The small community of Virgil was originally referred to as The Crossroads because it was situated at the junction of Creek Road and Black Swamp Road.
Virgil got its name sometime between 1862 and 1876, but not before it was named Lawrenceville in 1844, after a prominent settler in the area. The arrival of Russian Mennonites, escaping persecution during the First World War, helped boost the fruit industry in the area; they still have a presence in the town and a beautiful church building.
The local fruit harvest includes peaches, cherries, plums, pears and tomatoes and there were several canning factories in the area until a few decades ago. Today, one of these buildings is home to one of the many local wineries.
The Virgil Dam Conservation Area nearby includes the man-made Virgil Dam, a small dam that is filled by a creek. With 50-hectares of woodland and wetland the area is popular with canoeists, fishermen and those just wanting to picnic or spend some quiet time in the stunning natural surroundings. Visiting the Tulip tree plantation with its 15 types of nut trees is a much-loved activity in the area.
School-going children of elementary age have a choice of two schools in Virgil, but the secondary school was closed down in 2010. A relaxed and slow pace of life in the neighbourhood favours retirees and people with young families. Everyone indulges the present-day lifestyle that is mixed with country flare and there is a rich community-based culture.
Virgil serves as the centre of Niagara-on the-Lake’s sports teams that include hockey, softball, lacrosse and soccer. Two arenas, three baseball diamonds and a skate park complete the picture.
An annual event held every May, on the Victoria Day weekend, is the “Virgil Stampede”. Everyone looks forward to the festival with its rides, attractions, and the annual start-up soccer tournament.
Winding roads lead off the town centre into the countryside where greenhouses, orchards and roadside stands abound. Day trippers can explore the wineries and farms of the area by driving the picturesque Firelanes on the Lakeshore near Virgil.
With a choice of both rural and “town” properties, Virgil and its surrounding areas offer all the services needed for a comfortable life. These include shopping areas, restaurants and bars, health-care facilities and a volunteer fire department.
This picturesque part of the Niagara region has it all, water, agriculture, the escarpment, natural vegetation and the wonderful micro-climate loved by those with green-thumbs. The relaxed pace, the beauty of the neighbouring communities and the active members of the many service clubs ensure that no one in the area is ever idle.
Historically the area has a stable property market and there are always beautifully designed and built homes on offer. The recent drop in prices of properties in Niagara-on-the-Lake is presenting buyers, whether planning to start a family, have a growing family or are looking to retire, the chance to buy at a good price with the potential for growth.