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Summers By the Lake: The History of Grimsby Park
Grimsby Museum
Grimsby , Ontario

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   Not long after United
Empire Loyalists from New
York, Pennsylvania and New
Jersey settled in Grimsby,
Ontario in 1787, travelling
preachers known as circuit
riders began providing
spiritual support to the
community’s many Methodist
settlers. The time was the

early 1800s and it is to this
era that the origins of
Grimsby Park can be traced.
   The preachers’ fervour
bore fruit. In 1846, the
shores of Lake Ontario became
the scene of an enthusiastic
week-long temperance camp. In
1859, Grimsby resident John
Beamer Bowslaugh hosted the

First Methodist Camp for the
Niagara District on his
property. And by 1874, the
Ontario Methodist Church Camp
Ground Company made it
official: Grimsby was to
become the permanent site of
a summer-long Methodist
revival event. Grimsby became
known as the "Chautauqua of

Canada," a reference to a
religious and cultural
movement that started in the
same era in New York State.
   But as the mood and the
spirit of the times moved
forward, Grimsby Park changed
too. By 1910 it had evolved
into an amusement park,
drawing crowds and

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