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Photo Gallery

These Galleries contain images and information about the Museum, town, the collection and the history of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Check our Research and Photographic Policy to order any of the images you see on the site or others in our collection.


Taken in 1927, this photograph shows the Museum as it was. More than a cabinet of curiosities, the Museum provided visitors with a glimpse of Canada's history. Canadian museums were in its infancy in these days and most visitors would have been overwhelmed with the material at hand.
Taken in 1927, this photograph shows the Museum as it was.  More than a cabinet of curiosities, the Museum provided visitors with a glimpse of Canada's history.  Canadian museums were in its infancy in these days and most visitors would have been overwhelmed with the material at hand.The ground floor of Memorial Hall as it was in 1927 shows many of the cabinets filled with artefacts from early Niagara.  The Society and Museum's founder, Janet Carnochan, was instrumental in obtaining a wonderful collection of early Canadian artefacts.  So much so, that in 20 short years, the Society was in need of more space, as this photo shows.Visitors to the Niagara Historical Museum included the thousands of soldiers training at Camp Niagara, immediately outside of the doors of Memorial Hall.  Visitors would be rewarded with tales of Niagaras past by founder Janet Carnochan and the soldiers would have a sense of those who fought in Niagara before them.Opening in 1907, Memorial Hall is the Oldest Museum Building in Ontario.Memorial Hall as it looks today, nestled along Castlereagh Street in Niagara-on-the-Lake.An early postcard showing Memorial Hall, home of the Niagara Historical Society Museum. In 1896 the museum had 506 artefacts. Today it includes over 40,000 artefacts and archives relating to Niagara and the founding of Upper Canada.  The collection is one of Ontario’s most important local history collections containing many rare artefacts that exist nowhere else.This section of the Museum is the old Niagara High School.  Constructed in 1875, the school was closed in the 1940s and passed onto the Niagara Historical Society to house its expanding Museum collection.In December 1895, 15 persons met to form the Niagara Historical Society. The Society was dedicated to encouraging the study of Canadian history and literature, the collecting and preserving Canadian historical records and relics, and the building of Canadian loyalty and patriotism. The collection was first displayed in a room at the Court House.  Under Janet Carnochan’s determined and devoted leadership, the Society raised the funds to build Memorial Hall.  The hall opened on June 4th, 1907, making it the first building in Ontario designed solely for use as a museum. In the 1970s, the Niagara Historical Society constructed the Link Building to join the two separate buildings of the Museum complex to make one facility.This exhibition could have been in the first Niagara Historical Society Museum location at the courthouse on Queen Street or in the ‘new’ Memorial Hall, constructed in 1907.The Link Building and High School Building, part of the Niagara Historical Society Museum complex.

Photographic Collection

This photo is titled “The Coasting Party” and was taken at Sheaffe’s Path between St. Davids and Queenston in 1910.  No doubt, the children pictured here were not concerned with the history of the site and were more excited to enjoy the wonders of winter.
This building once stood at the southeast corner of Four Mile Creek Road and York Road. You will now find a vacant lot there as it was torn down; this photo is from December 3rd, 1960. Before the Niagara Fruitman Magazine and The Growers Monthly it was Lowery’s General Store and the Woodruff General Store. The Fruitman is not the first regular publication in St. Davids; in 1816 the St. Davids Spectator was published, later to become the Niagara Spectator and Canadian Argus.This photo was taken from the Queenston Cement Company Quarry, perched above the village of St. Davids.  Isaac Usher is the 3rd gentleman from the left and Hudson Usher is the 4th.The Swayze family home on Tanbark Road in St. Davids.Located along the River Road between the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the village of Queenston, the Riverside Resort provided visitors with a rural setting along the banks of the Niagara River, but with all the luxuries that visitors to Niagara expected in 1900.In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bicycling was a large part of middle class recreation.  These patrons of the Riverside Resort in Niagara’s rural countryside could have peddled to the Heights of Queenston, visited the Town of Niagara or viewed the rural landscape.The Niagara Township Fruit Growers Co-operative located in Virgil.The Staff and Employees of the Niagara Canning Company Limited.  This photo was taken in 1945 at the factory located on Four Mile Creek Road at Lakeshore. The workers at Canadian Canners Limited factory #22 in St. Davids. This photo was taken in 1952.The view of the village of Queenston as it was in 1888.The Corona was one of the Niagara Navigation Company’s steamships that serviced Niagara and Toronto.  This view shows the village of Queenston in the background.

Art Collection

Francis Hincks Granger, Foot of King Street, Niagara, C1854, Watercolour on paper
Attributed to John Herbert CaddyDenis Cornelius O'Brien Niagara 1846 Pencil or CharcoalStrictland Queenston C1790 Lithograph


This helmet belonged to Sgt. Major Adam Flannigan.  Born in Ballymena, North Ireland, Flanigan belonged to the 1st King's Dragoon Guards.  This unit was stationed in Canada in 1840s.  The unit served in Niagara, where he met and married Agnes Richardson.  The Flannigan's lived on Johnson Street (between King and Regent) and had one son and two daughters.
The fashion house founded in Paris in 1857 by Charles Frederick Worth is arguably the most influential and well known of the second half of the 19th century. For two generations, until the end of the Second World War, monarchs, rich titled courtiers, fashion forward socialites and "want-to-be" socialites flocked to be dressed by these icons of fashion. This lovely copper and black silk satin walking dress dates from the mid 1880's and is a typical example of the Worth style: perfectly tailored with bold and impeccably chosen fabrics. Even a walking dress such as this one would have been very pricey and the cachet of wearing this dress while strolling the boulevard would have unmistakably set the wearer apart.It is believed that Birdstones had a practical use as weights on spear throwers.  This one is possibly Iroquoian.General Brock’s hat has always been the most recognized artefact in the museum.  Brock ordered this felt hat with ostrich feathers, suitable for his rank of major-general, but it did not reach Canada until after Brock’s death.    During the general’s funerals in 1824 and 1853, the hat was placed on the coffins. Many of the local militiamen tried the hat on for size.  This caused considerable wear to the artefact.John Butler was Deputy Superintendent of the Northern Indian (6 Nations) Department at Fort Niagara from 1775.  In 1777 he coordinated Old Smoke and Cornplanter’s Senacas with John Johnson’s KRRNY militia and Joseph Brant’s Native and white volunteers to battle rebels at Oriskany.  Québec General-Governor Carleton commissioned Butler to form his own company of the 50 Loyalist provincial corps to fight alongside Native allies under British Army command. The Rangers were people of Germanic, Dutch and British decent.  The Rangers consisted of farmers, traders, soldiers and escapees from rebel prisons including slaves. The Rangers grew to 10 captained companies.  Butler offered higher pay and tried to promote on merit not money. The Rangers became the most effective guerrilla militia in the Canadian Department during the Revolution.   The families of the Rangers became the first European settlers of Niagara.A pre-War of 1812 tunic belonging to Aeneas Shaw of the Lincoln Militia.  Shaw rose in ranks to eventually become the Major-General of the Militia.This lovely example of ladies' outerwear, known as a mantle but more specifically as a dolman, was made in the 1870s in England from a colourful and exquisitely hand-embroidered Kashmir shawl from the mid-19th century.


An 1864 performance at the Theatre Royal, Niagara with Alma, Currie and Co., Prop's.  Positively for 2 Days Only!  This was a production of "Foolish Farmer".  The local actors included are: S.J.J. Brown, John L. Alma, J. McCulloch, Ralph Clench, J.M. Curry, J. McMIllen, S.H. Follett and John Young.  The play is concluded with a fanciful farce called "The Disappointed Politician: Or the Farmer Squashed!
A notice of a day excursion on The City of Toronto sponsored by the Niagara Temperance Society in 1844.This document was signed by Lt. Gov. Simcoe in 1795 while the government of Upper Canada was based in Niagara.  Simcoe felt that the new country to the south may look into stretching its boundaries north and attempted to attract new settlers to the area with the enticement of free land.  This proclamation details the conditions under which the government will provide the land.Niagara-on-the-Lake has a long military tradition beyond the War of 1812.  Revolutionary War soldiers started the town, British soldiers were stationed here until 1869 and Canadian soldiers trained here until after the Korean War.  This is a call for the 1st Lincoln Militia to assemble just outside of town in 1839.With the town of Niagara in ruins, it was imperative that the government of Upper Canada assist this important community with the rebuilding.   The regional centre of commerce and law needed to be restored.  This warrant provides funds to the town to rebuild a Courthouse.  The building was constructed in 1817 and was described by many as the most impressive building in Upper Canada at the time. This warrant was sent by John McGill, Receiver General of Upper Canada, authorizing the payment of 2,000 pounds Halifax currency towards expense of building gaol and courthouse in Niagara district to John Symington, Treasurer of Niagara district. It is signed by Edward MacMahon, Secretary and Lieutenant Governor F.P. (Fredrick Phillips) Robinson.Following the War of 1812 and the decimation of Niagara and Fort George, the military worked quickly to reestablish a presence in Niagara.  The construction of Fort Mississauga was started in 1814.  However, to house its soldiers outside of the range of the American cannons at Fort Niagara, Butler’s Barracks were built in the southern end of the town.  This is a receipt for the wood that used to construct these buildings.The London Chronicle from September 11, 1759.  This newspaper provides an account to its English readers about the events taking place in North American, namely the capture by the British of Fort Niagara from the French occupiers during the Seven Years War/French Indian Wars.This is a section of The War from June 15, 1813 chronicling the capture of Fort George by American forces.  The War was an American based newspaper that was dedicated to following the events of the War of 1812.

® Image: View of Fort George, Oil on canvass, C. Kreighoff 1823