Pebble coastline with 1800s house and gazebo.
There's something truly magical about this quaint little town just a short drive from the spectacular Niagara Falls along the scenic Niagara Parkway.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Niagara-on-the-Lake

Charming Countryside and Historic Streets

There’s something truly magical about this quaint little town just a short drive from the spectacular Niagara Falls along the scenic Niagara Parkway. Wine connoisseurs from around the world rank the area’s ice wine – picked from grapes that have been frozen by winter’s first icy blast – as a drink fit for the gods. Niagara Wine Tours International is just one of a number of establishments that can help you slake your thirst for this elixir as well as other fine wines.

The Butterfly Conservatory, on the Niagara Parkway between Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake, offers a network of pathways in a tropical rainforest setting where some 200 species of colorful winged insects delight youngsters of all ages. Fanciers of other winged creatures flock to Bird Kingdom, where a 15,000 square foot conservatory allows tropical birds to roam free year-round.

Pygmalion Slept Here

Theater lovers who count playwright George Bernard Shaw among their favorites flock to this rustic community from late spring to well into the fall to take in plays written by the great man himself and his contemporaries at the Shaw Festival.

And no matter what kind of budget you’re on, you can find accommodation in every type of establishment, from sophisticated hotels and cozy bed and breakfast outlets to tent and trailer campgrounds. The dining is equally eclectic – everything from first-class restaurants to fish-and-chip stands and corner coffee shops.

Where the Past Is Present

Niagara-on-the-Lake is also steeped in history. Visit old Fort George where you can actually experiences the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of life in a garrison in the early 19th century. Or take in the Laura Secord Homestead and step back in time while viewing the artifacts and furnishings of a bygone era as lived by one of Canada’s most famous heroines.

In fact, if history is your passion, a must-see is the Niagara Historical Society Museum, which houses one of the finest collections of early Canadiana, reflecting the history of one of the oldest settlements in Ontario.

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Niagara-on-the-Lake Travels

There are adventures galore for everyone for both risk-takers and those who like to get thrills second-hand by learning about what daredevils of yore did for fun:

  • Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours offers spine-tingling ride through the 250-foot-high stone canyon walls of the Niagara Gorge and a return trip through the Devil’s Hole Rapids.
  • Niagara Helicopters guarantee you the most thrilling nine minutes of your entire visit with a whirlybird ride over the mighty Niagara Falls and the turbulent Niagara Gorge, plus a quick pass over the entire area to get a bird’s eye view of one of the world’s most popular tourist destination.
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club was established in 1875 and is considered the oldest golf club in North America. Its nine-hole course offers challenging play and a breathtaking view of Lake Ontario.
  • The Daredevil Exhibit is a great place for the armchair adventurer to get his or her vicarious thrills. On display are the original barrels that thrill-seekers have ridden over the Falls. There is also vintage photography of these often tragic undertakings, as well as descriptions of the events.
  • The Brock Monument will provide a bit of exercise as you climb to the height of land where a famous Canadian general, Sir Isaac Brock, oversaw one of the decisive battles of the War of 1812.

Staff Writer

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