History InSite: Lakeside Park, 3838-N

An early 1920s postcard shows many swimmers enjoying the famous Lakeside Park waterslide on a hot summer day. STCM 3838-N

Lakeside Park has a long and storied history as a major amusement attraction beginning in the 1890s.  The Niagara, St. Catharines, and Toronto Railway, and later, the Canadian National Electric Railway, brought tourists from all over the region and the Great Lakes on trains and passenger steamers to enjoy the beach and park attractions.

One such attraction was the famous waterslide that sat in the shallow waters of the Lakeside Park beach. The 24-foot slide was completed in 1921 with wheels so that it could be pulled up onto the beach during the winter. The wooden slide had to be wet before sliding down or bathers were sure to be burned or scratched.  It was usually so popular that swimmers themselves were able to keep it wet, but some bathers had to be treated for their injuries after using the slide when it was dry.

The slide was anchored each summer until 1950 when the annual Spring inspection revealed that the structure was deteriorating and was unsafe.

Early Tourism at Lakeside Park

Lakeside Park and Port Dalhousie Beach, c. 1930. STCM 1991.8.4

Once widely touted as the “Playground of Ontario”, Lakeside Park in Port Dalhousie has been a destination for summertime fun for more than a century. What started as a boisterous port town grew to be a hub of entertainment, leisure, and play that drew thousands of locals and tourists each summer.

There’s More to the Story

Check out the entire History InSite installation across downtown St. Catharines and in Port Dalhousie.

About History InSite

A permanent, site specific installation, History InSite juxtaposes historical photographs with modern streetscapes by presenting the photo in, or close to, the place which it was taken.

St. Catharines has a rich photographic history and when compared to the changing streetscapes around the City, that history becomes much more meaningful, poignant, and relevant to our modern eyes.

The Downtown series was installed in July 2021. The Port Dalhousie series was installed in May 2022.

History InSite is presented by the St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre.

Graffiti Report

If you spot any graffiti on our purple History InSite signs, please send us a message and photo via email museum@stcatharines.ca.