One of the best weekends of the year is almost here — the weekend where you meet with your loved ones and celebrate Christmas with laughter, good food, and presents.

Of course, even a weekend as delightful as this one can still be complemented by going to local activities. In Niagara-on-the-Lake, there is no shortage of such activities.

Be one of the first to taste Pondview Winery’s 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. (Image via http://www.pondviewwinery.com.)

For example, on Saturday, December 24, Pondview Estate Winery will host a festive Tasting and Shopping event. Beginning at 10 am, you will get a chance to enjoy limited and award-winning releases, including Pondview’s newest 2010 Cab Merlot. You will also be able to get a “ready-to-give” Christmas gift bag.

Where: Pondview Estate Winery, 925 Line 2
When: December 24, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Contact: 905-468-0777 and info (at) pondviewwinery.com

Also on Saturday, Inniskillin Wines will hold its Gingerbread Man Competition (which it has been celebrating every weekend in December). This event allows you to relive your childhood by decorating a housemade gingerbread man — plus the winner takes home an Icewine package.

Where: Inniskillin Wines, 1499 Line 3 at the Niagara Parkway
When: December 24, 11 am – 5 pm
Contact: 905-468-2187 (ext. 5400)

Whatever you choose to do, we’re confident you’ll have a great time in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

He’s not the only option.

This weekend, if you’re in Niagara-on-the-Lake you’ll likely be doing one of two things: avoiding the Santa Claus parade or embracing the Santa Claus parade.

If you’d like to do the former, here’s what you need to know:

  • There will be more than 100 entries, including school groups and businesses like Simpson’s Apothecary.
  • Music will play an important role, thanks to crowd favourites like the Top Hat Marching Band and new musical acts like the Blue Saints Drum & Bugle Corps.
  • Leading the way in horse-drawn carriages, the Niagara-on-the-Lake War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee will act as honourary grand marshal.
  • The parade will start at 11 am at Parliament Oak Elementary School, on the corner of King and Centre streets.

Should you wish to pursue the latter option (that is, to pass on Santa’s parade), head over to Pilliteri Estates Winery, a 3-min drive from our Presentation Centre. Beginning at noon, you’ll be able to shop and welcome the festive season with hot chocolate, mulled wine, fresh baked cookies, and music.

Later, at around 6:30 pm, drop by Jackson Triggs, just a stone’s throw from us, and attend the winery’s December Savour the Sights Holiday Edition, comprising of five courses of fine wine and food and featuring a festive fireside finish. (Please click here for more details and for information on how to reserve.)

We turn it over to you: which will it be—the jolly man in a read suit or a case of wine? Maybe both? Let us know!

Next Friday, December 2, those of you who have a passion for history will find Niagara-on-the-Lake a fantastic place to be.

That’s when the local Rotary Club will hold its popular tour of historic local properties, all adorned in festive decorations. Called the Holiday House Tour, this event is now in its 13th year.

The renowned Lakewinds Bed & Breakfast, formerly a Victorian manor, will be part of the tour. (Image via Lakewinds.ca.)

Kicking off with a Candlelight Stroll at 6:30 pm on Friday night, the Holiday House Tour will include visits to:

McFarland House, 15927 Niagara Parkway: One of the few buildings in Niagara-on-the-Lake that pre-dates the War of 1812, it was used as a hospital during said war by both British and American forces.

Lakewinds, 328 Queen Street: An elegant Victorian manor from 1885, built as a summer home for Gustav Fleischmann of the Fleischmann’s yeast company in Buffalo, N.Y. It is now a bed and breakfast with a veranda that overlooks a golf course. No wonder it’s been featured in TV shows, and according to its site, in one major Hollywood movie.

• The Brown-Bassil House, 48 Queenston Street (Queenston): How many places have, since the 1820’s, been a store, a residence, a tavern, and a rooming house, before they were converted to a single-family residence in 1975?

For a list of all the places you can visit, please check here, and you can get tickets here.

Our Presentation Centre will be open on Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and on Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm. Visit us for a free cup of coffee, a chat with or friendly representatives, and to learn more about our community.

It’s been some time since we’ve posted pictures of homes at The Village in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Today we release these, which were taken at the courtyards of different homes and will give you a unique perspective of what it’s like to live here.

The Village courtyards have a charming appeal to them and offer great outdoor space so you can relax with friends and neighbours and have some drinks or dinner outside. Luxuriate in your own little oasis, enjoying the unparalleled quality of life that The Village offers its residents.

Once you move to The Village, all you have to do is meet your new neighbours and invite a couple over… Enjoy!

Ask anyone what Niagara-on-the-Lake is known for, and they’ll likely list wine, the Shaw festival, food, and history.

Yet there is another, albeit less known feather in Niagara-on-the-Lake’s cap—that of spooky ghosts.

Of course, many other towns become spooky during Halloween. Yet few do it as well as Niagara-on-the-Lake, whose renowned Fort George Halloween Ghost Tour is being held on Saturday at 8 p.m. (for adults only).

Fort George

A perfect place for Halloween.

Tomorrow, however, isn’t the only time of the year when Niagara-on-the-Lake becomes spooky.

Popular Ghost Walks are held throughout the year, departing from the Museum of the Paranormal and led by guides who sport black capes and lanterns, and who relish educating attendants about Captain Swayze, killed at the Olde Angel Inn, and about the headless officer at the Old Fort and the violent ghost of the Angel Inn, one of only a few exorcisms ever held in Canada.

For an additional taste, visitors can visit Queen’s Royal Park, a pleasant parkland with numerous benches, picnic tables, flowers, trees, and a resident ghost known as the “Woman in White” who, as rumour has it, likes to walk through the gazebo during the evenings.

For all these reasons, few places are so perfectly suited to Halloween celebrations as Niagara-on-the-Lake. (Click here for a list of events you can attend before and after the ghostly tour.)

This weekend, the Jackson Triggs winery, which is located next door to you in The Village, will hold yet another event you won’t want to miss.

Called The Pinot Affair, it encompasses eight wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake. But since Jacksons Triggs is so conveniently located, you’re probably more interested in it.

With three tours beginning at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm each, Jackson Triggs will take you backstage into the vineyards and winemaking facility to give you the opportunity to taste four different Pinot Noirs along with canapés and Canadian artisan cheeses.

Check this site for details, and let us know it goes!

At Niagara-on-the-Lake, this could be a daily routine.

Many people wish they had a fantastic restaurant next door and an amazing winery or two at their doorstep. Thankfully, those of you who own a home at The Village don’t have to wish that—you already have it.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t like to explore the culinary diversity which Canada’s prettiest town has to offer. Tony De Luca’s may offer incredible food, and Stratus and Jackson-Triggs may have great wine, but there are other options you could—and should—explore.

After all, isn’t that one of the advantages of living in Niagara-on-the Lake?

Take restaurant and wine bar Terroir La Cachette. Located at Strewn Winery , only a 5-minute drive from The Village, La Cachette offers delicious French Provencal dishes that Chef Alain Levesque lovingly prepares with local ingredients.

This marriage results in mouthwatering dishes such as a pepper-crusted venison carpaccio, a seasonal game terrine with Niagara fruit chutney, or a Brome Lake duck confit that the Toronto Star described as scaling “the heights thanks to a honey chardonnay glaze.”

Check the La Cachette menus here, and if you do, tell us how it went!

Name: Terroir La Cachette at Strewn Winery

Address: 1339 Lakeshore Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake

Phone number: 905-468-1222

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