Discover the charms of Niagara-on-the-Lake with these 10 great attractions

Niagara-on-the-Lake is a charming destination in southern Ontario that has long been popular with tourists. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Niagara-on-the-Lake is a picturesque town in southern Ontario that is nestled in the heart of the Canadian province’s famous wine country, but it offers more than just scenic vineyards and gourmet dining. For the curious traveller, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a treasure trove of unique experiences waiting to be discovered. From tranquil retreats to engaging animal encounters, the town and the surrounding region offer a wealth of  under-the-radar gems you shouldn’t miss.

Embark on a historical journey at Fort George National Historic Site

Step into the past at Fort George National Historic Site where the echoes of the War of 1812 between Canada and the United States still resonate. This well-preserved fort offers a glimpse into military life in the early 19th century, with costumed interpreters and original buildings that tell the story of this exciting chapter in Canada’s history. Explore the officer’s quarters, blockhouses and artillery collection, and feel the weight of history in this significant historic landmark.

Take in a stage show at the Shaw Festival Theatre

The Shaw Festival Theatre is a cultural beacon, showcasing not just the works of Bernard Shaw, but many others writers as well. With a season running from April to December, the theatre presents a range of plays from thought-provoking dramas to lighthearted comedies that have delighted visitors and locales alike for decades. Experience the thrill of live performance in one of Canada’s most renowned repertory theatres.

Scale the walls of Fort Mississauga

Another fort? This part of the country was hotly contested during the War of 1812 which meant a lot of fortifications sprung up in the region in a short amount of time. This National Historic Site offers a different glimpse into Canada’s military past than Fort George, perhaps on a smaller scale, but with a story that’s every bit as interesting. When you visit, you’ll learn that part of the fort was built from the remains of a lighthouse and bricks salvaged from the town after it was destroyed by retreating American soldiers in 1813. The fort’s tower and the remains of a star-shaped earthworks are the only remaining example of this type of fortification in Canada. If you’re not into history, the other side of the site is home to a popular golf course.

Find serenity at the tiny Living Water Wayside Chapel

In the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake lies the Living Water Wayside Chapel, a quaint sanctuary that offers a moment of peace and reflection. This tiny chapel, one of the smallest you’ll ever see, invites just six visitors at a time to bask in its intimate and serene atmosphere. Whether you seek a quiet place for contemplation or a unique spot to appreciate architectural charm, this chapel is a must-visit on your journey.


Pay homage to history at Brock’s Monument

Brock’s Monument stands as a towering tribute to one of Canada’s heroes from the War of 1812, Major General Sir Isaac Brock. Visiting this monument is not only an act of remembrance for the leader who died here at the Battle of Queenston Heights but also an opportunity to learn about the pivotal role he played in Canada’s history. The site offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, making it a perfect blend of education and natural beauty. Take a moment to reflect on the past as you gaze out from this historic vantage point.

Enjoy a regal retreat by the water at Queen’s Royal Park

Queen’s Royal Park offers a serene escape with its lush greenery and stunning views of the Niagara River. This waterfront haven is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a peaceful afternoon picnic. It also boasts the only public swimming beach on the Niagara River. The gazebo, a beloved landmark, provides a picturesque backdrop for photos and a moment of reflection by the water’s edge. Embrace the tranquillity of this regal park and let the gentle lapping of the waves soothe your soul.

Artistry by the Lake celebrates local creativity

Niagara-on-the-Lake’s vibrant arts scene comes alive at Artistry by the Lake every Canada Day long weekend in the summer. This popular event showcases the talents of local artisans, offering a diverse array of handcrafted goods and artwork. Stroll through the outdoor market, engage with the artists, and perhaps find a unique piece to take home. It’s a celebration of creativity that reflects the town’s spirit and offers a glimpse into the local culture.

McFarland House opens a window onto the past

More than 200 years old, McFarland House is a beautifully preserved heritage home that offers a window into the life of early Canadian settlers. As one of the oldest surviving buildings in the region, it provides a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the history of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The house is surrounded by lush gardens and an on-site tea room that serves traditional treats, making for a delightful historical outing.

Try yoga with goats

Imagine perfecting your warrior pose as a playful goat balance on your back. At Fox Den Yoga, you can experience the serenity of yoga combined with the delight of Nigerian Dwarf goats’ company. This unique blend of relaxation and whimsy takes place amidst the rolling vineyards of Lakeview Wine Co., providing a backdrop that’s as breathtaking as it is calming. After your session, unwind further with a glass of local wine, savouring the taste of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s finest.

Stroll through vineyards with Vineyard Donkeys

Don’t like goats? What about donkeys? Step back in time with a tour through Colaneri Vineyard, guided by the vineyard’s charming donkeys. This hour-long experience not only offers insights into the winemaking process but also allows for unique interactions with these gentle animals. Capture the moment with photographs, lead and pet your new friends, and conclude your visit with a curated tasting of the vineyard’s signature wines.

Hotels in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

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