Explore Niagara

Niagara Attractions & Activities

Niagara on the Lake is Canada's most historic and prettiest town.
Niagara on the Lake Wine Tasting Fort George Niagara Helicopters Eskoot Golf Course Shopping

The region offers unforgettable attractions, history, wineries, shopping and more. Discover why Sir Winston Churchill called the Niagara Parkway "the prettiest Sunday drive anywhere". A scenic twenty minute drive between Niagara on the Lake and Niagara Falls will pass stunning views and many historical sites.

Shopping is a highlight of any visit to Niagara on the Lake. Time spent strolling through the shops in the Historical District on Queen Street will uncover treats and treasures from around the world. Also, a short drive away; the Outlet Collection at Niagara offers over 100 brand stores all at outlet prices!

Now considered amongst the top wine producing regions in North America, the Niagara Region boasts over 40 world-class wineries, beckoning to you to visit for touring and tasting.

The BEST WESTERN Colonel Butler Inn is glad to be designated as bicycle-friendly by Ontario By Bike and the hotel is near to several routes in Niagara on the Lake. If you don't have a car but would like to bring your bike to the area, visit www.biketrain.ca for transportation schedules and pricing between Toronto and Niagara. Also, bicycle rentals are available nearby.

More and more people each year visit the Niagara River to see one of the world's greatest gatherings of gulls and other migrating birds. A couple of good bird spots are the overlook at the Sir Adam Beck power station and at the Queenston sand docks. And during the winter months, the Niagara River is a major area for numerous species of ducks, geese, and swans. Visit Niagara Parks for what bird species come to the area.

History of Niagara on the Lake

In 1781 the British Government purchased land from the Mississaugas; a strip of land 6 miles wide along the western bank of the Niagara River for "300 suits of clothing". By 1782, 16 families had become established and had cleared 236 acres. In 1791 part of the military reserve at the mouth of the river was chosen as the future townsite. In 1792, Newark - as it was named by Governor Simcoe, became the first capital of the newly-created colony of Upper Canada, and the legislature met here for five sessions, until Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe moved the capital to York. By 1796, 70 new homes were built, and the town continued to prosper as the economic, administrative and judicial centre for the Niagara Peninsula. The physical appearance of the town, with the exception of the powder magazine at Fort George was virtually erased by the burning of the town by the Americans during the War of 1812.

Rebuilt, Niagara became an active commercial centre, with a busy shipping and ship-building industry, as well as many shops and warehouses. The beautiful old homes lining the tree-shaded streets attest to the prosperity of its citizens.

Today, over two hundred years after its founding, Niagara on the Lake hums with a different kind of traffic. Its many attractions include historic sites - Fort George and the Historical Society Museum; the Shaw Festival with its three theatres, the marina, our heritage business district for shopping as well as world class golf courses, parks, beautiful farmland, agricultural markets and our world famous Niagara wineries.

The BEST WESTERN Colonel Butler Inn was named for John Butler, a seasoned veteran of the Seven Years War and leader of the famous Butler's Rangers. Colonel Butler was responsible for laying the foundation for many new colonies under the British flag.