated by this campaign exceeded our expectations,” stated TWEPI CEO Gordon Orr. “Locals are justifiably proud of our area and we anticipate that this list will inspire locals and visitors alike to explore our region’s iconic experiences, hidden gems and everything in between.”