Ambassador Bridge spans the Detroit River, connecting the city of Windsor in Ontario, Canada, to the Michigan city of Detroit. If you contrast the trade volume of other borders between the United States and Canada or Mexico, the Ambassador Bridge Detroit represents the busiest of all international border crossing points in North America. One of the interesting Ambassador Bridge facts is that it is privately owned and maintained as a profit-making business, very unusual for an international border crossing that is so important. Another of the unusual Ambassador Bridge facts is that its sections from the anchorage points to the main towers are not suspended, but rather supported by a network of deck truss spans.
The Ambassador Bridge was completed in 1929, and was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time. The George Washington Bridge in New York City replaced it in the record books in 1931. The state of Michigan, in fact, is distinguished by having built two of the world’s longest suspension bridges. The Mackinac Bridge that connects the two non-contiguous sections of Michigan was the other. The Ambassador Bridge Detroit is now the 60th longest suspension bridge in the world.
There are several Ambassador Bridge neighborhoods of particular note. Mexicantown, with about a 50 percent population of Hispanics is an emerging center of business and commerce, and (as its name suggests) boasts a number of excellent Mexican restaurants. Plans for a roadway providing direct access to the bridge is sure to make this area even more popular. Downtown Detroit is located along the riverfront just to the northeast of the bridge, and is the central business district. A revitalization of the riverfront has added many new attractions. There are Detroit casinos here, including the Greektown Casino, the MotorCity Casino, and the MGM Grand Casino. This is also the site of numerous Detroit hotels. There are also casinos across the river in Windsor, so many people use the Ambassador Bridge Detroit to get back and forth between them.
Also across the river in Windsor are two other Ambassador Bridge neighborhoods of note. One is Walkerville, the historic center of the city. Here are some of the most beautiful and historic mansions in the area, including the Willistead Manor designed by famed architect Albert Kahn who is often referred to as Detroit’s architect. Ten of his buildings are recognized as Michigan historic landmarks. Sandwich Towne overlooks the bridge. It was founded in 1748 and is the oldest continually occupied town in Canada west of Montreal.
The sidewalk and bicycle path was closed after the September 11 terrorist attacks, which has led to controversy and complaints from the public. In an attempt to draw attention to the need of this non-vehicle route, the Ambassador Bridge facts added an annual Bike the Bridge event in 2009. Only 60 cyclists participated in that event in which on direction of the roadway was closed to vehicle traffic. The owners of the bridge are cooperating with the event organizers, and this could be a groundbreaking event that could change the ban.