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Mackenzie Heritage Printery Museum

On May 31st Matthew Didier, Jennifer Krutila, and Elizabeth of the TGHRS, along with myself visited the Mackenzie Heritage Printery Museum in Queenston Niagara.

This location is rumoured to be haunted" as well, however we do not have any particulars to share with the reader at this time.

If the hypothesis that "haunts" occur in locations where the emotional impact would be greatest on the surviving consciousness, then this location would be far more plausible than the one in Toronto.

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 grape vine and had the pleasure last week of seeing them growing luxuriously." Two of these trees to this day still stand as a memorial it would seem to one of Canada's greatest political activists.

"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."

So as the reader can already ascertain this location (the birthplace of the Colonial Advocate - such an intregal part of the shaping of our country's future) is indeed a location that would hold strong emotional ties for William Lyon Mackenzie.

It is also home to much Mackenzie memorabilia including his printing press.

Definitely worth a visit if you are planning a trip to the Niagara region!

If you have had an experience at this location or another we would appreciate hearing from you. We may be contacted via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sources - Recommended Reading:

Muddy York Mud - Scandal and Scurrility in Upper Canada - By Chris Raible (c) 1992