Niagara on the lake - Part 1 - Orlando / Florida Guide
Florida Guide > Travelling
Many people visiting Niagara Falls miss the opportunity to take in the beautiful little town of Niagara-on-the-lake (the lake being Lake Ontario) which is steeped in history and was once the capital of Canada. This little town is a hidden gem and for those visiting Niagara Falls it is just a thirty minute drive along a very scenic route which will take you through verdant farming country and past beautiful Canadian homes. If, like us, you are visiting from Toronto it is a little over an hour away and is signposted and easily accessible from the Queen Elizabeth freeway, a pleasant stopover en route to or from the falls.
We arrived in Niagara -on -the lake around mid morning and followed signposted car parking. It was relatively easy to find a space in a pay and display car park just off the Main Street, there is also metered parking on the Main Street itself. Having said this, when we leaving in the early part of the afternoon parking spaces were at a premium and there were several vehicles waiting to take our vacated space!
We walked down a passageway alongside the historic Prince of Wales Hotel past colorful flower beds and ornamental fountains and we emerged out onto the Main Street where the first thing that strikes you is the profusion of beautiful flowers. There doesn't seem to be a yard of space that is not home to a flower bed, planter, hanging basket or window box! There was a large wooded park directly opposite which looked a wonderful place to spend an hour or so just lazing peacefully with your book or enjoying an ice cream, sadly we wouldn' t have time for such a leisurely activity on our trip. We wandered down the street past the aforementioned hotel which is a beautiful Victorian building where we could see people having morning coffee in elegant surroundings, being attended by waitresses in a traditional uniform of black with white frilled aprons and where outside a quaint hanging board was inviting passers by to afternoon tea later in the day. Just a short distance from the hotel is the Shaw Theatre, one of three theatres in the town, where every year since 1962 The Shaw Festival has been held. During this time the repertory theatre company perform plays by George Bernard Shaw or plays written during his lifetime. In 2016 these included, A Woman of No Importance, Alice in Wonderland and Sweeney Todd.
It would be fair to say that the big attraction of Niagara -on -the lake are the numerous boutiques and quirky one of a kind shops along with its glorious restaurants and eating establishments. We strolled past many of these on our way to the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Centre making a mental note of the ones we wanted to visit. The visitor centre is not enormous but there are displays and information about the history of the town and an information desk with knowledgeable staff. There were also numerous information leaflets to be had.
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