Come for olde world hospitality in Niagara-on-the-Lake

By Jane Stokes

(NC)—Lucky for us, Niagara-on-the-Lake really does cling to long-held traditions. A visit here is such a sumptuous step back in time.

The Victorian centre of town is a prim and pretty village with a wide main street – and where little brick cottages with front gates and gas lamps are historically preserved. It is indeed so much like a British countryside hamlet, the residents now play the perfect host to a summer-long, internationally acclaimed theatre festival, dedicated to Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw.

From the Falls, cycle the easy 20 kilometres along the magnificent Niagara Parkway and spend the rest of the day strolling, experiencing, touching and tasting another place and time. Walk or ride along shady streets with Regency-style inns and shops and along laneways of chimney-pot cottages, so many with rose bushes spilling over their front-garden walls. All along Queen Street, countless pubs and chemists, bakeries and sweet shops keep us occupied with everything from ice cream to teatime to pub food. Window-shopping is exquisite. Simply stroll and admire the fine bone china, the tartan kilts, cashmere cardigans and coats, as well as hardy Scottish woollens just for starters.

Niagara-on-the-Lake could very well keep you here for days. Come as well for the viticulture, the art, photography, theatre, colonial history, boating, for the exquisite food and the old world hospitality. If you’ve never stayed at a B&B, this might be just the right place to try it.

There are more than 180 properties of this kind in the region, as well as cottage rentals, and most are represented by the Niagara-on-the-Lake Bed & Breakfast Association.

Overnight experiences will range from post-modern to an authentic atmosphere of the 1800s. Each B&B features amenities one would expect from a top-tier hotel, but with personalized service. A typical stay generally excels in value-added courtesies, including personal attention on the finest details and insider tips on where to go and what to do. .

Donna Vieira, owner of the Globetrotters B&B/Gallery, and also the marketing chair for the Niagara-on-the-Lake Bed & Breakfast Association, explains why this accommodation is so popular:

“To be a member of our association, the B&B and cottage owners must maintain high standards. Our guests check in as strangers and often leave as loyal friends who return every year. Return guests and referrals are very important to the business, so not only are you going to be treated well, but in the majority of instances, you are also going to experience an amazing breakfast. After all, we are surrounded by farmland and fruit orchards and we want visitors to experience all Niagara has to offer.”

Niagara is a busy place between June and September, so try to make your plans early. More information, including a full listing of B&B and cottage accommodation, is available online at, or by calling 1-866-855-0123.