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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

—  Town  —
Nickname(s): The Loveliest Town in Canada
Location of Niagara-on-the-Lake in the Niagara Region.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is located in Ontario
Location in Ontario
Coordinates: 43°15′19″N 79°4′18″W / 43.25528°N 79.07167°W / 43.25528; -79.07167
Country Canada Flag of Canada.svg
Province Ontario Flag of Ontario.svg
Region Niagara
Settled 1781
Incorporated 1792
 - Lord Mayor Gary Burroughs
 - Governing body NOTL Town Council
 - MP Rob Nicholson
 - MPP Kim Craitor
 - Total 132.83 km2 (51.3 sq mi)
Elevation 82.3 m (270 ft)
Population (2006)
 - Total 14,587
 Density 109.8/km2 (284.4/sq mi)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern Daylight (EDT) (UTC-4)
Postal code L0S 1J0
Area code(s) 905/289

Niagara-on-the-Lake (2001 population 13,839) is a Canadian town located in Southern Ontario where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario in the Niagara Region of the southern part of the province of Ontario. It is located across the Niagara river from Youngstown, New York, USA.



The original site was a Neutral Nation village known as Onghiara . In 1781 the British government established Butlersburg, which later became known as West Niagara. Many of the first white inhabitants were loyalists, loyal to Britain, who fled during and immediately after the American Revolution.[citation needed]

In 1792 the village was incorporated as the Town of Newark and was named the capital of the Province of Upper Canada. The town lost that distinction to York (now Toronto) in 1797, as Newark's proximity to the United States presented a danger. The town was renamed Niagara in 1798. During the War of 1812, American forces invaded Canada, and captured (and later destroyed) the town before they withdrew following their abandonment of captured Fort George. The British rebuilt, however, and today it has retained much of its historical charm. The present name was adopted around 1880 as a Postal Address to distinguish the town from Niagara Falls. The name was not officially adopted until 1970, when the Town of Niagara and the Township of Niagara were merged.[1]


Historic sites

The federal plaque marking a National Historic District (English portion)

Most of the former military sites, such as Fort George, Navy Hall, and Butler's Barracks, have been restored. Fort George's restoration was done as a "Make Work Project", guided by plans from the Royal Engineers, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, an early example of historic preservation. Fort George National Historic Site is a focal point in a collection of War of 1812 sites which, collectively, are managed by Parks Canada under the name Niagara National Historic Sites. That administrative name includes several national historic sites: Fort Mississauga, Mississauga Point Lighthouse (1804, the first on the Great Lakes), Navy Hall, Butler's Barracks, and Queenston Heights.

A map of the National Historic District.

Niagara-on-the-Lake ("NOTL" or "N-O-T-L" in local shorthand) teems with historical plaques, many national and provincial, reflecting its significance in the establishment of many of the province's institutions. Among these were its first newspaper, lending library, parliament, historical museum, and governing body for the legal profession. Critical battles in the defence of Upper Canada took place here, at Queenston, including one in which heroine Laura Secord gained her fame. The town gave many black Americans their first taste of freedom, both as a stop on the Underground railroad for those travelling further into Upper Canada, and as a refuge in its own right. Its stock of Regency and Classical Revival buildings, considered the best in the country from the post-war of 1812 period, led the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada to designate parts of the town centre a National Historic District in 2004, the only one in Ontario. And, although it did not make the final list, the Historic District was considered for nomination as a World Heritage Site.[2]

The Court House, a Shaw Festival theatre and Parks Canada headquarters of Niagara National Historic Sites.

Other significant sites in NOTL:

St Mark's Church
  • Old Court House Theatre 1847
  • Niagara Apothecary Museum (c.1820), the oldest pharmacy in Ontario, a National Historic Site of Canada is on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.[3]
  • St. Mark's Church 1791 - oldest Anglican Church in Ontario
  • McFarland House, built ca. 1800, is the oldest surviving building in Niagara-on-the-Lake. During the War of 1812 the house was used as both a hospital and Officer's Quarters, therefore it survived the Burning on Newark in December 1813. It is now open to the public for guided tours, as well as a fine tea patio. McFarland House is open daily from early May until Labour Day weekend, and weekends from Labour Day until Thanksgiving weekend.


The town is home to the Shaw Festival, a series of theatrical productions featuring the works of George Bernard Shaw, his contemporaries, or plays about his era (1856-1950), running from April to November. The festival operates three theatres in the centre of town: the Festival, Royal George, and Court House theatres, and features one of a repertory acting company, scenic staff, and collection of resident and guest directors considered some of the best in the English-speaking world.

The surrounding region enjoys a comparatively mild climate thanks to the adjoining lakes, and excellent soil for fruit production, for which it has become one of Canada's centres. In particular, NOTL has grown into a major viticultural region. Visitors flock to dozens of nearby wineries, including those making the world's largest volumes of ice wine. The town is also known for its gardens, art galleries, antique shops, and golf courses. There are many hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, and spas in the area.

The town accentuates its British heritage, and features the only Lord Mayor in Canada. Prior to 1970, the town was simply the Town of Niagara, and the title was Mayor. In 1970, the Town of Niagara, and the Township of Niagara were merged to create the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The title of "Lord Mayor" was to be given to all Mayors from that time forward. Many people incorrectly refer to the Mayor of Niagara prior to 1970 as "Lord Mayor". The first Lord Mayor was Frederick S. Goring.

Location Shooting Several popular films and TV shows have been shot on location in the NOTL Old Town, including:


Only 15% of the population is under 14 years of age. Those over 65 years of age number 22.6% and constitute a fast-growing population. The town has seen growth of almost 1% yearly, partially due to a large number of retirees moving to the town.

Awards and recognition

World Scout Jamboree stamp.

The Town of Niagara was the site of the 8th World Scout Jamboree in 1955. Over 11,000 Scouts from 71 countries attended the Jamboree. It was the first to be held outside Europe and had the theme "Jamboree of New Horizons". Niagara-on-the-Lake was named the Prettiest Town in Canada in 1996 by Communities in Bloom, a nationwide beautification programme. [4] The town is now a popular tourist destination, located at the northern terminus of the Niagara Parkway, a scenic drive and biking/walking path.


Queenston, around 1805, by army surgeon Edward Walsh.

In addition to the primary town site of Niagara-on-the-Lake, the town also includes the villages of Glendale, Homer, McNab, Queenston, St. Davids and Virgil.

Glendale is located near the junction of the QEW, Highway 405, and Highway 55, and adjacent to the Welland Canal. It is home to the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus of Niagara College.

Virgil is located just south-west of old town Niagara-on-the-Lake, where most of the tourism takes place, and has a large Mennonite community as well, who originally settled the area in the earlier part of the 20th-century. Virgil has a large sports park, serving as the centre of Niagara-on-the-Lake's bustling hockey, softball, lacrosse and soccer leagues, two arenas, three baseball diamonds, a skate park. Once a year the community holds their annual "Stampede". The festival includes rides and attractions. Virgil's educational institutions are St. Michael's Elementary School, Virgil Public School, Colonel John Butler Public School and Niagara District Secondary School. Eden High School was located in the Virgil region until it moved to St. Catharines.


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Niagara on the Lake[1] is a small town in the Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada. It sits on the shore of Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Niagara River. It is a frequent destination daytrippers from Niagara Falls and a destination in its own right.

Queen Street, Niagara on the Lake
Queen Street, Niagara on the Lake


Visitor Information, 26 Queen Street (in the lower level of the Court House building), 905 468-1950. Open daily.

Get in

By plane

Buffalo-Niagara International Airport (BUF) in Buffalo, New York is about a 45-minute drive away.

  • Buffalo Airport Shuttle, 716-685-2550, [2] offers service from the Buffalo-Niagara airport to Niagara on the Lake. A group of up to 4 can expect to pay $95 each way and the drivers often have great tips on where to go and what to avoid.

Hamilton John C. Munro International Airport (YHM) in Hamilton, Ontario is about a 75-minute drive away.

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) in Toronto is about a 1 1/2-hour drive away.

By car

Niagara on the Lake is approximately 1 1/2 hours from Toronto (depending on traffic) and 45 minutes from Buffalo.

From Toronto Airport: Take the QEW east (QEW Niagara). Once you pass St. Catharines, exit at Niagara Stone Road (HWY #55). Go north for 20 minutes.

From Niagara Falls (Ontario) follow the scenic Niagara Parkway north along the Niagara River.

By bus

Daily bus service is available from cities throughout Ontario from bus companies such as King Transportation [3], or bus tours companies such as eTours [4] and Niagara Tours [5].

  • Niagara On The Lake Taxi, 905 468-3710.
  • Niagara Classic Cabs, 905-262-0005. [6]
  • Shaw Festival, 905-468-2172 or 1-800-511-7429, [7]. Named after playwright George Bernard Shaw, this theater festival runs from April to November and features plays by Shaw, playwrights who lived during Shaw's lifetime, or plays about his era (1856-1950). The 2008 playbill features two plays by Shaw, and nine other plays and musicals. Three main theaters comprise the festival venues, and all are located within walking distance of downtown:
    • Festival Theatre, 10 Queen's Parade.
    • Court House Theatre, 26 Queen Street.
    • Royal George Theatre, 85 Queen Street.
  • Fort George, 26 Queen St., +1-905-468-4257, [8]. A reconstucted British fort which featured prominently in the War of 1812. Open April to November. Ghost tours offered some evenings.
  • Music Niagara, [9]. Music Niagara: July 20 - August 15, 2009 – Summer music festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake. Outstanding music in standout settings; 35 concerts with internationally renowned musicians: classical, jazz, opera, choral and cabaret. From the brilliant pianist Janina Fialkowska, to the cabaret phenomenon Patricia O’Callaghan; from the genius of Chopin to the best-loved songs of Noel Coward. Intimate venues including historic churches, vineyards, wine cellars, and more. Celebrate the joy of music. Tickets: $15-$40. 905-468-5566 or 1-877-687-3378
  • Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours, 61 Melville Street [10]. Powerful Jet-boats speed upriver, making their way into the breathtaking stonewalled canyon that is the Niagara Gorge. The anticipation builds as the boats splash into the whitewater of Devil's Hole Rapids. April - October.
  • Peach Festival, Queen Street. 9AM-?. First Saturday in August to celebrate peaches. It starts at 9AM sharp and the day is full of jams and pies and peaches.  edit
  • Take a wine tour - The many wine tours of Niagara on the Lake are an excellent way to spend an afternoon. Several companies downtown offer the tours - it's not strictly necessary to book, and you might want to take a look at the offerings. Choose your mode of transportation - by bike, bus or several other ways, and head off to between 3-5 wineries. Each winery offers a brief tutorial on wine-tasting, as well as a sampling of 2 or 3 of their vintages. Since you will be consuming alcohol it is strongly suggested that you consider joining a tour.
    •, 1-800-391-0149, [11] offers Niagara-on-the-Lake winery tours that depart from many locations in Toronto.
    • King Tours, toll free:1-866-546-4999, [12] offers group Niagara-on-the-Lake winery tours.
    • Niagara Vintage Wine Tours, 905-933-7433 (email:, [13]. Local and run by an industry professional.
  • Haunted Hamilton presents a Lanternlit Ghost Walk of Niagara-on-the-Lake [14] 905-529-4327. Prepare yourself to stroll back through history and hear tales of haunted pubs, inns, forts and homes where restless spirits of the past are still said to linger. Regular walks offered May - December start at the Angel Inn on Regent at 8:30PM.
  • Take a horse-drawn carriage ride or sleigh ride through the old town.
  • The Niagara Wine Festival, [15], takes place September 19 - 28, 2008. There is also an Icewine Festival in January and a New Vintage Festival in June of each year. Festivals include winery tours and tastings, cuisine, and entertainment.
  • Bike the scenic bikepaths along the Niagara River.
  • Mystery on the Lake (interactive theatre), (Niagara-on-the-Lake), 1-866-386-2921, [16]. A new adventure in interactive theatre! You aren’t just the audience, you’re in the show! Stroll through picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake for this memorable 2.5 hour show as you discover new places, and work with fellow audience members to solve historical puzzles and have fun interacting with unusual characters played by actors, as you are caught up into an historic plot of mystery and intrigue. You will be walking about 3km (1.9 miles) with frequent stops, so dress appropriately. Admission to two of the town's premiere historic attractions is included in your ticket price! Season: May to October ... Buy tickets online!  edit
  • The Shaw Spa, 92 Picton Street, 905-468-5711 or 1-800-511-7070, [17]- offers a unique array of services including ones specializing in vinotherapy
  • 100 Fountain Spa , 48 John Street E, 1-888-669-5566, 100 Fountain Spa [18]- enjoy one of Canada's top spa locations


There are lots of little shops, especially along Queen Street, including one dedicated to Christmas all year round, Just Christmas.

  • Zees Patio and Grill, 92 Picton Street, 905-468-5715 or 1-800-511-7070 [19]. A great new restaurant that is more like a Toronto hot-spot than something that you normally find in sleepy little Niagara! Great food and great presentation.
  • Charles Inn, 209 Queen Street, 1-866-556-8883 [20]. Good if you are looking for something a little more formal. Amazing food and a nice cozy feel.
  • The Epicurean, 84 Queen Street, [21]. Daily, 9AM-9PM. Made to order sandwiches and you can ask them to pack you a picnic lunch.
  • Hillebrand Winery Restaurant, 1249 Niagara Stone Road, [22]. Open daily for lunch from noon and dinner from 5PM. Reservations recommended.
  • Peller Estates Winery, [23]. Open daily for lunch from noon and dinner Su - Fri from 5:30PM and Sa from 5PM.
  • Stone Road Grille, 238 Mary Street at Mississauga in the Garrison Plaza, (905) 468-3474, [24]. Tu-F 11:30AM-2PM (lunch), Tu-Su 5PM to 10PM (dinner). Closed Mondays in winter. Reservations strongly recommended.
  • Tiara restaurant, 155 Byron Street, at the Queen's Landing Hotel, 1-905-468-2195, [25]. A good choice for Sunday brunch (11AM- 2:30PM). It costs $32, but definitely worth every penny. Traditional French cuisine using local ingredients.
  • Tony de Luca at the Oban Inn, 160 Front St, 905 468-7900, [26].
  • Butler's Sports Bar, 284 Mary Street, 905-468-0049. It's the spot to be! Pool tables, games, big screen TVs.
  • Olde Angel Inn Restaurant and Pub, 224 Regent St, [27]. For a great variety of domestic and import beers on tap, and a great atmosphere, the Angel Inn is a great spot.


There are a number of fine hotels, including several within walking distance of the Shaw Festival theatres.

The town also has an extensive network of B&Bs, which provides an opportunity to mix with other tourists, bookable through the NOTL B&B Assn.

  • Best Western Colonel Butler Inn, 278 Mary Street, 1-866-556-8882 (), [28]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. 26 rooms. Complimentary continental breakfast 7AM-10AM. Free high speed Internet access and parking. In season: $179+; Winter: $99+.  edit
  • The Charles Inn, 209 Queen Street, 1-866-556-8883 (), [29]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. 12 rooms. Free parking. In season: $205+; Winter: $99+.  edit
  • Girasole, Tuscan style B&B, 1211 Line 8 Road, 905-262-7653 (), [30]. Italian style amid lush vineyards with spacious rooms with jacuzzis. Cotton linen, antique décor. $139 weekdays, $159 weekend days.  edit
  • Harbour House Hotel, 85 Melville Street, 1-866-277-6677 (), [31]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. 31 rooms. Expanded European style buffet breakfast 8AM-10AM. Free high speed Internet access, parking, and shuttle service. In season: $295+; Winter: $199+.  edit
  • Olde Angel Inn, 224 Regent St., 905-468-3411 (fax:, [32]. If you're obsessed with the paranormal, then you'll love this inn located in the downtown area. It is supposedly haunted by Captain Swayze, a British officer accidentally killed in the building's cellar during the War of 1812.  edit
  • Pillar and Post, 48 John Street East, 1-888-669-5566, [33]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. The classic country charm and modern amenities of this historic property attract vacationing families, corporate and social groups, as well as health & wellness seekers looking for a rejuvenating Niagara experience.  edit
  • Prince of Wales, 6 Picton Street, 1-888-669-5566, [34]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. Distinguished leisure and business travellers alike seek the elegance and refinement of the Victorian Age embodied in this treasured landmark hotel located directly on the main street of Niagara-on-the-Lake.  edit
  • Queen's Landing, 155 Byron Street, [35]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. This spectacular Georgian-style mansion on the banks of the Niagara River is perfect for everything from family vacations to high-level corporate gatherings providing outstanding accommodations in a waterfront setting.  edit
  • Shaw Club Hotel & Spa, 92 Picton Street, 1-800-511-7070 (), [36]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. 30 rooms. Continental breakfast included 8AM-10AM. Free high-speed internet access, parking, and shuttle service. In season: $185+; Winter: $99+.  edit
  • Niagara Falls - for the Falls, of course
  • Toronto - Ontario's multicultural capital
  • Waterloo - university town
  • Kitchener - hosting the largest Oktoberfest in the world outside of Munich
  • Stratford - picturesque city that hosts the Stratford Shakespeare Festival from April to November
  • New York
  • Buffalo
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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