See 500 years of printing technology and get a hands-on experience of printing at the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum, Queenston in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is the largest operating printing museum in Canada that was once the home of pro-democracy rebel leader and editor William Lyon Mackenzie.
Mackenzie published and edited Colonial Advocate that reflected the editor’s political activism, espoused reformation of the government of Upper Canada and led to significant events in the history of the country. When the home fell into ruin, the Niagara Parks Commission undertook restoration work and opened it in 1938. The printery was inaugurated by Mackenzie’s great grandson, the then Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. Later in 1991, it was transformed into a museum after a collection of working heritage presses and an interpretive display on the history of printing became part of the printery. In fact, the printery is home to Canada’s oldest press dating back to around 1770–the Louis Roy Press. It is one of the few remaining original wooden presses in the world. Upper Canada’s first newspaper, the Upper Canada Gazette or American Oracle was published at this press in 1793. Mackenzie Heritage Printery Committee carries out the maintenance of the printery including the collection stored here.
Printing and printing presses played a major role in the sharing of ideas, knowledge and information. Its importance was critical in those times and helped in revolutionising the way information was shared around the world. The Mackenzie Printery with its wonderful limestone building recreates the milieu of a period printer and you can get a hands-on experience that will take you back in time and help you understand how printing and presses operated. You can see a working linotype plus around eight operating heritage presses at the museum, and the interactive tour process is aided by a guide who makes the visit highly interesting. In fact, you can even print your own bookmark or participate in printing a flyer as part of the tour. The printery holds special exhibits every year to highlight the different facets of printing and presses.
There is an admission fee for entry to the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum although it is free for children aged five and below. Located at just a short distance from the spectacular Niagara Falls, the printery is a great place to visit for its history as well as a hands-on experience of the printing process.
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