Laying Claim to the Name "Honeymoon Capital of the World"
Crowd getting married

Honeymoons and the City of Niagara Falls have gone hand in hand for a very long time, with the first documented Niagara Falls honeymoon occurring in June of 1801. Theodosia Burr (the American vice president’s daughter) and her husband Joseph Alston visited the city on a delayed honeymoon that even included a visit with the famous Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant. 
Throughout the years, the city even became known as the Honeymoon Capital of the World!  From time to time, our popularity as a honeymoon destination has waned and when this happens, some rather interesting events have been promoted to give the destination a needed boost.

The concept of handing out Honeymoon certificates was originally “borrowed” from Niagara Falls, New York, but for some reason, the Canadian certificates quickly became much more popular. Starting in 1949, newlyweds could visit the Chamber of Commerce office to sign the Honeymoon Register and pick up their certificate. As well, coupons for free and discounted tourist activities were often given to the happy couples. In total, almost one million certificates have been given out and are still available today.

In 1993, the Cities of Niagara Falls on both sides of the border attempted to rekindle the romance as a honeymoon destination. A special contest was announced and advertised in over 1000 newspapers in the United States and Canada. Couples who had honeymooned in Niagara Falls were asked to submit letters of their fondest honeymoon memories. Ten winners would be selected to share in prizes worth $20,000. From the more than 400 entries, Saskatoon couple Bill and Eleanor Ryan, who honeymooned here in 1957, were declared the grand prize winners. Festivities for the Valentine’s Day weekend included a memorable toast when a twelve-foot 50 gallon bottle of pink champagne was poured over the Falls by helicopter, followed by a finale of champagne-coloured fireworks.

The most recent event that attempted to solidify the city’s reputation as the Honeymoon Capital occurred on Valentine’s Day in 2000. Called “The Wedding of the Millennium”, organizers originally hoped to attract 1000 couples who would be married en masse in a giant outdoor ceremony at the Oakes Garden Theatre. In the end, 200 couples registered for the event which was still the largest group wedding ever held in the area. Reverend Derek Rymarchuk presided over the group ceremony, assisted by 20 ministers who then married each couple individually (for legal reasons). After all of the couples shared their first snowy kiss, bursts of fireworks over the Falls were enjoyed by all.
 
If you would like to read some of the honeymoon letters, they can be viewed in person or online at https://www.nflibrary.ca/nfplindex/. As well, the Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, Honeymoon and Visitor Registers (1949-2011) can be viewed online at any library location using Ancestry Library Edition. Who knows? You might even be able to find your own name!
 

Library Notes

2020-05-27

This week marks the 132nd anniversary of the opening of Canada’s first provincial park when Queen Victoria Park officially opened on May 24, 1888.

2020-03-23

The Niagara Falls Public Library temporarily closed our doors at all four locations on Friday, March 13th 2020 until April 5th 2020.  This was our immediate response to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and align with provincial measures to support social distancing.

2020-03-02

The Niagara Falls Public Library is offering a wide range of Gardening, Health and Wellness programs this Spring! Join us Monday March 9th at 7pm as food writer Lynn Ogryzlo talks about the benefits and pitfalls of the Keto Diet. On Thursday March 5th at 7pm Master Gardener Kit Thompson will teach you how to make floral designs and arrangements with items from your garden. 

2020-02-12

According to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, a library is a collection of books, periodicals, recordings, electronic reference materials, etc for use by the public or members of a group. There are four more definitions if one is interested in reading them.

2020-02-04

What is the most priceless possession you own? Some might say their home, or their car, while others may say a precious family heirloom. The things that are priceless to us are felt on an emotional level, deep within us. That is exactly what the MasterCard credit card company knew all those 23 years when it launched its now affectionately known priceless ad campaign.

2020-01-08

2019 was an exciting year for the Niagara Falls Public Library. We hosted some incredible programs, introduced some amazing new collections, and had a lot of fun. However, it was you, the customer, that really made last year so wonderful.

2019-12-16

While doing some research the other day, I came across the name of a hotel that I had never heard of before. This is probably due to the fact that there is very little information to be found about the Bath House Hotel.