There is an old saying about being in the right place at the right time. The opposite could be said for the village of Homer, just east of the City of St. Catharines along the Ten Mile Creek.
Homer had the unfortunate luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Welland Ship Canal and the Queen Elizabeth Highway would eventually seal Homer's fate. All that remains today are a few abandoned houses and light industry.
There is nothing to mark its presence except for the Homer Burial Ground, where many notable citizens lay buried. Even the Ten Mile Creek has disappeared, replaced instead by the fourth Welland Canal.
In 1848 a Post Office was erected at Homer. Before this time the settlement was referred to as The Upper Ten, while further north, at Lake Ontario at what is now Port Weller, the community was referred to as The Lower Ten.
As early as 1795 Homer had a church. William Read donated the land for a church and cemetery. There are few records of this earliest church however it would have been of crude construction since there were not even mills yet in the area to saw the logs needed for a proper church.
Stephen Emmett and Latham Stull were the church wardens. In 1831 a school was built at Homer and Richard Secord was the first teacher.
Tom Brown owned a hotel in Homer called Brown's Hotel. Mr. Brown was a fancier of Standardbred horses.. Just east of the village the terrain is flat and it was here that Mr. Brown had a small racetrack.
The area became well known among horsemen and eventually Mr. Brown's dirt racetrack was replaced with a modern racetrack and named The Garden City Racetrack.
For many years it was the hub of night life in the area. Patrons could have dinner and watch a horse race. Large stables lined either side of Glendale Avenue. These stables and the racetrack are all gone now, hardly a trace remains however they were located just a short distance from the subdivision known as Niagara-on-the-Green, The racetrack was on the north side of the road while most of the stables were on the south side.
With the construction of the fourth Welland Canal around 1926 the course was changed from the Twelve Mile Creek to the Ten Mile Creek and the village of Homer was cut in two by the ensuing waterway. As if that wasn't bad enough for the village and it's inhabitants but a large Skyway had to be constructed to facilitate the movement of traffic along the QEW.