.All Trips / Eastern Canada / North America / Ontario

A Day at Niagara-on-the-Lake

00 Niagara on the Lake (112)

I like to stop at the pretty and historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake when I’m in the Niagara Peninsula region because it’s such a charming community.  It’s located where the Niagara River flows into Lake Ontario. 

Canada is a new country with only a relatively short period of recorded history.  Still, Niagara-on-the-Lake is considered to be of historic significance.  It was founded in 1781 and was originally known as Butlersburg, later renamed as West Niagara.  The town subsequently adapted it’s current name to avoid confusion with Niagara Falls.

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

British Loyalists fled here from the south in the aftermath of the American Revolution.  It was the first capital of the Province of Upper Canada (the predecessor of Ontario) from 1792 to 1797.  During the War of 1812, the town was the site of numerous battles following the USA invasion of Upper Canada and it was badly damaged in the conflict. 

The town today is a popular tourist destination.  It’s known for the Shaw Festival, excellent wineries, shopping and dining opportunities, and its proximity to Niagara Falls and nearby Fort George.  It’s home to the oldest Anglican and Catholic churches in Ontario, and the oldest golf course in North America.  Many of the buildings in town are over 200 years old, representing reconstruction following the ravages of the War of 1812.

Gazebo in Niagara-on-the-Lake built for the filming of "The Dead Zone"

Gazebo in Niagara-on-the-Lake built for the filming of “The Dead Zone”

During my last visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake, I was traveling with my brother, father, and a favorite cousin.  Our cousin treated us to a horse-drawn carriage ride through the town, which was a lot of fun — a nice slow-paced way to see this historic 19th century settlement.

I’ve decided to present the photos from that visit more-or-less in the order they were taken.  The first are from our carriage ride, which included lovely parks as well as an attractive gazebo by the river.  The gazebo was constructed in the 1980s for the filming of the movie based on Stephen King’s novel, The Dead Zone , in which it was in an important dramatic scene.  If you’ve never seen the film do check it out — it’s my second favorite of King’s movie adaptations (my favorite being The Green Mile).

Shaw Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Shaw Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake

The towns golf course is on the Lake, one of the oldest in the country and seems like it would be fun to play.   There are many attractive homes in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which is a very popular retirement community.  There are many pretty small hotels and bed-and-breakfasts.  After our carriage ride we wandered the main street and enjoyed a nice lunch at an Irish pub.

I really recommend Niagara-on-the-Lake as an excellent place to stay when you visit Niagara Falls.  It’s a very relaxed and comfortable retreat from the hustle and bustle of throngs of tourists you’ll find at Niagara Falls.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)


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