In Niagara-on-the-Lake, the annual Shaw Festival produces up to a dozen stage plays from April to October, with approximately 800 performances seen by no less than 300,000 people. In contrast, the mid-winter population of this pretty little town – on the historic corner where the Niagara River reaches Lake Ontario – is only 16,000.
This year, the festival showcases a mix of classic and contemporary plays in tribute to the era of playwrite Bernard Shaw. Scheduled is Sweet Charity, Pygmalion, Light Up the Sky, Peter and the Starcatcher, You Never Can Tell, The Divine, The Lady from the Sea, Top Girls, The Twelve- Pound Look, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism with a Key to the Scriptures (IHO) and The Next Whisky Bar – A Kurt Weill Cabaret. More information at: www.shawfest.com.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is also the heart of vineyard country, giving us dozens of options for tastings, wining and dining, and purchasing deals. Did you know that some 500 vineyards covering 17,000 acres produce almost 80,000 tonnes of grapes each year? Many wineries will give you the entire dining experience, complete with perfect pairings – and more information on this is available at www.grapegrowersofontario.com.
Go boating, hiking, and on daily picnics,” says Jane Stokes, a Canadian travel writer and columnist, based in Richmond Hill. “And since a visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake is a step back to Victorian times, be sure to go walking or cycling along so many shady streets of little cottages and rose gardens. All along Queen Street, countless pubs and chemists, bakeries and sweet shops will give you the needed energy to keep on shopping for art, antiques, fine bone china, tartan kilts, cashmere cardigans and coats.”
Book your bed-and-breakfast accommodation by searching (www.niagaraonthelakebb.com) for a wide variety of choices. The art-themed ambiance of the Globetrotters B&B/Gallery, for example, will give you a comfort experience not to be forgotten, including sleek new ensuite bathrooms with each bedroom. Check out www.globetrottersbb.ca.