Embrace Winter’s Gifts in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Collage of winter scenes

Winter in Niagara-on-the-Lake is a magical time of the year. The stillness and deep sense of wonder resonate with our very souls.

Nature hits the pause button and quietly seduces us to relax, restore and reflect. Contrary to popular belief, winter is never the time for setting goals. Not yet. Save that for spring, when you naturally have more energy.

Until then, it’s “dream time.” Much like the rest of nature, we pause and ponder what we achieved in 2023 and where we might be headed in 2024. It’s also time to let go what no longer serves us so we can move forward unburdened.

Research shows that our best ideas come to us when we’re dreaming, relaxed or at play. Winter is the ideal season for restoration, self-care and sharing the fruits of our fall labour with our loved ones. After all, February is Cupid’s favourite month.

And Niagara-on-the-Lake has everything you need to meet these wintertime goals.

Woman enjoying winter

Bundle Up and Get Outdoors
Niagara-on-the-Lake is riddled with walking paths. One takes you past wineries along the Niagara River to the charming village of Queenston and the forested Escarpment trails. Another follows the shores of Lake Ontario and offers a view of Toronto’s skyline on clear days. Other local favourites are the Heritage Trail and the walkways that meander through The Commons where you may sight a deer, fox or coyote foraging in the distance.

Skating is a popular winter activity in Niagara-on-the-Lake. An old-fashioned skating rink at the the Monet-inspired gardens across from the Pillar & Post Hotel invites you to lace up those skates and twirl your favourite partner. Enjoy a hot drink and a snack from the on-site Outpost, then cozy up at one of many warming stations located throughout the park.

A Wayne Gretzky fan? Check out the skating rink at the Great One’s winery in the town of Virgil, just five kilometres up the road from Old Town.

Treat Yourself to a Spa Day
What better way to let your thoughts drift off into dreamland than under the caressing hands of a professional therapist? The variety of treatments and services on the menu is endless.

Woman getting a facial

The Vintage Hotels feature two spas, each offering a very different ambience. The 100 Fountain Spa and the Secret Garden Spa have been in this people-pleasing business for decades and it shows. Their services and treatments have expanded to suit the times and your preferences.

In addition to traditional spa services, the one-of-a-kind hydrotherapy wellness circuit at Spa at Q on Queen Street includes the only snow room in Canada, hot and cold pools, sensory showers, a cedar sauna and a eucalyptus steam room.

Not to be outdone, the harmonious, peaceful mood at the OSpa at the Oban Inn complements its amazing soothing and personalized treatments.

Located across from the Outlet Collection at Niagara, the Spa at White Oaks promises to rejuvenate, revitalize and refresh you before you head out for some retail therapy.

Wine and Dine Your Sweetheart
If there is one thing Niagara-on-the-Lake is known for, it’s the wide selection of fine vintage and culinary experiences the area offers. Not only is this the birthplace of modern Canadian winemaking, but it also attracts some of the most innovative chefs in Canada, such as celebrity chefs, Jason Parsons at Peller Estates and Treadwell.

chef plating

Up for a culinary adventure? Introduce yourself to delectable creations prepared by Niagara’s aspiring chefs. The School of Culinary Arts at Niagara College operates the award-winning on-campus Benchmark restaurant, where lunch is served from Wednesday to Friday under the watchful guidance of culinary virtuoso, Chef Justin Downes, and Catering Manager, Victor Oliveira.

Hoping to impress someone special? Three of Niagara’s finest dining establishments — Zee’s, Niagara’s Finest Thai and Tiara — are offering prix-fixe menus this winter.

In keeping with the Valentine’s Day spirit, the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake are presenting the Chocolate & Cheese Passport Event every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in February. Here’s your chance to indulge in the perfect pairing of wine, chocolate and cheese at 20 wineries.

Lighthearted fun and a Gourmet S’mores Board await you at Konzelmann Estate Winery where you get to sit back and relax in a Muskoka chair and enjoy a seasonal wine flight in the warmth of their enclosed winter patio.

Snuggle Up and Get Warm
Regardless of what you decide to do while in Niagara-on-the-Lake, you want to be comfortable and feel welcomed and warm.

STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake features a list of short-term accommodation choices that range from self-catering apartments, cottages and villas to charming bed and breakfasts and country inns, where you gently awaken to mouthwatering aromas of freshly prepared breakfasts prepared by your on-site hosts.

A Word to the Wise
With the warmer season fast-approaching, you may want to book your preferred spot early as 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:

February Weekends: The Chocolate & Cheese Passport Event
February 3: Black History in NOTL: Commemorating National Historic Significance
February 5: Celebrating Black History & Culture at The Harry Winery
February 9: Brock: The Man, the Myth, the Legend at Navy Hall
Until February 25: Inniskillin’s Illumination Nights
February 27: Reif Estate Icewine Dinner
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
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
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 tourism@niagaraonthelake.com 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.