Exploring Great Destinations in the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada
erie beach amusement park

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Erie Beach Amusement Park

A sign on the path that winds through the remains of the long forgotten park reads as follows:

Erie Beach Park

When you arrived here at Snake Hill Grove in 1885, you were coming to have a picnic. That first year, all you needed for a great outing was a basket of food, the shade of ancient trees and cool lake breezes.

When you came here during Erie Beach Park's last season in 1930, you entered a million dollar playground. There was no other place where you could ride a camel in the morning, a roller coaster at mid day and your bicycle in a race in front of 3,500 spectators in the afternoon.

The park was a fantasy land. You may not have had paved roads or electricity in your house, but you could walk wide concrete promenades lined with electric lights here at Erie Beach. Decades before local towns constructed public pools, you came to swim and play here in "the world's largest outdoor swimming pool". When your days were long with work and chores, you found respite as you danced with a thousand others on the open air dance floor beneath the stars. Later, on the ferry, you listened to the same band's music drift out over the water, serenading your ride home.

Each park owner (W.B. Pierce, Edwin Baxter, Benjamin Baxter, F.J. Weber, Frank Bardol, and J. Homan Pardee) worked hard to keep you coming back, and made sure that every visit was filled to the brim with excitement. Then, the stock market crash of 1929 and the beginning of the Great Depression brought too much financial pressure, and on Labour Day 1930, Erie Beach Park closed.The rides were torn down or sold off to other parks.

The Erie Beach Hotel (which once boasted 65 rooms with hot and cold running water and telephone communications to Buffalo) was destroyed by fire. The Casino remained abandoned and deteriorating until it was deemed unsafe and demolished in 1976. Yet, evidence of the park remains. Today, more than 100 years after construction, the pools, pier, promenades and ride bases can still be seen.

erie beach
Patrons at the turn of the 20th century enjoy a day at the beach.