I fully believe that Niagara-on-the-Lake is one of the dreamiest places in Ontario.
I adore this little town. Situated 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 that I could spend every day walking along these beautiful streets with their little shuttered windows and beautiful brick buildings.
Steven and I recently had a week off from uni for midterms so we decided to take a day trip out to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Fortunately, despite it being the dead of winter in Canada, the sun came out, the weather was tolerable, and we had a positively lovely day! Since it’s one of the most photogenic places I’ve ever seen, I took tons of photos and thought I’d share them all on the blog today!
We only visited Queen Street rather than exploring some of the historic areas throughout town, so we spent our day just popping in and out of the little shops that dot the street. There are a ton of local businesses along Queen St which I’ve come to appreciate even more since moving to a small town that’s reliant on their local shops.
One of the shops that isn’t 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 according to their website, Beijing too!) 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 so hideously tacky (which it is) but I swear it’s funny! They actually had a line of pun-free crewnecks that were really nice and subtle, so I bought a large grey one that I intend on living in from now on lol.
Every time I visit Queen St, I’m in complete awe of this building. You know me, I’m a history lovin’ gal. The Old Court House is from the mid-19th century and it’s a wonderful addition to this main street. I adore.
Walking down the streets and taking in all the sights was really the most fun ever. It was also really lovely to just spend a day alone with Steven, just chatting and enjoying the sun. Vehicle traffic on Queen St isn’t so crazy so it makes for a very quiet, stress-free stroll. They also have horse-drawn carriages that come down the road quite often which is beautiful. I love horses so much and every time they pass, I make Steven stop in the middle of the sidewalk so we can watch them pass!
It’s simply not a trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake unless I visit Just Christmas. In fact, one of the reasons 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 MASSIVE. It seems like it goes on forever, up and down stairs, around corners, into little loft areas. For a Christmas fanatic (like myself), it’s a dream come true.
Just Christmas is a crucial part of my family’s Christmas traditions. Each member of my family has their own personalized red ornament ball that we put on the tree every year. It’s something that’s been a tradition for my family since before I was even born. Although my boyfriend has one (he got one within the first couple years of us dating), we realized just last Christmas that our dog doesn’t have one! Yes, we’re that crazy dog family that needs an ornament for our pet… So Steven and I went to get one for her haha.
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’d always heard about the Prince of Wales Hotel growing up and I’ve seen it from afar but for whatever reason, I’ve 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, not to mention beautiful. My little history heart just couldn’t take all the historic importance and the 19th century architecture. As we explored the exterior (I doubt we have enough money to go inside the building), I just kept saying “oh my GOD” really loudly and dramatically which gained me lots of looks from posh elderly patrons of the hotel and restaurant.
Also, it’s apparently extremely haunted. There’s a whole tale about an American soldier going into a wooden house which once stood in the spot of the hotel during the War of 1812. He allegedly mistook a woman looking out the window for an enemy British soldier and pierced her with the end of his bayonet. Not a great time. There’s even a Trip Advisor review that’s titled: “Great. But totally haunted.”
I won’t be staying there any time soon.
That being said, if the prospect of American phantom-soldiers intrigues you, Niagara-on-the-Lake is the place for you. The whole place is apparently spooky (i.e. haunted) as hell. Most old towns are considered haunted, especially ones that were ridden with war deaths. They even do walking ghost tours which I may gather the nerve to do one day lol.
By the end of our day on Queen St, I was starved and Steven lured me into Nina Gelateria & Pastry Shop… Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that much of a struggle to get me in there. I had been there before for gelato with my godmother years earlier, but hadn’t ever tried anything from the cafe menu. Immediately after seeing they made crepes, I was hooked. Steven had shockingly never had a crepe before!! How have we been together 5 1/2 years and he’s never had a crepe? Luckily, I fixed that. I ordered us a Chocolate Hazelnut Banana crepe which is essentially nutella and sliced bananas. It was heavenly! Massive, too. If you happen upon Nina’s one day, keep in mind that the crepes can easily be shared between two (or more) people. But they’re extremely delish.
Finally, we reached the end of our trip - sad. I should mention though that the parking on Queen St is… interesting. It’s primarily street parking which means the dreaded parallel park. Aka I made Steven drive and park there lol. There is limited parking behind some of the shops but those are the first spots that are gone. For parking on the street, you have to pay a parking meter - $3 an hour. We stayed an hour and a half so we paid $6 for two full hours as there’s no half-hour options, which was fine. But it wouldn’t accept our credit card! We tried both of our credit cards, our debit cards, and nothing. So we had to use change which we didn’t have so Steven had to go into a bakery to break a twenty while I waited by the car and prayed a cop didn’t come by to give us a ticket. It took a longgg time. So keep that in mind! Bring change!
We actually parked right in front of Starbucks which was fabulous as it meant I could easily pop in and grab a 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! Whenever I go inside, I talk about how badly I want to live in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It’s a very small, cozy cafe located in an old white building with beautiful green shutters and a green door. The barista who took my order was so friendly and nice. It was the perfect ending to a perfect 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?