Memories of Niagara

A joint Oral History Project from the Niagara Historical Society & Museum and the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library

Sports and Recreation

Since the turn of the century Niagara-on-the-Lake has provided ample opportunities for sports and recreation activities for locals and visitors alike.

Heather Bannister – Summer and Winter Activities in Niagara-on-the-Lake (Audio Only)

Summer Sports and Recreation

In 1877, a nine-hole golf course was laid out on the Mississauga Common between the west end of Queen Street and Lake Ontario. It was incorporated in 1905 and continues to operate as a public course under private ownership. Access to historic Fort Mississauga is by footpath across the second hole. As old as the golf course is the Niagara-on-the-Lake Lawn Bowling Association, quartered until 2011 on their historic greens on Regent Street in the heart of the Old Town.

Located opposite Fort Niagara, at the mouth of the Niagara River, is the marina, a safe mooring for the many yachts sailed by residents and visitors. The beaches along the waterfront also served as popular summer swimming locations for children until the mid-1960s. The picnic areas along the Niagara River, on land managed by the Niagara Parks Commission, have long been used by Niagara residents and tourists.

Throughout the First and Second World Wars many soldiers trained at Camp Niagara on the Commons in Town. In their free time they often intermingled with local citizens at the dance pavillion in Simcoe Park or the movie theaters on Queen Street. One of the theaters, the Royal George, is still in use today by the Shaw Festival. The Dance Pavillion was damaged during Hurricane Hazel in 1955 and was never rebuilt. Today live music can still be heard though from the Simcoe Park’s bandshell built in 1984.

Al Derbyshire – Golf in Niagara-on-the-Lake 1 (Audio Only)

Al Derbyshire – Golf in Niagara-on-the-Lake 2 (Audio Only)

Al Derbyshire – Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club History (Audio Only)

Vera Derbyshire – Golf Clothing in the 1940s (Audio Only)

Doug Garrett – Golf in Niagara (Audio Only)

Harry Huizer – Golf in Niagara (Audio Only)

Anne Buyers – The Beach (Audio Only)

Cosmo Condina – The Beach (Audio Only)

Butch Grimwood – Beaches  (Audio Only)

Calvin Rand – Tennis Tournament (Audio Only)

Marsha Howe – Tennis Tournament (Audio Only)

Hope Bradley – Simcoe Park (Audio Only)

Ken Rive – Baseball 1 (Audio Only)

Ken Rive – Baseball 2 (Audio Only)

Ken Rive – Softball (Audio Only)

Winter Sports and Recreation

After the end of the Second World War the area in Niagara-on-the-Lake known as the Commons was slowly reclaimed by citizens. It has hosted sports including ice skating and hockey in the  winter. Simcoe Park off Queen Street in the Old Town has continued to serve as a popular place for winter skating. Many of the children who lived in the surrounding villages outside the old town skated on outdoor rinks and ponds. Bobsledding was also a popular wintertime activity, especially on the Willowbank hill in Queenston.

Alan Clifford – Bobsledding (Audio Only)

Sigmund Smith – Hockey (Audio Only)


2 thoughts on “Sports and Recreation

  1. Our family lived in NOTL from 1965 to 1973. Interesting to hear comments from Cosmo…who lived next door to me, the Derbyshires and Ken Rive…..names from the past!!!

  2. My mother, Ileana Bilon and her sister Doreen were in the same class as Alan Clifford at Laura Secord Elementary School. My mom and her sister lived in an old stone house (which was torn down when they built the Sir Adam Beck Generating Station) located where the Floral Clock is today. My name is Janette and my email is

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