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BBTraveller from www.bbcanada.com

Edition 15: September 21, 2001

In the fifteenth issue of the Bed and Breakfast Traveller, we take you to Niagara-on-the-Lake, the first capital of Upper Canada, now commonly referred to as "the jewel in the crown of the Niagara Peninsula".

This historic town is framed by the stunning beauty of the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, thousands of acres of lush farmlands and the Niagara Escarpment. The beautiful natural setting provides a unique backdrop for the varied attractions offered in the area.

Visitors are welcomed by a temperate climate that is well-suited to year 'round travel. The gorgeous gardens and well maintained historic homes reflect the fierce pride of the townspeople who have been an integral part of the ongoing commitment to maintaining a living, working historic town.

The town welcomes many thousands of visitors each year and provides entertainment to suit every taste. The world-renowned Shaw Festival theatre company (http://www.shawfest.sympatico.ca) presents a selection of 11 plays and musicals in repertory from April through November in three very different theatres -- the Royal George Theatre which was originally built for vaudeville in 1913 and has now been renovated as a glittering little opera house; the Courthouse Theatre which is in the upper level of the Town's heritage courthouse building and the Festival Theatre, a proscenium playhouse that commands a prime position on Queen's Parade as one enters the town from the Niagara River Parkway.

The Shaw Festival presents the works of Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries, along with new productions set in Shaw's lifetime. This broad mandate allows the company to provide diverse entertainment to visitors and has been a key to the successful development of a committed, loyal base of theatre patrons who return year after year to enjoy the lavish productions.

Other area attractions have expanded to address the interests of these visitors--it's an unusual weekend indeed if one finds no musical entertainment or special event being held somewhere in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Several hotels and restaurants provide live entertainment year round.

All through the Spring, Summer and Fall months, the town is alive with people celebrating the bounty of nature -- the harvest of the tender fruits native to Niagara-on-the-Lake and the massive success of the wine industry, (http://www.niagaraonthelake.com/wine.jsp) Fourteen wineries call Niagara-on-the-Lake home and they are connected by a wine route that allows for easy sightseeing. Shuttle services to the wineries are offered from the town centre, as well as winery tours by bicycle. Visitors can see the grapes being grown in the vineyards and enjoy the fruits of the harvest over a gourmet dinner at several first-class winery restaurants.

Slightly more than 5% of the grape crop remains on the vine in Niagara-on-the-Lake through the Winter months. These grapes are hand-picked during the coldest nights of the year, when temperatures have been consistently between minus10 to minus 13 degrees Celsius, and are harvested for "Ice Wine" production. The Niagara wineries have earned many world wide awards for their superb wines, and recognition and awards for Ice Wines in particular are numerous.

Winter is a wonderful time to enjoy Niagara-on-the-Lake, with the annual Candlelight Stroll on the first Friday of December attracting thousands of local people and visitors alike, sharing the goodwill of the Holiday Season. Carollers sing Christmas songs from the Courthouse steps and from various corners throughout town, entertaining strolling visitors who carry candles in support of local charities.

The Heritage District offers many unique shops and services and the retailers are proud to present memorable merchandise. The shopping experience is not limited strictly to the Heritage area, however, as the surrounding countryside offers a selection of antique shops and farm markets.

A visit to the Visitors and Convention Bureau of the Chamber of Commerce, located in the historic Court House, will allow visitors to view the many year round attractions, as well as special events. In many cases tickets can be purchased on the spot or on line at www.niagaraonthelake.com.

With all of the marvellous activities hosted in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the overriding ambience is always that of tradition and history. Niagara-on-the-Lake has a number of historic sites open to visitors and there is no site more patriotically stirring than the view from Canada's Fort George (http://www.niagara.com/~parkscan/) over the Niagara River to the American Fort Niagara. Battles are recreated at Fort George on various dates during the year and our history is kept alive through the preservation of these important sites and ongoing public education.

Walking, cycling, rollerblading, motoring throughout the countryside are all options in Niagara-on-the-Lake and with so much to see and do, it's wise to plan on spending a few days in town. Niagara-on-the-Lake boasts a wide selection of accommodation, from five diamond hotels and convention facilities to unique bed and breakfast homes and inns. Make sure to either reserve in advance making earl reservations. Excellent services are offered by both the Chamber of Commerce www.niagaraonthelake.com for accommodation and to order tickets to theatre and other attractions, and the Niagara-on-the-Lake Bed and Breakfast Association www.bba.notl.on.ca for bed

Visit Niagara-on-the-Lake and enjoy a present day journey into the past - share in the pride and enjoyment of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Upcoming Events in the region:

The 7th Annual House Tour
Bed and Breakfast Homes and Guest Cottages
Saturday October 13, 2001, 1-5 pm
Sunday October 14, 2001, 1-5 pm
-A self conducted tour of both new and historic guest cottages and Bed and Breakfast homes in the historic Old Towne and surrounding countryside. For tickets and information call (905) 468-4263, or visit www.niagaraonthelake.com and buy on line. Tickets $15.00 per day or $22.00 two-day pass www.niagaraonthelake.com/event.html

B&B Market Place
Sunday, November 4th, 2001
11 am to 4 pm
Niagara College, Glendale Campus
e-mail charbiou@vaxxine.com

Federation of Ontario Bed & Breakfast Accommodation Annual Meeting
Nov 4, 5, 6, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Info from bobowen@niagara.com
Sunday 4th 11am/4pm Trade Show "Market Place" Niagara College
Sunday 4th 7pm Social evening and supper "Fort George"
Monday 5th 9am Business Meeting and Workshops - Pillar & Post Inn
Tues 6th B&B House Tour and outside events

Rotary Holiday House Tour 2001
November 30 and December 1, 2001
-Tour of selected historic and contemporary properties all decorated in seasonal decor by Niagara-on-the-Lake decorators, florists and merchants. Call 905-468-5581 or 888-608-8783

12th Annual Candlelight Stroll
December 7, 2001
-Enjoy Christmas carols on the steps of the Old Courthouse, followed by a leisurely stroll through the historic old town, carrying burning candles, passing carollers and musical groups along the route. Call (905)468-4263, Ext. 212 for further information.

Annual Santa Claus Parade
December 8, 2001 11 am
-One of Ontario's best Santa Claus Parades, drawing participants and 'Santa' viewers from across the Niagara Peninsula.

Festival of Lights
December, 2001
-Less than 20 minutes away, along the scenic Niagara Parkway, is Niagara Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world. The month of December features the Festival of Lights with more than a million twinkling lights, firework extravaganzas and the "Enchantment of Disney" motion light displays. www.niagarparks.com.

Niagara on the Lake Bed and Breakfast Association:
http://www.bbcanada.com/notlbba.html

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