Location: Chippawa Battlefield, Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls
The Battle of Chippawa was fought on July 5, 1814 between the Americans and the British – Iroquois First Nations – Canadian Militia. It was the bloodiest war of the Niagara campaign with over 160 dead and over 500 people wounded in a ten hour period.
The Chippawa Battlefield is the last preserved war monument in its natural state in the Niagara region, it is over 300 acres and is maintained by the Niagara Parks Commission. There is a monument to the fallen soldiers on both sides of the battle as well as the flags of the three major participants of the Battle of Chippawa (Canadian, British and American). There is also a self-guided tour which takes you through the numerous battle campaigns that occurred in the Niagara region during the War of 1812.
On the anniversary of the Battle, a service is held to commemorate the fallen–the event is free to attend.
Fort George National Historic Site
Location: 51 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
Fort George was built in 1802 after the British were required by way of a treaty to withdraw from Fort Niagara in 1796. The Battle of Fort George saw the American forces apprehend the Fort in May 1813, after two days of bombardment by cannons from Fort Niagara and a deadly battle.
The Americans used the fort as a base to invade Upper Canada (now Ontario) until December 1813 when the British reclaimed Fort George.
Later, the Fort was used as a training ground for soldiers during both World War I and II. Today, it is used to train summer students in infantry tactics and firing drills the same way it was done in 1812. The Fort is also allows tourists and students a glimpse into the daily lives of those living in the Fort during the American invasion and how it was used to defend Upper Canada.
Fort George is surrounded by an old style wooden fence enclosing approximately 6 acres of hilly grassland with several buildings on site. It is defended by strategically positioned cannons and guard posts. The buildings on-site contain the different functions of the Fort from dorms and eateries to the Officer’s Quarters.
Each building had a specific function, visitors can walk through them to see what life was like in a Fort in the 1800’s. You can visit the armory where all the munitions were stored. Each weapon, their function and use, is explained in detail.
Depending on the time and season, you can see both the marching band practicing and the re-enactment of a real firing line.
Niagara Falls Art Gallery
Location: 8058 Oakwood Drive, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6S5
Any art lover who enjoys the excitement of finding new local talent should spend some time visiting the Niagara Falls Art Gallery. It serves the community as a non-profit Art Gallery to promote local and regional artists. The gallery will usually display three different art collections at anytime, and will have multiple showcases throughout the year. Most of the collections will be based on a theme or will tell a story.
There are self-guided explanations that can be downloaded onto your cellphone, visitors can listen as they peruse through the gallery. Niagara Falls Art Gallery also provides educational experiences and school programs for children as summer and extracurricular activities. Entrance fee is an optional donation.
Niagara Historical Society & Museum
Location: 43 Castlereagh St, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
Niagara Historical Society & Museum is housed in the first building in Ontario to be constructed for use solely as a historical museum. Miss Janet Carnochan was a school teacher and the founder of the memorial hall, built under the concept of preserving the regions history in one location.
Inside the museum you will find multiple glass cases protecting historical artifacts from the Niagara region. People travel from Toronto to Niagara Falls and visit the Niagara Historical Society Museum. Take a self-guided tour around the building and learn about the rich Canadian culture as it has progressed throughout the years. Learn about lesser known histories; like the African-Canadian and First Nations contributions to the area.
Explore the history of trade in the area from the First Nations trails to the railroad station to the building of the Welland Canal. Read about the many different groups of people that have settled in the community to start a new life. And finally enjoy the peaceful garden grounds that is meticulously maintained by the Historical Society.
Niagara Military Museum
Location: 5049 Victoria Ave, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 4E2
The goal of the Niagara Military Museum is to share the experiences of regionally-based individuals in the Canadian military with an emphasis on 20th century service. This is achieved by housing artifacts within the old Niagara Falls Armoury and allowing the public to view the region’s rich military history.
Start your tour with a walk-through the War of 1812. Read on the multiple battles that occurred, the important figures on both sides of the conflict, and the different groups involved. Next, observe the proud naval tradition that Canada has with its wide array of ships and awards that the Navy has won over the years. The Gun Room is filled with weapons from different countries throughout the years of warfare from muskets to rifles to revolvers. Read articles from the World War I and II as well as the War advertising from Canadian side.
Admission fee is based on an optional donation.
Willoughby Historical Museum
Location: 9935 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6S6
The Willoughby Historical Museum is actually a preserved schoolhouse from the old Willoughby township before it became Niagara Falls.
The original floors and structure of the schoolhouse remain. Inside you can travel back in time and observe how life was in Willoughby through the farming tools, family heirlooms, and antiques which have been saved. Try your hand weaving on the interactive loom, or make a call connection through the fully operational phone system (no apps on these phones!).
Check out some artifacts from the War of 1812 and admire the foot powered printing press. The Willoughby Historical offers guided tours or you can walk around by yourself and be taken back to a simpler time.
Admission to the museum is an optional donation.