About a ten-minute drive along the Niagara Parkway south of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls is the lovely village of Chippawa. Technically Chippawa is part of Niagara Falls but don’t tell anyone that lives here that, it will always be Chippawa to them.
The village was established in 1793 near intersection of the Niagara River and the Welland River (locals call it the Chippawa Crick). There were two hotels, several taverns and a post office found here in the late 1800’s. Most of the village was destroyed by fire during the War of 1812-14 when American and British troops fought for control of the Welland River. Most of the historic homes in the village were re-built after the war.
Chippawa was an outlet for the original Welland Canal from 1829 to 1833. Chippawa was incorporated as a village in 1849 and in 1970 it became part of the city of Niagara Falls This was the route where ships from Buffalo sailed down the Niagara River to the Welland River to the original Welland Canal. This was done to by--pass the falls.
Chippawa is also the boyhood home of movie producer James Cameron. He lived here until the age of 16 when his family moved to California.
This famous director wrote and produced many award-winning movies one of which was the epic romantic, disaster movie, “Titanic”. For this movie he won the Academy Award for best director, best film editing and best picture. Cameron also won 14 Oscar nominations.
In 1998 Cameron returned to his boyhood home where he received a hero’s welcome. While he was here he held a small movie camera photographing those who were photographing him! The town folks were abuzz with excitement. He seemed overwhelmed by the greeting. I was part of the crowd that day when I heard him say, “Winning best picture was a real peak moment but I have to say today is even a more amazing experience.”
There’s a plaque found in the Town Square commemorating the Chippawa native.
I managed to get a number of photographs of James Cameron that day.