Instagram Travel Thursday: A Day in Niagara-on-the-Lake
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.
Theatre Getaways in Ontario: Stratford and Niagara-on-the-Lake
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I think I just figured out why Emma’s always smiling. It’s the ice cream isn’t it? I’ll bet if I offered my kids Cows ice cream constantly that they’d smile all the time too! Niagara-on-the-Lake looks like a gorgeous city though. Might even be worth a visit without a stop for ice cream (but seriously…who would do that?)
Karen - DCR
I’ve never been to Canada, pretty sad huh? Your pictures of Niagara-on-the-Lake are lovely, maybe someday we will venture up north!!
Ice cream, or even the promise of ice cream, definitely helps to keep her smiling! 😉 NOTL is a beautiful town and worth a trip even without the ice cream – we have just never risked it!
Nice to see your Facebook profile pic show up with your comment – not sure how you made that happen or why you’re Snl7 instead of Steve – I may spend the rest of the day trying to figure that out instead of working!
Looks like a fabulous time- and an incredibly quaint and picturesque destination!
Chasing the Donkey
Oh how adorable is that onsie. I wonder if that comes in adult sizing…….
Beautiful place and this is what I love about this Linky, I get to virtually travel to places I never knew existed… 🙂 And yeah, that ice cream looks pretty delicious!
Oh my gosh, these are gorgeous! I was just telling Ann that I need to work on my clarity on my pics- and there you go. Wow.
Farrah, your pictures are great! And Lisa, I wish I saw your pictures before we went to Niagara Falls years ago. I’d heard good things about Niagara on the Lake, but I didn’t realize how pretty it was. And I’m pretty sure that Shaw and I speak the same language about food.
What a pretty and romantic place to visit and really beautiful photos!
Not sad at all, Karen, there are so many places to visit and not enough time for them all!
Thanks, Elena – it’s a destination that I never grow tired of visiting!
It’s wonderful isn’t it, Satu, I love seeing the places that others are visiting all over the globe!
Thank you, Farrah and I agree with Ann – I enjoy your photos!!
Ann, I hope you get a chance to return – the falls themselves are incredible but if you visit Niagara-on-the-Lake then you will fall in love!
Thanks, Reeta – it was fun participating in Instagram Travel Thursday again this week!
Growing Up Madison
Those pics are beautiful. We’re planning a trip to London, Ontario for Christmas. I’ve been to Niagara Falls once a long time ago but would love to see it in the winter. Can’t wait for our trip. 🙂
Thank you! I have actually never been to Niagara Falls in the winter – I’m sure it’s an entirely different experience! I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful holiday!!
Oh my goodness your photos have inspired me to visit Niagara on the Lake much sooner rather than later :).
Oh you must try and visit, Nadia – it is one of the loveliest towns that you’ll find in the province!
I think this town is charming. Really, really quaint.
I loved seeing it when you were there, and these are some great shots.
Thanks for linking up with us this week.
I really like the landscaped street shot. It’s so beautiful. Nice Instagrams Lisa!
This is a gorgeous place! Love your instagram photos!
When I had my flower store in Niagara-on-the-Lake I used to love Shaw Festival season – and especially opening nights as business was always good then.
I love wandering the streets off of Queen Street and admiring all the perfectly coiffed homes.
When we lived there I found the place very welcoming & friendly.
I really should make it to Niagara-on-the-Lake the next time I’m in the Toronto area. It’s so picturesque!
Cheryl @ KidsOnAPlane
I love love LOVE the NOTL area. It brings back lots of good memories – my husband and I’s first date was there.
Words of wisdom on that cup 🙂
Did you manage to find some time for high tea at Prince of Wales?
Love this series of pics. I think you captured the area really well.
Such great photos of a pretty town! It’s been a few years since I’ve been there, but I’m really hoping to see Lady Windermere’s Fan this summer. Guys and Dolls is a great show!
I have heard that Lady Windermere’s Fan is very good – Guys and Dolls seemed like the best bet for my 10 year old though!
Katja of Skimbaco
It looks gorgeous! Thanks for participating to IG Travel Thursday!
Charu Suri (@Butterflydiary)
HI – I know this is a very old post but wondering if NOTL is kid friendly? I’m getting mixed reviews on various boards. We had hoped to rent bikes for just a couple hours and we would enjoy a few wineries while the kids enjoyed the biking part. Do you know if wineries are close enough to bike between them, say within 10-15 minutes biking per winery? We have a 6 year old who is a good rider and a 3.5 year old who can ride in a trailer. But obviously we don’t expect the kids to ride for 30 minutes or so in between stops. I can’t seem to get solid info on if this is doable. Good articles. Thank you!
Hi Bethany, we have visited NOTL many times with our kids over the years but haven’t rented bikes or visited the wineries. There is quite a nice biking trail that I have often seen families riding with kids but I’m not sure about the distances between the various wineries. I’ll try to find out and get back to you.
Also, have you tried contacting one of the bike rental companies? They might be able to provide specific information. I found this one which rents bikes and organizes both guided and self-guided tours and plan out routes for clients. https://zoomleisure.com/tours/daily-tours They might have a good idea of the distances between each winery.
I’ll check with some other travel writers as well to see if they can provide any insight.