Sir Winston Churchill, not renowned for lavish praise, travelled the Niagara Parkway and called it "the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world". The Parkway to which he referred stretches for 56 kilometres (35 miles) from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario along the Canadian side of the Niagara River.
This ribbon of gardens, parks, and museums can also be enjoyed by cyclists, walkers, joggers, roller-bladers, and the physically challenged.
The Parkway is described from Fort Erie northward to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Only main features are described as the tour is virtually a continuous parade of
parks, museums, picnic spots, river overviews, grand homes, fruit and vegetable stands, and plaques, which are simply too numerous to mention. These make for a memorable drive or cycle with opportunities for dozens and dozens of interesting stops.
Niagara-on-the-Lake: prettiest town in Canada
drive north along the scenic Niagara Parkway leads to
Niagara on the Lake. The town attracts thousands of visitors who stroll the old streets, enjoy the comforts of fine hotels or our charming bed and breakfast homes, dine in our many varied restaurants, and, if even for a little while, journey back in time to a more leisurely time – the age of Niagara-on-the-Lake!
Now Niagara-on-the-Lake is a quaint Victorian era town located nearly 15 miles north of the falls at the end of the Niagara River where it enters Lake Ontario. The town has been beautifully restored and converted into a wonderful up-scale tourist attraction with elegant hotels, quaint boutiques and
interesting shops. The town is located adjacent to a large lakeside fruit and wine growing regions that produces some very nice white wines and some world-class ice wines. It is well worth spending a day in the area visiting the town, browsing the quaint shops and visiting the nearby wineries.
The Town has retained its 19th century charm and is a wonderful place to explore with its forts, grand mansions, colourful gardens and parks, and pot-pourri of arts and crafts.
History of Niagara-on-the-Lake
The settlement was originally known as Rutlersburg, in honour of Colonel John Butler, the commander of Butler's Rangers. The Town received office status in 1781 when it became known as Newark, a British military site and haven for British Loyalists fleeing the United States in the volatile aftermath of the American Revolution. Later, it changed names again, this time to Niagara.
Niagara was named the first capital of Upper Canada (now the province of Ontario), and the first provincial parliament was convened at Navy Hall in 1792 by Lieutenmt-Governor John Graves Simcoe. During the War of 1812, the capital was moved to York (later to be renamed as Toronto) so as to be farther from the areas of combat.
The Town played a central part in the War of 1812. It was taken by American forces after a two day bombardment by cannons from Fort Niagara and the American fleet, followed by a bloody battle. Later in the war, the Town was razed and burnt to the ground by American soldiers as they withdrew to Fort Niagara. Undaunted by this setback, the citizens rebuilt the Town after the War, with the residential quarter around Queen Street and toward King Street, where the new Court House was rebuilt out of firing range of the cannons of Fort Niagara.
In the 1880s, the Town was renamed as Niagara-on-the-Lake to avoid confusion with Niagara Falls. The central part is referred to as
Old Town or Old Niagara.