St. Catharines Heritage

Our Built Heritage


St. Catharines Firsts

Here’s a first: Library exhibit explores premiers in St. Catharines premieres

Niagara This Week – St. Catharines
By  Scott Rosts

ST. CATHARINES — It’s well documented that St. Catharines was home to one of the first zipper factories in the world, but the city’s Heritage Committee wants you to know the city is also home to the first canine jump from an airplane. Continue reading “Here’s a first: Library exhibit explores premiers in St. Catharines premieres”

Mary Malcolmson

Founder of  the first registered Canadian Company of Girl Guides.

Mary Malcolmson, one of the most famous citizens of St. Catharines, was a woman of her time.  By that we mean that she had the ability to do good philanthropic work in our community.  And she did.  She helped establish the local chapters of the I.O.D.E., the Victorian Order of Nurses, the St. Catharines Council of Women, the local Horticultural Society and much more. She is what we call today a local activist.  In 1910 she established the first registered Canadian Company of Girl Guides. Continue reading “Mary Malcolmson”

Lightning Fastener Co. Ltd

Thank you Gideon Sundback!

Gideon Sundback is generally credited as being the inventor of the modern zipper. Born in Sweden, he was educated as an electrical engineer in Germany. He immigrated to the United States and was hired by the Universal Fastener Co. in 1906. There in 1913-14 he improved upon an earlier form of the zipper, which he called the “Hookless Fastener.” He altered the design and created the “Separable Fastener” which he patented in 1917. The word “zipper” came into fashion, and was registered as a trademark by the B.F. Goodrich Company in 1925, which used these fasteners on their galoshes. Continue reading “Lightning Fastener Co. Ltd”

Frederick Law Olmsted Designs Montebello Park

Noted Landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmsted Designs Montebello Park

William Hamilton Merritt, Jr., intended to build his home where Montebello Park is today.  However, he died suddenly in 1860. For the next quarter century the Merritts allowed city residents to use the property for gardening, recreation, and major community events. Continue reading “Frederick Law Olmsted Designs Montebello Park”

Downward Dog

First canine jump from airplane successfully achieved at St. Catharines airport

A dog’s trust in his master was shown at the St. Catharines airport on the morning of August 4, 1932, when a four-year-old police dog named Cal readily climbed aboard a plane with his master, Harold Brooker, 28, a member of the local Flying Club.  Club engineer David Imrie was at the controls, and took them to a height of 1,800 feet.  Cal’s parachute was fastened to the wing of the plane, and the dog leaped into space without hesitation when his name was called and Brooker disappeared over the edge of the wing.  Cal made a perfect four-point landing near where Brooker touched down safely. Continue reading “Downward Dog”

Walter Ostanek – Canada’s Polka King

Walter Ostanek, was born in Duparquet, Quebec. His family moved to St. Catharines when he was a young boy.

A friend introduced him to the accordion at age 5. In 1957 he formed his first band. In 1963, The Walter Ostanek Band would record its first of over 97 albums. He has received three Grammy Awards for Best Polka Album (1992, 1993 & 1994).
Continue reading “Walter Ostanek – Canada’s Polka King”

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