Nestled in the corner of the Niagara Region just beyond Niagara Falls, the picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake epitomizes old town charm.
Known by the locals as NOTL, this must visit village is bordered on both sides by waterfront with arbour-framed streets among lush boulevard gardens. Wander through the Heritage District as you discover whimsical boutiques, enthralling antique shops and delightful bistros - maybe even a horse drawn carriage or two.
Beyond the quaint old town, explore the area's several wineries, breweries and distilleries, world class theatre at the Shaw Festival, important historical landmarks and stunning waterfront views.
Located only 20 kilometres from the Horseshoe Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake is the perfect day trip during your getaway to Niagara Falls.
Beyond the quaint downtown and renowned Shaw Festival, perhaps NOTL's biggest claim to fame is Ontario Wine Country. The area boasts close to 40 wineries, most with award-winning vintages, international accolades and distinct Niagara tastes - and of course a mention should be made of world famous Niagara Icewine. Whether you set out on a guided tour, hop on two wheels and bike from each winery or dine at one of the many delectable winery restaurants, Ontario Wine Country has something for every grape lover.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to world-class theatre known as the Shaw Festival. Each season more than ten productions are performed for over 250,000 people across three theatres in the centre of town: Festival Theatre, Royal George Theatre, and Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre.
Inspired by the wit and passion of Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Festival is a contemporary theatre that features a diverse mix of plays from the past and present, brought to the stage each year by a talented acting company, scenic staff, and collection of resident and guest directors considered some of the best in the English-speaking world.
Niagara-on-the-Lake was originally known as Butlersburg, in honour of Colonel John Butler, the commander of Butler’s Rangers.
The Town received an official status in 1781 when it became known as Newark, a British military site and haven for British loyalists fleeing the United States in the volatile aftermath of the American Revolution. Later, it changed names again, this time to Niagara.
Niagara was named the first capitol of Upper Canada (now the province of Ontario), and the first provincial parliament was convened at Navy Hall in 1792 by Lieutenant-Govenor John Graves Simcoe.
During the War of 1812, the capitol was moved to York (later to be renamed as Toronto) so as to be farther from the areas of combat.
The Town played a central part in the War or 1812. It was taken by American forces after a two day bombardment by cannons from Fort Niagara and the American Fleet, followed by a bloody battle.
Later in the war the Town was razed and burnt to the ground by American soldiers as they withdrew to Fort Niagara. Undaunted by this setback, the citizens rebuilt the Town after the War, with the residential quarter around Queen Street and toward King Street, where the new Court House was rebuilt out of firing range of the cannons of Fort Niagara.