Niagara-on-the-Lake, located in the heart of Ontario's wine region, has been described as "the prettiest town in Ontario" and after visiting here over the weekend, we would agree with this statement.
There are flowering plants on every street corner, hanging from lamp posts and in sidewalk flower beds. And, there's no shortage of places to shop and dine.
Site of the old Neutral Indian village of Onghiara, it was settled at the close of the American Revolution by Loyalists coming to Upper Canada, many had been members of Butler's Rangers, a British provincial regiment composed of Loyalists (Tories) in the American Revolutionary War. The town was called Butlersburg in honor of Colonel John Butler, the group's commander. In 1781, it received official status and was renamed Newark, a British military site and haven for British loyalists fleeing the U.S. in the aftermath of the American Revolution. Later, it was was renamed Niagara and became the first capitol of Upper Canada (now Ontario).
During the War of 1812, the capitol was moved to York (now Toronto) farther from the areas of combat. Niagara 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. American forces razed and burnt the town as they withdrew to Fort Niagara. It was rebuilt it after the war and, in the 1880s, renamed as Niagara-on-the-Lake to avoid confusion with Niagara Falls.
After its reconstruction, Niagara-on-the-Lake became an active commercial centre, with a busy shipping and ship-building industry, shops and warehouses. Beautiful old buildings that line flowered and the tree-shaded streets attest to its prosperity, over 200 years later.