Most of Fort Erie's history can be found during a tumultous time in Canadian history, Unthinkable in today's time, where friends were enemies and the only trade taking place was the exchange of gunpowder... The War of 1812 was a conflict between the British Empire and the United States that was mostly unsuccessful raids, skirmishes and battles and eventually became a stalemate - the Garrison at Historic Fort Erie, caught in the middle, became known as Canada's bloodiest battlefield.
The important battles that took place helped shape and define both Canada and the USA, starting a long era of peaceful relations that we now celebrate, sharing over 200 years of peace as neighbors.
Full History *Warning, Long Read Past this line!*
Quote Excerpt from Wikipedia:
" The Fort Erie area contains deposits of flint, and became important in the production of spearheads, arrowheads, and other tools. In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the Niagara Peninsula was inhabited by the Neutral Nation, so named by the French because they tried to remain neutral between the warring Huron and Iroquois peoples.
In 1650, during the Beaver Wars, the Iroquois Confederacy declared war on the Neutral Nation, driving them from their traditional territory by 1651, and practically annihilating them by 1653.
After the Treaty of Paris, which ended the French and Indian War and transferred Canada from France to Britain, King George III issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763, establishing a "proclamation line", the territory beyond which (including what is now Southern Ontario) would be an Indian Reserve.
This was an attempt to avoid further conflict with the Indians, although it did not forestall Pontiac's War the following year. The British also built a string of military forts to defend their new territory, including Fort Erie, the first version of which was established in 1764.
During the American Revolution Fort Erie was used as a supply depot for British troops. After the war the territory of what is now the Town of Fort Erie was settled by soldiers demobilised from Butler's Rangers, and the area was named Bertie Township in 1784.
The original fort was destroyed by ice, as was a second fort built on the same site. In 1803, the British began work on a new, stone, fort inland from the original site. During the War of 1812, the Americans attacked Fort Erie twice in 1812, captured and abandoned it in 1813, and then recaptured it in 1814. The Americans held it for a time, breaking a prolonged British siege. Later they destroyed Fort Erie and returned to Buffalo in the winter of 1814.
The Fort Erie area became a major terminus for slaves using the Underground Railroad in the middle of the 19th century, many of whom crossed into Canada from Buffalo, New York. Bertie Hall (which was used for a time in the 20th century as a Doll House Museum) is believed to have been a stopping point on the Underground Railroad.
In 1866, during the Fenian raids, between 1,000 and 1,350 Fenians crossed the Niagara River and advanced toward the Welland Canal. They defeated local militia in the Battle of Ridgeway, and then turned back and fought the Battle of Fort Erie before retiring across the river and surrendering to the American authorities. The Grand Trunk Railway built the International Railway Bridge in 1873, bringing about a new town, originally named Victoria and subsequently renamed to Bridgeburg, north of the original settlement of Fort Erie. By 1876, Ridgeway had an estimated population of 800, the village of Fort Erie has an estimated population of 1,200, and Victoria boasted three railway stations. By 1887, Stevensville had an estimated population of "nearly 600", Victoria of "nearly 700", Ridgeway of "about 600", and Fort Erie of "about 4,000".
In 1888, the amusement park at Crystal Beach opened. The Canadiana brought patrons from Buffalo until 1956, and the park itself was closed in 1989.
In 1904, a group of speculators bought land at Erie Beach, planning to build an amusement park and other amenities, and sell lots around the park to vacationers from Buffalo. Erie Beach featured a hotel, a casino, a race track, regular ferry service from Buffalo and train service from the ferry dock in Fort Erie, and what was billed as the world's largest outdoor swimming pool. Erie Beach and Crystal Beach were in competition to provide bigger thrills to patrons, until Erie Beach went bankrupt and closed down on Labour Day weekend, 1930.
The Niagara Movement meeting was held at the Erie Beach Hotel in 1905. The movement later led to the founding of the NAACP.
The historic Point Abino Lighthouse was built by the Canadian government in 1918. The lighthouse has been automated in 1989. Since its decommissioning in 1995, the Point Abino Lighthouse was designated as a National Historic Site. The lighthouse is now owned by the Town of Fort Erie and is available for weekend tours in the summer.
On August 7, 1927 the Peace Bridge was opened between Fort Erie and Buffalo.
On January 1, 1932, Bridgeburg and Fort Erie amalgamated into a single town.
The ruins of Fort Erie remained until they were rebuilt through a depression era "work program" project, as a tourist attraction. Work started in 1937, and the Fort was opened to the public in 1939.
In 1970, the provincial government consolidated the various villages in what had been Bertie Township, including the then town of Fort Erie, into the present Town of Fort Erie. *END QUOTE*