History of the Casino Niagara Property

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History of Casino Niagara: The First Casino in Niagara Falls
Philip George Bender and his family arrived in Niagara Falls for the first time in 1782. He enlisted in the Butler’s Rangers and served them with loyalty for five years. He received 300 acres of land in Niagara Falls as payment. His land spanned Seneca Street in the north, Stanley Avenue in the east, and Robinson Street in the south (west). After the War of 1812, he constructed a substantial stone home on a six-acre part of that land; this is the location of the current Casino Niagara.

Philip Bender owned this property up until January 1880, when John Humphrey Noyes, the man responsible for establishing the Oneida Company in New York State, purchased it. He founded a silverware manufacture in Oneida, New York, in 1879, and while residing in the Bender residence, he commuted everyday to his factory. Pierrepont B. Noyes, his son, established the Canadian Oneida Company Plate Silverware business there in 1916.

It was demolished in 1925, and the Canadian Company Plate Factory took its place.

The Oneida Tower was inaugurated on June 15th, 1964. This 355-foot steel observation tower was the first of its kind to be constructed in Canada using an open steel frame. Two glass-enclosed elevators and a two-story observation deck were features of the Oneida Tower. To ensure that visitors could see the Niagara Falls entirely unimpeded, only a portion of the top observation platform was left accessible.

Pictured Above: Oneida Tower, Oakes Garden Theatre and the Sheraton Brock Hotel
(photo cred: Niagara Falls Public Library)

The Niagara Tower and Plaza Limited was the name given to the Oneida Tower in 1974. Later, in 1985, this tower—now known as the Kodak Tower—became the focal point of the Maple Leaf Village Shopping Complex.

Maple Leaf Village 

Casino Niagara
Pictured Above: Maple Leaf Village which stood on the current Casino Niagara property
(photo cred: Niagara Falls Public Library)

Plans for Maple Leaf Village and Park were created in early 1977, and in June of that year, it was made accessible to the general public. The $22 million amusement park included various attractions, including bumper cars, Dixie Dangler swings, an Elvis Presley Museum, as well as a wide variety of rides and gift shops. At the time, it housed Canada’s largest Ferris wheel. Since then, the nearby new Niagara SkyWheel has taken its position as the dominant attraction (which opened in 2006).

1981 Maple Leaf Village Commercial:

Many of the structures in the Village were constructed using some of the stone recovered from the Oneida Factory when it was destroyed.

Eventually, despite its popularity, the park started to have financial difficulties in the late 1980s. After taking over park administration in the late 1980s, York Hanover Hotels filed for bankruptcy and eventually sold the park and its attractions at auction during 1992. The shops were open for a little while longer, but they were finally sold as well.

The Ontario government first revealed plans to build a casino in Niagara Falls in November 1995. In April 1996, the former site of Maple Leaf Village was chosen as the location.

Since its December 9th, 1996, debut, Casino Niagara has welcomed millions of tourists.

Casino Niagara

The oldest casino is technically Casino Niagara, but there are other casinos as well. The newest gambling establishment in Niagara Falls is The Fallsview Casino. It has 3000 slot machines and 150 table games spread out across 180,000 square feet and opened in 2004. Some of the highest jackpots in Canadian history have been awarded by the 500 progressive jackpot machines. Additionally, it frequently hosts performances by well-known musicians.

For what’s happening at these two casinos, upcoming concerts, plus some other places to go for some Niagara Falls entertainment, follow our events calendar and see what is in store for you in Niagara Falls on your next visit.


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