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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Holiday house tour puts Niagara-on-the-Lake in the Christmas spirit

   One-Tank Trip published on Nov. 19/11

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Visitors to Niagara-on-the-Lake can relive the spirit of Christmases past – all the way back to the Victorian era – during the Holiday House Tour.
   The event on Dec. 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. presents six houses among 15 properties all adorned in festive decorations.
   Thousands of visitors will descend on this picturesque and historic community for the event, now in its 13th year, presented by the local Rotary Club.
The Holiday House Tour is set in the scenic Victorian-style community of  Niagara-on-the-Lake. (Photo by Jim Fox)
   On view are “historic and contemporary properties, all decorated for the holiday season by local businesses and volunteers,” said club president Ward Simpson.
   “Stay for the weekend, enjoy the Friday night Candlelight Stroll, enchanting town atmosphere and holiday shopping all weekend long,” he added.
   A ticket supports the club’s community work and provides admission to all the properties, wineries, lunch at St. Mark’s Addison Hall and a chance to win door prizes.

   Houses on view
The historic Lyons House, a Niagara-on-the-Lake bed and breakfast, was featured in last year’s Holiday House Tour.
   - McFarland House, 15927 Niagara Parkway, circa 1800, is a Georgian structure used as a hospital during the War of 1812 by both British and American forces.
   From its ravine, the British launched the attack on Fort Niagara in December 1813 and it was one of the few structures to survive the burning of the town when occupying American forces retreated.
   Restored by the Niagara Parks Commission, the house portrays life in Upper Canada between 1800 and 1830.
   - Lakewinds, 328 Queen St., an elegant Victorian manor from 1885, was built as a summer home for Gustav Fleischmann of the Fleischmann’s yeast company in Buffalo, N.Y.
   Now a bed and breakfast, its veranda overlooks Niagara-on-the-Lake’s famous golf course.
   - Thistle Rose House, 236 King St., is an 1888 Victorian home with mansard roof and features of the Second Empire style made popular in Paris in the 1850s.
   With a wide brimmed porch, the house also has a grand staircase leading to the upper level.
   - Carol’s House, 796 Green St., is a 1995 “carefully designed bungalow” located in “Old Irish Town.”
   Extensive renovations include high ceilings and windows framing the main living areas with a formal dining room leading to the great room and a two-sided fireplace as a focal point.
   - The Regal House, 1616 Niagara Stone Rd., built in 1984 is on the property of Regal Florist & Garden Centre.
   It was designed for “family and entertaining” and includes an indoor pool, eat-in kitchen and “inviting” Florida room.”
   - The Brown-Bassil House, 48 Queenston St. (Queenston), is from 1820 that was originally a store and residence and was believed to be a former tavern.
   It was also a rooming house before conversion back to a single-family residence in 1975.

   Also showing their finery
The Niagara Pumphouse, built in 1891, is now a visual art centre where Niagara artists and artisans will sell their works during the Holiday House Tour.
   - Pillar and Post Inn, 48 John St. W., circa 1890, is “dressed to the hilt for the holidays” and has the Cannery Restaurant, Vintages Wine Bar & Lounge and 100 Fountain Spa.
   - Niagara Pumphouse, 247 Ricardo St., from 1891, is a visual art centre in a Victorian brick
building on the Niagara River. Inside is the Artful Treasures show and sale by Niagara artists and artisans.
   - St. Mark’s Anglican Church, 41 Byron St., circa 1800, was a hospital and barracks in the War of 1812 and houses a silver chalice and 1,500 books brought in 1791 from England by Rev. Robert Addison.
   - Niagara Historical Museum, 43 Castlereagh St., circa 1875 and 1906, has an exhibit about the area’s history and will offer hot apple cider.
   - Riverbrink, 116 Queenston Rd. (Queenston), circa 1970, has a collection of paintings and drawings including works by Tom Thomson, Cornelius Krieghoff and the Group of Seven.
   - Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club is the tour headquarters and is the oldest operating course in North America from 1875. Reservations are required for lunch in the dining area overlooking the mouth of the Niagara River with Fort Niagara in Youngstown, N.Y. on its far bank.
   - Wineries on the tour are Wine Country Vintners, 27 Queen St., with samples of late harvest Vidal Icewine; Peller Estates Winery, 290 John St. E., pouring Ice Cuvee and has lunch available; and Hillebrand Winery, 1249 Niagara Stone Rd., with tastings of Trius Red 2009 and a special lunch menu.

   Get your tickets
   Holiday House Tour tickets are $25, good for both days, available with more details at http://notlrotarytickets.com; (905) 468-7746


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

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