A Place in History and in my Heart … Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

This past weekend my husband and I ventured to Niagara-on-the-Lake for some R&R.

We had tickets to a play at the Shaw Festival (Enchanted April ~ highly recommend it), and stayed at Queen’s Landing for two nights (also recommended).

The town itself, considered one of the prettiest in Ontario, is enchanting. Steeped in the earliest history of Canada, it sports many heritage buildings and monuments and resonates the spirit of its past. It’s main street, Queen Street, is lined with boutiques and restaurants. Niagara-on-the-Lake is, in fact, a popular day trip destination from Toronto.

It’s located in a fertile basin at the bottom of the Niagara Escarpment where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario, an area burgeoning with wineries and fruit stands making a weekend excursion in the summer all the more inviting.

Still, I have my own reasons for enjoying an excursion to this pretty little town.

Many years ago I undertook to climb my family tree.

Thanks to my maternal grandfather’s carefully guarded, though messy, collection of family papers spanning several generations, I was able to learn that one branch of the family had distinguished itself during the American Revolution and War of 1812.

Originally from New York State, my Springer ancestor, Daniel, his father, David, and brother, Richard, all served as members of the notorious Butler’s Rangers. After the American Revolution, Daniel was among the first settlers of Niagara-on-the-Lake before moving on to the London, Ontario area where he received land for his services to the Crown and served as a magistrate.

David was killed in 1777 at the Battle of Stillwater, whereupon his wife, Margaret, and their youngest children abandoned all property and walked the distance from Albany to Niagara-on-the-Lake where they would settle until war’s end.

Though the details are sketchy, theirs is a story of courage, determination and loyalty to a cause in which they believed and I, like my grandfather, am proud of my United Empire Loyalist heritage.

Needless to say, I am a hopeless romantic too … Click on the images for my wistful commentary.

Whatever my ancestor’s experience, I am grateful for a special connection to a remarkably beautiful town, the role it plays in my heritage and the place it fills in my heart.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

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