You would think that it turns pretty quiet around Niagara-on-the-Lake during the winter months and in many ways, you would be right. Festivals, fruit stalls, outdoor shows, farmers markets and craft fares/art shows all disappear and many of the local residents go away too. I have met quite a few people in town who decide to head off to warmer climates for a month or two or even longer!
Although I can see the appeal of this migration and must admit to being a little envious of those with the time to have this option, I also feel they are missing out on the many things that can be enjoyed here during winter. Firstly, in Canadian terms, the winter here is pretty mild. Snow often does not fall until late December (though this year, we had an accumulation in mid-November but it has gone now). The temperature fluctuates between 5 degree and minus 5 degrees generally so pretty bearable.
December is proving to be a busy time. This weekend – December 6th and 7th – is the Rotary Club Holiday House Tour. As a NOTL Rotary Club member, I have been busy selling tickets for the event. A group of local homeowners volunteer to open their homes up to the public and have them decorated by local companies. You purchase tickets and receive a list of the homes and addresses then tour from house to house over the two days. Members of the Rotary Club are at each house to give you a brief history of the property. It is a great even and always very well attended.
On the evening of December 6th, there is the Candlelight Stroll. Locals and visitors alike, congregate in front of the Town Hall for a brief address from the Mayor along with some carol singing. Everyone takes a candle then walks through the town to admire the decorations and to listen to choir singers who are positioned in various locations around the town. This is a fun event and a great way to enjoy an evening with friends!
The other major event is the re-enactment of the Burning of the Town. As everyone knows, Niagara-on-the-Lake was burned to the ground by the Americans during the War of 1812 and this ‘one time only’ re-enactment event takes place on December 10th – Niagara on Fire! There will be outdoor video screens with special effects and sound and light shows. It is a ‘must see’ event.
Saturday December 14th is the Niagara-on-the-Lake Christmas Parade. This is another very well attended event as families line the streets of the town to watch the parade of more than 100 floats pass by. I and my wife are volunteers, helping to marshall crowds and to get floats in the correct order. After this event, we usually have a well-earned drink at the local Legion.
December 15th is the date for another event – the Rotary Christmas Choral. Organised by NOTL Rotary, a collection of a dozen choirs will be on stage at the Shaw Festival Theatre in NOTL. Now in it’s 13th year, it has become another fixture on the NOTL calendar.
With all of this going on, who has time to go away?!
If you would like to be part of this great community and are considering moving to the Niagara on the Lake area, please contact me and I will be happy to help you.