Master a “Living Well Lifestyle” in Niagara

Cyclists in vineyard

Research shows that a “Living Well Lifestyle” is undeniably important for our wellbeing, yet so many of us ignore that simple fact.

We now find ourselves in the final three weeks of the winter season. And soon, the world will start waking up again for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. What would you like to complete, accomplish, do or experience before this winter ends? 

You may find yourself overwhelmed by all the duties and responsibilities you’re facing and yearning to escape and avoid them instead. That’s natural.

Here’s the good news. A full Moon in Virgo on February 24 gave us a permission slip to be gentle with our thoughts and words and to pay attention to our health during these final weeks of winter as we ready ourselves for the busy Spring season ahead. 

Niagara-on-the-Lake Is All About Lifestyle
Now is an especially good time to adopt and indulge in a Living Well Lifestyle, a ground-breaking discovery that unveiled five regions, known as Blue Zones, around the world where people live exceptionally long lives. An important aspect of this lifestyle is our ability to take our cues from and be in sync with nature. The tangible benefits of the Living Well Lifestyle become apparent in the remarkable health, happiness and low stress levels of residents and visitors alike.

Buddha ornament

Niagara-on-the-Lake offers a way of life that pays homage to the lessons learned from such vibrant communities by integrating the 9 main pillars of a Living Well Lifestyle:

  1. Freedom
  2. Access to nature
  3. Sense of community
  4. Tranquility
  5. Walkability
  6. Activity (fitness, adventure)
  7. Beauty (architecture, design and spaces)
  8. Connection/sociability
  9. Nourishment

Let’s look at how these nine pillars are so effortlessly incorporated into daily life in Niagara-on-the-Lake and how everyone benefits from such a lifestyle.

Movement: Moving Naturally
The opportunities for movement within Niagara-on-the-Lake arise naturally, and often, spontaneously and unplanned. 

silhouette of jogger

A typical day may start with an early peaceful walk on the network of natural trails that meander through the Commons, along the waterfront and on the Niagara Escarpment in Queenston and St. David’s. A variety of versatile sports and recreational choices available include kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, yoga, high-intensity training at the community gym, golf, swimming, tennis, biking, hiking and running. 

Additionally, friends and family meet for lunch at one of the many restaurants, followed by a walk to the beach or to any of the town’s boutiques and art galleries or taking in a live stage performance at the Shaw Festival. At day’s end, many meet at a park on Lake Ontario to unwind and watch the sun go down.

Love and Being Loved: Putting Family and Friends First
In a walkable town like Old Town in Niagara-on-the-Lake, skipping time in traffic allows more time and energy for what is important. 

There are wonderful opportunities where you can spend time with family and friends at organized weekly activities such as movie nights, live music events, festivals, arts and crafts sessions and workshops, wine tastings, kids’ clubs, BBQs, art exhibitions, moon ceremonies, stargazing, yoga, pizza nights and more.

Friends enjoying wine

Downshifting: Slowing it Down and Reducing Stress
Stress is part of everyone’s life, and finding ways to reduce its impact is a significant focus for Niagara-on-the-Lake residents and visitors. Fortunately, Niagara-on-the-Lake offers an array of options and spaces for downshifting in and around town.

This might include engaging in healing sessions at one of the numerous spas, hitting the trails on foot or bike, taking a walk in nature, forest bathing, practising yoga, meeting for outdoor workouts, joining friends for a sunset drink, journaling on a rocking chair at your favourite B&B while sipping a cup of coffee or tea, meditating in one of our historical churches or simply strolling through Old Town, admiring the beautiful architecture that imparts a sense of calm from another era.

Glass of wine and food on plate

Nourishment: Benefits of a Plant-Slant Diet
While food choices, preferences and habits are entirely up to the individual, restaurant chefs and your B&B hosts in Niagara-on-the-Lake have ramped up their efforts to increase the availability of organic produce that is grown locally.

In collaboration with local farms, vegetable gardens and agricultural cooperatives, chefs encourage agricultural practices that support a respectful cycle of the food’s growth and their interaction with it. This fosters a sustainable and efficient nourishment of the soil, and as a result, of our bodies. 

Purpose: Belonging and Being Part of a Tribe
While this may look quite different for most people, choosing to become part of such a community, even for a short time, naturally leads to the pursuit of similar purposes, at least regarding health and lifestyle. 

Niagara-on-the-Lake offers an unparalleled lifestyle for both residents and visitors. It’s a place where people can feel better and healthier at any time of the year.

The highly walkable Old Town of Niagara-o-the-Lake includes hotels, bed and breakfasts, cottages, villas, shops, restaurants, day spas, parks and recreational facilities, all nestled between the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. Throughout the region of Niagara-on-the-Lake, walkable public spaces are interwoven with nature, emphasizing an indoor-outdoor lifestyle that is healthier, more satisfying, more fun and more sustainable. 

So Many Reasons to Visit Year-Round
With summer fast-approaching, you may want to book your preferred spot as early as possible because Niagara-on-the-Lake is especially popular during the high season (May through October). To help you plan your next escape to Niagara-on-the-Lake, here are a few tempting events slated for 2024:
Until February 29: SeaSky International Light Show at Reif Estate Winery
Until Mid-March: Skating at the Great One’s Backyard Rink and at The Gardens at the Pillar and Post
March 16 & 17 and 23 & 24: Around the World Event at Reif Estate Winery
April 2 to 8: Coming of Age exhibit at the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre
April 8: Solar Eclipse Events at Wayne Gretzky Estates, Niagara Cycling Tours, and Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery
Until April 29: Strike a Pose: The Art of Self-Obsession at the NOTL Museum
June 7: White Effect Dinner
June 15: Shaw Garden Tour
June 15: St. Andrew’s Strawberry Festival
June 29, 30 & July 1: Artistry by the Lake
July 6: St. Mark’s Cherry Festival
August 10: Peach Festival
August 11: Shades of Rose Dinner
August 18 to 25: 2024 World Rowing Championships in St. Catharines
October 4: Shaw Autumn Soirée
October 5 & 6: NOTL Beer/Harvest Festival
December 6: Candlelight Stroll
December 14: Christmas Parade

Helpful Tips
Lost & Found: Did you lose something while you were in Niagara-on-the-Lake? Contact the lost and found centre at the NOTL Chamber of Commerce located at 26 Queen Street in the lower level of the building. Or call 1-905-468-1950 or email for more information.

Metered Parking: General information on metered parking in Niagara-on-the-Lake is found here. Your STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake hosts feature complimentary on-site parking for guests and are happy to advise you on where to park for free in and around Old Town.

Accessible Parking: Several accessible parking spaces are located throughout the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, both on the street and in municipal parking lots. All vehicles parking in the accessible zone must display an original and current accessible permit. Any vehicle found parked in an accessible zone without the valid accessible permit will be ticketed $400. The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake has approved the use of accessible parking permits in the following areas only:

  • Designated accessible zones/spaces; and
  • At any meter free of charge, including municipal lots governed by pay-and-display parking meters. In these locations, a pay-and-display permit is not required if the vehicle is displaying a valid accessible permit.

Celebrate the Holiday Magic of Niagara-on-the-Lake

Beau Chapeau Christmas Window

If you missed the Santa Clause Parade and the Candlelight Stroll on December 10, don’t worry… There are plenty more opportunities — and reasons — to celebrate the magic of the Holiday Season in Niagara-on-the-Lake. 

Stay in one of STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake’s member bed and breakfasts, cottages, villas or apartments. Sip Icewine in one of 38 wineries that dot the immediate countryside. Enjoy the Shaw Festival’s two Christmas shows — A Christmas Carol and Brigadoon. Shop in the authentic Christmas village or at one of the holiday markets for handcrafted artisan-made gifts. Get pampered in one of five spas. 

But wait… there’s so much more.

Christmas Tree

Vote for Your Favourite
Queen Street has been transformed into a Christmas wonderland with decorated shop windows and Christmas trees lining the main thoroughfare. Get into the spirit and vote for your favourite Christmas tree and shop window at the Chamber of Commerce at 26 Queen Street. Voting for the People’s Choice Awards is open until December 31 at 5 p.m., and winners will be announced at the 2024 Icewine Festival. 

Take in a Light Show
The Reif Estate Winery invites you to experience Niagara-on-the-Lake’s First Light Experience. The Seasky International Light Show runs from 5 to 9 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays, from December 21 to February 29. This spectacular event is crafted by artisans featuring scenes of magic, animals, nature, festive delights and Chinese culture. Take it all in with some warm mulled wine, hot apple cider, Vinea hot chocolate, award-winning Icewine and more. It’s the perfect date night or family outing!

Ready, Set, GLOW!
Not to be outdone, Canada’s Original Estate Winery — Inniskillin — is aglow in glittering lights until February 25. You’re welcome to experience an unforgettable evening as you get cozy and sip Icewine. The magic happens Fridays and Saturdays, from 5 to 9 p.m.

Lace Up Those Skates
Head over to the skating rink in the beautifully decorated Monet-inspired gardens across the street from the Pillar and Post Hotel. Then, cozy up to one of many warming stations located throughout the gardens with a snack and a hot drink or a glass of wine from the Outpost. It’s the perfect place to reminisce and share family Christmas stories and lots of laughter with one another. Go ahead, take a selfie or two while you’re at it. You’ll want to share your special day or evening with friends and family back home.

Monet-inspired Gardens at Christmas

Experience a Fine Scottish Tradition
In honour of the Shaw Festival’s production of Brigadoon, the Prince of Wales Hotel is serving a Highland Candlelight Tea from 7 to 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday evening in their Drawing Room. The menu features Sloane premium teas, housemade finger sandwiches, sweet cakes and pastries, signature scones and savory steak pie.

Run, Santa, Run!
Grab your family and friends, put on a Santa suit and run the Annual 5K Santa Run at 10 a.m., December 17. Later, enjoy breakfast and an award ceremony at The Irish Harp where prizes for best race times and keepsake medals will be doled out to participants. All proceeds support the NOTL Youth Collective, a program committed to creating a safe, accessible and inclusive environment for youth aged 12 to 18 in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Strike a Pose exhibit at Museum

Strike a Pose
Step out of the cold and into the warmth of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum where an exhibit called The Art of Self-Obsession is on display until April 29. The desire to leave a mark on the work and chronicle our lives is not a new concept. Over centuries, we have recorded our likeness through drawings, portrait paintings, sculpture, photography, and now, through social media and selfies. This exhibition shows how the people of Niagara-on-the-Lake documented themselves through paintings, drawings, photography and pixels. 

Get Set for the New Year 2024
After the Holiday Season, some of us need a rest or something to look forward to. After all, we don’t want you to miss out on the fun.
January 13 & 14: Icewine Festival Kick-Off Weekend at the Outlet Collection
January 20: A Naval Dinner — An Evening with the Captain
January 20 & 21 and 27 & 28: 29th Icewine Festival Icewine Village on Queen Street
January 26: Sparkle & Ice Celebration at the Court House

Helpful Tips
Parking is free in Old Town and at Fort George during the month of December.

Did you lose something while you were in Niagara-on-the-Lake? Contact the lost and found centre at the NOTL Chamber of Commerce located at 26 Queen Street in the lower level of the building. Or call 1-905-468-1950 or email for more information.

Holiday Shopping in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Collage of photos for Christmas shopping ideas

If there is one thing Niagara-on-the-Lake knows how to do well, it’s celebrate and honour each season with grace, elegance and fanfare. And the Christmas Season is the crown jewel in its cap as the historic town turns into an old-fashioned Christmas Wonderland. 

By mid-November, storefront windows along Queen Street in Old Town are all dressed up for the festive season. Twinkling lights, theme-decorated trees and favourite Christmas songs fill the air to set the mood. It’s a sight to behold! And one that brings us back to a simpler era at a time when the world desperately needs a ray of hope.

Niagara-on-the-Lake invites you to unite in sharing the Christmas cheer and a soulful prayer for world peace.

Shaw’s Holiday Shows Light up the Season
On November 5, the Royal George Theatre opened its doors to the all-time holiday favourite by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. As an extra special treat, following the performance, audience members have the opportunity to take a photo with the cast.

Starting November 15, Brigadoon, a musical production by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, takes centre stage at the Festival Theatre. This romantic celebration of song and dance features classic tunes like “Almost Like Being in Love” and “I’ll Go Home with Bonnie Jean.”

Both shows run until December 23.

Santa Claus parade - horse and sleigh

Two Heartwarming Traditions
The Holiday Season in Niagara-on-the Lake kicks off on December 1 with the 34th Annual Candlelight Stroll. It all begins with an afternoon showcase featuring multiple talented musical performances from 2 to 6 p.m. in front of the Old Courthouse. Even Jolly Old Saint Nick will be on hand for pictures from 3 to 5 p.m. The guided stroll begins at 6:30 p.m. from the Old Courthouse on Queen Street and winds through historical Old Town, accompanied by local choirs and seasonal entertainment. Candles are $5 cash and non-perishable items are welcome in support of Newark Neighbours, which provide Christmas hampers for more than 50 families in the area.

Tired of fighting the crowds to catch a glimpse of Santa? Set aside Saturday, December 9 and treat yourself and the kids to the sweetest, most enjoyable, old-fashioned Santa Claus Parade this side of the North Pole. It all begins at 11 a.m. at the intersection of King and Centre Streets and winds its way down Castlereagh, Wellington, Byron/Prideaux, Simcoe and Queen Streets in Old Town.

House Tours and Holiday Markets
On December 1 and 2, six beautifully decorated homes in Niagara-on-the-Lake will welcome more than 3,000 guests. If you like interior design, architecture and seasonal decorations, the annual Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotary Holiday House Tour is for you. Later, take advantage of the specially priced luncheons available to attendees. Your day ticket is good for both Friday and Saturday.

Looking for something special for everyone on your list? Niagara-on-the-Lake invites you to poke around some of the holiday markets happening in December.

Christmas decorations

From December 1 to 10 (except Monday, December 4), the Holiday Market at the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre will feature a wide range of one-of-a-kind, handmade holiday gifts, ornaments and décor creations crafted by more than 25 artisans. The assortment of products includes personal care, wood carvings, jewellery, pottery, glass, candles, birdhouses, textiles, treats, baked goods and more. Proceeds from the event benefit children and seniors’ programs. Admission is free with a food item donation to Newark Neighbours Food Bank. Debit, Visa and Mastercard are accepted.

On December 2 and 3, the Reif Estate Winery promises a fun-filled weekend when it hosts a unique and creative Holiday Market featuring more than 25 vendors, live music, art classes, Tarot reading, food, and of course, wine.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Shops Are Open
A multitude of gift ideas are on display in the variety of shops, spas and art galleries in and around Niagara-on-the-Lake. To get into the mood, make your first stop Just Christmas, a longstanding year-round emporium dedicated to all things Noël.

Gift basket of NEOB products

From there, the options are endless. How about a stylish winter hat or gloves from Beau Chapeau? Or a beautiful knit sweater, scarf or shawl from Irish Design? Maybe someone on your list loves body lotions. A basket of NEOB Niagara or One Earth products may be just up their alley. Might the chef on your list appreciate a bottle or two of flavoured olive oil from Oliv? Browse through the many antique shops in the area to find that perfect gift for your avid collector. A gift certificate from any of the many spas in town would surely have someone on your list grinning from ear to ear.

Gift Certificates
Speaking of gift certificates, maybe you’d like to gift a Niagara-on-the-Lake getaway to someone who really would appreciate some much-needed R&R. All of our STAY Niagara member properties, which range from comfy cozy B&Bs and cottage rentals to upscale apartment and villa rentals, are happy to sell you a gift certificate… or two. Why not book a stay for yourself while you’re at it? (Tip: Niagara-on-the-Lake is introducing a 3% accommodation tax effective January 1, 2024. If you book before then, the tax won’t apply.)

Niagara-on-the-Lake loves the Holiday Season! Why not join in the fun?

Helpful Tips
Parking is free in Old Town and at Fort George during the month of December.

Did you lose something while you were in Niagara-on-the-Lake? Contact the lost and found centre at the NOTL Chamber of Commerce located at 26 Queen Street in the lower level of the building. Or call 1-905-468-1950 or email for more information.

Spooked by Canada’s Most Haunted Town


In ancient times, there were holidays during which everyone believed the veil between this world and the next one grew thin. Spirits could commune with us, and humans could visit the spirit world. Halloween still has some echoes of those lost times — especially in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada’s most haunted town! 

October is a time for leaf-peeping, Halloween and dancing in the moonlight. Maybe you don’t believe in all this hocus-pocus, but don’t let that stop you from opening up and enjoying life’s little surprises. Go find some moonlight, dance in it and see what happens. (Pssst… there’s a full moon on October 28.)

And the perfect place to do all that and more is Niagara-on-the-Lake — Canada’s Most Haunted Town. A few sites in and around town might have you “seeing” things differently.

Halloween guide

Book a Ghost Walk
Begin your spooky adventure on a guided ghost walk. One tour features the town’s most memorable haunts, such as the Olde Angel Inn, the iconic Courthouse, the Royal George Theatre, and the Prince of Wales Hotel. Another introduces you to the most famous ghost in Niagara and North America’s oldest legend at the Apothecary. On another, a hidden gem reveals its secrets and dark history in the biggest battlefield of the War of 1812. 

During the month of October, “investigate” the scariest aspects of Fort George, a location so rich in paranormal activity that an entire book has been written on the subject. In fact, a young playful child named Sarah Ann may decide to join your tour group.

Expect the Unexpected
Of course, there are plenty of ghost stories to go around, and as you go about your business of sightseeing, you may encounter a few apparitions or inexplainable incidents of your own.

For instance, the ambience may be greatly enhanced by a chance encounter with the spectral Captain Swayze, the resident ghost at the Olde Angel’s Inn pub.

Gazing out over a foggy Lake Ontario, you may hear the creaking of wood out on the water. Or the curtain of grey may part to reveal a small sailing vessel that appears to be derelict, abandoned and adrift in the open water. Some say the ghosts of the victims on board the Foam, which met its tragic end offshore in 1874, still linger in St. Mark’s Cemetery.

Halloween witch

Many people insist that the 1812 Battle of Queenston Heights occasionally erupts from the past to be re-fought by phantom soldiers. Many died upon the Heights during the battle, and their souls have yet to leave.

The Lakefront Gazebo at Queen’s Royal Park is among the most frequently visited attractions in Niagara-on-the-Lake. But at night, things change. Many after-dark visitors feel a tightness in their chest. The gazebo, alluring by day, takes on the shape of a cage by night, while tree branches resemble grasping claws and a dark mass of shrub looks like a crouching animal. And then, there are the faint sobs of the ghostly woman in eternal torment who wanders along the water’s edge.

And who can explain the random appearances of a flogged soldier and headless Native walking aimlessly at Fort Mississauga on storm-tossed nights? Or the ethereal little girl that appears at the Cannery Restaurant?

Few realize Cork’s restaurant, a fixture in town, was the site of a horrible tragedy that left two dead during a murderous rampage in 1850. The haunting echoes of that crime are still heard within the building today in the form of footsteps and disembodied whispers.

Full moon and graveyard

Unearth Mysteries at St. Mark’s Cemetery
St. Mark’s Anglican Church is the most attractive and historic church in Niagara-on-the-Lake. You can easily spend an afternoon roaming through the cemetery headstones and delving into the stories they hint at. Don’t miss the 200-year-old trenches.

Life’s a Masquerade
Get ready to embark on a thrilling journey at the Halloween Masquerade hosted by Spirit in Niagara Distillery. The fun begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 28. Be prepared to immerse yourself in an evening of spine-tingling excitement with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, live music, a costume mask contest and ghoulish gifts.

Bumps in the Night
Perhaps you want the full ghostly experience. You may be surprised to learn that a few bed and breakfasts, inns and short-term rental cottages and villas harbour ethereal residents of their own. We won’t single them out for you here, but you can find them at STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake. The owners are only too happy to share the history and their own stories and experiences at the breakfast table. It’s all part of the fun of the hallowed season.

Fall Celebrations in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Check out what’s in store this fall:
October 14: Oktoberfest at the Exchange Brewery
October 21: Doors Open Niagara-on-the-Lake
October 21: Reif’s Annual Harvest Dinner at Reif Estate Winery
October 28 to December 3: Bravo Niagara!
November 3 & 4: Sip & Savour in the Gardens
November 1-26: “The Power of Water” Solo Exhibit at Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre
November 5 – December 23: A Christmas Carol at the Royal George Theatre
November 10: “Hello, It’s Me! ADELE” at the Court House Theatre
November 15 – December 23: Lerner and Loewe’s BRIGADOON at the Festival Theatre
December 1 & 2: Holiday Market at Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre
December 1 & 2: Rotary Club’s Holiday House Tour
December 1: 2023 Candlelight Stroll
December 2 & 3: Reif Holiday Market at Reif Estate Winery

Helpful Tips
Did you lose something while you were in Niagara-on-the-Lake? Contact the lost and found centre at the NOTL Chamber of Commerce located at 26 Queen Street in the lower level of the building. Or call 1-905-468-1950 or email for more information.

Most Town parking meters, except for four located in the Heritage District, no longer accept credit card payments. They do, however accept credit card payments via the Honk Mobile app. The Town understands the frustrations this has caused visitors and apologizes for the inconvenience. Town is working on short- and long-term solutions to the matter. In the meantime, coins are accepted at all parking machines, and the four machines that still do accept regular credit card payments are located in the Court House lot, the Prince of Wales lot, Queens Royal Park lot (down by the lake) and near the Post Office on Queen Street. Parking is free after 8 p.m.

7 Unforgettable Wine-Tasting Experiences

Taste of the Season with wine bottle, red wine glass, food - fall

Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to some of the oldest and most established wine producing vineyards in Canada. Unforgettable wine-tasting experiences await you at Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries where expertly trained staff are always on hand to introduce you to unique winemaking techniques and flavourful wines. Some go out of their way to make your visit memorable. Your hosts at STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake can help you make your visit one to remember.

Step Back in Time
Colaneri Vineyard transports you to a time when donkeys were farmers’ greatest assets. Your experience begins with a tasting of sparkling wine. After learning what makes these beautiful creatures so valuable, you’re taken on a fully guided tour of the Colaneri Vineyard with a staff member and your friendly donkey companions. Your journey concludes with a tasting of three wonderful wines.

Taste the Season
You don’t want to miss the Taste the Season event in Niagara-on-the-Lake when 15+ wineries invite you to visit and taste their vintages over four weekends in November. Passports go on sale October 1, 2023. Choose from an Individual Tasting Pass or a Couple’s Pass, which permits you to visit up to eight wineries per day.

Strewn Cooking Classes

Culinary Classes
Book an afternoon of fun, pizza and wine at Ravine Winery where Chef John Vetere instructs you on how to make your own Wood Oven Neapolitan style pizza followed by a sit-down lunch, including wine. For something a bit more elaborate, Strewn Winery offers hands-on Saturday Cooking Classes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. geared for home/recreational cooks.

Dig Our Roots
This 2023 fall event is sure to be a crowd-pleaser that celebrates decades of winemaking history in Niagara-on-the-Lake. From October 13 to 14, head over to the NOTL Museum where you’ll be treated to an incredible selection of over 40 VQA wines at various stations throughout the museum as well as live music and light food fare.

Wine-Tasting at its Best
Discover Inniskillin‘s craftwork with an intimate wine-tasting experience at their Winemaker’s Retrospective Master Classes in the winery estate’s Barrel Cellar where Estate Winemaker, Nicholas Gizuk, guides you through a curated selection of current releases and exclusive back vintage wines paired with cheeses. Another option is the Obsessions Wins Dinner where seasonally inspired hors d’oeuvres and a four-course tasting menu are paired with Inniskillin’s award-winning wines.

A Season for All Tastes
Of course, there’s more to do in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Here’s a sampling of what’s in store this fall:
September – October 4: Paint & Collage Course at Riverbank Art Museum
September 14: This is Anne — Older & Wiser at Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum
September 21: Black Music History in Canada at Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum
September 25: Famous & Infamous Lecture Series at Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum
September 30: Reif’s Fire Dinner! at Reif Estate Winery
October 7: Portraiture Photography Workshop at Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre
October 14: Oktoberfest at the Exchange Brewery
October 21: Doors Open Niagara-on-the-Lake
October 21: Reif’s Annual Harvest Dinner at Reif Estate Winery
October 28 to December 3: Bravo Niagara!
October 28: Halloween Masquerade at Spirit in Niagara Distillery
November 10: “Hello, It’s Me! ADELE” at the Court House Theatre
December 1: 2023 Candlelight Stroll
December 2 & 3: Reif Holiday Market at Reif Estate Winery

Helpful Tips
Did you lose something while you were in Niagara-on-the-Lake? Contact the lost and found centre at the NOTL Chamber of Commerce located at 26 Queen Street in the lower level of the building. Or call 1-905-468-1950 or email for more information.

Most Town parking meters, except for four located in the Heritage District, no longer accept credit card payments. They do, however accept credit card payments via the Honk Mobile app. The Town understands the frustrations this has caused visitors and apologizes for the inconvenience. Town is working on short- and long-term solutions to the matter. In the meantime, coins are accepted at all parking machines, and the four machines that still do accept regular credit card payments are located in the Court House lot, the Prince of Wales lot, Queens Royal Park lot (down by the lake) and near the Post Office on Queen Street. Parking is free after 8 p.m.

Niagara-on-the-Lake: June is for All Lovers

Wedding couple kissing in the vineyard

If a June night could talk, it would probably boast
it invented romance.
– Sir Bernard, English Philosopher

From weddings and honeymoons to vow renewals and anniversaries, couples want to celebrate their special day in a setting of their dreams. Niagara-on-the-Lake has become one of those dream destinations — and for so many reasons.

Wine Lovers
The world’s prime wine-producing regions are located between the 30th and 50th parallels of latitude in both hemispheres. Situated at roughly 43 degrees latitude, the Niagara Region is the geographic centre of winemaking excellence in Canada. In addition to its ideal location for wine production, fertile, complex soil conditions and a unique climate create a winning combination for growing grapes and producing quality Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet France as well as rosé, sparkling wine and Canada’s famous Icewine.

Sip and Sizzle vineyard/lake view with Konzelmann wine bottle, red wine glasses, food

A popular way to enjoy wine country is on a guided half- or full-day winery tour with one of the many tour companies in the area. However, you are free to explore on your own as well. Most wineries offer tasting opportunities and a variety of tours of the vineyard and wine-making facilities. Some include food-tasting options ranging from flight-pairing snacks to full-service dining rooms and restaurants. Feel free to ask your accommodation hosts for some recommendations.

Food Lovers
What is fine wine without some tasty creations to accompany it? One thing is certain: you will never go hungry or thirsty in Niagara-on-the-Lake. In addition to all the food-and-wine pairing menus offered by winery restaurants and dining rooms, our little town has attracted some of the most creative chefs in the culinary field. Our menu book lists a number of our favourite dining options.

Menu Book Cover

From fast-food restaurants, pubs and four-course fine dining to Italian, Greek and Thai, there’s something for every budget and taste. Ice-cream and gelato lovers will have a fine time comparing the variety of flavours served at numerous locations along Queen Street. Sample all Niagara-on-the-Lake has to offer on a Niagara Culinary Tour. Fancy yourself a chocolate connoisseur? A chocolate-lover’s paradise awaits you in St. David’s at The Chocolate Factory where you can learn all about the intricate process of chocolate-making on a complimentary tour.

Music Lovers
Food and wine always tastes better with a little music thrown into the mix. And perhaps no one does it better than Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate where incredible performances take place under the stars at their one-of-a-kind amphitheatre. The Music Niagara Festival kicks off its 2023 season in June with performances by the Toronto Children’s on June 18, Dang Thai Son on June 19 and soprano Katelyn Bird, countertenor Christian Massuci Facchini and baritone Alexander Dobson on June 29.

Audience at Jackson-Triggs Outdoor Concert
Concert under the stars at Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate

And who doesn’t love the performing arts and a Broadway-inspired musical? The Shaw Festival’s musical fable, Gypsy, will surely captivate starry-eyed audiences throughout its run at the Festival Theatre until October 7. Other musical productions, Lerner and Loewe’s Brigadoon and The Amen Corner, will have you tapping your feet and swaying to the music. More musical events are planned throughout the summer at the Shaw’s BMO Stage, in the new Spiegeltent and their Pop-up Patio.

A couple of pubs in town, like the Angel’s Inn and The Irish Harp, regularly feature local entertainers as does the Barrelhead at Pillitteri Winery on Stone Road where delicious pizzas, salads and wine are served daily in their cherry tree orchard from noon to 10 p.m.

Art Lovers
The beauty of Niagara-on-the-Lake has been the inspiration behind many an artist. While Old Town is filled with art galleries that display local creations, you’ll want to explore some of the gems found in the surrounding area as well.

Floral painting by Sandra Lafrate
Art by Sandra Iafrate

In town on Queen Street, the King Street Gallery displays a wide variety of amazing art by very talented artists. The Edward Spera Gallery specializes in the art of wildlife photography. The Pandaya Gallery features a wide variety of items from around the world. Upper Canada Native Art showcases aboriginal artwork from across North America. ARTSPACE106 sells contemporary and traditional paintings and sculptures as well as hand-blown glass, pottery, stained glass and jewellery by Canadian artists. The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre on Ricardo Street displays works by local artists and artisans. Be sure to check out their programs as well. At her Gate Street Studio, Sandra Iafrate brings a nostalgic feel to her fresh colourful work. The Steele Gallery at 233 John Street West features the work of Scott and Richard Steele, which can be viewed on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (or by appointment Monday to Friday). The gift shop at the Festival Theatre also carries some delightful gems.

A little further afield at the Niagara Image Gallery located at 1627 Niagara Stone Road, you’ll find works of art by Trish Romance, Tanya Jean Peterson, Jordan Morrison and Alex Colville. At 755 Lakeshore Road, Ron and Barb Zimmermann sell unique stoneware pottery at their Lakeside Pottery Studio. You’ll find more stoneware pottery creations at the Queenston Pottery Studio at 1648 York Road in Queenston. Or maybe you want to create your own designs in a Bélisle Pottery workshop.

Outdoor Lovers
Mother Nature has blessed Niagara-on-the-Lake and its surrounding countryside with spectacular beauty that changes with the seasons. In June, gardens become a feast for the eyes as they burst with colour and leave visitors in awe. Visit the best Niagara has to offer on the Shaw Guild Garden Tour on June 24, which features nine fabulous private gardens in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The NEOB Lavender Farm located at 933 Niagara Stone Road invites you to roam through their lavender fields. Just look for the lavender picnic tables. Or drop by their shop at 38 Queen Street.

Garden ornament - iron bicycle with pink flowers
June blooms

There are so many more ways to enjoy the great outdoors. Fill a picnic basket with local fresh fruits and vegetables from one of the many roadside stands in the area. Or order your picnic from Picnix Niagara. Then, cycle along the off-road pathway that follows the mighty Niagara River to choose your super scenic spot to spread out and watch the world go by. The banks along the river are also popular for birdwatching and fishing.

Organized outdoor activities abound. Get soaked on a Whirlpool JetBoat Adventure or challenge yourself on an adventure course at WildPlay. Several tour companies, like ZOOM Leisure, Grape Escape and others, offer guided cycling tours to various wineries, breweries and distilleries throughout the area. They’re a great way to meet fellow cyclists from around the world.

Cyclists in vineyard
Cycling through the vineyards

As you can see, the possibilities for entertainment and enjoyment are endless in Niagara-on-the-Lake. And so are your accommodation options. STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake is your go-to website to check out availability at licensed bed and breakfasts and cottage, apartment or villa rentals in Old Town and the surrounding countryside and communities of Virgil, St. David’s, Queenston and Glendale. And our hosts are only too happy to help you plan your time with them so you come away with memories that last a lifetime and have you coming back for more.

So Many More Reasons to Visit

Fresh strawberries
June is strawberry time

June 9–September 15: Jackson-Triggs Summer Concert Series
June 17: Strawberry Festival
June 17 & 18: Outdoor Juried Art Show & Sale at RiverBrink
June 18–August 29: Music Niagara Summer Festival Concert Series
June 21: Drumming Down the Sun & Yoga (Summer Solstice) at Ryerson Park
June 22: NOTL Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament
June 23: Humor and Hops at the Exchange Brewery
June 24: Shaw Guild Garden Tour
June 24: Seafood Dinner at Reif Estate Winery
June 24–25: Fort George in the Great War
July 1: Canada Day at Fort George
July 1–3: Artistry by the Lake; Canada Day Fireworks;
July 8: St. Mark’s Cherry Festival
July 10–14: Kids’ Summer Art Camp at RiverBrink Art Museum
July 15-16: Battle of Fort George Re-enactment
July 15–23: TD Niagara Jazz Festival
August 12: Peach Festival
August 12: Sip, Savour & Stroll
August 23: Shades of Summer Dinner
August 19-20: Fife & Drum Muster & Soldiers’ Field Day
August 31: Heritage Garden Party at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum

Niagara-on-the-Lake: Touring Without a Car

Collage of Niagara-on-the-Lake photos - gazebo, cenotaph, couple in vineyard, grapes on the vine

Residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake have long considered our town a special piece of Canadian paradise. After all, it’s been known as “the prettiest town in Canada” for decades. And now, the world knows it, too! Condé Nast Traveler has listed Niagara-on-the-Lake among the 50 most beautiful towns in the world! And your accommodation hosts are ready to welcome you with open arms.

When you do decide to visit us, chances you will drive yourself here. However, once you’re here, you might prefer to park your vehicle and forget about it. Other visitors may depend on public or private transportation companies to get here, and then what? Either way, how do you appease your curiosity and take in all the sights in the Niagara area without a car?

Getting Here
If you don’t have a car and don’t wish to rent one, a number of options are available, depending on your circumstances and budget:

  • Niagara Air Bus offers convenient, door-to-door shuttle service by coach or private car from Toronto International Airport, Buffalo International Airport, Hamilton International Airport, Toronto Island (City) Airport, and Downtown Toronto Hotels to your accommodation property in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Book at least 84 hours in advance to qualify for a 5% early-bird discount on their airport shuttle service.

Map from Toronto to Niagara-on-the-Lake

  • VIA Rail provides regular daily service between Toronto Union Station and Niagara Falls. While taxi or Uber service from Niagara Falls are options to reach Niagara-on-the-Lake, you can also use the combined WEGO/Shuttle bus service, which operates from April to October between Niagara Falls and Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake. (More on the shuttle service later.) American visitors can book travel on Amtrak to the U.S. Niagara Falls station,  just across the river from the VIA Rail station on the Canadian side.
  • Megabus Canada has numerous departures daily from Toronto Union Station to Niagara Falls or St. Catharines, both of which are a 25-minute taxi or Uber trip away.
  • GO Transit features a combination of rail and bus service between Toronto Union Station (rail) and the Burlington GO Station, where you transfer onto a bus destined for St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.

Touring Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL)
Once you’re here, local shops, restaurants and wineries are easily accessible, without a car. While here, you may want to visit the four communities that make up NOTL: Old Town, Virgil, St. David’s, Queenston and Glendale (for the Outlet Collection at Niagara and Niagara College Campus where you can sample wine, beer and spirits created by students at the Education Centre).

  • Walking is always an option if you’re staying in Old Town, which covers an area of about 2.5 square kilometres where you’ll find the highest concentration of restaurants, shops and historical sites as well as a few wineries. Get to know our historical town on a humorous guided walking tour with Ross Robinson. Tours leave from the Courthouse steps at 26 Queen Street every day at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., rain or shine.

Horse and carriage on Queen Street in Niagara-on-the-Lake

  • Take it slow and easy on a horse and carriage tour of Old Town. You’ll find your driver waiting for you in front of the Prince of Wales Hotel across from the cenotaph (town clock) or book online.
  • NOTL is a popular cycling destination. A number of companies, like Ebike Rental Niagara and ZOOM Leisure Bike Rentals, rent bikes and e-bikes. The terrain is flat for the most part and safe off-road cycling trails and quiet back-country roads are ideal for cyclists. An online digital map helps you navigate Old Town and the surrounding area on your own with ease. If you prefer, most of the rental companies also offer guided cycling tours of the area and wineries.

ebike rentals

  • Let someone else do the driving. Chauffered winery tours are a great way to tour the countryside and sample local wines, craft brews, ciders and spirits. Again, numerous companies, such as Brewery & Distillery Tours Niagara, offer daily tours and happily pick you up and drop you off at your accommodation property.
  • An on-demand transit service operates between Old Town, Virgil and the Glendale hub. Pickups are arranged as needed using the NRT OnDemand app, which can be downloaded. The NOTL service runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Saturday. The service promises pickup within an hour, with an average wait time of 20 minutes. Pricing is broken down by fare category and type.

A Day Trip at the Falls
The best route to Niagara Falls is along the beautiful Niagara River Parkway, dubbed “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world” by Winston Churchill in 1943.

Niagara Falls and Hornblower

  • You can leisurely cycle or e-bike to the Falls from NOTL along the 25-km Niagara River Recreation Trail, an off-road bike and walking path that runs parallel to the Niagara Parkway and flanks the mighty Niagara River. Except for one short incline up the Niagara Escarpment at Queenston, the terrain to the Falls is relatively flat. Along the way, you’ll pass numerous wineries, historical sights, attractions and photo ops.
  • A scheduled daily Niagara-on-the-Lake Shuttle service connects to the Niagara Falls WEGO bus service at the Green Line’s Floral Clock stop (from June 30 to September 4, 2023) or at the Butterfly Conservatory stop (from April 30 to June 29 and September 5 to October 9). One-way and return tickets can be purchased at Fort George in NOTL. All-day access to the WEGO service is included if you purchase the Niagara Falls Adventure Pass Plus.
  • The NRT On-Demand Transit Service (mentioned earlier) provides service to the Niagara College Campus in Glendale, where you can connect to Bus #12 to Niagara Falls.

Summer 2023 Events in Niagara-on-the-Lake
It’s turning out to be an eventful 2023 in NOTL, where, aside from all the beautiful architecture, sites and gardens, there’s always something happening.

White Effect Dinner

June 3: Murder With a Side of Merlot at Lakeview Wine Co.
June 9: White Effect Dinner at Peller Estates Winery (be sure to pre-order your wine, beer and cider)
June 9–September 15: Jackson-Triggs Summer Concert Series
June 17: Strawberry Festival
June 18–August 29: Music Niagara Summer Festival Concert Series
June 22: NOTL Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament
June 24: Shaw Guild Garden Tour
June 24–25: Fort George in the Great War
July 1: Canada Day at Fort George
July 1–3: Canada Day Fireworks;
July 8: St. Mark’s Cherry Festival
July 15-16: Battle of Fort George Re-enactment
August 12: Peach Festival
August 12: Sip, Savour & Stroll
August 23: Shades of Summer Dinner
August 19-20: Fife & Drum Muster & Soldiers’ Field Day

Niagara-on-the-Lake Pleasures: It’s Playtime!

Spring has settled in nicely, and, in gratitude, we exhale a contented sigh. Humans crave pleasure. Especially now! There’s a heightened aesthetic sensibility in the air as we slow down and savour intimate human connections and flirtatious conversations that sparkle and light up our neural pathways. Words that capture the essence of May include luscious, delicious, sensational, voluptuous and deep authenticity. It’s time to get down, get real and make heavenly dreams come true as sunshine and warmer temperatures seemingly turn life into gold.

Springtime beckons us to be childlike again and play our hearts out. And what better place than Niagara-on-the-Lake—the pleasure center for all time—to bring a sense of delicious into your life?

Indulge Your Senses
Perhaps, you have an eye for beautiful things that bring a wide smile to your face. Highlight your signature style with a couple of additions to your wardrobe—or home or office décor—from one of the charming boutiques along Queen Street or from the Outlet Collection at Niagara. Treasures also await at Old Town Antiques on Mary Street, Lakeshore Antiques & Treasures on Lakeshore Road, the Bartlett House of Antiques on Niagara Stone Road, the Vintage Mermaid barn also on Niagara Stone Road, and Antiques on Creek on Four Mile Creek Road.

Pumphouse Art Centre

Galleries and studios in and around town invite you to admire their artistic collections. The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre on Ricardo Street displays monthly exhibitions at the Joyner Gallery where well-known local and Ontario artists’ works of art are featured. While there, check out works by emerging and professional artists in the Walker Room. A short drive up the Niagara River Parkway takes you to the RiverBrink Art Museum where you can view exhibits as well as participate in workshops. Pottery enthusiasts are welcome to browse at Lakeside Pottery on Lakeshore Road, Queenston Pottery on York Road in St. David’s, or Bélisle Pottery on Four Mile Creek Road where you can also attend a class.

Donkeys at Colaneri

Recharge your batteries by sharing new experiences with old friends. Guided, chauffeur-driven wine, brewery and distillery tours and cycling tours are a great way to spend a sunny afternoon with pals. For something truly memorable, book a one-hour stroll with a friendly donkey companion through the vineyards at the Colaneri Estate Winery. Later, clink glasses in a toast to friendships at one of many indoor and outdoor dining venues throughout the area.

Add music to the mix. Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts has concerts planned for May and June. The Hare Winery continues to host international performers for the TD Niagara Jazz Fest: Twilight Jazz & Blues. The ever-popular Jackson-Triggs’ Summer Concert Series runs from June 9 to September 15. In July and August, Music Niagara celebrates its 25th season with a line-up of musicians from around the world. Local pubs, wineries and breweries regularly schedule live performances.

Make Fitness Fun
Tee up! Enjoy scenic views of Lake Ontario and historical forts at the nine-hole Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Course, the oldest surviving golf club in continuous play in North America and ranked ninth best short course in the world outside of the USA. Need some practice first? Limber up at the Niagara Golf & Batting Cages on Eastchester.

Horseback Riding

Take in nature’s sights and sounds on horseback as you marvel at the seasonal richness of the Niagara Escarpment and wooded trails. Beyond simple enjoyment, riding develops balance and co-ordination and offers mental and emotional benefits for all ages.

How about yoga laced with laughter? A special encounter awaits you at Fox Den Goat Yoga where the focus is on fun and personal development. Book a goat yoga session or a Goats & Wine experience, which includes a flight of wine and time to cuddle, play and take photos of these darling dwarf goats.

Goat Yoga

Squeal with delight as you zipline at one of two Niagara locations. In Niagara Falls, WildPlay’s Zipline to the Falls takes you on a breathtaking ride as you glide down 670 metres (2,200 ft), soar past the American Falls and land at the base of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. At Thompson Point, the Whirlpool Adventure Course features three self-paced obstacle courses that include climbing, ziplining and jumping circuits.

Plan Your Stay
Why not inject a little romance into your plans? Book your stay at a charming bed and breakfast, villa, cottage or apartment. On your way, pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers at one of the many florists or roadside stands. Drop by the Chocolate Factory in St. David’s for a free tour and some tasty palate-pleasing delights to go with that special bottle of wine from your favourite winery.

There’s always something happening in Niagara-on-the-Lake:
June 9: White Effect Dinner
June 17: Strawberry Festival
June 24: Shaw Guild Garden Tour
June 24–25: Fort George in the Great War
July 1–3: Canada Day Fireworks; Artistry by the Lake
July 8: Cherry Festival
July 15-16: Battle of Fort George Re-enactment
August 12: Peach Festival
August 12: Sip, Savour & Stroll
August 23: Shades of Summer Dinner
August 19-20: Fife & Drum Muster & Soldiers’ Field Day

Niagara-on-the-Lake Activities: 20 Ideas for a Rainy Day

NOTL in May

Rain, rain, go away… Remember this children’s rhyme? On the brighter side, April showers do bring May flowers.

We plan for sunny-day activities, and then Mother Nature rains on our agenda, reminding us just who’s in charge here. Hakuna Matata! We’ve got you covered. From museums and retail therapy to live stage performances, there’s something for every taste, interest and budget. You won’t even notice it’s raining! And remember…

“If plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters
– 204 if you’re in Japan.”

― Claire Cook, writer and motivational speaker


Take in a 2 p.m. or an 8 p.m. performance at one of the Shaw Festival theatres in town. (Mondays are dark.)


Book a one-hour backstage tour at the Festival Theatre to discover the secrets that bring each production to the stage. Cost: $10, $5 with ticket to a performance.

Outlet Collection at Niagara Stores


Shop til you drop at the Outlet Collection at Niagara where you’ll find more than 100 trendy boutiques. But first, head over to the Guest Services building to pick up your VIP Visitor Card, available to all out-of-town visitors, to access exclusive discounts and offers from on-site retailers. (You’ll need ID or a passport to prove you are from out of town.)


Hunt for treasures at some of the many antique shops in and around Niagara-on-the-Lake.


Visit the Butterfly Conservatory located next to the Botanical Gardens on the Niagara Parkway.

Orange butterfly


Check out local artists. Browse through Lakeside Pottery on Lakeshore Road, Queenston Pottery on York Road in St. David’s, or Bélisle Pottery on Four Mile Creek Road where you can also take a class.


Tour the historical Laura Secord Homestead in Queenston.


Check out the Riverbrink Art Museum in Queenston.


Visit the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum in Queenston.


Step into an educational experience at the Niagara Parks Power Station to discover the incredible history and heritage of this 115-year-old engineering marvel.


Work out in the fully-equipped gym at our Community Center located on Anderson’s Lane. A day pass costs $5.50.


Stones Massage

Book a spa treatment or massage at one of many venues in and around Niagara-on-the-Lake.


Purchase a day pass at the Pillar and Post for $75 per person. Your day pass includes access to their indoor pool, indoor sauna, a locker in the upstairs change room with robe, as well as the Hot Spring if space is available upon arrival.


Spend time at the charming Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum on Castlereagh in Old Town.


Book a chauffeur-driven winery tour with one of many wine tour companies in the area that include Grape Escape, Crush Wine Tours, Niagara Grape & Wine Tours, Niagara Wine Tours International, Niagara Getaways Wine Tours and more.

Two Women on Wine Tour


Learn all about wine production at one or more of the informative seminars and tours offered by some of the wineries in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area.


Watch ships “climb the mountain” at the Welland Canal Center Lock 3 Museum.


Visit Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls, the largest free-flying indoor aviary in the world.


Take in a Music Niagara performance at various indoor venues during the months of July and August.


Whirlpool Jet Boat

Go ahead! Embrace the weather and head off on a Whirlpool Jet Boat adventure anyway. After all, you’ll be getting wet, rain or shine!


Niagara-on-the-Lake History: A Land of Many Legends

Battle re-enactment

For many Indigenous peoples, the Niagara Region has been a powerful spiritual site since melting glaciers revealed the great lakes of Erie and Ontario and the mighty Niagara River approximately 13,000 years.

A Sacred Place
Considered a sacred place of great power and healing, the Niagara Region was used for religious ceremonies and rituals as well as for hunting and fishing. The Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) believed the Thunderer, a powerful spirit associated with thunder and lightning, resided in the Niagara Region, and that the Falls were created by the Thunderer’s voice.

Niagara Falls at night

The region was also an important meeting place for Indigenous nations, who gathered here to discuss matters of trade diplomacy and war. It was considered a neutral zone, where conflicts could be resolved peacefully. However, if conflicts broke out between the Huron and Iroquois, warring tribes often brought their women and children to the resident Neutral Nation for safekeeping during such dangerous times.

The Neutral Nation was a highly developed culture with sophisticated agricultural techniques, which included the use of irrigation and terracing to cultivate crops like tobacco. They had extensive trade networks throughout the Great Lakes region and were known for their highly valued pottery as well as their tobacco trade. They also had a complex social and political structure, with distinct clans and a council of leaders who made decisions on behalf of the ten tribes of the Iroquois Nation.

The land along the Niagara River continues to have rich ties to Indigenous history and culture. The Indigenous Niagara Living Museum Tours features animated encounters and engagements with Indigenous peoples, cultural interpreters, historians, food specialists and artisans. Tours explore the geology of the Niagara Escarpment and include Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Willowbank School of Restoration and Indigenous Community Love Garden and the Landscape of Nations Commemorative Memorial in Queenston, the Niagara Glen Nature Centre, and many more.

Walking Tour of NOTL

Our Home on Native Land
Sadly, the arrival of European explorers and settlers in the 17th century brought diseases that devastated the population of the Neutral Nation and other tribes, and their way of life was disrupted by the fur trade and conflicts.

In the 18th century, the British established Fort George, a military outpost in Niagara-on-the-Lake. During the War of 1812, Fort George played a crucial role in the defence of Upper Canada against American invasion. It was the site of several battles, including the Battle of Fort George in May 1813, when American forces captured the fort and burned down much of the town.

Following the war, the fort was rebuilt and used as a military base until the mid-19th century. Today, Fort George is a National Historic Site of Canada and a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can explore the fort’s barracks, officers’ quarters and other buildings, as well as view historical demonstrations and re-enactments of military life during the War of 1812. Fort George is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays until May 19, daily from May 20 to September 3, and Wednesday to Sunday from September 4 to October 31. By the way, entrance fees are waived on July 1, Canada Day!

Niagara on the Lake Museum tour guide

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum features 9,000 years of history ranging from Indigenous history to the tourism boom of the 1970s. Its gallery contains such significant artefacts as a powder horn belonging to Chief Joseph Brant, the Indian Department Coatee worn by Daniel Servos during the American Revolutionary War, uniforms from the War of 1812 and much more.

Black Canadian History
Niagara’s role in the Underground Railroad is legendary. Between 1796 and 1949, the Underground Railroad led an estimated 40,000 African American slaves to their ultimate freedom in Canada. Fort Erie, Ontario became a popular crossing for freedom seekers because of its proximity to Buffalo, New York.

Niagara Parks features some of Canada’s most poignant stories of freedom and courage among its extensive collection of displays and monuments honouring Black Canadian history. As you drive, cycle or walk along the 56-kilometre (35-mile) Niagara River Recreation Trail between Fort Erie and Niagara-on-the-Lake, you’ll come across a number of plaques and displays highlighting some of Canada’s most historic moments right here in Niagara.

Mackenzie Printery Museum

Among the interesting sites to visit along this trail is the Mackenzie Printery in Queenston, home to the Louis Roy press, the oldest wooden press in Canada, and one of only seven left in the world today. It was used to print Ontario’s first newspaper, The Upper Canada Gazette, as well as the 1793 Act Against Slavery, which prevented further introduction of enslaved people into Upper Canada and gradually allowed for the abolition of slavery.

A little further down the Parkway in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Navy Hall is a collection of buildings that served as the first seat of government for the Executive Council of Upper Canada, where John Graves Simcoe took the first legislative steps in the Act Against Slavery in 1793.

Situated at Regent and Johnson in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Voices of Freedom Park commemorates the silenced and forgotten stories of people of African descent, whose sacrifices, labour, skills and talents contributed to the development of our town.

Ambassadors of the Past
You might be delighted to learn that some STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake member properties claim a direct link to colourful, historical figures from the past, some of whom are rumoured to roam their halls. However, we’ll keep those tales under wraps for a more appropriate time.

Many of our short-term rental property owners in Niagara-on-the-Lake are born storytellers who have made it their business to study the history of the Niagara Region and are happy to share their version(s) with anyone who will listen. So, ask away. You never know what history lesson you might uncover at the breakfast table or over a glass of wine.

History comes alive in Niagara. Isn’t it time you created a little history of your own for your travel albums?

Comin’ Up
It’s never too early to plan your trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Here’s a sampling of what’s to come:

Garden Tour

April 29 – Queens of the Vineyard at Caroline Cellars
May Weekends – Sip & Sizzle at various Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries
May 6 – TD Niagara Jazz Festival Spring 2023 Fundraising Event at The Hare Wine Co.
June 9 – White Effect Dinner at Peller Estates Winery
June 9 – September 15 – Summer Concert Series at Jackson-Triggs Winery Estate
June 17 & 18 – Juried Art Show at the Riverbank Art Museum
June 24 – Shaw Guild Garden Tour
July 1-3 – Artistry by the Lake
July 8 – Cherry Festival
August 12 – Peach Festival
August 12 – Sip, Savour & Stroll
August 13 – Shades of Summer Dinner