Corn, wood, shrubs and mirrors…the concept of the maze has been around for thousands of years, making it one of the oldest forms of entertainment. Something about getting temporarily lost holds an enduring sense of excitement for us all.

The purpose of a maze has certainly changed over the centuries, but in ancient times, they were known as labyrinths and it was more of a spiritual journey than anything else. Whereas the mazes of today are meant to disorientate and trick, labyrinths were more of a long winding path meant for enlightenment.

Labyrinths are unicurval and mazes are branching. Meaning, mazes are a collection of several paths, one of which the traveler must ascertain to be the correct one. Labyrinths are winding and possibly disorientating, but the path always leads directly to the endpoint.

At some point after the Middle Ages, the labyrinths evolved from a religious journey to more of a game. Royalty would often have grand gardens, which served as entertain- ment not just for them, but for their guests as well.

Mazes of today are meant to disorientate and confuse, and nowhere is this more true than a mirror maze. So it’s apt that the newest addition to the attractions on Clifton Hill are two new mazes, a mirror maze and a laser maze. Mirrors were invented in 1835 by a German chemist by the name of Justus von Liebig. The first maze of mirrors didn’t appear until 1891 in Prague at the Jubilee Exhibition, although there were a couple others that were rumoured to have been opened around the same time. They only grew in popularity from there, spreading to fairs and exhibitions in North America as well.

Coming Soon to Clifton Hill

Debbie Graham, the attractions manager for the Niagara Clifton Group, notes that a mirror maze has been some- thing they’ve been wanting to open on Clifton Hill for quite some time now, and when the space became avail- able recently, they jumped on the chance. Opening in May 2017, the Big Top Mirror and Laser Maze is set to add a new element of excitement to the already pulsing “street of fun”.