The drive downriver from Niagara Falls on the Niagara Parkway to Niagara-on-the-Lake is full of surprises. If you take in all the sites it will take a full day to reach Niagara-on-the-Lake. Along the way is the White Water Walk, Whirlpool Aero Car, the Butterfly Conservatory, Queenston Heights Park with Brock’s Monument celebrating the victory and death of General Isaac Brock in the war of 1812 and the McFarland House where costumed guides take you around a fine Georgian home. Turn into the town of Queenston and visit Laura Secord House the home of the Canadian heroine of the war of 1812. Further along the street is the Riverbrink Art Museum, home of the Weir Collection of fine and decorative arts that focuses on works Canadian art and in particular works that illustrate the history of the area around Niagara Falls.
As you enter the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake you will pass Fort George, a reconstructed early 18th century British fortification. This hexagonal fort is fascinating as the walls and parapets and surrounding ditches have been beautifully recreated so that one can experience what life was like in the days when Canada was threatened by attacks from the United States. The costumed guides and soldiers present thrilling demonstrations of typical activities in the fort. I remember that as a child I always asked my parents to stop at Fort George for a visit whenever we drove around the Niagara Region.
Niagara-on-the-Lake, the first capital of Ontario, is a cornucopia of heritage architecture that really requires slow on-foot exploration. The heritage walk through the town includes many very beautiful and immaculately maintained buildings. Among them are the imposing St. Marks Anglican Church dating from the early years of British settlement here, the Masonic Hall of 1816, the Court House of 1847 and the Blair-Lansing Post House of 1835 now operated as an Inn. There are an incredible 25 buildings that are highlighted on the Heritage Walk.
For shoppers Niagara-on-the-Lake has dozens of stores, many of which are in heritage buildings, stocking a wide variety of up-scale merchandise. There are several commercial art galleries as well.
Don’t miss Greaves Jams & Marmalades. It has an almost infinite variety preserves made from locally grown fruit. And if antiquing is your thing, be sure to visit Europa Antiques in the Old Church and Lakeshore Antiques and Treasures.
For those seeking that special Niagara wine a visit to the surrounding wineries is a must. There are six wineries located in Niagara-on-the-Lake and all offer a var