Guide to the Most Interesting Places in Old Town Niagara-on-the-Lake

Clock tower in Old Town Niagara on the Lake
Continue reading Guide to the Most Interesting Places in Old Town Niagara-on-the-Lake

Niagara-on-the-Lake is a town of great historical significance to early Canada, having been named as the first capital of Upper Canada. Old Town refers to the town’s Heritage District, containing beautifully preserved buildings dating back to the Victorian era and early twentieth century. Today, it’s home to a variety of fantastic hotels, wineries, restaurants, local shops, and more.

Whether you want to immerse yourself in the fascinating history of the region, sample the bounty of Ontario wine country, or relax in one of the town’s lovely historical hotels, there’s something for everyone in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Memorial Clock Tower

Built in 1922, this historic clock tower was erected as a World War I memorial to honour the fallen soldiers of Niagara. Niagara-on-the-Lake is the only community in Canada to have a war memorial at the centre of its main street.

Niagara Apothecary

Travel back in time to visit an authentic Victorian apothecary! Opened in 1869, it is the only surviving building of that era in Old Town, and now serves as a fully restored museum where visitors can view pharmacy-related artifacts.

The Charles Hotel

The Charles Hotel, a historical site in Old Town Niagara on the Lake

This stunning Georgian manor was built in 1832 and now welcomes guests in its second life as a vibrant inn. With 12 beautifully appointed guestrooms, The Charles effortlessly combines antique elegance and modern style. Its thriving restaurant, HobNob, serves up fine dining in the house’s former parlour, oozing vintage glamour and romantic appeal. Admire the elegance of its crystal chandeliers and original oil paintings as you savour its spectacular gourmet cuisine. 

Queen Street District

Queen Street is the beating heart of Old Town and is home to most of its charming specialty shops and art galleries, in addition to a collection of local bakeries, bistros, ice cream parlours, and more. You can take walking tours to explore the town and learn more about its fascinating history.

Royal George Theatre

The Royal George Theatre, located in Old Town Niagara on the Lake

Originally constructed as a vaudeville theatre during World War I, the Royal George Theatre is now the centre of the famous Shaw Festival and puts on various plays throughout the year. The 2023 season will feature a theatrical version of C.S. Lewis’s Prince Caspian, from the classic Chronicles of Narnia series.

Prince of Wales Hotel

Nestled in the heart of Old Town, Prince of Wales is both a historical landmark and a vintage treasure, with its world-class Secret Garden Spa and highly rated restaurants. Enjoy traditional afternoon tea in The Drawing Room, their homage to Victorian teatime—complete with organic teas, house-made scones, and delectable pastries.

Fort George

Fort George was constructed in 1798 and defended Upper Canada against American invaders during the War of 1812. You can explore its eight restored buildings, hear live military music, and listen to costumed guides share the fort’s intriguing past, including the day it was captured by the Americans.

Queen’s Royal Park

Gazebo in Queen’s Royal Park in Niagara on the Lake

Located along the Niagara River, Queen’s Royal Park boasts breathtaking views of Fort Niagara and Lake Ontario. The crown jewel of the park is its lovely gazebo, which was built in the 1980s for the movie Dead Zone and donated to the town at the conclusion of filming.

Fort Mississauga

Fort Mississauga can be found at the mouth of the Niagara River, and today is located on the grounds of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club. Its box-shaped brick tower and star-shaped earthworks are all that remain of the fort, which was built by the British with bricks from buildings that had previously been destroyed by American troops during the War of 1812.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club

This charming, 9-hole golf club is the oldest surviving golf club in North America! It’s situated on lands involved in the War of 1812, with Fort Mississauga located at the end of the first hole. Enjoy panoramic views of Lake Ontario as you play a round of golf in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Butler’s Barracks National Historic Site

Butler’s Barracks is a former military base that was occupied by the British from 1812 to 1871 and features historic buildings, weaponry, and other artifacts for viewing. It takes its name from Colonel John Butler, a hero of the War of 1812 who was instrumental in acquiring southwestern Ontario for the British. Check out the Junior Commissariat Officer’s Quarters, which housed Canadian officers until 1969 and is closely associated with the early development of the Canadian army.

McFarland House

Built by John MacFarland for his family, this historic Georgian home is one of the oldest surviving structures in the Niagara region, having been constructed around the year 1800. It was later used as a field hospital during the War of 1812. Costumed local guides provide tours of the interior, and the conservatory has been transformed into a tearoom for visitors.

The house is located inside McFarland Park, which has walking trails, a pavilion, and a playground to enjoy.

Discover Ontario’s First Capital with Niagara’s Finest Hotels

With so much to explore in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a weekend getaway is the perfect way to ensure you can relax, eat, shop, and sightsee to your heart’s content! With a variety of hotel packages, our historic hotels provide the best in comfort and luxury, along with dining options that will delight your palate. Book with us today and discover the unique heritage and scenic beauty of Ontario’s first capital.