The Town of Niagara on the Lake (often shortened to "NOTL"), with 14,000 residents, is located on the Niagara Peninsula where the Niagara River enters Lake Ontario, is serviced by 1 hospital and the Niagara Regional Airport. It is a pretty & historical town, where many buildings have architectural flavour dating back over a hundred years. Walk or take a relaxing ride in a horse drawn carriage through the downtown core area. Perhaps the finest vineyards in Niagara are found here. The town is know for its antique shops, horse drawn carriage rides, hotels, B&B's, restaurants and golf courses.
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Niagara on the Lake is laid out in a traditional grid, parallel to the mouth of the Niagara (roughly 45 degrees from north-south) and was the
original capital of Upper Canada. The Old Town's early 19th century homes and picturesque main street have been meticulously restored and maintained, with many homes protected under the Ontario Heritage Act and the downtown area designated as a heritage district. The beautiful old homes in tree-shaded streets make this one of the most beautiful communities in Canada.
The newer neighbourhoods SW of Lake Shore Road (Garrison Village) have winding streets similar to suburbs built elsewhere.
The municipality is mostly rural but has clusters around Virgil on the Niagara Stone Rd, charcterized by its two reservoir ponds, at Queenston where the Niagara Parkways meets the Niagara Escaprment, and at St David's to the west of Queenston right below the Escarpment.
Niagara on the Lake has 6 elementary schools, 1 high schools, and has Niagara College's Glendale campus on its southern border.
The town has a small shopping district, as does Virgil, but residents head west to St Catharines for any 'serious' shopping.
The municipality has 3 convention/meeting facilities, 2 community centres, 2 ice arenas, 1 marina, 3 theatres, 10 baseball diamonds, 3 indoor and 2 outdoor pools, 12 public and 8 private tennis courts, and 5 public golf courses.
The area is home to a number of wineries, historical sites (including Fort George), War of 1812 battelfields, and several tourist destinations. Niagara n the Lake is also home to the Shaw Festival, one of the world's best annual productions of the plays of George Bernard Shaw.
Niagara on The Lake has four theatres, and also has the Chautauqua Ampitheatre providing a heavenly setting for the theatrically minded.
For those physically active, the Niagara Shores Park to the west of Niagara on the Lake has a great beach and is popular with windsurfers, as is Mississauga Point right at the mouth of the Niagara. The sailing club is home to many sailors choosing to enjoy either the waters of Lake Ontario or the more protected waters of the wide Lower Niagara River. Those wishing to fish, can find very productive waters at the shallow sandbars just off the mouth of the Niagara.
Hikers will enjoy the start of the Bruce Trail, which begins at Queenston and follows the Niagara Escarpment to Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula jutting into Lake Huron. Those seeking vicarious thrills can enjoy the Virgil Stampede each May long weeekend.