Fort Erie is a town of about 31,000 people (2016) in Niagara Region. It is directly across the river from Buffalo, New York, and is the site of Old Fort Erie which played a prominent role in the War of 1812.
In addition to the primary urban core of Fort Erie, the town includes the neighbourhoods of Black Creek, Bridgeburg/NorthEnd/Victoria, Crescent Park, Crystal Beach, Point Abino, Ridgeway, Snyder, and Stevensville. Smaller and historical neighbourhoods include Amigari Downs, Bay Beach, Buffalo Heights, Douglastown, Edgewood Park, Erie Beach, Garrison Village, Mulgrave, Oakhill Forest, Ridgemount, Ridgewood, Rose Hill Estates, Thunder Bay, Walden, Wavecrest and Waverly Beach.
The Fort Erie area contains deposits of flint, and became important in the production of spearheads, arrowheads, and other tools. In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the Niagara Peninsula was inhabited by the Neutral Nation, so named by the French because they tried to remain neutral between the warring Huron and Iroquois peoples. In 1650, during the Beaver Wars, the Iroquois Confederacy declared war on the Neutral Nation, driving them from their traditional territory by 1651, and practically annihilating them by 1653.
After the Treaty of Paris, which ended the French and Indian War and transferred Canada from France to Britain, King George III issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763, establishing a "proclamation line", the territory beyond which (including what is now Southern Ontario) would be an Indian reserve. This was an attempt to avoid further conflict with the Indians. The British also built a string of military forts to defend their new territory, including Fort Erie, the first version of which was established in 1764.
During the American Revolution Fort Erie was used as a supply depot for British troops. After the war the territory of what is now the Town of Fort Erie was settled by soldiers demobilised from Butler's Rangers, and the area was named Bertie Township in 1784.
The original fort, built in 1764, was on the Niagara River's edge below the present fort. It served as a supply depot and a port for ships transporting merchandise, troops and passengers via Lake Erie to the Upper Great Lakes. The fort was damaged by winter storms and in 1803, plans were made for a new fort on the higher ground behind the original. It was larger and made of flintstone but was not quite finished at the start of the War of 1812.
During the war, the Americans attacked Fort Erie twice in 1812, captured and abandoned it in 1813, and then recaptured it in 1814. The Americans held it for a time, breaking a prolonged British siege. Later they destroyed Fort Erie and returned to Buffalo in the winter of 1814.
The Fort Erie area became a major terminus for slaves using the Underground Railroad (between 1840 and 1860); many had crossed into Canada from Buffalo, New York.
In 1866, during the Fenian raids, between 1,000 and 1,500 Fenians (Irish Americans) crossed the Niagara River, occupied the town and demanded food and horses. The Fenians then cut the telegraph wires and tore up some railway tracks. Afterwards, they marched to Ridgeway where they fought the Battle of Ridgeway, a series of skirmishes with the Canadian militia. The Fenians then returned to Fort Erie and fought the Battle of Fort Erie, defeating the Canadian militia. Fearing British reinforcements, they then retreated to the U.S.
The Grand Trunk Railway built the International Railway Bridge in 1873, bringing about a new town, named Victoria, later renamed Bridgeburg, north of the original settlement of Fort Erie.
Fort Erie is the Niagara terminus of the Queen Elizabeth Way which runs from Toronto through Hamilton and Niagara Falls. Road traffic continues to Buffalo across the Peace Bridge.
Fort Erie is the southern terminus of the Niagara Parkway, which extends from Fort Erie to Fort George.
Intercity coach services are primarily operated by Megabus and Greyhound, with connections to Hamilton and Toronto and to US destinations via Buffalo. The terminus is at Robo Mart, 21 Princess Street at Waterloo Street.
There is no passenger rail service to Fort Erie.
Public transit is provided by Fort Erie Transit. FET runs three buses throughout Fort Erie Monday to Saturday from 6AM to 9PM. Buses #1 and #2 run east and west, while Bus #3 runs north. All three buses arrive and depart from the Municipal Centre HUB (Bus Stop #1 at 1 Municipal Centre Drive). Cash fares van be paid on board: $2.75 for a single fare, or $5.50 for a day pass.
Niagara Falls Transit operates a service from Niagara Falls into Fort Erie, connecting with the Fort Erie Transit bus at Wal Mart Plaza at 750 Garrison Road.
- 1 Old Fort Erie, 350 Lakeshore Rd, toll-free: . Fort Erie was the first British fort to be constructed as part of a network developed after the Seven Years' War was concluded by the Treaty of Paris (1763). The fort was restored to the 1812-1814 period and reopened in 1939. Each year, during the second weekend of August, hundreds of historical re-enactment enthusiasts come together to reenact the siege of Fort Erie. $12.50 adult (13+), $8.15 children (6-12), plus HST.
- Fort Erie Museums. Learn about Fort Erie's rich history.
- The Point Abino Light Tower was built by the Canadian government in 1918. The lighthouse has been automated in 1989. Since its decommissioning in 1995, the Point Abino Lighthouse was designated as a National Historic Site. The lighthouse is now owned by the Town of Fort Erie and is available for weekend tours in the summer.
- 1 Fort Erie Race Track, 230 Catherine Street, ☎ . Watch live horse racing for free.
- Friendship Festival. Coinciding with Canada Day (July 1st) and Independence Day in the United States (July 4th), the Friendship Festival is a four-day celebration of almost 200 years of friendship and mutual cooperation between the United States and Canada. Mather Arch Park is the venue for events such as classic car shows, War of 1812 reenactments (at Old Fort Erie), live music, and fireworks.
- Niagara Parkway. Take a leisurely drive along the Niagara River to Niagara Falls and continue on to Niagara-on-the-Lake.
- Freeland's Restaurant, 1485 Garrison Rd (Highway 3), ☎ . 6:30AM-11:30AM & 4:30PM - 9:30PM. Family style restaurant in the Clarion Hotel & Conference Centre. $6.95-22.95.
- Green Acres Family Restaurant, 1554 Garrison Rd (Highway 3) (west of town), ☎ . Late February to early December: W-Su 11:30AM-8:30PM. Traditional Canadian cuisine. Well known for their fish & chips, some people speak highly of their turkey dinner. Often very busy. Take-out and eat-in.
- Ming Teh Chinese Restaurant, 126 Niagara Blvd, ☎ . Tu-Su 11AM-10PM. Cuisine from many provinces of China. Dishes $13-26.
- Brimstone Brewing Company, 209 Ridge Road North, Ridgeway, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Taproom: Tu 3PM-9PM, W noon-9PM, Th noon-10PM, F Sa noon-11PM, Su noon-8PM. Beer store: M 10AM-4PM, Tu W 10AM-9PM, W noon-9PM, Th 10AM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-8PM. Local brewers crafting traditional style ales using all natural ingredients. Flatbreads, bowls, sandwiches $12-17.
- Clarion Hotel & Conference Centre, 1485 Garrison Rd, ☎ , fax: . Smoke-free hotel. Indoor heated pool, whirlpool, and sauna. From $97.
- Haven Motel, 215 Garrison Rd, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Featuring free WiFi, air conditioned, TV with cable channels. Each room has a private bathroom with a bath and shower. From $71.
- Yellow Door Bed and Breakfast, 254 Elmwood Ave., Crystal Beach, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. From $150.
- Tourist-friendly Niagara Falls is a short drive away.
- Less than a 40-minute drive away is the picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake - a quaint, historic town with great little shops, restaurants, and (in the summer) the Shaw Theatre Festival
- Fort Erie is a few minutes away from the U.S. city of Buffalo.
- Crystal Beach
|Routes through Fort Erie|
|Hamilton ← Niagara Falls ←||W E||→ → Buffalo → Ends at|
|St. Thomas ← Port Colborne ←||W E||→ END|