The Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum in Queenston, Ontario, is a unique and fascinating destination for history and technology enthusiasts. Found in the former home of William Lyon Mackenzie, the museum offers a glimpse into the world of 18th- and 20th-century printing techniques.

In 1824, Mackenzie began publishing his independent newspaper, The Colonial Advocate, in this very building. Known as a political firebrand, he sought to educate citizens and fight against what he perceived as a corrupt political system. In 1950, the Queenston home was converted into a historic museum site and has since been maintained by the Niagara Parks Commission and a volunteer, non-profit Printery Committee.

One of the highlights of the museum is the Louis Roy Press, the oldest wooden press in Canada and one of the few original presses remaining in the world. The press was used to print Ontario’s first newspaper, “the Upper Canada Gazette or American Oracle.” Visitors can see the press in action and even participate in a hands-on experience by learning how to hand-set moveable type and operate other heritage printing presses.

The Mackenzie Printery also participates in the annual Marshville Heritage Festival, where visitors can watch the large Whitlock newspaper press in action, get their name cast in metal type, or purchase surplus metal or wooden type cases. The festival, which had a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, will be held in 2022 over Labor Day weekend.

The Niagara Parks Commission normally hires staff to conduct museum tours from spring to fall. However, due to staffing shortages, the museum is closed for the remainder of the 2022 season. Visitors can still take a virtual tour of the museum on the Mackenzie Printery website.

A visit to the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum sure is a great way to experience a piece of Upper Canada’s history and learn about the evolution of printing technology. The museum is worth a stop when traveling from Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake and typically takes about 45 minutes for a tour. With fully operational antique presses and a linotype, it’s a hands-on, educational experience that is sure to delight visitors of all ages.