Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada has a long and illustrious history, it began as the Indian village of Onghiara and then was settled by American Revolution loyalists. It soon became the first capital of the colony of Upper Canada. Unfortunately many of the early structures were destroyed by fire in 1812 but you can see the rebuilt 19th century town which boasts elegant mansions, clipboard houses and picturesque stores.
The quaint buildings line tree covered avenues and there are plenty of open green spaces throughout the charming town. In the past the town has won the prize for "prettiest town in Canada." The old world historic town makes a pleasant contrast to the more commercial Niagara Falls.
Niagara-on-the-Lake (referred to as NOTL) is located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario where the lake meets the Niagara River. The city is easily reached by road from New York State (it is across the river opposite Youngtown on the US side) and Ontario. The nearest airports are in Toronto, Canada and Buffalo, USA. You may arrive in NOTL by water and dock at the NOTL marina which is just minutes from the center of the city.
Those looking for a bit of history will find it in Fort George and the Historical Society Museum. The fort dates back to the early 19th century and can be toured with costumed guides, you can also see here recreated battles, hear period music and see traditional crafts. You could even take a ghost tour of Fort George.
Another major attraction of Niagara-on-the-Lake is the surrounding wineries were you can take a tour and taste some of the wine. On these tours you will see the beautiful countryside and agricultural farms which surround the city. Perhaps the best known winery in the NOTL area is the Hillebrand Estate Winery here you can tour the vineyards and the underground cellars.
Nature lovers will enjoy the Butterfly Conservatory on the Niagara Parks Commission site, there is also the McFarland Point Park which accesses the Niagara River Recreational Trail. Within the park is the McFarland House built in 1878 costumed tour guides will take you around the property, then you can enjoy a snack in the beautiful garden.
You can tour the historic district of the town by horse drawn carriage. For entertainment and recreation there are golf courses, plenty of shops, three theatres, sidewalk cafes, restaurants and scenic walks along the cliffs overlooking the river.
One of the best know events in this town is the Shaw Festival held from April to November and celebrating the works of playwright George Bernard Shaw. During the festival his works are performed in venues throughout the town including the Shaw Festival Theatre.
The Ice Wine Festival is held annually in January in the Old Town of NOTL, here you can taste the local wine and cuisine as well as see live performances in the streets.
And of course last but not least you have the nearby Niagara Falls (just 20km away) and Horseshoe Falls which are easily accessible from Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Niagara On the Lake