August 30, 2009
Niagara-on-the-Lake and the "Prettiest Sunday Drive in the World"
You know those bisque houses that they sell in Better Homes and Gardens magazine – you know, the Victorian-looking cottages that you can buy one at a time and assemble into a town complete with street lamps and post-boxes. Well, we found ourselves in the midst of village of them last Thursday – it was called Niagara-on-the-Lake.
So starting off, there’s the Niagara Falls on the Canadian side that everyone’s familiar with - with the light shows, the casino, the Skylon Tower, and Ripley’s Museum, to name a few attractions - and then you drive (or take a Peoplemover) for about 20 minutes north along the Niagara Parkway towards Lake Ontario and Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Driving on the Niagara Parkway you pass gorgeously green and clipped lawns containing attractions like the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory, Niagara's Floral Clock, and the Botanical Gardens. Then you pass Niagara Glen where we climbed last week. A dipsy-doodle around Lewiston and the bridge to New York and you’re back on the Parkway passing the column commemorating Isaac Brock and the homestead of Laura Secord.
Now come the vineyards and wine estates, some with an old Canadian feel, some with real “Southern” charm. Historic Fort George dating from 1802 tells us that we're almost at Niagara-on-the-Lake.
A popular local tale is that Winston Churchill, after having been driven down the Niagara Parkway, called it "the prettiest Sunday drive in the World."
So now we're in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara-on-the-Lake, is often called the loveliest town in Ontario and rightly so. It could be the loveliest town in Canada. The community of about 15,000 is exceedingly beautiful and well-kempt. The municipal flower beds are simply mindblowing and the magnificently colourful hanging flower arrangements on the lamp posts drip to touch the ground.
Like Niagara Falls up the road, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a tourist town, but a much slower-paced and refined one. It has the historic Fort George but today Niagara-on-the-Lake’s focus is the Shaw Festival; which includes three theatres showcasing the works of playwright George Bernard Shaw.
My not-easily-impressed son was raving about the town. Every shop we passed was beautiful or unique, every doorway emanated delicious smells. He wants us to retire there. Senior Pup has been there a few times for annual meetings but he won't smuggle me in his luggage.
It’s a real trip back in time. Niagara-on-the-Lake was settled at the close of the American Revolution by Loyalists coming to Upper Canada. It’s hard to believe that this tiny place was once the capital of the newly-created colony of Upper Canada. Today you can walk or take a quaint horse and carriage ride around Niagara-on-the-Lake. Most of the homes have retained their original 18th and 19th Century appearance.
Time to check the real estate pages.
Again here are some pictures, but because of my lack of camera they are courtesy of: Flickr:Sage, Hamerly and Baslow,