Fort Erie (2006 population 29,925) is a town on the Niagara River in the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada. It is located directly across the river from Buffalo, New York.
Fort Erie is one of the fastest growing communities in Niagara, and has experienced a high level of residential and commercial development in the past few years. Garrison Road (Highway 3) is the town's commercial corridor, stretching east to west through Fort Erie.
Fort Erie is also home to a number of other commercial core areas (Bridgeburg, Ridgeway, Stevensville and Crystal Beach) as a result of the 1970 amalgamation of the latter three municipalities with Fort Erie proper.
The town's beaches on Lake Erie
, most notably Crystal Beach
and Bay Beach, are considered the best in the area and draw many weekend recreationists from the Toronto and Buffalo areas. While summers are enjoyable, winters can occasionally be fierce, with many snowstorms, whiteouts and winds whipping off Lake Erie.
Modern settlement of the area was established when a British military
fort, Fort Erie
, was constructed in 1764. During the American Revolution
it was used as a supply depot for British troops. When the War of 1812
started, the troops stationed at Fort Erie were caught off guard due to the fort being in the middle of rebuilding. The Americans held it for a time, fending off two British attacks. Later they destroyed Fort Erie and returned to Buffalo in the winter of 1814. The ruins remained until they were rebuilt through a depression era "work program" project, as a tourist attraction in 1939.
The current "Dolls House Museum", located on the Niagara River near downtown Fort Erie (Bridgeburg Station), was a supposed hiding place on the Underground Railroad for fugitive slaves in the 1800s.
On August 7, 1927 the Peace Bridge was opened between Fort Erie and Buffalo.
The historic Point Abino lighthouse was built by the Canadian government in 1918. The lighthouse was 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 tours while renovations are ongoing.
Public transit is provided by the Town of Fort Erie Transit System
, which operates 2 buses in the town.
Fort Erie has been the Niagara terminus of the Queen Elizabeth Way since the 1950s. Highway 3 cuts through the town east to west, and is a regional road between Rosehill Road and Central Avenue. Highway 3C (today's Dominion Road) existed until 1970, when it was downloaded to the newly-formed Regional Municipality of Niagara to become Niagara Road 1.
The recently released 2006 Census of Canada indicates a current population of 29,925 for Fort Erie. This is a 6.3% increase over the last Census (2001), and makes Fort Erie the fastest growing municipality in the St. Catharines-Niagara CMA (Census Metropolitan Area), and the third fastest growing municipality in the Region of Niagara.
According to the 2001 census, the population was 28,143, broken down as follows: 92.8% White, 3.2% Aboriginal, 1.4% Chinese, 0.9% Black, and a very small percentage of Asian, Arab, and Hispanic populations.
Fort Erie Race Track has hosted live thoroughbred racing since 1897. Widely regarded as one of North America's most picturesque tracks, it has been home to the second jewel in Canada's Triple Crown of Racing since 1959.
In addition to the primary urban core of Fort Erie, the town also contains the neighbourhoods of Amigari Downs, Bay Beach, Black Creek, Bridgeburg/North End, Buffalo Heights, Crescent Park, Crystal Beach
, Douglastown, Edgewood Park, Erie Beach, Garrison Village, Mulgrave, Oakhill Forest, Point Abino, Ridgemount, Ridgeway, Ridgewood, Rose Hill Estates, Snyder, Stevensville, Thunder Bay, Walden, Wavecrest and Waverly Beach.
Erie Beach is a designated place in Canadian census data, which had a population of 199 in 2006.
Culture and Events
Rods and Relics Car Show
An annual car show hosted by the Rods and Relics Car Club of Fort Erie
that is usually held on a Sunday in the middle of June. The show always has an excellent turn-out and the proceeds support local charities. The event takes place on the south-east grounds of the Fort Erie Race Track
The Friendship Festival
is a week-long international celebration of the culture and heritage shared by Canada and the USA. The Friendship Festival occurs during the first week of July and celebrates both Canada Day
and Independence Day
. The events held both in Fort Erie, ON and in Buffalo, NY include free concerts and a spectacular fireworks display on July 1
highlighting the two national holidays. Other activities include arts, crafts, children's entertainment, heritage and cultural displays, and a midway.
Siege of Fort Erie
The Siege of Fort Erie
is a historical re-enactment of the famous 1814 battle, which takes place during the second weekend of August. This siege was the bloodiest battle fought on Canadian soil and is vividly recreated every year.