Established around 1781 as Butlerburg, named after Col. John Butler, the commander of the British Irregular unit known as Butler’s Rangers who fought during the American Revolution. The settlement was renamed West Niagara (as it was west of Fort Niagara), then Newark when the town became the capital of Upper Canada in 1792 by John Graves Simcoe. After the capital was moved to the new town of York in 1797 the town was named Niagara a year later. The town was invaded and occupied by American troops from May 1813 to December that year. When they left American forces along with a unit known as the Canadian Volunteers burned the town to the ground in an effort to afford the approaching British Army no quarter, and to turn the general populous against the British. This had the exact opposite effect, galvanizing support for the British, who in turned crossed the river, captured Fort Niagara, and burned everything from Youngstown to Buffalo. The town was quick to rebuild. The name Niagara-on-the-Lake was adopted in 1880, but wasn’t officially recognized until 1970. Today the quiet main streets are filled with quaint shops, restaurants, and tourists…lots of tourists. The town is home to several historic sites such as Fort George, Fort Mississauga, the oldest public golf course in Canada, and Butler’s Barracks. If you’re a fan of the theater, the town is home to the famous Shaw Festival. Also make sure to stop off for some Punishment ice cream while you’re in town.