Travel Destinations

Discover the Charm of Niagara-On-The-Lake


Tucked into the southwest corner of Lake Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake is often referred to as the most picturesque little town in Canada. Granted, it may not be as well known as nearby Niagara Falls, but what it lacks in popularity it more than makes up for in beauty and charm.

NOTL, as the locals call it, has a long, distinguished history: first as the site of the indigenous village of Onghiara, then later as a settlement for British Loyalists after the American Revolution. In 1792, Newark, as it was then known, became the first capital of the new colony of Upper Canada, where the legislature met for five sessions until the capital was moved to York (later renamed Toronto).

The thriving town was burned to the ground by Americans during the War of 1812, but locals refused to abandon the strategic location, rebuilding and turning it into a bustling commercial center by the mid-1800s with a busy shipbuilding industry, shops, warehouses and stately brick mansions.

NOTL’s historic charm is what keeps visitors coming back year after year to stroll the quaint streets, enjoy fine hotels and cozy B&Bs, dine in top-flight restaurants and travel back to a leisurely era. Historic stops include the Old Court House Theatre (1847); St. Vincent de Paul (Ontario’s oldest Catholic Church); St. Mark’s Church (Ontario’s second oldest Anglican Church); McFarland House (oldest building in town, now a museum and tea room); and Niagara Golf Club (oldest continuously operating golf course in North America).

Mark on Flickr

Another big draw is the world-famous Shaw Festival, featuring the works of noted playwright George Bernard Shaw, his contemporaries and plays about the era when he lived (1856–1950). The festival is held every year from April to December, using four NOTL theaters (the Festival, Jackie Maxwell Studio, Royal George and Court House Theatre) and offering more than 750 performances each season.

The region’s wineries are also worth a visit, with more than two dozen in the immediate area. The Strewn Winery, located west of Historic Old Town along Four Mile Creek, operates the Wine Country Cooking School, hosts hands-on classes between March and November, and teaches how to prepare recipes with local and seasonal ingredients.


Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing Club

Located on the Niagara River, it’s steps from NOTL’s Historic Old Town. It offers 191 slips, a clubhouse and fuel dock, and has reciprocal arrangements

Port Dalhousie Pier Marina

Technically in St. Catharines, next door to NOTL, this marina has more than 400 slips equipped with 30-amp shore power and security gates, and accommodates boats up to 100 feet with up to a 14-foot draft. Fees include security, water, Wi-Fi and unlimited pump-out.

St. Catharines Marina

Located near the entrance of the Welland Canal, this 40-year-old marina can host 185 boats up to 70 feet long with a draw of 5 feet. Facilities include fuel dock, full retail store, snack bar and boat repair services, as well as waterfront camping.

Smuggler’s Cove Boat Club

Smuggler’s Cove Boat Club is located 1.5 km upstream from NOTL on the Niagara River. It has 60 slips, two mooring fields, club house, BBQ deck and fuel dock. SCBC has reciprocal agreements with many clubs along Lake Ontario on the Canadian and American sides.


Cannery Restaurant

This romantic spot in the Pillar and Post Hotel uses local ingredients to elevate its menu of steaks, chops and seafood, pairing each dish with wines sourced from regional and international vineyards. Try the squash & Granny Smith apple soup or the New York Cajun striploin.

HobNob at the Charles

Executive Chef Beil Wang showcases his culinary skills at the Charles Hotel’s signature eatery, emphasizing what he calls “laid back, yet exquisite indulgence” in dishes. The setting is a beautifully restored 1832 manor house that overlooks Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club.


The Prince of Wales Hotel houses this French-inspired, fine-dining spot. Entrees like the hand-cut pappardelle pasta with pancetta, cream, chardonnay, parmesan, fried duck egg and black truffle salsa are what make it a four-diamond restaurant year after year.

Olde Angel Inn

The Olde Angel Inn is one of the oldest pubs in Ontario, built in 1789 as the Harmonious Coach House. You can still see the exposed hand-hewn beams and thick plank floors laid down when it was rebuilt in 1815 after a fire. Expect to find hearty, English-style food and drink, and an ample serving of history.

Treadwell Cuisine

Since 2006, Treadwell has focused on local, farm-to-table cuisine, showcasing the region’s top artisan producers. Enjoy inventive dishes such as chilled pea and mint soup and honey and roasted duck breast, along with an extensive list of local wines.

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