Mackenzie Printery & Newspaper Museum in Queenston

1 Queenston Street, Niagara Falls Ontario Canada, L0S 1L0 9.5km from the Falls



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The restored home of rebel publisher William Lyon Mackenzie reveals 500 years of printing technology, amid the authentic ambiance of a period print shop. Rarest in the museum's collection is the Louis Roy Press, oldest in Canada and one of the few original wooden presses remaining in the world! A hands-on experience is encouraged with a working linotype and 8 operating heritage presses. A joint venture was established in 1990 between The Niagara Parks Commission and a volunteer non-profit Printery Committee concerned with the preservation of printing equipment. To learn more about the Printery and upcoming events, visit Mackenzie Printery Mackenzie Printery Facts & Figures Location: , Queenston, Ontario, just a 15 minute drive north of the Falls on the scenic Niagara Parkway. This historic building is not wheelchair accessible. Admission:  Adults $5.00,  Children (6 to 12 years) $3.75 (Canadian $ before taxes) Children 5 years and under admitted for Free at all Niagara Parks attractions! 2012 Hours of Operation - Subject to change: 10:00am to 5:00pm Daily, until September 3rd Group Tours available: call 1-877-642-7275 ext.2 to pre-book. Is Canada's largest operating printing museum devoted to displaying historic presses covering more than 500 years of the letterpress printing era. Was the former home of "responsible government," where firebrand editor William Lyon Mackenzie began his publishing career with his newspaper, the Colonial Advocate, dedicated to political reform. Contains Canada's oldest press circa 1770. The Louis Roy Press was used to print Upper Canada's first newspaper, the Upper Canada Gazette or American Oracle, in 1793 at Newark, Ontario's first capital, now Niagara-on-the-Lake. Was reconstructed from ruins by The Niagara Parks Commission, the home of William Lyon Mackenzie was opened in 1938 by Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, Mackenzie's great grandson. Features an informative display on William Lyon Mackenzie's home. Is located in the village of Queenston, 10 kilometres north of Niagara Falls, on the scenic Niagara Parkway; the mid-point between Niagara Falls, and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Hands-on experience - Try your hand at setting type and working one of eight operating presses. Qualified staff provide guided tours of the site, interesting demonstrations and opportunities to "try it yourself". Working hot metal typecasters will cast type before your eyes. The Best Hands-on Museum in Upper Canada Mackenzie Printery & Newspaper Museum in Queenston is a place that played a brief, but important role in Canadian history. The beautiful limestone building was the home of William Lyon Mackenzie and from here he began his career as publisher and agitator for political reform. Mackenzie Heritage Printery Museum Mackenzie emigrated from Scotland to York (Toronto) in 1820 and engaged in a lucrative book and drug business, first in York, then in Dundas. In 1823 he moved his family to the beautiful, stately home at the foot of the escarpment at "Queenstown" (Queenston) and opened a country store. His dislike for the malpractice of the Family Compact, as the ruling political clique of the time was called, led him to cast aside his mercantile pursuits for that of publishing and politics, in an effort to right these political wrongs. Accordingly, on Tuesday, May 18, 1824, the first issue of "The Colonial Advocate and Journal of Agriculture, Manufacture and Commerce" was published. The newspaper carried agricultural advice, poems, anecdotes, classified advertising, current events and most importantly, Mackenzie's own fiery political commentary. It was published weekly (each Tuesday) at the cost of five pence a copy or 15 pounds sterling, Halifax currency for an annual subscription. Mackenzie liked to refer to his "Colonial Advocate," as the western-most newspaper in His Majesty's dominion. Mackenzie's ideas, criticisms and denunciations of the ruling Family Compact through his newspaper did not sit well with the politicians of the day. At the time of Colonial Advocate's first issues, work had just begun on the monument to General Brock. During a ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone, a bottle containing a copy of the Colonial Advocate was placed in the foundation stone. When Sir Peregrine Maitland, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada and head of the Family Compact heard of this, he ordered construction on the monument stopped, and a large quantity of the newly-erected masonry pulled down in order to remove what he called a "colonial rag". On November 18, 1824, Mackenzie moved his family and press to York, where he could enjoy a larger circulation and be closer to the centre of Upper Canada's politics. Mackenzie continued his agitation against the Family Compact and led the ill-fated Rebellion of 1837. Although the rebellion failed, the people's desire for responsible government continued to grow, and was finally achieved by peaceful political evolution in 1849. By the 1890's Mackenzie's home had begun to deteriorate. In 1935, the only remnants of the home's former glory were skeletal remains of the walls and a single small stone marker, erected by the Niagara Historical Society, which proclaimed "Home of William Lyon Mackenzie. The birthplace of responsible government, 1823-1824." In 1936, The Niagara Parks Commission undertook the restoration of the Mackenzie House. The beautifully restored home was officially opened on June 18, 1938 by William Lyon Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, who was the namesake of his grandfather. This site held special significance for King, as it was here that his father proposed to his mother, who was William Lyon Mackenzie's daughter. A gold key was used to officially open the home and was presented to the Prime Minister. The original plan for the restored home had been to house a printing museum and in anticipation of the event Mackenzie's original press was purchased by The Niagara Parks Commission for a sum of $500. Unfortunately, these plans were put off, the press was loaned to William Lyon Mackenzie's home in Toronto and the House was used as the Municipal offices for the township of Niagara until 1958, then as the home of the Kirby Collection until 1974. It wasn't until 1990 that the Mackenzie House reopened to play an integral part in the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Niagara's Portage Road. The development of this important peninsular route was showcased, along with Mackenzie memorabilia and the history of the village of Queenston. In 1991, a joint venture between The Niagara Parks Commission and the Mackenzie Printery Committee commenced to bring a collection of working heritage hand presses and an interpretive display on the history of printing to the home. Today, the Mackenzie Printery & Newspaper Museum features a hands-on environment with a working linotype, eight operating heritage presses and the restored lithography studio of Canadian artist Frederick Hagan. When you visit this beautiful building, take special note of the two large locust trees growing at the entranceway as they play a special part in our history. As Mackenzie wrote in 1854, "Thirty years ago, I published at Queenston, on the 18th of May, 1824, the first number of a public newspaper, voluntarily established to promote justice and equity in a sparsely populated, badly governed colony. To commemorate the day that had transformed a quiet, peaceful obscure trader into an ardent colonial politician and public censor, I then planted in front of my dwelling a row of acacia or locust trees, and a grapevine and had the pleasure last week of seeing them growing luxuriously." The grapevine has long since disappeared, but two of his original five locust trees remain, a living memorial to an early Canadian publisher and political activist.