Always a favourite among visitors, the gardens are in full bloom in Niagara-on-the-Lake. But there’s so much more happening in this historic enclave located on the southern shores of Lake Ontario.
Daily performances at 2 and 8 p.m., except Mondays, continue to take centre stage at the Festival, Royal George and Courthouse theatres. Favourites are Peter and the Starcatcher, Pygmalion, The Divine, and Lady From the Sea. Do not overlook another little gem called The Twelve-Pound Look at 11:30 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. If your schedule doesn’t include stage performances, then consider an hour-long backstage tour, which takes place at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are just $10/person. Book tickets in advance or, if available, just prior to the tour.
The 202nd anniversary of the Battle of Fort George takes place on July 11 & 12, when re-enactors from all over North America recreate one of the pivotal events in Niagara during the War of 1812. Battle re-enactments are scheduled on both Saturday and Sunday, and a special sound and light show will take place Saturday evening. Call 905-468-6614 or visit www.pc.gc.ca/fortgeorge or www.friendsoffortgeorge.ca for information and tickets.
Music, music, music:
Music Niagara 2015 Summer Festival swings into Niagara-on-the-Lake for five glorious weeks from July 11 to August 9. Tickets range from free performances in Simcoe Park to $59/person at indoor and outdoor venues. Whether you appreciate classical, jazz, swing or organ recitals, you’ll find something to your liking. In some cases, performances can be paired with high tea, intellectual debates or picnics. Concert locations include St. Mark’s Church on Byron Street, the Epicurean Bistro on Queen, Simcoe Park, Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery in St. David’s, Peller Estates Winery on John Street East, Niagara Oast House Brewers and the Shaw Festival Theatre. Tickets are on sale at www.musicniagara.org or www.shawfest.com, by phone at 1-800-511-7429, in person at the Shaw Festival Box Office or at the door 45 minutes before each performance. A Music Niagara Six Pack is available for $185 and student tickets are specially priced at $10 for college and university students and $5 for high-school and elementary students.
All that jazz:
Featuring the finest Canadian and internationally acclaimed jazz musicians from July 23 to 26, the TD Niagara Jazz Festival is a new, cutting-edge, four-day celebration of jazz at indoor and outdoor venues in the heart of Niagara’s stunning wine country. Tickets and weekend passes can be purchased online or in person at the Chamber of Commerce in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
At NEOB Niagara, July 11 & 12 are all about lavender. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, enjoy culinary delights such as lavender root beer, lavender pizza, lavender lemonade, lavender shortbread and more. Roam through fields of lavender, pick your own lavender, tour the facility to see how essential oils are made. $5 gets you the Island Hopper Pass, which includes entrance to the festival, demos and tours, sampling of ice cream with lavender syrup, a NEOB botanical beverage, tickets to their garlic festival and $2 off u-pick lavender. For $15, your World Traveller Pass entitles you to all of the above plus additional tastings (10 products). This one’s an annual favourite with young and old alike.
Culture and History:
The Niagara Historical Society & Museum chronicles the history of Niagara-on-the-Lake from its earliest inhabitants to the present day. Located at 43 Castlereigh, the museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you’re interested in our history, consider taking a walking tour of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Tours meet at the gazebo in Queen’s Royal Park at 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and end at the Niagara Historical Museum. Tickets are $10/person and include museum admission.
Located in Queenston and open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the RiverBrink Art Museum features a variety of exhibits that include:
• Cartooons, caricatures and satirical prints
• Avant la lettre: Canadian landscape before the group
• The Group of Seven Project: Arthur Lismer: the artist as teacher
• Marc Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté
• Josh Silburt: Artist in turbulent times
Situated on the shores of Lake Ontario in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre is easy to miss but well worth a visit. From July 5 to August 2, the Beverly Sneath Exhibition features watercolour florals, figures, acrylic landscapes and bronze sculptures. the centre is open weekdays from noon to 4 p.m.
Other historic sites worth visiting in and around Niagara-on-the-Lake include:
• Fort Mississauga located on the grounds of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club
• St. Mark’s Anglican Church at 41 Byron Street
• Laura Secord Homestead in Queenston, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Brock’s Monument at Queenston Heights, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum in Queenston, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• McFarland House on the Niagara Parkway, open daily from noon to 5 p.m.
• The Niagara Apothecary on Queen Street, open daily from noon to 6 p.m.
If you’re up for scary encounters, Ghost Tours at Fort George invite you to step inside Fort George after dark to learn about its history and haunting during a candlelight walk. Tours gather in the parking lot of Fort George; just look for black capes and lanterns. Tours happen Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $13/adult and $7/child under 13 and can be purchased from the guide at the time of the tour.
Dining around town:
Here are some dining deals you might want to check out while here:
• All you can eat mussels and bread for $10 (with beverage purchase) all day Tuesdays at the Vintages Wine Bar and Lounge in the Pillar and Post
• $9 thin-crust Quattro Cheese Pizza for $9 (with beverage purchase) on Wednesdays after 4 p.m. at the Churchill Lounge in the Prince of Wales
• $1 Per Oyster (with beverage purchase) at the Bacchus Lounge from 7 to 11 p.m. on Fridays at Queen’s Landing
• Mondays, 3 p.m. to closing, “Drunken Sailor” half-price fish and chips plus $5 Pint Butler’s Bitters at the Churchill Lounge in the Prince of Wales
• Monday through Friday, $5 for a 5-oz. glass of Sommelier Select VQA Wine with Cheese purchase at the Churchill Lounge in the Prince of Wales
• Sangria for $8 at the Churchill Lounge in the Prince of Wales
• $9.95 for Fish and Chips Specialty on Fridays at the Vintages Lounge at the Pillar and Post
• $5 burger and fries (with beverage purchase), Sunday through Thursday after 9 p.m. at the Olde Angel Inn Pub
• Wednesday Evening Supper Market from 4:30 to 9 p.m. at Garrison Village
Don’t miss the free cooking demonstration on July 8 at 1 p.m. by Executive Chef Mark Songster at the Cannery Restaurant in the Pillar & Post!
Enjoy live entertainment by some of Niagara’s best musicians:
• Every Friday from 9 to 11 p.m. an Saturday from 8 to 11 p.m. at the Churchill Lounge in the Prince of Wales
• Every Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Bacchus Terrace at the Queen’s Landing
• Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to midnight, the Olde Angel Inn Pub rocks
• Every Friday and Saturday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., enjoy live entertainment on the outdoor patio overlooking Lake Ontario at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club
• On July 22 at 8 p.m., American roots music legend Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr. and his Buckwheat Zydeco band takes you on a “propulsive, rollicking, swamp-boogie joy ride” at The Old Winery restaurant. Dinner packages are available. Call 905-468-8900 for tickets.
Posted by Donna S. Vieira, owner of Globetrotters B&B/Gallery in Niagara-on-the-Lake