Copyright © by May DeLory
There is good reason Niagara-on-the-Lake is one of Canada’s most visited destinations and fondly referred to as “The Prettiest Town in Canada.” The town takes its history and its visitors seriously. Streets are lined with colourful floral containers and are squeaky clean. There is an abundance of architectural landmarks of historical significance, several verdant parks, including Simcoe Park where families enjoy a picnic, a multitude of world renowned vineyards, a scenic harbour, quaint cottage-style shops, friendly towns’ folk and the famous Shaw Festival.
You don’t need an automobile to get around the town as just about everyone walks. Just the same, new for 2013, June 23rd to September 1st is the WEGO shuttle along the scenic Niagara Parkway from Queenston to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Buy tickets at Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce, Fort George and several other town outlets. $5 One-way, children under the age of five are free. Departures are every 90-minutes between the Floral Clock and Fort George beginning at 10:15am. Last southbound shuttle from Fort George is at 5: pm.
Niagara-on-the-Lake was settled in 1781 where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario in the Niagara Region of Southern Ontario just across the Niagara River from Youngstown, New York. In 1812 U.S. troops attacked the town at Fort George and burned it to the ground. The town won the right to remain in what was then known as Upper Canada to rebuild Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Today, you’ll find Old Town at Queen and King Streets where the Niagara Apothecary – an old-fashioned drug store and its paraphernalia — built in 1866 is staffed by volunteers and a fascinating place to visit. Bright storefronts greet visitors to town and make it tempting to buy an ice cream, eat fudge, taste exotic condiments, dine in fashionable restaurants or linger over an exquisite gourmet cup of coffee, browse beautiful giftware or take home freshly baked peach scones or just bat the breeze in the town’s post office where you can buy pretty stamps with a credit card.
The elegant Prince of Wales hotel was established in 1864 and named in 1901 in honour of a visit by The Duke and Duchess of York. Take one of the horse-drawn white carriages that tour the town to the hotel for an award-winning meal or take afternoon tea. Some say the Prince of Wales hotel is haunted. Still, it’s near difficult to secure a date for a wedding reception at the hotel due to the popularity of its grandeur venue space.
There are many reasons to visit this pretty and whimsical Canadian town less than a two-hour’ drive by automobile from the city of Toronto; but, many visitors come for The Shaw Festival first begun in 1962. There are four theatre venues: Festival Theatre holds 856 and stages big and elaborate productions; Court House, the Royal George holds 313 and the most intimate at 175, the Studio Theatre. All theatres are within walking distance of each other. Keep an eye out for “Enchanted April” at the Shaw Festival Theatre or “The Light in the Piazza” at the Court House Theatre, “Lady Windermere’s Fan” at the Shaw Festival Theatre, and “Our Betters” at the Shaw Royal George Theatre all in July 2013.
Fort George: Toll Free: 888-773-8888
General Inquiries (International): 613-860-1251