Niagara-on-the-Lake and Queenston: Timeline
- The town of Niagara-on-the-Lake was founded on the Indian
settlement of Onghiara, purchased from the Mississaugas by the
British government. It was a haven for Loyalists returning to Upper
Canada towards the end of the American Revolution, protected as it
was by the military base at Fort George. As many of the Loyalists
had served for the infamous Butler's Rangers, the settlement was initially
known as Butlersburg.
- Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe made it the first capital
of Upper Canada (now Ontario), renaming it Newark.
- After the capital was moved to York
(now Toronto) in 1797 to distance it from the American border,
Newark was renamed Niagara.
- The first major battle of the War of 1812 took place at Queenston
Heights. While the alliance of British regulars, York volunteers and
Mohawks were victorious over the US Major General Van Rensselaer,
the British General Isaac Brock was killed in the battle. A 56 metre
(185 foot) monument is located in Queenston Heights Park. Visitors
can climb to the top of the monument for magnificent views of
Niagara Falls and Lake Ontario. It also marks the southern terminus
of the Bruce Trail.
- Its proximity to the United States made Niagara a key battleground
of the War of 1812. In May 1813, it was taken by American forces and
used a base for their capture of the Niagara peninsula. Later,
however, the American forces were redeployed to the St. Lawrence
front, leaving it vulnerable to attack. As its recapture was
imminent, the American forces razed the village and parts of
Queenston to slow the British advance. The town was rebuilt after
It was also in 1813 that James Secord, recuperating from a serious
injury sustained in the Battle of Queenston Heights, got wind of an
impending American attack. His wife, Laura Secord, walked 32
kilometres (20 miles) out of occupied territory to warn the British,
helping them repel the American s at the Battle of Beaver Dams.
- The original (front) part of what is now Arcadia House B&B was
- The name Niagara-on-the-Lake was adopted as a postal address to
distinguish it from Niagara Falls.
- Prohibition was ended in Canada, paving the way for the first
commercial wineries. Poor quality and rigid regulation, however,
meant that tobacco and fruit were the preferred crops, and the
number of wineries shrank dramatically.
- Local lawyer and playwright Brian Doherty organized an eight-week
theatre festival called Salute to Shaw, featuring Don
Juan in Hell and Candida. More than 50 years later,
the Shaw Festival is still going strong.
- Inniskillin was granted the first new winery licence since 1916.
Today there are more than 140 VQA wineries in Ontario, the bulk of
which are in the Niagara Peninsula.