Niagara-on-the-Lake, situated just a short distance away from Niagara Falls, is a beautiful town that offers plenty of sight-seeing spots to the visitors. The Niagara Apothecary museum is one such structure of historic importance. It started in the year 1820 at another location and functioned since 1869 at its current address. In totality, the Apothecary was operational for more than 100 years till its closure in 1964. The Ontario Heritage Foundation restored the property and since 1971 it has served as a museum. Due to the authentic restoration, you can view the pharmacy as it was in the late 1800s. It is one of the few surviving buildings of that time in Niagara-on-the-Lake and has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
The structure has been designed using mid-Victorian commercial architecture with Italianate facade features and the original interior fittings have been restored wonderfully. Inside the structure, you can see the main room which consists of an elaborately carved dispensary. All kinds of medicines were made here for a wide range of ailments. You can gain a rich understanding of pharmaceutical practices prevalent at the time by looking at the various medicinal items and artefacts of that period stored in the museum. Professional practice aspects of the pharmacy during that period were restored by the Ontario College of Pharmacists. Due to the splendid restoration work, it is easy to understand how a pharmacy functioned during those years.
The Apothecary changed hands six times over the years and each owner contributed significantly to the pharmacy in his own way. The owners even sold whiskey, paints, dyes, and dry goods along with medicines in the initial years. In the 1830s, James Harvey, one of the owners purchased pharmaceutical items including drug bottles and jars from England that you can currently see as artefacts in the museum. Before the last owner died of ill-health, he gave the Ontario College of Pharmacists and the Niagara Foundation first right of purchase in 1960s.
You can see rows of bottles labelled in Latin in different shapes and colours that were used to store medicines, other pharmaceutical items and patent medicines that claimed to cure every illness and disease. Mortars and pestles used at the time for custom-made prescriptions can also be seen at the museum. You can also spot a white glazed China leech jar belonging to the 19th century. It used to contain leeches that were sold for facilitating bloodletting therapies for a variety of medical conditions. There are also several samples of proprietary or non-prescription remedies along with medicinal tools that were used in those times. Show globes, an ophthalmic test card, enema box and several other fascinating artefacts can be found here.
The Niagara Apothecary has immense historical as well as pharmaceutical value. It is open daily except during the winter season, so go visit it when you are in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Visit this unique piece of history while in the Niagara Region. And stay at TripAdvisor’s #1 Ranked Fallsview Hotel, the Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa. View our: Niagara Falls Hotel Packages