Exploring Great Destinations in the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada

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Location: 14487 Niagara Parkway, Box 212, Queenston, Ontario, Canada

Willowbank, located in Queenston, Ontario is a fine example of Classical Greek Revival architecture and sitting high atop a hill overlooking the Niagara River, is the most prominent landmark in the village.

The original Willowbank faced the west and the Niagara River Parkway which was then called the River Road.

The mansion was built in 1834 by Alexander Hamilton to accommodate his family of ten children. His wife Hannah Jarvis came from a prominent family in York (Toronto). By 1841 Alexander had passed away leaving Hannah the task of raising the ten children and managing the estate and surrounding farmland. For the next fifty years she managed to maintain the property in a style befitting British aristocracy at the time in Upper Canada. In 1934 the property was acquired by the Bright’s, who would later go on to make a name for themselves in the wine industry.

By the 1930’s the area was beginning to see a rise in tourism and the construction of the Niagara Parkway which ran along the western side of the mansion. The Bright’s re-oriented the home at this time to face the parkway.

Eventually the mansion fell into disrepair and faced the possibility of demolition. However in 2003 the property became the home of the Willowbank School of Restoration Arts, and was designated as a National Historic Site in 2004.

It should be noted that the east side of the home can be viewed from Queenston Street in the village of Queenston.