Niagara-on-the-Lake - History - Historic Sites

Historic Sites

Most of the former military sites, such as Fort George, Navy Hall, and Butler's Barracks, have been restored. Fort George's restoration was done as a "Make Work Project", guided by plans from the Royal Engineers, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, an early example of historic preservation. Fort George National Historic Site is a focal point in a collection of War of 1812 sites which, collectively, are managed by Parks Canada under the name Niagara National Historic Sites. That administrative name includes several national historic sites: Fort Mississauga, Mississauga Point Lighthouse (1804, the first on the Great Lakes), Navy Hall, Butler's Barracks, and Queenston Heights.

Niagara-on-the-Lake teems with historical plaques, many national and provincial, reflecting its significance in the establishment of many of the province's institutions. Among these were its first newspaper, lending library, parliament, historical museum, and governing body for the legal profession. Critical battles in the defence of Upper Canada took place here, at Queenston, including one in which heroine Laura Secord gained her fame. The town gave many black Americans their first taste of freedom, both as a stop on the Underground railroad for those travelling further into Upper Canada, and as a refuge in its own right. Its stock of Regency and Classical Revival buildings, considered the best in the country from the post-war of 1812 period, led the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada to recommend that the town's historic district be designated a National Historic Site of Canada, a designation which was approved in 2003. The historic centre had already been designated as a provincial Heritage Conservation District under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1986. And, although it did not make the final list, the Historic District was considered for nomination as a World Heritage Site.

Other significant sites in NOTL:

  • The town contains other National Historic Sites of Canada within its boundaries: the Battlefield of Fort George and nearby Fort George, Butler's Barracks, Fort Drummond, Fort Mississauga, the site of the Mississauga Point Lighthouse, the Niagara Apothecary (the oldest apothecary in Canada), the Niagara District Court House, Queenston Heights, Queenston-Chippawa Hydro-electric Plant, Willowbank and Vrooman's Battery.
  • Old Court House Theatre 1847
  • St. Mark's Church 1791 - oldest Anglican Church in Ontario
  • McFarland House, built ca. 1800, is the oldest surviving building in Niagara-on-the-Lake. During the War of 1812 the house was used as both a hospital and Officer's Quarters, therefore it survived the Burning on Newark in December 1813. It is now open to the public for guided tours, as well as a tea patio.

Read more about this topic:  Niagara-on-the-Lake, History

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