Niagara on the Lake has a significant number of historic sites, buildings, and monuments. Together, they help tell the story of 250 years of Canadian history, from the early Loyalist days, to the War of 1812, the 1837 Rebellion, as well as the story of Camp Niagara during the Boer War, First World War, Second World War, and Korean War. As military reserve properties, all of our sites (except Navy Island) were used to train soldiers during the First World War and the Second World War for overseas service.
Fort George National Historic Site is a glimpse into one of the most important chapters of Canadian history, the War of 1812. This fort served as the headquarters for the Centre Division of the British Army and Major-General Sir Isaac Brock. Fort George was destroyed by artillery before Americans invaded and took over the fort for seven months, in 1813.
The Battlefield of Fort George National Historic Site was the site of one of the fiercest and most important battles of the War of 1812. Outnumbered five to one, the British defenders fought a desperate beachhead battle while under artillery fire from the U.S. Fleet.
Navy Hall was a storehouse and wharf establishment started by the British at Fort Niagara in 1765. The first complex later served as a residence for the first Lieutenant-governor of the Province. It later became a mess and residences of the officers of Fort George. The first complex was destroyed by artillery fire in November, 1812. The current structure was built by the British military in 1815-1817 as a part of a key military supply facility for British forts on the upper Great Lakes. It was relocated in 1863 and again during renovations in 1937.
Fort Mississauga’s construction began during the War of 1812 and was completed just after the 1837 Mackenzie Rebellion. The Fort is located at a strategic position at the mouth of the Niagara River, opposite Fort Niagara, to protect the British/Canadian side of the Niagara frontier.
Mississauga Point Lighthouse was the first lighthouse on the Great Lakes. It was built in 1804. During the battle of Fort George, Lighthouse Keeper Dominick Henry and his wife tended to casualties on the battlefield near the lighthouse. The lighthouse was ultimately destroyed during the US occupation of Niagara. In 1814, work began to build Fort Mississauga on that location.
Navy Island National Historic Site is where the first British-decked vessels to sail the upper Great Lakes were built. It was no longer a good place to build vessels when the east side of the Niagara River was turned over to the United States by Jay’s Treaty in 1796. In 1838 William Lyon Mackenzie occupied the Island as a staging point for an intended invasion of Canada.
Butler's Barracks National Historic Site is a historic military complex of four wooden buildings located at the edge of the Commons, 1 kilometre west of Fort George National Historic Site. Construction of the barracks complex began during the War of 1812, out of range of the American Guns at Fort Niagara. The surviving buildings are post -War of 1812 construction and were used by the military until the 1950’s.
Queenston Heights National Historic Site protects the battlefield where a small force of British defenders fought off an invasion by a significantly larger American Army in the first battle for the Niagara frontier in October, 1812. Major General Isaac Brock and his aide-de-camp John Macdonell both died trying to reclaim the Heights from the US troops. Both men are buried and commemorated in Brock’s Monument, built where the climax of the battle took place and over 900 US soldiers were taken prisoner.