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.
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
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.