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A Storied History
Fort Erie’s history dates back to the American Revolution when it served as a vital supply depot for British troops. After the war, the area was settled by soldiers from Butler’s Rangers, and in 1784, it was officially named Bertie Township. The original fort, built in 1764, played a crucial role in trade and transportation, serving as a port for ships traveling from Lake Erie to the Upper Great Lakes. However, due to winter storms, a new fort was constructed on higher ground in 1803, just in time for the outbreak of the War of 1812.
The War of 1812 and Old Fort Erie
Old Fort Erie, located in the heart of the town, is a historic site that played a prominent role in the War of 1812. This reconstructed fort stands as a testament to the bravery and sacrifices made by soldiers during this tumultuous period in history. Visitors can explore the fort’s various buildings, engage with knowledgeable guides, and gain a deeper understanding of the battles that took place on these grounds. It is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and those seeking to immerse themselves in Canada’s rich military heritage.
Exploring Fort Erie Today
While Fort Erie is steeped in history, it is far from being a relic of the past. In recent years, the town has experienced rapid growth, with an influx of residential and commercial development. Garrison Road, also known as Niagara Regional Road 3, serves as the town’s bustling commercial corridor, stretching from east to west. Here, you’ll find a vibrant mix of shops, restaurants, and businesses that cater to the needs of both locals and visitors.
The Commercial Core Areas
Fort Erie is not just a single town but a collection of commercial core areas that were amalgamated in 1970. These areas include Bridgeburg, Ridgeway, Stevensville, and Crystal Beach. Crystal Beach, in particular, holds a special place in the town’s history. Crystal Beach Park, which operated from 1888 to 1989, attracted visitors from far and wide who sought fun and relaxation on its beautiful waterfront. Today, the beach remains a beloved part of Fort Erie, continuing to draw tourists and locals alike.
Embracing Nature at Safari Niagara
For those seeking a different kind of adventure, Safari Niagara offers a unique and interactive experience. This 150-acre nature park is home to over 1000 animal, bird, and reptile species, making it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Just a short drive from Niagara Falls, Safari Niagara provides educational shows, animal feedings, and the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of nature’s most fascinating creatures. From the ropes course and safari rides to the splash pad and petting farm, there is something for everyone at this family-friendly attraction.
A Day at the Races
Fort Erie has long been associated with horse racing, and for many, attending the races is a cherished tradition. While the town may not have reached the heights of Saratoga in terms of prominence, it continues to captivate racing enthusiasts with its charming track. The Fort Erie Race Track, located near the scenic Niagara River, offers a unique and picturesque setting for both casual spectators and serious bettors. Whether you’re cheering on your favorite horse from the grandstand or placing your bets, a day at the races in Fort Erie is an experience to remember.
Exploring the Outdoors
Nature lovers will find plenty to explore in and around Fort Erie. The town’s proximity to Niagara Falls, the Great Lakes, and various parks and conservation areas provides ample opportunities for outdoor adventures. From hiking and biking trails to fishing and boating on the Niagara River, there is no shortage of activities to keep outdoor enthusiasts entertained. Fort Erie’s idyllic location, nestled between urban centers and natural wonders, makes it an ideal base for exploring the best that Ontario has to offer.
Events and Festivals
Throughout the year, Fort Erie hosts a variety of events and festivals that showcase the town’s vibrant culture and community spirit. From concerts at Safari Niagara’s amphitheater to holiday celebrations and summer festivals, there is always something happening in Fort Erie. These events bring together locals and visitors, creating a lively and welcoming atmosphere that reflects the town’s warm hospitality.
Planning Your Visit
When planning your visit to Fort Erie, it’s essential to check the official websites and local resources for the most up-to-date information on park hours, admission fees, and event schedules. Additionally, consider the weather conditions and plan accordingly to make the most of your time in this charming town. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, Fort Erie has something to offer everyone.
Where is Fort Erie located?
Fort Erie is a town located in Southern Ontario, Canada. It's on the northeastern shore of Lake Erie at the southern mouth of the Niagara River.
What is the population of Fort Erie?
The population was about 30,000.
What is Fort Erie known for?
Fort Erie is best known for its historic fort which was a strategic battleground during the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States. It's also known for its horse racing venue, the Fort Erie Race Track, and its proximity to the US-Canada border.
What can I do in Fort Erie?
You can visit the Old Fort Erie, enjoy a day at the Fort Erie Race Track, stroll along the shores of Lake Erie, go bird-watching at the Point Abino Lighthouse, or enjoy a variety of outdoor activities in the many parks and green spaces in and around the town
What is the weather like in Fort Erie?
Fort Erie has a humid continental climate with four distinct seasons. Summers are typically warm to hot, and winters can be cold with periods of snow.
Are there any notable events in Fort Erie?
Yes, the Fort Erie Race Track hosts a number of horse racing events throughout the year. In addition, the Friendship Festival is a notable annual event celebrating the close relationship between Canada and the United States.