The days of the Stamford Park Race Track

One of the coolest things about my job as a Local History Librarian is the new things that I discover almost every day. While doing some research on an entirely different matter, I discovered something that I was not originally aware of. I did not know that Niagara Falls had a race track!

In late 1922, two prominent Canadian sportsmen, P.G. Demetre and Thomas Duggan joined forces to build a race track. Originally owned by James A. House, the 185 acres of land was located on the west side of Montrose Road between the Canadian National Railway tracks and Woodbine Avenue. Taking its name from its location in Stamford Township, Stamford Park opened on October 13, 1923.

The newly constructed grandstand could seat 1200 people and the half-mile track was located directly in front of the stands. Across the infield stood the stables that had enough room to hold 260 horses. Over the next few years, the track became so popular that it was necessary to increase the size of the grandstand by 50% in 1927. During this same year, the half-mile track was discontinued in favour of a new mile-long track.

In the mid -1930s, an unfortunate fire struck the track in the stable area. New larger stables were constructed which were capable of housing 380 horses. Then came the war years with various restrictions that made it difficult to maintain and repair the track. In 1945, Mr. P.G. Demetre passed away and his son John took over. With the war restrictions behind him, he began a major program of reconstruction and improvement.

A new and even grander grandstand was built that could seat 3,200 fans and many of the other buildings were repaired and modernized. The stable area was expanded once again with room for 750 horses, many tack rooms and even a restaurant for the stable employees. Between races, many guests could quench their thirst in the new full-service Colonial Room restaurant.

The year 1950 saw even more improvements take place, including a new infield board and the creation of a large beautiful 750,000 gallon man-made lake in the infield. The older half-mile track was even used for stock car races! The last race at Stamford Park was held on Labour Day in 1953. Eventually, the buildings were torn down. Today, this area is now the Ascot Woods subdivision. 

Cathy Roy is the Local History Librarian.

Library Notes

2019-05-21

Niagara Falls Public Library launched its Seed to Seed collection May 17.

If you come to any of the library's four locations across Niagara Falls you can "borrow" up to three packages of seeds.

After you've planted the seeds and harvested your vegetables, you can set aside some seeds to give back to the library so another person can enjoy the collection.

2019-05-13

Mental Health Week invites us to be mindful with meditation at Niagara Falls library.

In our ongoing effort to meet community needs wherever we can, Niagara Falls Public Library has been running a series of mental health and wellness programs at our four branches throughout 2019.

2019-05-08

Have you ever been curious about what it would be like to grow your own vegetables? Have you ever thought about teaching your children or grandchildren where their food comes from?

Or, like me, have you ever been known for having a black or a brown thumb?

2019-04-25

On Thursday, April 25th the Niagara Falls Public Library will be unveiling its new board game collection. Board Games are a great way to reduce screen time, to interact face-to-face with family and friends, and to challenge yourself in new and interesting ways.

2019-04-25

Calling all Book Lovers! Please join us for our annual Book Lover’s Luncheon. Enjoy a delicious lunch catered by Tastebuds Cafe and Eatery and meet special guest, Cea Sunrise Person author of North of Normal and its sequel Nearly Normal.

2019-04-12

Since the mid-20th century, human beings have wrought unprecedented changes to the Earth, bringing us into a new epoch of geologic time: the Anthropocene.

2019-03-31

You’re invited to help us at the Library. On April 1, 2019 we are embarking on a year-long project called Bridge to understand how libraries use technology.

2019-03-26

When we think about sports excellence in the City of Niagara Falls, we can include both team sports and individual activities. Although it may not be the first sport that pops into to your mind, one such sport has a long history in the City of Niagara Falls!

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