Niagara-on-the-Lake, the “prettiest small town in Canada”, has a long and fascinating history. It was settled after the American Revolution by Loyalists coming to Upper Canada. 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 and it became the first capital of the newly-created colony of Upper Canada. By 1796, the town continued to prosper as the economic, and judicial centre for the whole area.
The War of 1812 raged for two years between the British and the Americans across the Niagara River and when peace finally came in 1814, the town was a ruin. During the War of 1812, the town was burnt to the ground by retreating American forces. Over the next decade many of the beautiful homes - that make it such a charming place now -were rebuilt – many with war reparations money. The Bicentennial of the War of 1812 will be celebrated with many events that will draw people from all over the world. See: www.1812niagaraonthelake.ca
After the war, Niagara became a busy shipping with a vibrant ship-building industry. Today, the beautiful old historic homes lining the tree-shaded streets like Prideaux St attest to the prosperity of its citizens. The two beautiful brick houses on either side of The Town Cottage date from 1815-1818 and have been carefully restored to their former glory.
Many of the local attractions today include historic sites - Fort George and Fort Mississauga, Lake Ontario, the Shaw Festival, the Niagara River and our marina, our heritage business district for shopping, golf courses, parks and our famous Niagara wineries. Take a carriage ride through the Old Town right past The Town Cottage, or a jet boat up the Niagara River. Nearby, the Niagara Parkway leads to Queenston Heights(10K) and Niagara Falls (15K). Visitors who can journey back in time to a more leisurely time - the age of Niagara-on-the-Lake!