Niagara-on-the-Lake

Geneseo, NY

Dave and Sue both grew up (many years ago) in the Buffalo, NY area and often visited the Niagara Falls area.  Recently they invited us to a day trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario,  a quaint little touristy village along the shore of Lake Ontario where the Niagara River empties into the lake.

From Geneseo, Dave took us on a scenic route that lead through the beautiful farm land of western New York just south of Lake Ontario.  After about two hours we entered Canada by crossing the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, one of three bridges that span the Niagara River as it flows 35 miles north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.  Once in Canada it is only a short drive north to Niagara-on-the-Lake.  We parked next to the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Course where we enjoyed lunch with a great view of the Niagara River emptying into Lake Ontario, with the US visible across the water.

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Lunch with a view

This beautiful little nine hole course claims to be the oldest surviving golf course in North America, with play beginning in 1875.  Dave played it a few years after it opened and says it hasn’t changed much since then.  As we proceeded through the parking area John couldn’t help but admire the beautiful MGB pictured below.  He owned a similar vehicle (painted British Racing Green) when he first met Pam.  Two year after we were married, we traded the MGB for a baby boy!

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Dreaming of younger days

A short walk from the golf course is the main area of the town.  This place is a paradise for those who love flowers.  Most of the houses in the residential areas have beautiful gardens and the main street of town is filled with well-manicured flower gardens.

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Some people still stop to smell the roses!

The Shaw Cafe and Wine Bar, pictured below, is a good example of the colorful flowers along the main street.  The cafe takes its name from biggest event of the year in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Shaw Festival.

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The Shaw Festival is a major Canadian theater festival,  sponsored by the Shaw Festival Theater Company, the second largest repertory theater company in North America.  Founded in 1962, its original mandate was to stimulate interest in George Bernard Shaw and his period, and to advance the development of theater arts in Canada.

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The Prince of Wales Hotel

Just up the street from the Shaw Cafe is the famous Prince of Wales Hotel.  Built in 1864, the three story 110 room hotel went by several names (Long’s Hotel, Arcade Hotel, The Niagara House) and was renamed after famous guests, Duke of York (and Prince of Wales) and the Duchess of York, in 1901.  Queen Elizabeth II stayed at the hotel during her visit to the area in 1973.

After a walk through Niagara-on-the-Lake we drove south along the Niagara River, stopping at a viewing area to check out a view of the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and the Robert Moses Niagara Hydroelectric Power Station.

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Lewiston-Queenston Bridge

The Robert Moses Niagara Hydroelectric Power Station is a hydroelectric power station.  The plant diverts water from the Niagara River above Niagara Falls and returns the water into the lower portion of the river near Lake Ontario. It utilizes 13 generators at an installed capacity of 2,525 megawatts.  Canada has a similar power station that is almost directly across from the Moses Plant.

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The Robert Moses Niagara Hydroelectric Power Station

We continued our drive along the river and soon entered the city of Niagara Falls, ON.  After parking the car we walked a short distance to the river where we were treated to a great view of the falls.

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The Canadian Falls

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Two Americans with the American Falls in the background

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Dave and Sue check out the Canadian Falls

If you have ever visited Niagara Falls, chances are you took a ride on the Maid of the Mist.  With its iconic blue raincoats, the Maid of the Mist has enjoyed a monopoly on taking tourists right into the mist at the base of the falls for over a century from docks on both sides of the border.  But recently a company called Hornblower arrived on the river.  Hornblower already runs tours to Alcatraz and the Statue of Liberty. Two years ago it won a bid to run tours on the Canadian side of the falls.  Now Maid of the Mist only operates from the American side of the river.

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Hornblower passengers in red, Maid of the Mist in blue

Both boats take you right up close to the base of the falls.  We took the Maid of the Mist trip many years ago and highly recommend it.

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Walk south along the Canadian side and you can get a close up view just as the water drops over the falls.

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Looking down over the Canadian Falls as a Maid of the Mist boat approaches (can you see the rainbow?)

Many thanks to Dave and Sue for this fun international trip.  We had a great time!

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19 Responses to Niagara-on-the-Lake

  1. What a fun day trip! Love the old buildings and all the lovely flowers. Niagara Falls is spectacular, it’s no wonder folks are drawn to it in droves!

  2. We loved Niagara. Wish we were there!

  3. john H says:

    we love visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake last summer and of course enjoyed the falls as well…

  4. Sherry says:

    I’ve never been to Niagara Falls because of all the people. Your trip over to Canada to the lovely town and down to the falls looks like a way I could go. How do the folks in town get all those beautiful flowers to grow after such cold winters and with such a short season. Really really pretty. I had an MGB too, white. Sold it after too many electrical problems and bought a Fiat Spyder which I loved loved loved. Sure wish they still made them.

  5. Thanks for taking us back. We too had a grand time on both sides of the falls and the little town of Niagara on the lake.

  6. Pam says:

    Great photos of the Falls–I always find it hard to capture their grandeur. Looks like you had a most perfect outing to a lovely place.

  7. Gay says:

    These pictures sure bring back lots of wonderful memories…Niagara Falls (Canadian side) was our first big adventure when we started our full-time life style. We enjoyed lots of day trips on the Harley…Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Butterfly Conservatory being at the top of the list. The flowers are so beautiful!

    We had a MGB too…..it was white! Way fun to cruise around in!

  8. gaylefowler@aol.com says:

    Hi Pam – I’ve been following your blog and really enjoy it!

    I’m going to be heading to Buffalo in Sept and was wondering if you could pass this on to your friend from Buffalo and ask her if there is a part of Buffalo that she would recommend that we stay.

    I’ll be traveling with 3 other girlfriends – we are in our late 40’s/early 50’s and are doing a Mud Run up there – quite a departure from what we normally do! We thought this would be something that would motivate us to work out this summer – it’s kinda worked! 😉 We’ll see! I’m more of a hiker – bike rider kind of person so running is a stretch for me – not to mention the mud! But we’re doing it to have fun not worrying about how long it takes us to finish!!

    Anyway, we are about to make our lodging reservations and would love any advice they might have.

    We enjoy good restaurants and like to be able to walk around at night -safely- so any suggestions on a good place to stay in the city would be great!

    We plan to go up to Niagra after the race on Saturday so I was very excited to read your last blog post!!

    Can’t wait for that part of the trip!!

    I hope you have a great day!!

    Thank you!

    Gayle Fowler

  9. Jodee Gravel says:

    Such a lovely town – a theatre festival sounds fun! Love the pic of the water just as it heads over the falls. It looks deceptively calm at that point :-). Looks like your weather is perfect. Enjoy!

  10. Laurel says:

    What a sweet town! We’ve never been to Niagra Falls — it sure looks beautiful. I think we would especially enjoy the Canadian side. The color of the water is amazing — and the rainbow shot is great!

  11. pmbweaver says:

    MGB … baby boy. I would pick baby boy too! Good choice.

    I would be right there with Dave smelling those roses.

    I love that Prince of Wales Hotel. Did y’all go in? Any photos if you did. It looks amazing.

    We haven’t been to Niagara Falls in years. I would love to go back. It is such a beautiful area. I love the photo of you two. Print and frame that baby!

    Interesting about the Maid of the Mist. We took the girls on it when they were about 11-12. We did the American side. I personally think the Canadian side is prettier.

    I saw the rainbow. Great shot.

  12. Beautiful flowers! Loved Niagara Falls, thanks for taking us back. The Maid of the Mist is fun, it was cheaper than the Canadian company when we were there last fall.
    Brenda

  13. You guys sure know how to have fun out in those eastern states. I am “taking notes” in case we decide to head up that way in the future. Thanks for the great picts and ideas on where to visit.
    Maynard

  14. LuAnn says:

    We haven’t been to Niagara Falls for 20 years I am guessing and never to the Canadian side, and yes, we did take the Maid of the Mist tour. There was also a tram ride that we took, although Terry and his youngest son are not fond of heights so didn’t join the oldest boy and me. Thanks for the great tour of the Canadian side. I noticed that there was even a flower in the picture. Did Pam have to strong-arm you into posting that or did she write the post perhaps? 😉

    • placestheygo says:

      Haha! You know John too well:) He actually put those flower photos in by himself. Of course, I had many other close up photos which didn’t make it:( The Main St. was just one huge garden of color. I’ve never seen a town with that many flowers, it was gorgeous.

  15. Nancy says:

    Fabulous photos! I LOVE Niagra On The Lake. It was a girlfriend get away last summer for me!

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