History

Niagara-on-the-Lake and Queenston: Timeline

1781
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.
1792
Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe made it the first capital of Upper Canada (now Ontario), renaming it Newark.
1798
After the capital was moved to York (now Toronto) in 1797 to distance it from the American border, Newark was renamed Niagara.
Thomas Moore plaque1812
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.
1813
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 the war.

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.

1872
The original (front) part of what is now Arcadia House B&B was built.
1880
The name Niagara-on-the-Lake was adopted as a postal address to distinguish it from Niagara Falls.
1927
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.
1962
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.
1974
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.