Niagara-on-the-Lake: The Prettiest Village in Ontario

Everyone knows about Niagara Falls, but few have heard about its beautiful northern neighbor, Niagara-on-the-Lake. It's described as the prettiest village in Ontario, and with good reason.

Set amid lush orchards and vineyards, this lovely town sits like a perfect jewel on the mouth of the Niagara River, at the northeastern corner of the Niagara Peninsula. Its architecture, dating from 1750 to 1870, is unequaled anywhere in Ontario.

There's plenty to do and see year-round, but we like to visit in winter, when things are quieter. Shopkeepers and residents decorate extravagantly for the holidays, and several of the homes are open for tours.

Don't worry–due to a quirk of geography, winters here are more temperate than you'd expect.

In early December, candle-carrying townsfolk gather at the 210-year-old courthouse on Queen Street for the annual candlelight stroll. (Didn't pack candles? Vendors from Newville Candles, a local company, sell them with the proceeds going to charity.)

After the candles are lit during a special ceremony, everyone “goes a-caroling” through the village, accompanied by local choirs.

The town's annual Christmas parade is one of Ontario's best. Afterward, be sure to head for the Prince of Wales, the Queen's Landing Inn or the Angel Inn for hot chocolate.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is one of the best-kept secrets in Canada. See for yourself — before it's discovered!

If You Visit… Niagara-on-the-Lake is about 10 miles north of Niagara Falls on Provincial Highway 55, along the southwest shore of Lake Ontario. It's 38 miles north of Buffalo, New York and roughly 80 miles south of Toronto. For details, call the Chamber of Commerce at 1-905-468-4263.

The Niagara Parks Commission offers numerous attractions along the Niagara Parkway between Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.

For more information about these attractions call the Parks Commission at 1-877-642-7275.

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