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 tourism@niagaraonthelake.com for more information.

Fall in Love with Niagara-on-the-Lake

Aero Cable Car in Fall

Fall is for lovers. It’s also the ideal time to fall in love with Niagara-on-the-Lake with those you cherish by your side. In order to live happy and prosperous lives, we are meant to go through every season differently and align with the energy of the season. In Chinese Medicine, autumn is the season of:

  • Embracing a new beginning
  • Letting go of what is no longer needed
  • Appreciating the gifts of life
  • Honouring what we value the most
  • Realigning with our purpose and destiny
Mature couple

The Autumnal Equinox also coincides with the start of Libra season — a time when everyone’s focus turns to balance, relationships and beauty. Temperatures are cooler. Vibrant colours explode to create a feast for the eyes. The fields have been harvested. Come October 9, we’ll rejoice in the bounty Mother Nature has provided us as we give thanks for and to those we love and value most. 

So double up, slow down, set your mood to “happy” by listening to one of the happiest songs on Earth (according to science), breathe in the freshness, and book your fall escape to Ontario’s prettiest town.

Here are a few ideas on how to enjoy the best of what the season has to offer in Niagara-on-the-Lake:

Snuggle Up
STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake features a wide assortment of accommodation choices ranging from charming, one-of-a-kind bed and breakfasts and inns to self-catering apartments, cottages and villas. Whether you prefer historic, quaint or contemporary lodgings, with or without breakfast, there is something to suit everyone’s budget, needs and tastes. A convenient online map helps you to determine where each property is located so you have the experience you desire.

Apples and glass of cider

Savour Nature’s Bounty
Surrounded by fields of rich, fertile soil, Niagara-on-the-Lake is blessed with fresh, local produce, which is hand-picked and incorporated into creative menus prepared by some of Ontario’s best chefs. Roadside stands are laden with vegetables, fruits, flowers and preserves if you prefer to lay out a feast of your own at your self-catering facilities. 

Get Into the Spirit
A host of wineries, distilleries and breweries in the area are open and ready to welcome you in for tours, tastings, food-and-wine pairings and educational workshops. Some even offer cooking classes and live entertainment. The Dig Our Roots event on October 13 and 14 at the NOTL Museum is a great way to experience more than 40 VQA wines in one single setting. On Monday nights, grab your dancing shoes and head over to Spirit in Niagara for jazz, blues, cocktails and food. Perhaps a pint or two of craft beer is more your style? Live music and food await you at Silversmith Brewing Company on Thursday nights and at Oast House Brewers on Friday evenings.

Embrace the Arts
The world-renowned Shaw Festival continues to engage audiences with a variety of stage performances and musical events until October 15, and then begins its Holiday Season repertoire through December 23, starting with A Christmas Carol on November 5 and followed by Brigadoon on November 15. Art galleries and studios throughout the area feature exhibits by local artists, potters and photographers. Your STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake hosts are happy to point them out.

Black woman massage - LR

Practise Self-Kindness
Everyone deserves a little TLC. And when it comes to self-care, Niagara-on-the-Lake is hard to beat. The spa experiences featured at the Oban Inn, Q124, the Prince of Wales, and the Pillar and Post are second to none. For instance, why not indulge in a one-of-a-kind hydrotherapy wellness circuit at Q124, featuring the only snow room in Canada? Breathe in the soothing aromas of fresh, locally grown lavender as you roam the NEOB Lavender Flower Farm or visit their Queen Street boutique in Old Town. Explore a world of medicinal herbs on a self-guided tour at the Apple Hill Apothecary. Caress your body with beautiful scents of Fall at One Earth, where you’ll find all natural products made with high-quality, ethically sourced products.

Admire the Natural Beauty
Outdoors, Mother Nature will be putting on a splendid show as leaves magically turn to shades of red, burgundy, gold and rust and sparkle under the bright sun. Drive, cycle or walk along the beautiful Niagara River Parkway, dubbed “the prettiest drive in the world” by Winston Churchill in 1943 — and it still is. Follow the 10-kilometre Upper Canada Heritage Trail on foot, bike or horseback though a variety of landscapes from urban and Carolinian forest to rural orchards and vineyards. Hike a portion of the Bruce Trail along the Niagara Escarpment in Queenston to take in the majestic view of the valley and Lake Ontario in the distance. Explore the well-marked trails at the Niagara Glen Nature Centre along the shores of the mighty Niagara River.

A Bounty of Fall Events Awaits You in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Check out what’s in store this fall:
September – October 4: Paint & Collage Course at Riverbank Art 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 tourism@niagaraonthelake.com 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: There’s Music in the Air

What does your heart say or want? Pay attention! July is all about taking a restorative break and slipping off the radar for some tender loving self-care and celebration. Surprise your honey with a couple of relaxing days of simple pleasures. Ladies, maybe it’s time to spend a couple of days with your nurturing and supportive sisters, mother or friends. Gentlemen, playing hooky with the guys or Dad might be just the midsummer fix you need. Or perhaps you’ve put off your own needs for far too long, and you just want some time out on your own, taking in the calming beauty of nature, dancing to the beat of your own drum and going where the wind blows, guilt-free.

Whether you enjoy cherished time with family or trusted friends or just relish your sweet, serene solitude, refilling your tanks now will keep you fueled up for months to come. And where better to enjoy the height of summer than in Niagara-on-the-Lake at your favourite STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake getaway spot?

Music to Soothe the Soul
Wherever you find yourself in Niagara-on-the-Lake, chances are you’ll hear the sweet sound of music in the summer air. 

Music Niagara has been entertaining audiences since mid-June and the celebration continues through August. With performances ranging from the classical brilliance of the Odin Quartet and the Ensemble Obiora to the golden age of the big bands, the Music Niagara Festival is an important component of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s cultural landscape and something you should not miss.

Big Band Sounds at Music Niagara

Jazz-lovers? The TD Niagara 2023 Summer Festival is just your style. Jazz Under the Stars at Jackson-Triggs Winery on July 15, Jazz Picnic at Willowbank in Queenston on July 16, Soul Jazz in the Vineyard at the Hare Wine Company on July 20 and the Late Night Music Jam at The Irish Harp on July 22 are just a sampling of what’s in store for you here in Niagara-on-the-Lake. 

Speaking of Jackson-Triggs, check out their Summer 2023 Concert Series featuring such performers as the James Barker Band, Chantal Kreviazuk, Randy Bachman, Bahamas and many more.

Not to be outdone, the Shaw Festival presents a musical revue showcasing the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein at its BMO Stage. On stage at the Festival Theatre, Royal George, Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre and the Spiegeltent, there’s something for everyone, including kids! 

Barrelhead at Pillitteri

Local venues love to get in on the action, too. Take in the vibes of Summer Fridays with some tapas and a drink on the patio at Ironwood Cider House. Head over to Spirit in Niagara for Monday Blooz & Jazz or Thursday Night Delight with Ed Pizzo on the Piano. From open mic nights to jazz and blues nights and Wednesday night patio performances, there’s always something going on at The Irish Harp Pub. The Niagara Oast House Brewers invites you to celebrate TGIF with a couple of pints, food and live music from 5 p.m. to midnight. Just up the road at the Barrelhead at Pillitteri Estates Winery, it all comes together from noon to 10 p.m. with delicious wood-oven pizza, salads, wine and local entertainment in their cherry orchard.

As you can see, there’s plenty to keep you entertained during your stay in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Your STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake hosts are always eager to offer recommendations on where to go and what to see.

More to Come
While July is jam-packed with events and things to do, there’s much more fun in the works:
Until August 29: Music Niagara Summer Festival Concert Series
Until September 15: Jackson-Triggs Summer Concert Series
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 2023 Summer Festival 
August 6: Bell Concert at St. Mark’s Anglican Church
August 12: Peach Festival
August 12: Sip, Savour & Stroll
August 13: Shades of Rosé
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 
September 3: Bell Concert at St. Mark’s Anglican Church

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 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

1

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

2

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

3

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.)

4

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

5

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

Orange butterfly

6

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.

7

Tour the historical Laura Secord Homestead in Queenston.

8

Check out the Riverbrink Art Museum in Queenston.

9

Visit the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum in Queenston.

10

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.

11

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

12

Stones Massage

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

13

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.

14

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

15

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

16

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.

17

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

18

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

19

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

20

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: Activate Your Passion

March 20 heralded in the Spring Equinox and the Aries Season while a New Moon on March 21 added a punch to underscore the importance of this annual celestial event. Think of this lunar lift as a ribbon-cutting ceremony for your freshest, most out-of-the-box ideas. This cosmic invitation is summoning your inner warrior to recommit to living life by your own design!

As it turns out, passion is an essential element to living a fulfilled life. So, you might say, this celestial combo is asking you to tune in to your passion meter for excitement and let the hot blood pump through your veins as you spring into action.

Some of our best insights and ideas come to us when we’re active and enjoying something we love — cycling, hiking, golfing, birdwatching, dining, spa treatments, live stage performances, music, museums and historical re-enactments, gardens… Our minds are relaxed and our intuition — our personal GPS — works best when the mind is engrossed in the present moment. Like they say, time flies when you’re having a good time.

And what better place to enjoy good times and indulge your passion(s) than in Niagara-on-the-Lake?

Spring Into Action
Vineyards, fruits orchards and fields of vegetation surround Niagara-on-the-Lake, making it a culinary haven for chefs, foodies and wine-lovers alike. Dining venues throughout the area range from affordable pub fare to five-star gourmet experiences. Why not make a day of it with friends? Chauffeured guided tour companies offer an excellent way to experience three or more wineries, and some tour options even include lunch or supper at a local dining establishment.

Partying with friends

Old Town Niagara-on-the-Lake is a safe, very walkable community, perfect for daytime and evening strolls along residential streets and nature trails that meander through provincial parks and along the Niagara River where there is year-round birdwatching at its best. Most bed and breakfasts and short-term rental properties are within easy walking distance of restaurants, theatres, shops and wine- or beer-tasting venues. So, why not park the car and forget about it?

Flat terrain and quiet country roads in the area are ideal for cycling and e-bikes — a great way to combine fresh-air exercise with touring some of our award-winning wineries on your own. Be sure to check out the 2020 Chardonnay at Two Sisters Vineyards, winner of a Gold Medal at the 2023 Chardonnay-du-Monde competition held in Burgundy, France. Bring your own bike or rent one at one of the local businesses, such as Zoom Leisure, Grape Escape, Vino Velo and eBike Rental Niagara, to name just a few. Many also offer guided cycling wine tours.

Take in a round of golf and some of the area’s most scenic views at the oldest surviving golf course in North America. Its lakefront restaurant patio and indoor lounge are popular watering holes for a light post-game bite, a brew and some friendly banter.

Perhaps self-care is one of your passions. Niagara-on-the-Lake features a selection of world-renowned spas, each of which offers a menu of treatments that are sure to leave your body singing with relief and gratitude.

Passionate about live theatre and musical performances? Niagara-on-the-Lake also hosts world-class performances at the ever-popular Shaw Festival, which, in 2023, is presenting 14 plays, and several concerts and events at the Festival Royal George and Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatres as well as the new Spiegeltent outdoor venue.

Choose Your Private Retreat
After a full day of activities and sightseeing, a well-deserved night’s rest is in order. STAY Niagara-on-the Lake offers a long list of accommodation options where you can relax and reminisce over that fine bottle of Niagara wine you picked up earlier.

For couples, a bed and breakfast is the perfect choice. Today, most B&Bs feature secluded guest quarters with private ensuite washrooms for complete privacy, as well as indoor and outdoor nooks where you can mingle with your hosts or other guests — or not. Nightly rates include breakfast, on-site parking and internet access. For parties of three or more, self-catering apartments, villas or cottages may be a more reasonable alternative.

Go ahead and check us out. Make a few calls and ask questions. We want you to make the choice that’s best for you and your needs.

Plan Ahead
Here is a taste of things to come this spring and summer to rev up those passion meters and get your creative juices flowing:

April 1 – Fort George opens Saturdays and Sundays, and daily May 20
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 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

Niagara-on-the-Lake Hospitality: You Can’t Beat It!

 

Trius Winery

The charming lakeside town of Niagara-on-the-Lake is world-renowned for its historical sites and re-enactments, boutiques and art galleries, restaurants, live stage performances, spas, vintage wines, craft beer and spirits, fresh produce, musical venues, green space, cycling trails, antique shops…

The list goes on and on. And if you’re going to enjoy all this over a couple of days or more, you’ll need accommodation.

Signs of Assurance
That’s where the STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake Association comes in. Member properties include inns, self-catering apartments, villas and cottages as well as bed and breakfasts, each offering its own unique blend of services and hospitality.

However, they all have one thing in common. All are licensed. And that means you are assured that all member establishments have been thoroughly inspected for safety and cleanliness and all adhere to the town’s and the association’s strictly enforced high standards.

So, how do you know if a property is licensed or not? Easy!

Town B&B signage

  • If a property is listed on our association’s website, you can rest assured it is licensed!
  • In Niagara-on-the-Lake, all short term rentals must first get a municipal license in order to operate.
  • The operator’s license number must be posted on the property’s website as well as on third-party Online Travel Agency websites.
  • The owner must also visibly display their license inside the property.

With Spring sitting on our doorsteps, rooms are booking up quickly. So you might want to plan your spring, summer and fall getaway soon.

And if you’re looking for a reason to visit, we always have a few of those to share as well. Here are a few year-round and annual favourites to think about.

Art Exhibits
The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre is a little gem you’ll find off-the-beaten track in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Located in a heritage building on the banks of the Niagara River, the Niagara Pumphouse offers visual arts programs, exhibitions and events year-round.

BBA Map

Through March 25, the Pumphouse is presenting the Reflections-Group Exhibit by the NOTL Arts Collective in its Joyner Gallery. This unique, thought-provoking display showcases the diverse styles and perspectives of the participating members of the Collective.

Our association is proud to feature Julia Kane’s artwork on the cover of our 2023 map, the original of which is on display at Château des Charmes. Information on Julia and each member of the collective can be found here.

In the Vineyards
The wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake are organizing a couple of signature events for spring. A particular favourite is the Sip and Sizzle, which happens over four weekends in May, with passports going on sale in April 2023.

Here’s your chance to sip and savour gourmet food and wine tastings at 16 wineries in the immediate area. Guests may choose from an individual Tasting Pass ($75 plus tax and service fee) or a Couple’s Pass ($75 plus tax and service fee).

On Stage
Every year, the Shaw Festival, Canada’s second-largest theatre company, stages more than 400 outstanding performances, which draw almost 50,000 attendees annually. In addition, over 2,000 education and outreach activities are offered to more than 50,000 participants.

Shaw Festival 2023

The 2023 line-up of musicals, dramas, comedies and outdoor events promises to be a crowd-pleaser. Tim Carroll, the Artistic Director, and his team are always coming up with new events, new performance spaces and new ways of engaging with their audiences. “This year,” Tim says, “we have some really special treats up our sleeve. So, no matter which of our world-class shows you are coming to see, be sure to give yourself plenty of time before and after; you’ll be glad you did.”

Are you a die-hard Elvis fan? Then, you don’t want to miss the Niagara Falls Elvis Festival, just 20 minutes down the road at the Greg Frewin Theatre from April 20 to 23.

25 Years of Music
This year marks the 25th season for the annual Music Niagara Festival, which happens in July. Every year, this festival welcomes gifted international musicians to different venues throughout Niagara. From Pop, Swing and Jazz to Classical ensembles and Chamber choirs, there is something to suit everyone’s musical taste.

Music Niagara performer

Fund-raising events are an important part of making the Music Niagara Festival a yearly reality. One is the Artistic Director’s fundraising challenge with a goal of raising $25,000 by July 1. If you enjoy music, please show them some love.

As you can see, we’re in for some good times in 2023. We’d love to have you join the fun.

Niagara Wine Country: Where Hope Springs Eternal

Magnolia Blossoms

 

While every season is special, springtime in Niagara-on-the-Lake is quite exceptional. It holds such hope and promise for locals and visitors alike — the promise for fine vintages, for fruitful orchards and gardens, for a successful tourist season, for spectacular stage and musical events… You might even say Spring is the official start of a New Year in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Harbingers of Fresh Beginnings
Springtime in Niagara-on-the-Lake is a beautifully orchestrated, multi-sensory experience, compliments of Mother Nature.

It begins slowly with a teasing warm breeze, the unique trill of a cardinal in the early morning hours or the first robin sighting. Excitement fills the air with a sense of liveliness among Mother Nature’s creatures as they awaken from their winter slumber and go about their business.

Pruned vineyards lie in wait. It’ll be a while yet before young grapes cling to the vines. For now, we can only anticipate the promise of fall’s bounty.

Hardy yellow crocuses poke through the hard ground. Furry magnolia buds formed in the fall are gently teased open to display their floral splendour. Soon, fruit trees in the orchards will be crowned by a soft pink, mauve or white haze, in sharp contrast to the spearmint green carpet at their feet.

In Old Town, brightly coloured tulips line the main street and planters are filled with eye-catching floral arrangements. Queen Street shops, galleries, restaurants and sunlit patios bustle with locals and visitors alike.

The Shaw Festival opens its doors with live stage performances of Mahabharata, a modern retelling of an epic Sanskrit poem at the Festival Theatre from February 28 to March 26. And on March 30, Prince Caspian takes centre stage to welcome theatre goers of all ages into the magical kingdom of Narnia at the Royal George Theatre. Yes, indeed, it promises to be an exciting time at the Shaw.

Wine and Music Make a Fine Pair
Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to some of the oldest and most established wine-producing vineyards in Canada. Over the years, our pioneer winemakers finessed their expertise to make Niagara-on-the-Lake the premium wine-growing region it is today.

Wine-tasting events happen year-round in Niagara-on-the-Lake. For instance, Winemakers’ Selection Tasting Passes are on sale now. For $40 per person, plus taxes and service fee, you can enjoy one tasting of a Winemaker’s Selection wine at each of the 20 member wineries Monday to Friday throughout 2023.

Asian couple tasting wine

Wish to know more about wine? Check out the Wine Seminar Series at Colaneri Estate Winery happening over six Sundays from February 19 to April 30.

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the Music Niagara Festival also holds much promise for 2023. Throughout the year, Music Niagara presents world-class, diverse music experiences in unique venues and settings throughout our community. Watch for unique pairings of wine and musical events, which will be posted here throughout the coming season.

And don’t forget the Twilight Jazz & Blues series happening from February 26 through May 28. Local venues like the Spirit in Niagara Distillery and The Irish Harp Pub also feature musical performances with a twist.

Hospitality at its Best
Accommodation is an important component to any Niagara-on-the-Lake experience. So, why not stay with the best?

STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake offers a variety of accommodation options ranging from hosted bed and breakfasts and inns to self-catering apartments, cottages and villas. What’s your preference? Victorian? Modern? Country? Historic? Themed? We have all that and more.

As experts in the area, our resident hosts and owners can provide valuable information and guidance on what is happening and where to go so that your getaway is the best it can possibly be.

Let us help you create memories to last a lifetime.

Stay Niagara-on-the-Lake: Medicine for the February Blahs

 

 

Feeling moody, as if your energy is sapped? Not to worry… planning a quick escape is the ideal medicine for overcoming such common wintertime symptoms. And historic Niagara-on-the-Lake is the perfect destination for your winter break — and for good reason.

 

We’re thrilled to announce that TripAdvisor ranked our Town No. 2 “Best Popular Destination Canada.” Not only that. TripAdvisor also listed four of our local wineries as top attractions in all of Ontario: Konzelmann Estate Winery, Reif Estate Winery, Château des Charmes Winery and Peller Estates Winery. And just in time for Valentine’s Day, three local restaurants were listed by OpenTable as Canada’s most romantic places to dine: The Drawing Room at Prince of Wales Hotel, Kitchen 76 at Two Sisters Vineyards and Treadwell Farm to Table.

We’re All About Choice

Whether you prefer a self-catering experience or long to be pampered by hosts, STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake has you covered. Browse through a list of member properties featured on their website where an array of accommodation choices ranges from country-style inns and bed and breakfasts to private vacation homes, apartments and luxury villas.

 

Your STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake hosts are experts in the area and are only too happy to offer insider tips on what’s happening in the region or where to dine, park, shop, tour… Consider them your personal concierges. An interactive digital map under the “Plan Your Stay” section makes it simple for you to choose where to stay at a price that suits your budget.

Scroll down the page a little further to find numerous activities for you to experience: tours and popular attractions, wineries, restaurants, spas, performing arts, specialty stores, galleries, bicycle and scooter rentals, outdoor recreation, museums and historical sites… the list goes on and on. Can’t decide where to dine? Check out the online Menu Book for a wide selection of culinary suggestions.

 

What’s Up and Coming

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, you may have your heart set on amping up the romance factor, and we offered many recommendations in an earlier blog. However, there’s much more beyond Cupid’s favourite day.

 

Here is just a sampling of upcoming events planned for mid- to late-February and beyond:

 

Calling Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Lovers: Hopefully, fun and self-care are among your New Year resolutions for 2023. And what better way to reward yourself than with these favourite delicacies at the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Experiences offered by Twenty Wineries every weekend throughout February.

All That Jazz: Treat yourself to a smorgasbord of musical talent presented by the TD Niagara Jazz Festival at various Niagara venues from February through May 28. Scheduled performers include the Neil Brathwaite Group, Faith Amour Trio, Alex Bird & The Jazz Mavericks, Melissa Lauren Trio, Roberta Hunt and Her Quartet, Alexander Brown Quartet and Sundar Quartet.

Foodie Moments: Cozy up with some of your best friends at your personal fire pit at Trius Winery as you sip a glass of their Showcase wine or a hot beverage paired with offerings from their Fireside Menu. Or, perhaps a puff pastry-wrapped triple-cream baked brie with icewine jelly glaze and praline candied nuts complemented by two Sparkling Wine flights at the Lakeview Wine Co. is more your style.

 

For the Artist in You: Participate in a meditative and fun two-part painting workshop at the Riverbrink Art Museum, which introduces you to two types of ancient folk artforms practised in India: Mandala Dots and Madhubani painting. Not quirky enough for you? For out-of-the box experiences, check out the workshops hosted at the Gate Street Studio.

An Astronomer’s Delight: Did you ever wonder what the end of the Universe might look like? This six-part series at the Niagara-on-the-Lake  Public Library turns your gaze skyward to focus on the beginning of the Universe, the lifecycles of stars, the creation of the elements, the creation and life of black holes, and more.

 

All the World’s a Stage: It’s never too early to snap up tickets to the Shaw Festival’s 2023 lineup of live stage performances. You don’t want to miss the magic that’s about to unfold at the Festival Theatre, the Royal George Theatre, the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre, BMO Stage and the newly added Spiegeltent — a beautifully styled outdoor cabaret venue.

 

Bloomin’ Gardens: Spring is coming! Between now and March 31, take advantage of early-bird savings to the ever-popular 17th annual Shaw Guild Garden Tour happening on June 24.

 

As you can see, there’s never a scarcity of things to do in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake. Let STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake and our charming hosts be your go-to guides.