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A panoramic view of Queen Street as it was in 1945, beside a composite image of the proposed renovation of the street.

This May 6th sing an anthem for Niagara as well as a king.

Wednesday May 3, 2023

While others may be celebrating the coronation of King Charles III on May 6th, 2023, here in Niagara-on-the-Lake we can celebrate another significant occasion - the 178th anniversary of the ‘incorporation’ of the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The settlement was officially ‘founded’ in 1781, and until 1845 formed part of the Niagara District. But in 1845 the town of Niagara was officially incorporated as a ‘municipality’, with a ‘president’ and a ‘board of police’ to manage its affairs. Five years later the town’s first mayor, Alex Davidson, would be elected.

Since then, there have been 53 elections, with seven mayors who succeeded in more than one election, one who died during his term, and only one woman has been elected to the chief office. Notably Niagara-on-the-Lake’s longest running mayor was Henry Paffard, with 20 years in office. Closest runner up was Gary Burroughs, with 10 years.

On May 6th, 1945, as WWII was drawing to an end, Toronto’s Evening Telegram honoured the 100th anniversary of this ‘’old Canadian town’” and its municipal birth, with a featured article on the plans of the Niagara Postwar Planning Committee.

“The Niagara Postwar Planning Committee, which has picked the centenary of the town’s incorporation as the moment to launch its plans for lifting the town’s face, has drafted a scheme to restore the pretty little settlement in colonial style. And, they add, if those plans mature, Canada will have a showplace and cultural centre to rival Williamsburg, Virginia, in architecture, natural beauty and historic interest.

Niagara retains many buildings well over one hundred years old in their original forms and many are of outstanding architectural interest. These structures will, according to the plans, form the basis of the town’s restoration.”

So, on this coming May 6th, 2023, while King Charles III is being anointed with ancient Chrism oil – olive oil from the sacred Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, and slightly more refined than the olive oil in your cupboard - in Niagara-on-the-Lake we can celebrate our own anointing of 178 years of municipal recognition. Stay tuned for future articles on the amalgamation of the town of Niagara and Niagara Township…because as they say, the rest is history.

On Saturday May 5, 1945, Toronto’s Evening Telegraph printed a story that celebrated Niagara-on-the-Lake’s ‘ambitious postwar construction plans’, to commemorate the town’s 100th anniversary.

An accompanying photo showed a panoramic view of Queen Street as it was then, beside a composite image of the proposed renovation of the street.