"The smiles and laughter which the Lakeside Park Carousel inspire are a century-old tradition! For 5 cents a ride, you can experience the carousel's magic and its wonderful ability to bring out the child in all of us. The carousel is a timeless tradition connecting our past, present and future generations.
The Lakeside Carousel is a Charles I.D. Looff original, carved between 1898 and 1905 in Brooklyn, New York. The beautifully restored animals were carved by Looff's factory workers, including Marcus Charles Illions, who later went on to become a famed carousel-maker in his own right. Relocated in 1921, the carousel came to St. Catharines from its earlier home at an amusement park in Scarborough now part of the City of Toronto. It was purchased for the amusement park flourishing in Port Dalhousie, which had 58 attractions. In those days, more than a quarter million people crossed the lake in steamships to visit Port Dalhousie on weekends.
The carousel has 68 animals, including horses, lions, camels, goats and giraffes, and four chariots. The accompanying music is played by an antique Frati band organ which uses a system of paper music rolls to serenade riders. Each animal has been hand carved and the horses still have real horsehair tails. The carousel animals have all been carefully restored by the Friends of the Carousel, who continue with annual maintenance and repair work to keep the carousel in sound working order.
The Lakeside Park Carousel is one of approximately 350 antique hand carved carousels still operating in North America - only nine of which are in Canada - and is considered fairly unique in size. The original Looff lion on the Lakeside Park Carousel is one of five existing Looff lions in all of North America and it is the only one that has its head turned to watch onlookers as it circles by. The second lion on the Carousel was carved in 2004 by the Friends of the Carousel to replace the original lion that was stolen in the 70s."