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Aug. 3, 2021 | Tuesday
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Exploring Photos with the NOTL Museum: Chautauqua beginnings
Exploring photos with the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum.

The Niagara Assembly established a Chautauqua movement on a 92-acre lot along Lake Ontario in Niagara-on-the-Lake in the mid-1880s. The movement was a semi-religious social and cultural phenomenon that swept through North America. The summer resort offered intellectual and physical development for various ages within a Christian context. The assembly's board was made up of a few locals as well as Toronto residents. The initial plan for the property showed a wheel-like set up of 500 individual lots, an amphitheatre, hotels (one large and one small), a rail spur for the Michigan Central Railway and a wharf to bring visitors by steamship. Many of the roads were named for religious, educational or literary leaders. This photograph from one of the original programs of Chautauqua shows a sketch of Ryerson Park, viewed from the lake, with a few cottages in the background. It is fascinating to compare the size and view from the park back then to today.