350 Lakeshore Road, at the southern end of Niagara Blvd., Fort Erie
One of the most interesting places to visit in Fort Erie is Historic Fort Erie otherwise known as the "Old Fort". This is an old British fort of limestone and flint construction that has been restored to its original condition of 1814. A dry moat, earthworks, and wood abattis surround the building. Old Fort Erie was very much involved in the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States. A major battle was fought here when the fort was occupied by the Americans and under siege by the British in 1814. Re-enactments take place each summer with soldiers and militia in uniform performing battles and with authentic tent camps set up in the grounds. Inside the fort, rooms are set out in period display, including Guardroom, Soldiers Barracks, Officer's Room, Quartermaster's Dispensary, and Trading Room. There is also a display of various types of muskets and revolvers, and a typical Native campsite. The Visitors Centre features an Interactive Museum Exhibit, Gift Shop, Snack bar and indoor Theatre. The fort is operated by the Niagara Parks Commission. Free access to the outside grounds. The admission fee provides access to the museum display, inner grounds, fort building, and includes tours of the fort. Adults $12.50 + tax, Children $8.15 + tax, Under 5 free, No Senior rate. Free parking. Open for 2017 season May 20 - October 29. Hours May thru Aug. daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sept. 5 - Oct. weekdays 10 a.m. - 4 p.m, weekend 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Free days in 2017 - Saturday Canada Day July 1, Civic Holiday Monday August 7, Labour Day Monday September 4.
For details of the Re-enactment of the Siege of Fort Erie - See Events page.
Old Fort Erie
Fort Erie Historical Museum 402 Ridge Road, Ridgeway, west end of Fort Erie
Located in the former Bertie Township Hall of 1874, this small museum offers displays of the town's unique past. Displays of the history of the Town's makeup, the Fenian Raids, a Made in Fort Erie exhibit and some artifacts from early First Nations inhabitants are on display. There is also an extensive local history archives and local history files for research by appointment. Gift shop. Open summer 7 days a week 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., the rest of the year Sunday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Admission by donation.
Fort Erie Railway Museum 400 Central Avenue north of Gilmore Rd. just north of the Public Library and Sugarbowl Park
This Historic Site includes an old railway steam engine cab, a caboose and two original railway stations. The CNR train known as a Northern 4-8-4 was built in 1948 and served until 1959. It was the last steam engine to carry passengers in Canada. The Station from Ridgeway, built in 1856, and the station dating to 1878 from the International Railway Bridge in Fort Erie were moved to this site. Displays of railway artifacts are displayed inside the Ridgeway Station and the cab. The site is open for viewing all year, although the buildings are only open in summer from Victoria Day through Labour Day 7 days a week, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Admission by donation. Free parking. The site is located next to Sugarbowl Park. Public washrooms are now available in summer at the adjacent Central Fire Hall.
CN Steam Engine Cab
Niagara Railway Museum 21 Warren Street, Fort Erie
The old railway depot in Fort Erie has been renovated and turned into a railway museum. This was where, back in the hayday of the town's busy railroad era, the trains were repaired. The building has been cleaned up, and there are a steel boxcar and 2 locomotive cabs on display. The boxcar holds several artifacts for viewing. This year marks the start of regular hours for visitors. Open during the month of July and August on Saturdays and Sundays 10:00 a..m. - 2:00 p.m. Special Open House on July 11-12.
Native Artifacts - Mewinzha Exhibit
Public Bridge Authority Building 100 Queen St., between Central Avenue & Niagara Blvd.
A gallery displaying First Nations artifacts that were found along the Niagara River in Fort Erie is located in The Peace Bridge Authority Building. Called Mewinzha - A Journey Back in Time - this display shows some of the most interesting items that were found when the Customs Building was upgraded in the early 1990's. A huge archeological dig conducted at the time unearthed thousands of artifacts, many of which dated as far back as 1800 BC. The display includes flint arrowheads, stone tools, and ceramics. Another exhibit shows the history of the Peace Bridge. Open Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. except holidays. Free admission.
Point Abino Lighthouse
End of Port Abino Road, West end of Crystal Beach
A connection to our long maritime history, the Point Abino Llighthouse sits at the edge of the rocky shoreline on the peninsula called Point Abino, to the west of Crystal Beach. Built in the classical revival style it is one of the most picturesque lighthouses in Canada. Following the sinking of the US Coast Guard lightship stationed here during the big storm of 1913, the lighthouse was built in 1918 by the Canadian Government.The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1996 by Public Works Canada, later declared a National Historic Site, and then purchased by the Town of Fort Erie in 2003. The exterior of the structure was restored by the Town in 2011. The lighthouse keeper's dwelling was sold at that time to defray renovation costs.
The lighthouse may be viewed from the outside by taking a 20 minute walk down a roadway. This is a most pleasant stroll, with views of the lake on one side and immaculately manicured summer homes on the other. This property is under private ownership and one must register and sign a waiver at the gate. It is accessible on specific days and times. Bus tours are also conducted by the Town of Fort Erie on specific days. From Crystal Beach take Erie Rd. west, then left on Point Abino Rd. S. to the lake and drive as far as you can go. Park your car and go to the gatehouse from where you start your walk to the Point Abino Lighthouse.
Bus Tour Schedule 2017
June 8 & 10
July 8 & 22 August 12 & 26
September 9 & 23
Tours at 10:00 am., 11:15 am., 12:30 pm., 1:45 pm..
Cost - Adults $6.00, Youths $3.00, Children under 12 - Free
Erie Beach Ruins Adjacent to Waverly Beach, foot of Helena Street, Fort Erie
The concrete ruins of an old amusement park scattered along the rocky shore are a quaint and fascinating site. Erie Beach Amusement Park, hailed as "Buffalo's Atlantic City" got its start in the late 1890's and continued until 1930. This park, built by American businessmen, was beautifully landscaped with a concrete promenade, electric lamp posts, and flower gardens. Offering a multitude of amusements and rides, it was visited by thousands, by ferry and train at first and then by automobile. The concrete structure of the swimming pool, advertised as the world's largest outdoor pool, can be seen along the left side of Waverly Beach. The promenade has been replaced using concrete posts matching the original, of which a few still exist. Along the promenade the foundations of the old casino and other structures can be seen, as well as the base of the electric fountain and some of the old rides. There are other partially buried ruins along the dirt trails through the wood. Interpretive Plaques on the Promenade provide information about the Park in its heyday.
Swimming Pool Ruin
Ruins on Shore
Battle of Ridgeway Park
338 Garrison Road (Highway 3) just east of Ridge Road
This site is dedicated to the Battle of Ridgeway which was fought on the Ridge Road just north of the old village of Ridgeway on June 2, 1866. The invaders were Irish American Fenians, who hatched a plan to capture Canada in order to force Great Britain to free Ireland. They later became known as the Irish Republican Army or IRA. The stone cairn holds a plaque honouring the 9 soldiers who died in the battle. The units that fought were the Queen's Own Rifles from Toronto, the 13th Battalian from Hamilton, and the York and Caledonia Rifle Companies. The cottage on the sight, which was moved here, was originally located on the Ridge Road and was used to house the wounded. There are also interpretive plaques, a large time line plaque in the pavilion and a heritage tree in the field.
The Battle of Ridgeway was followed the same day by a fight at Fort Erie where volunteers from the Welland Canal Field Battery and the Dunnville Naval Brigade faced the Fenians. No men were killed but several were seriously wounded.