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Location DB > Canada > Ontario > Fort Erie > Erie Beach
Erie Beach
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 Database Info
created by MHInc on 7/27/2007 5:48 PM
last modified by MHInc on 12/21/2007 12:03 AM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled by its creator as Public, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.

 Basic Information
Type: Outdoors
Status: Closed
Accessibility: Easy
Recommendation: check it out if you're nearby
 Physical Information

Fort Erie, Ontario
Owner: City Of Fort Erie
  • unsafe flooring
  • water
  •  Interesting Features
    Old foundations from the original park including rides, the large swimming pool, paths, stairs, etc...
     Security Measures
     Historical Dates
    Built: 1885
    Closed: 1930
     Required Equipment
  • binoculars
  •  Recommended Equipment
    Fort Erie Beach Park began in the late 1880's when five Buffalonians leased 11 acres along the shore near Fort Erie, Ontario.
    Their intention was to make money by operating a pleasure grounds and by selling summer home plots to Americans.
    A fairground and picnic grove already existed on the site called "The Grove," an apt term describing the
    shaded landscape.

    By 1904, the group had purchased the land, set up service by 2 ferries between Buffalo and Fort Erie, and
    constructed a 3-mile narrow-gauge railroad to transport visitors from the ferry landing to the new Erie Beach Park.

    By 1910, the group had secured legal permission to improve the property. They constructed a concrete casino, a 65-room hotel,
    utitlities including power generation and sewage handling, a stadium and midway attractions. There was no fee to enter the
    grounds; the round-trip ferry fee was $.25, $.10 for children. Rides were pay-as-you-go.

    In 1911, they also formed the Erie Beach Realty Company and began offering plots of land for sale to Americans for $120 - $400 for 50 x 150 parcels.

    Despite the park's popularity and the additional income from the ferry service, the group failed to make the profits they desired and
    in 1915 sold the Erie Beach Park to another Buffalonian, Frank Bardol, for $110,000.
    A new owner brought a fresh infusion of cash and Bardol made improvements aimed at increasing visits by Buffalonians as well as Canadians.

    Erie Beach had faced a competitor almost from its inception in nearby Ridgeway from Crystal Beach, Crystal Beach could not boast of shaded picnic grounds where the weary worker could rest in bucolic landscapes on his/her
    one day off because it had no shade trees. Crystal Beach had sand beaches and aggressive owners who were
    continually working to offer the latest and greatest midway attractions. The rivalry would continue until 1930.

    Concessionaires offered ice cream, popcorn, suckers, root beer, ginger beer, lemonade and orangeade. The food at the
    hotel was highly rated.

    Erie Beach Park proved continuously popular with visitors on both sides of the border, offering big-name band concerts and
    dancing. The season, which began in May and ended after Labor Day, attracted as many as 20,000 people on weekends.
    In 1920, with the World War receding into the past and people eager for a good time, there was no reason to doubt
    that Erie Beach had a bright future.

    Frank Bardol invested nearly $500,000 in Erie Beach Park over ten years. The zoo at the Park was a seasonal exhibition,
    with animals transported from the Buffalo zoo for the summer.

    The concrete swimming pool, installed to compensate for Erie Beach's lack of a sandy beach, was billed as the "largest in the
    world." Its sand-covered bottom sloped from 3 feet to 8 or 9 feet. Lake water was continuously pumped into it, which permitted the management to boast that the water was completely replaced every 24 hours.

    During Frank Bardol's tenure, the Blue Streak coaster was installed, as well as a Slide Tower, Laugh House, Dodgem Cars,
    Circle Swing, among other improvements. Crystal Beach was not sitting idle during these years. In 1924, the Crystal Beach
    owners created a seawall along the lake front of their property and removed an enormous sand dune to fill the area, expanding
    their available acreage by 600 per cent!

    Frank Bardol died suddenly in 1925 at age 56. The next year, Erie Beach Park was sold to another Buffalonian, J. Homan Pardee,
    for $1.5 million dollars. He brought new investment dollars to help Erie Beach compete with Crystal Beach.

    Pardee spent $60,000 updating the big pier in 1927. He installed the double figure-eight Wildcat ride in 1928 to woo coaster fans
    from Crystal Beach's Cyclone which had been erected in 1926.

    Unfortunately, the Depression which began in 1929 brought a precipitous decline in tourist income. That, plus the competition with
    Crystal Beach, led J. Homan Pardee to close Erie Beach Park on Labor Day, 1930. He sold the park's equipment, some of which went to Crystal Beach. Although there were plans to create
    a summer residential community that would utilize the Erie Beach Hotel and swimming pools and Casino, the
    continuing economic climate did not permit this. The elegant Hotel burned in 1935. The Casino, solidly built of concrete,
    stood for many years until it was demolished in 1976 for safety reasons.

    Although Crystal Beach filed for bankruptcy in 1931 in order to reorganize, it was to continue with great success through the
    1940's, 1950's and 1960's, declining thereafter until finally closing forever in 1989.

    Part of the wooded Erie Beach Park land has been included in the Fort Erie-Port Colborne Friendship Trail. It is accessible in
    2005 for bicyclists, walkers, picnikers and those who wish to sit in the quiet shade by the lake on their day off...

    Reference materials include Crystal Beach: The Good Old Days, by Erno Rossi; a detailed website by a coaster enthusiast with many references to rides; Waverly Beach Chronicles, by Debby Cohen; Many Voices: A Collective History of Fort Erie, published by the Fort Erie Museum Board; and newspaper articles from the time.
     Media Coverage
    Park Closing:
     Future Plans
    I have been told that it's possible the city of Fort Erie is going to revive the promenade back to it's original glory. Which would complete the friendship trail.
    No info was found on this it's just hear say.

    Add your own story
     Photo Galleries
    Click to view gallery
    Erie Beach Today
    Fri, Jul 27th, 2007
    posted by MHInc
    16 pictures

    Add your own photos

    Mark all galleries as Seen
     Web Links


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     Moderator Rating
    The moderator rating is a neutral rating of the content quality, photography, and coolness of this location.

    This location has not yet been rated by a moderator.
    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Steed on 7/25/2008 6:50 AM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Jul 25 08 at 6:50, Steed validated this location
  • on Mar 31 08 at 20:02, MHInc made this location public
  • on Mar 31 08 at 17:18, MHInc updated the main picture
  • on Mar 31 08 at 17:18, MHInc added some pictures to a gallery
  • on Mar 31 08 at 17:17, MHInc added some pictures to a gallery
  • on Dec 21 07 at 5:10, Emperor Wang added this location to the delete queue
  • on Dec 21 07 at 3:17, MHInc updated the main picture
  • on Dec 21 07 at 3:17, MHInc updated the main picture
  • on Dec 21 07 at 2:55, GORE deleted 17 pictures from gallery Swimming with the fishes...
  • on Dec 21 07 at 0:04, MHInc deleted 11 pictures from gallery Erie Beach Today
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