Local Spotlight: Historic Fort Erie

Owen Hughes

The town of Fort Erie is a very historic area for Niagara and Canada as a whole. Sitting atop the shores of Lake Erie, directly across the Niagara River from Buffalo, New York, this town is a hidden gem brimming with history, culture, and landscape.

Take a look at some of the highlights from the past of one of Niagara’s richest historical sites.


Fort Erie and the War of 1812

Fort Erie played a major role in the War of 1812, which was fought in many areas of Niagara. In the heart of the town you will find the Old Fort Erie, which is the fort where British soldiers were stationed during the war.

The fort was involved in one of the bloodiest battles of the war: the Siege of Fort Erie. During this battle, the British soldiers blockaded the fort, which had previously been taken over by American soldiers.

While the siege didn’t exactly get the American troops out of the fort, it prevented them from doing further damage and invading further into Upper Canada. However, there are many wins that came from Fort Erie during the war, such as the capture of two American ships.

The fort is still home to the original buildings and barracks that were used by the military over 200 years ago, and is open to the public for visiting. There are also many museums and battlefield sites to visit throughout the town.


Fort Erie and the Underground Railroad

War isn’t just the only historic element to this town. It was also once a prominent stop on the Underground Railroad, used by slaves to escape the Atlantic Slave Trade. The Niagara Frontier was a major route used by slaves escaping to Canada where they could be free, and it passed through the Niagara Region.

Fort Erie’s waterfront location and close proximity to Buffalo was a key element in assisting slaves in reaching their freedom. Many prominent slaves who made it to Fort Erie settled in the area and established African American communities.


Tourism in Fort Erie

Fort Erie appeals to more than just history buffs.

The Fort Erie racetrack has been a major draw to the area for over 100 years, attracting visitors from all over to come and watch some of the continent’s finest thoroughbreds live in action. It is noted as one of the most picturesque horse racing tracks in North America.

Crystal Beach is a popular spot for both tourists and Niagara residents alike, thanks to its soft sandy beaches and sparkling Lake Erie water. There are many restaurants, shops, and outdoor activities to enjoy here.

Ridgeway, a small village in Fort Erie, is over 200 years old and a must-see for anyone who loves sandy beaches, quaint culture, and that small-town feel.

In addition to these great spots, there is also Safari Niagara, home to a large collection of exotic birds and mammals as well as a splash pad, playground, and other family activities.


Fort Erie’s Waterfront Lands

In addition to adding a significant historic cultural heritage to Niagara, Fort Erie is also home to some gorgeous waterfront lands. The town sits on the shores of Lake Erie, providing amazing waterfront views and quiet cottage lifestyles to those who live and visit the area.

If you are looking for an investment property or a commercial real estate investment that really provides a getaway style experience, consider looking in the town of Fort Erie. This beautiful location is full of great surprises and is bound to impress you. In the last few years, the area has also been rapidly expanding as many commercial and residential developments are currently underway.