It is my absolute opinion that Niagara-on-the-Lake is one of the dreamiest places in Ontario. I adore this little town. Situated in Niagara, just a bit away from Niagara Falls, it’s like stepping back in time into a quaint 19th century town - with all the boutiques and cafes your little heart could ever desire. I wish I could spend every day walking along these beautiful streets, with their little shutters and beautiful brick buildings.
My boyfriend and I recently had a week-off from uni for Reading Week, so we decided to take a day trip out to Niagara-on-the-Lake to stroll around. Fortunately, despite it being the dead of winter in Canada, the sun came out, the weather was tolerable, and we had a positively beautiful day! Since it’s one of the most photogenic places I’ve ever seen, I took a ton of pictures and thought I’d share them all on the blog today!
Since we only explored Queen Street, rather than visiting some of the historic areas throughout the town, we spent our day primarily popping in and out of the little shops that dot the street. There are a ton of small businesses along the road which I’ve come to appreciate even more since moving to a very small town that is quite reliant on their local shops.
One of the shops that is not a local business, however, is the Cows Creamery, which is an ice cream shop. It’s actually a chain of parlours from Prince Edward Island that has somehow made it out to Niagara-on-the-Lake (and apparently Beijing!). I love the ice cream there however it was far too cold for a scoop so instead we decided to check out their merchandise. It’s all hilariously cute, as most of it is cow-related pop culture puns. It sounds hideously tacky, but I swear it’s funny!! They actually had a line of really nice crewnecks that were very subtle and had the logo on it, so I bought a nice large grey sweater that I currently am living in lol.
Every time I visit Queen St, I’m in complete awe of this building. The Old Court House is from the mid-19th century and it’s a wonderfully historic addition to the main street. I adore.
Walking down the streets, taking in all the sights, was really the most fun ever. It was also really lovely to just spend a day alone with my boyfriend, chatting and enjoying the sun. The road of Queen St isn’t very busy, so there aren’t so many cars along the road which is nice. They also have horse-drawn carriages that come down the road quite often, which is so beautiful. I love horses so much and every time they pass, I make my boyfriend stop in the middle of the sidewalk to watch!
It is simply not a trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake unless I visit Just Christmas. In fact, the main reason we went down there was to go to Just Christmas. Established in 1985, it’s known as Canada’s oldest year-long Christmas emporium. This store is M A S S I V E. It seems like it goes on forever, up and down stairs, around corners, in little loft areas. For a Christmas fanatic like myself, it’s a dream.
It’s also a crucial part of my Christmas traditions! My whole family, including my grandma, late grandpa, and my boyfriend, all have red ornament balls personalized with our names. It’s something that’s been a tradition for us since before I was even alive I believe. But this past Christmas, we realized we didn’t have one for my pup (yes, we’re that crazy dog family) so my boyfriend and I decided to go out and get one for her.
We also bought a very cute marshmallow snowman ornament for our mini bedroom tree and a Jon Snow ornament for our main tree because he’s a cutie and it was only $3 lol.
I’ve always heard about the Prince of Wales Hotel and I’ve seen it from afar before, but for whatever reason, I’d never gone to see it up close. So this time, I insisted we went down that road and I’m so glad we did! The hotel was established in 1864 under a different name, being renamed the Prince of Wales after the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George V and Queen Mary) came to visit in 1901. It’s positively huge and beautiful. My little history-loving heart couldn’t take all the historic importance and the 19th century architecture. As we explored the exterior (I don’t think we even have enough money to open the front door), I just kept saying “oh my GOD” really loudly and dramatically, which got me a lot of interesting looks from very posh elderly patrons of the hotel and accompanying restaurant.
Also, it’s apparently extremely haunted. There’s a whole story about an American soldier going into a wooden house which stood in the Prince of Wales Hotel’s spot during the War of 1812 and he mistook a woman looking out the window for an enemy British soldier, piercing her with the end of his bayonet. Not a great time. There’s even a Trip Advisor review titled “Great. But totally haunted.” I won’t be staying there any time soon.
That being said, if you’re really into ghosts, Niagara-on-the-Lake is the place for you. Being such an old town, and the site of many War of 1812 moments, it’s apparently generally haunted. They even do ghost tours which I might gather the nerve to do one day, though I vow not to do the ghost tour of my own town lol.
Interesting fact: this beautiful clock tower in the middle of Queen St is actually a cenotaph for those who were killed during World War I.
Near the end of our trip, I was absolutely starving so my boyfriend lured me into the Nina Gelateria & Pastry Shop. I’d been there before for gelato before years ago, but had never had anything from the cafe menu. Immediately after I saw the crepes, I was hooked. My boyfriend, shockingly, had never had a crepe before!! Luckily I fixed that haha. I ordered us a Chocolate Hazelnut Banana crepe, which is essentially nutella and sliced banana pieces. It was heavenly! Massive, too. If you happen to come to Nina’s someday, keep in mind that these crepes are very easily sharable. But very, very delicious.
Finally, we reached the end of our trip (sad). I should mention that parking at Niagara-on-the-Lake is… interesting. It’s primarily street parking, meaning the dreaded parallel parking aka I made my boyfriend drive and park haha. I think there’s some parking behind the shops, in little parking lots but I can’t be certain where there are or if they even exist. Anyway, for parking on the street, you have to pay a parking meter. It’s $3 an hour. We stayed an hour and a half, so we had to pay $6 for two hours. But it wouldn’t take our credit cards! We tried credit cards, debit cards, and nothing. Which meant we had to use coins which we did not have, so we had to pop into a shop to break a twenty. It took a longgg time. Keep that in mind!
We actually parked right in front of Starbucks, which was fabulous as it was easy for me to grab my beloved caramel macchiato before hoping in the car for the long drive home. Let me just say that this is the cutest Starbucks I’ve ever seen! It’s very small and cozy, located in a white, old-looking shop with beautiful rich green shutters and green door. The barista who took my order was so sweet and it was just the perfect ending to the day!
And here’s my outfit that I wore to Niagara-on-the-Lake! Would it be a day out if I didn’t take a snap of my outfit, really?
Beret - Joe Fresh
Jacket - Forever 21
Sweater - Gap
Jeans - Garage (I only ever wear Garage High Rise Roller Jeggings, they’re so flattering and comfy!)
Ankle Boots - Madden Girl by Steve Madden
Have you ever been to Niagara-on-the-Lake?