History of The Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village
The Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village (CTMHV) is a non-profit, registered charity operated by the Historic Vehicle Society of Ontario.
In 1954, the Historic Vehicle Society of Ontario (HVSO) was established in Windsor. This group started as some friends and neighbors with a shared passion for old cars and socializing. Early days of the HVSO were informal, with meetings that were dedicated to discussing cars, mechanical problems, and how to repair them. The HVSO would attend events in the surrounding Windsor-Detroit area, creating ties with local clubs across the border like the Detroit Chapter of the VMCCA. After a rapid increase in membership, the HVSO would go on to have an official Board of Directors, newsletter, and official clubhouse.
The HVSO newsletter was called Through the Windshield, a name still used for the HVSO and the CTMHV newsletter.
Finding an official clubhouse would require much work. Such a place needed to have enough space to store historic vehicles, parts, and a place to work on them. Meetings had been held at the Roseland Women’s Institute Hall but was too small to fill the club’s needs. In the early 1960s, the HVSO bought the old Borden Dairy Building in downtown Windsor, raising funds by collecting a sum of $15 (about $140 today) from each member.
The HVSO would then go on to hold social gatherings, bringing their families along for fun, and cruising in their old antique cars all over Ontario and Michigan.
There were talks of starting a museum for antique vehicles, and in 1973 the HVSO purchased a property on Arner Townline in Essex. The vast property allowed the HVSO to dedicate space for a historic village, and by 1974 historic buildings from all over Windsor-Essex were making their way to the new grounds.
Selling their old building downtown to raise funds for a newly built facility, the HVSO relocated to Arner Townline. Renovations would be done consistently, but a generous donation from the Beneteau family, long supporters of the HVSO, allowed for an expansion of the museum and to build a diner and gift shop. The 50’s Diner and the Gift Shop were added in 2001.
Since its completion, the Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village has been dedicated to the preservation of historic artifacts and educating the greater Windsor-Essex area. The property also features the only EMS Museum in Ontario, and a Harley Davidson Museum.