One of my favourite day trips is to the charming town of Niagara-on-the-Lake located in the heart of Ontario's wine region just an hour and a half drive from Toronto. The town is only a few minutes away from Niagara Falls yet a world removed from the hustle bustle of the larger city.
The town of Niagara-on-the-Lake was first settled by British Loyalists fleeing to Upper Canada but was later burned to the ground by American forces during the War of 1812. The town was rebuilt after the war ended and has been maintained as a lovely 19th century village with period architecture, beautifully landscaped streets, and horse and buggies transporting visitors around town. The town is home to upscale inns, boutique shopping, outdoor cafes, gourmet dining, and repertory theatre and is also the perfect base for tours of the many world-class wineries in the region.
This past Sunday we decided to drive down for the day for shopping, lunch and to attend a performance at the Shaw Festival. These are the photos that I shared on Instagram from our day in one of Ontario's most beautiful villages.
Picture-perfect Queen Street, which runs parallel to the shores of Lake Ontario, is the main street in Niagara-on-the-Lake and home to most of the shops and restaurants as well as my absolute favourite building - the Prince of Wales Hotel.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is one of the most beautifully landscaped towns that I have ever seen. There are flowers everywhere and at the moment there are also flags commemmorating the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 - a joint celebration between the U.S. and Canada marking the 200 years of peace that our two countries have enjoyed since the end of the War of 1812
Visitors strolling Queen Street will pause to admire (and photograph) the Cenotaph and Town Clock as well as the Niagara District Courthouse - a neoclassical, stone building which is a National Historic Site of Canada and home to the Court House Theatre where the Shaw Festival was first launched in 1962.
There is no better place to enjoy lunch on a summer afternoon than sitting outdoors at the Shaw Café & Wine Bar in the shadow of the statue of playwright George Bernard Shaw who famously said "There is no sincerer love, than the love for food".
The Shaw Festival is a summer theatre festival inspired by playwright George Bernard Shaw that began in 1962 and features the works of Shaw, his contemporaries and plays about his era. Today the Shaw Festival is world-renowned and stages 10-12 productions each year in its four theatres. We attended a highly-entertaining, superbly-performed matinee performance of Guys and Dolls.
Post theatre we had to stop by Cows, our favourite ice cream store for a cone (Mooey Gooey for me) and to browse the merchandise. The perfect end to a perfect summer day in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
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