Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake

Celebration of Canada's 150th Birthday!

Copyright © Canada Sesquicentennial in Niagara-on-the-Lake. All Rights Reserved.

Please note that use of the 150 Niagara-on-the-Lake logo is by permission only. Please contact us.

more about our history

Once the site of the old Neutral Indian village of Onghiara, the town was settled at the close of the American Revolution by Loyalists coming to Upper Canada. In 1791 part of the military reserve at the mouth of the river was chosen as the future town site. In 1792, Newark - as it was named by Governor Simcoe - became the first capital of the newly-created colony of Upper Canada, and the legislature met here for five sessions, until the capital was moved to York (Toronto) in 1797.

Niagara-on-the-Lake also holds the distinction of passing the Act to Limit Slavery legislation in Upper Canada in 1793. This was the first colony in the British Empire to enact such legislation and set the stage for the Underground Railway.

After the town was burnt by invading American forces during the War of 1812, Niagara was rebuilt and became an active commercial centre, with a busy shipping and ship-building industry, and many shops and warehouses. The beautiful old homes that exist to this day attest to the prosperity of its citizens.

Today, over two hundred years after its founding, Niagara-on-the-Lake honours its rich and diverse history, and has more heritage buildings than any other town its size in Canada. We welcome you to visit and experience it firsthand.

our history

Niagara-on-the-Lake has a long and distinguished history that brought together indigenous peoples, United Empire Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution, enslaved Blacks seeking their freedom, and European settlers. 

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE: A town rich in beauty and history

At its February 8, 2016 meeting, Niagara-on-the-Lake Town Council approved the formation of a Sesquicentennial Committee to co-ordinate and support events in NOTL during Canada's 150th anniversary in 2017.

The Committee was formed to:

  • Create a well-defined vision and plan of what the Canada 150 celebrations hope to achieve for Niagara-on-the-Lake.

  • Complete funding applications as required and provide support to community applications to mark Canada's 150th anniversary.

  • Stimulate and support corporate and volunteer initiatives.

  • Organize, coordinate and develop celebration events.

  • Develop and implement a communications plan for the 150 celebrations.

Download minutes from Committee meetings (PDF files)

Community strength

Niagara-on-the-Lake welcomes and supports newcomers and long-time residents to get involved in an incredible diversity of worthy causes, committees and community projects. There is something for everyone here, whether one is interested in history, gardening, arts, music, theatre, or viniculture. Volunteers help to make Niagara-on-the-Lake a thriving and exciting place to live. 

In January 2017, the NOTL Canada Sesquicentennial (150) Committee received a generous grant from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, culture and Sport for a meaningful signagure program to engage the community. A travelling revue, the Confederation Celebration, written, acted and produced by local talent, travels to schools, wineries, and many community events from May through September 2017. All events presented by the NOTL 150 Committee are free to the public and family-friendly.

unique charm

Niagara-on-the-Lake hosts millions of people each year from around the world who travel here to experience our Town’s unique charm and historic sites, world-class theatre and outstanding natural beauty. 

Beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake, often called the loveliest small town in Ontario, is nestled along the shores of the mighty Niagara River and the blue waters of Lake Ontario.

Old Town shopping district boasts a number of quaint shops, boutiques, restaurants, museums, fine hotels, spas and bed & breakfast establishments, as well as public and private art galleries, and the centuries-old Court House.

The world-renowned Shaw Festival Theater offers an outstanding program of classic and original plays. Entertainment at historic pubs, jazz and classical music festivals, and art galleries and shows - all here for you to discover!

And the wineries! More than 20 wineries are nestled below the Niagara Escarpment amidst a landscape of vineyards and orchards stretching from the picturesque Niagara River Parkway.​

Bike trails and historic green spaces allow you to experience the awe-inspiring landscapes in the town's surroundings.

Niagara-on-the-Lake offers year-round enjoyment. Come for a visit! 

Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake Canada Sesquicentennial Committee

About Niagara-on-the-lake

Left to right: Cathy Simpson, Jim Alexander,  John Mather, Janice Thompson, Bill Cowie (co-chair), Rick Meloen (co-chair), Lord Mayor Pat Darte, Bill French, Tony Chisholm, Sarah Kaufman, Richard Coyne, (Absent: Lisa Curtis, Terry Flynn, Clare Cameron, Sarah Bowers)