80 Years of Oakes Garden Theatre
Lumina is a special feature of our breathtaking Aura exhibit, a spectacular, limited run sound and light experience showcasing one of Niagara Parks’ many extraordinary sites along our 56 kilometre Parkway.
Visit Oakes Garden Theatre Wednesday, November 22 through Sunday, November 26 from dusk until 11PM to experience this incredible lighting exhibit.
Lumina invites guests of Niagara Parks to explore the site at their leisure, discovering various moments in the history of the given site, learning its story, and understanding its natural and cultural significance through an interactive and awe-inspiring outdoor sound, light, and media experience.
With this interactive display running consistently from dusk until 11pm, and with the ability for visitors to start exploring at any moment, every Lumina experience will be entirely unique.
This year, Lumina shines a light on our Oakes Garden Theatre, a beautifully designed garden amphitheatre that in Canada’s sesquicentennial year is itself celebrating its 80th birthday.
Starting at Dusk, November 22 - 26
Lumina Timeline & Themes
The total run time of the Lumina: 80 Years of Oakes Garden Theatre display is approximately 14 minutes, and covers the following themes:
|Canada during the Great Depression||0:00|
|Harry Oakes and before Oakes Garden Theatre||1:43|
|Thomas Baker McQuesten and Garden Theatre Plans Declared||3:19|
|The City Beautiful architectural movement and planning for Oakes Garden Theatre||3:58|
|The construction, design and development of Oakes Garden Theatre||5:41|
|Memories, and Oakes Garden Theatre in its early years||8:28|
|The Honeymoon Bridge Collapse and Rainbow Bridge Construction||9:58|
|The Breathtaking Garden Experience||11:32|
Oakes Garden Theatre 5851 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls ON L2E 6T2
Paid parking is available at Oakes Garden Theatre, nearby Rainbow Parking, or further south at Falls Parking, next to Table Rock Centre.
Lumina at Oakes Garden Theatre is free to attend!
About Oakes Garden Theatre
In 1936, The Niagara Parks Commission received the land for Oakes Garden Theatre from Mr. Harry Oakes in exchange for a small plot above the Canadian Horseshoe Falls moraine. The property previously housed the Clifton Hotel until it was destroyed in a fire on December 31, 1932.
Greatly influenced by Niagara Parks Commission Chair Thomas Baker McQuesten’s love of architecture and gardens, the vision of a Beaux Arts-style parkette was brought to life by English landscape architects Howard and Lorrie Dunington-Grubb, while the structural architecture was overseen by William Lyon Somerville. Sculptures on the site were created by Florence Wyle, Frances Loring and Elizabeth Wyn Wood
Oakes Garden Theatre amphitheatre opened in September 1937. Influenced by the City Beautiful architectural movement of the mid-20th century, this captivating setting was constructed to serve as a grand gateway to Canada for those arriving across the Honeymoon Bridge, and then later the Rainbow Bridge. The impact of the City Beautiful architectural era in Canada can be physically traced through Southern Ontario cities and highways, starting from Oakes Garden Theatre and proceeding right up through the Niagara Region and into the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Areas.
The City Beautiful architectural movement in Southern Ontario, of which McQuesten was one of the most prominent champions, revolved around the beautification and creation of monumental grandeur in urban spaces. In Canada, the need for “make-work” programs during the Great Depression, and the movement’s philosophy that urban design can positively impact the well-being of a nation’s people, greatly encouraged its advancement.
Between its epic setting, its bi-national view, and its breathtaking, monumental design, Niagara Parks is proud to restore Oakes Garden Theatre and reaffirm its position at forefront of Canada as a destination, and Canadian architectural heritage.