In summer, GBS fans head for Niagara on the Lake
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The Pillar and Post also rents bicycles -- a convenient means of transportation with which to follow a wall, tour through town, or both. Such tours of manageable duration are detailed and mapped in publications available able at tourist information centers. About 40 points of particular interest are covered, including old homes, historical sites, churches, and public buildings. These tours allow you to feel that you've really seen the town without exhausting yourself by the time you're through.Skip to next paragraph
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Niagara on the Lake's parks and unspoiled Lake Ontario waterfront provide a marvelous opportunity for leisurely meandering through nature. A nice idea is to visit Simcoe Park or Queen's Royal Park (overlooking the lake) with a picnic lunch or dinner. Kerry's Kitchen supplies a delightful and wholesome assortment of picnic baskets. A sample menu might include cold pate, chicken, freshly baked bread, cherry tomatoes or marinated vegetables, fruit and cookies, and refreshing lemonade. Prices are reasonable; a day's notice is required for large parties. Telephone (416) 468-3443.
Niagara on the Lake is stop the destination list for history buffs, especially in 1981, during which the town celebrates its bicentennial. This fertile region on the banks of the Niagara River had been peacefully inhabited by Iroquois Indians when five Loyalist colonial families fled the skirmishes of the American Revolution and settled, in 1780, at Fordt Niagara. In 1784, a treaty between the British Crown and the Iroquois Nation provided land on both sides of Lake Niagara for settlement by Loyalist refugees, many of whom had been members oof Butler's Rangers or other pro-British forces in the War of Independence. Under the leadership of Lt. Gov. John Greaves Simcoe (for whom Simcoe Park is named), the village, then named Newark, became capital of Upper Canada. And so it remained until just before the War of 1812, when the seat of government was removed farther from the border, to York (toronto).
During the War of 1812, Newark was captured and burned to the ground by American troops. The town was rebuilt and, under the new name of Niagara, became a local center for trade and scenic touring. Both commerce and early tourism received a tremendous boost in 1854 (two years before Shaw's birth) with the arrival of the Niagara, a noisy steam locomotive -- the first in the area -- which connected the town with Toronto, Hamilton, and Niagara Falls. Elegant waterfront inns, with wide verandas and many gabled homes --constructed to house visitors to the scenic area. In 1900, the town was renamed Niagara on the Lake, a more poetic appellation which also aided the postal delivery service in distinguishing this destination from nearby. Niagara Falls. Since 1937, the town has been actively involved in restoring and preserving its landmark buildings and treasured traditional atmosphere.
The Niagara Historical Society Museum is the best of several historical museums in the area. The museum, in the old Memorial Hall and school building at 43 Castlereagh Street, houses artifacts, documents, and historical curiosities on permanent exhibition. The society, founded in 1895, sponsors annual special events; the Simcoe ball and a tour of old houses are examples.
Niagara on the Lake is on the Canadian-US border and is easily reached from the nearby cities of Toronto and Buffalo, N.Y. Public and special tour buses are regularly scheduled from both cities; or the trip from Toronto can be made by cruise boat (2 1/2 hours) or hydrofoil (one-hour) across Lake Ontorio. This is a wonderful voyage at very reasonable cost (the hydrofoil costs about $40, round trip; regular boat cruises cost around $14 round trip).
Additional and more detailed information may be obtained from the Ontario Ministry of Industry and Tourism, 900 Bay Street, Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario M7A 2E5, Canada. All prices above are quoted in Canadian dollars, which means there a savings of about 15 percent with conversion from US currency.