William Lyon Mackenzie Printery
The William Lyon Mackenzie Printery is located at 1 Queenston Street in the village of Queenston Ontario. It was also the home of Mr. Mackenzie, who resided there while he lived in Niagara.
William Lyon Mackenzie, journalist, politician and first mayor of York (Toronto) was born in Scotland in 1795 and moved from Dundas, Ontario in 1820 to Queenston. In May of 1824 he published his first issue of the Colonial Advocate at Queenston which became a voice for the reformation of the government of Upper Canada.
Up until this time the government of Upper Canada was formed from an elite group of individuals who made up what was called a Family Compact. Guided by a philosophy that envisioned a hierarchical society where family lineage and loyalty to the Crown would be rewarded with grants of land in Upper Canada and patronage appointments in the new government.
However, there was a growing class of people who did not fit into this category and as a result were becoming increasingly discontent with the new system of government.
William Lyon Mackenzie orchestrated the Rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada. Supported by American sympathizers the rebels made several attempts along the Niagara frontier as well as York to overtake Upper Canada but their efforts were quickly thwarted by the British military.
Mackenzie and his militia of rebels took up residence on Navy Island for a short time but once again his attempt at forming a new provincial capital on Navy Island was abandoned after the rebel ship Caroline was sunk by the British. Facing possible execution in Upper Canada he fled to the United States. Mackenzie returned to Canada in 1849 following a government pardon. He continued to be an outspoken advocate of the working class until his death.
Today his home has been restored to its natural splendour after years of neglect. The Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum is Canadas largest working printing Museum.