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Navy Hall

Navy Hall in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the scene for the first ever session of Upper Canada's newly elected parliament in 1792. Today, it's a quaint, quiet building available for rental and makes the perfect location for your wedding, special event, or meeting.

Navy Hall Niagara-on-the-Lake

But at one time, Navy Hall was the focal point of Canada. Among its many guises, the military complex was the scene for the first-ever session of Upper Canada's newly-elected parliament in 1792. At the bidding of Lt. Governor John Graves Simcoe, these historic meetings were held here until 1792. Shortly after, with U.S./Canada tensions rising, it served as a supply depot for British forts on the Upper Great lakes. When war erupted in 1812, American soldiers bombarded Fort George, forcing the British to withdraw. Navy Hall, for awhile, was under American rule as well. But in late 1813, the Americans withdrew, burning everything in sight. After the war, the British reconstructed some of the buildings, but by 1817, only one remained.

Navy Hall Niagara-on-the-Lake

How the building avoided the wrecker's ball - or simply collapsed - since then shows its fighting spirit. Known as red barracks from 1840 on, it nearly met its demise in 1864 when it was discovered new tracks from the Erie/Niagara Railroad would go through the building. The government approved the railroad's request to move Navy Hall into the enclosure of Fort George, several hundred feet from its original home near the Niagara River.

By 1911, it was in miserable shape. The wals were bulging, and the roof had nearly colapsed. The Niagara Historical Society begged for its restoration and, again, the government spared Navy Hall. It even found new life during World War I when it was used to train soldiers.. After the war, however, it again fell into disrepair.

The Niagara Parks Commission took over Fort George and Navy hall in 1934 and set about restoring them. Work began in 1937 and was completed three years later. Navy Hall was moved back to its original site, and encased in a cut lime stone building. It changed hands yet again in 1969, reverting back to the government.

It was feared the building had outlived its use until the Niagara Steamship company moved in. It is now the docking site for North America's only wood-fired, steam screw vessel.

NOTE: The dock is leased to a commercial steamboat operation and is not part of the Navy Hall rental agreement.

Location: 305 Ricardo St., Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

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