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A Journey through Niagara and beyond in 1850

Burning Spring

The Burning Spring

Burning Springs handbill

Stephens Baker visited this attraction on his trip to Niagara, noting that "[we] rode to the burning spring, this is also a great natural curiousity which on touching the water with a lighter match a very bright flame issued, the smell of the gas being very strong and unpleasant. Drank of the water which was good."

The Burning Spring was a tourist attraction located on the Canadian side of the Niagara River, above the Horseshoe Falls around Dufferin Islands.  Natural gas was harnessed to make an attraction by attaching a barrel with a corked pipe to the area.  When the cork was removed from the pipe the natural gas was emitted and ignited, creating the "burning spring".  A nearby natural spring contained water that was purported to have health benefits.

An advertisement for the attraction notes that "this spring is annually visited by thousands, charmed at once with the sight.  The Spring is charged with Sulphuretted Hydrogen Gas, and when ignited burns with a brilliant flame.  The gas is composed from a bed of Coal, Ore, and Sulphur.  Sulphur, Iron and Magnesia are the Mineral properties of the water.   It is an Indian discovery, accidentally found by them eighty years ago, shown as a curiousity over fifty years.  Close to the Burning Springs is a pure sulphur spring but not containing any gas, but its water is of a high Medicinal quality."