Cosimo Commisso shares his dream itinerary for staying one night, two days in coveted Canadian paradise Niagara-On-The-Lake
There’s no place quite like Niagara-On-The-Lake. At least not in Canada! The quaint little town transports visitors to the rustic and flower-strewn villages of the early 20th century, and its charmed culture is reminiscent of small European hamlets. When I want to get away but not too far, NOTL is my ideal local destination, whether for a romantic night out of the city or a personal retreat. Here is my guide to making the most out of 24 hours in NOTL.
For a true NOTL experience, the Prince of Wales Hotel truly embodies the heart of the town. Its stunning antique exterior and opulent interior melt the heart and tantalize the eyes. It’s also a fantastic spot to stop by for High Tea.
A Cosimo Commisso favourite! For a less antique-y, more mid-century feel, this luxury Georgian-style hotel is a dreamy place to rest your head after a long day gallivanting around town. Its fresh, plush vibe is matched by attentive service — it’s no wonder it’s won so many awards.
For a sophisticated experience, opt for the Charles Inn. The hotel is a fully restored, circa-1832 manor house, and while it’s been modernized it hasn’t lost its old-world charm. The exterior facade is irresistible, and is only matched by the gorgeous interior and impeccable service.
WINE & DINE
The rustic vibe at this restaurant is as delicious as its farm-to-table cuisine. The menu aims to offer an exploration of Niagara cuisine, and have an on-site sommelier that directs the restaurant’s charactered selection of local wines.
Comfort food in an Instagram-worthy, rustic setting makes any meal at the Cannery an unforgettable one. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this spot is a must-try.
For a more casual dining experience that’s still impeccable, this spot offers up the classic pub experience. Not only is the food, beer and wine selection delicious, there’s always some form of entertainment going on to make your meal that much more fun.
This gorgeous estate was the seventh winery to open in Ontario, and it certainly meets its stellar reputation. The vino produced here is as stunning as the history-steeped landscape on which it stands. This place is definitely “Cosimo Commisso-approved” — and you know how much I love my wine.
If you want to get the full Niagara wine experience, I recommend scheduling a tour with Niagara Vintage Wine Tours — especially if you’ve never really had the chance to explore the region’s wine industry before. They offer a colourful variety of tours that will let you taste your way through a variety of local wineries, rather than investing an entire day at just one or two.
ARTS AND CULTURE
The Shaw Festival is one of our country’s most renowned theatrical festivals and a right of passage for any Canadian. If you’re going to experience one thing in Niagara-on-the-Lake during the spring/summer season, make sure it’s a mind-blowing play! (And maybe a glass of wine or two afterwards).
Even if you’ve somehow never heard of iconic Canadian artist Trisha Romance, you’ll love stopping by her studio. The Anne of Green Gables-esque little home is as charmed as her works of art.
This historic building now houses the cultural hub of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The non-profit organization hosts educational programs, exhibitions and special events to create and celebrate visual arts.