Heritage Trail Rehabilitation Project

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

A big thank you everyone for your feedback on the design, both through this page and at the virtual open house. The comments have been closed and staff will be making a recommendation to the Heritage Trail Committee on November 10, 2020.


Trail History:
The present-day Heritage Trail in Niagara on the Lake follows the historic rail line of the Old Erie and Ontario Railway, later the Michigan Central Railroad, which provided a connection for steamship passengers coming from Toronto to Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and beyond for nearly 100 years. The Erie and Ontario Railway line, constructed into Niagara

A big thank you everyone for your feedback on the design, both through this page and at the virtual open house. The comments have been closed and staff will be making a recommendation to the Heritage Trail Committee on November 10, 2020.


Trail History:
The present-day Heritage Trail in Niagara on the Lake follows the historic rail line of the Old Erie and Ontario Railway, later the Michigan Central Railroad, which provided a connection for steamship passengers coming from Toronto to Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and beyond for nearly 100 years. The Erie and Ontario Railway line, constructed into Niagara on the Lake in 1854, was built to compete with the Welland Canal for transporting goods and passengers across the peninsula. Eventually, rail service was discontinued in the late 1950s.

The Erie and Ontario actually dated from 1839 as a horse-drawn tramway between Chippewa and Queenston to supplement the Portage Road around the falls. In these early days, the rails were of wood, strapped to iron, and the carriages were drawn by two or three horses hitched one ahead of the other. But by the time the line was extended to Niagara-on-the Lake, by Samuel Zimmerman in 1854 the train was hauled by a steam engine on iron rails. The first steam engine was the “Clifton” built-in Manchester New Hampshire in 1854. This historic railway -only the third steam railway in Ontario- went through many changes of ownership in the 19th century.

From the 1880s into the early 20th century, the Niagara Navigation Company brought thousands of passengers to Niagara, and the train met them at the docks and then provided the transportation to Niagara Falls. Many people would sail on the early steamer from Toronto then take the train to Niagara Falls for a day trip and return to board the late steamer home.

There is a lot of history in this route and it has deep meaning to the development of the town. After the rails were lifted in the 1950s the land reverted to the Region and eventually to the town of Niagara on the Lake.

In 2017, the Legacy Sub Committee was originally established as part of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Sesquicentennial to organize and promote a legacy project for NOTL in commemoration of Canada’s sesquicentennial. The challenge was to find a project that would be of significance for most, if not all, villages of the municipality. During a meeting with representatives from the St. Davids Ratepayers Association in 2016, it was noted that the trail following the old railroad right of way along Concession 1, known as the Upper Canada Heritage Trail, needed rehabilitation and repair. It was decided that the repair and re-establishment of the trail would be a viable legacy project.

It is used by numerous people and groups including the Upper Canada Equestrian Association. Improving this property fits well with the town’s objectives to provide a route for active transportation and safe passage along Concession 1 for bikes, hikers, and green and fitness initiatives. The support for the project has been extremely positive and residents from Queenston, St. Davids, and Old Town have been very supportive of this initiative.

Discussions: All (1) Open (0)
  • Heritage Trail Concept - Charlotte St to East West Line

    about 1 month ago
    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    Thank you for your feedback this survey is now closed. This information will be used by Town staff for a recommendation to the Heritage Trail Committee.

    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    The Heritage Trail Committee, along with Town Staff, have developed a concept for the design of the trail from Charlotte to East West Line. This feedback, along with the feedback from the Virtual Open House on Thursday, October 29, will be used to construct this section of the trail.

    We are soliciting community feedback on the proposed design which takes into account the surrounding trees and the current alignment of the existing trail. 

    Elements of the proposed trial design:
    - Width: 2.5-meters transitioning to 3meters
    - Trail Positioning: Consistent with the position of the existing trail
    - Surface: Granular A base and limestone screening top layer

    WE'D LOVE YOUR FEEDBACK!
    Using the comment space provided below, please outline your response to one or more of the following questions:
    - Are you in favour of the proposed width (2.5 - 3 meters) of the trail?
    - Are you in favour of the proposed position of the trail, maintaining consistency with the current position and flow of the trail.
    - In general, what do you like or dislike about this proposed design?

    A larger copy of this image is available for download in the Document Library section of this project page. 

    Replies Closed