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Oh, Canada! Sights and scenes on Lake George's famous street

Summer on Lake George

Oh, Canada! Sights and scenes on Lake George's famous street

Restaurants, gift shops and novelty stores
Oh, Canada! Sights and scenes on Lake George's famous street
People enjoy the nice weather on Canada Street in the Village of Lake George in Lake George on Sunday, June 9, 2019.
Photographer: Erica Miller

LAKE GEORGE — Finding the heart of Lake George means finding Canada Street.

The village's busiest, brightest street is easy to find -- and explore -- during the summer season. People park their cars and just walk, visiting restaurants, gift shops and novelty stores during the morning, afternoon and evening.

Canada Street: College kids drink up in 1961

There was no family fun on Canada Street on Sept. 4, 1961. College kids were heading back to class ... but showed very little class during their farewells to summer. This article originally appeared in The Gazette on Sept. 4, 2006.

The season starts around Memorial Day, maybe a week before if warm weather comes in mid-May. Lake George is ready for the season; shops are open and baskets of plum and purple petunias are hanging from light poles.

Starting at McGillis Avenue and walking north on the west side of the street, lake explorers see and hear the buzzing, blinking electronica of the Fun World arcade. They can sample milk chocolate at Nina's Sweet Shoppe, shop for December at A Christmas to Remember and check out high-voltage phantoms and specters at the House of Frankenstein.

Loaded slices are on sale at the Capri Pizzeria near the corner of Montcalm Street. Great grapes go into glasses at the Adirondack Winery. The Lake George Olive Oil Co. offered 40 imported oils and vinegars. T-shirts hang from racks in many stores.

Molly Malone's Irish Gifts is near the end of the four-block walk north. Sterling silver jewelry, Guinness shirts, Belleek china, Galway crystal, imported Irish foods and green, orange and white flags all appeal to the Irish and their friends.

ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER  
Will Janos, of Queensbury, plays a game of skeeball at Playland Arcade on Canada Street in the Village of Lake George in Lake George on Sunday, June 9, 2019.ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
Will Janos, of Queensbury, plays a game of skeeball at Playland Arcade on Canada Street in the Village of Lake George in Lake George on Sunday, June 9, 2019.

"We love it," said clerk Betty Wimette, of the summer season visitors. "It's great when you have a lot of people coming in and out, and they're all friendly."

Wimette said the store, unlike others on Canada, remains open all year. "They know we're here," she said, adding that Guinness and the imported food products are especially popular.

Psychic readings -- "By Grace" -- may appeal to fans of the mystic arts. Fans of the mysterious arts can tour the House of Frankenstein museum, a Canada Street landmark that opened during the early 1970s.

Hallways inside the museum are dark and gloomy, and scenes of terror include a rollicking electric chair scene -- a guy wearing a hood sits strapped in the chair; hit a green-lit button, and the "warden" throws a switch that starts the power .... and starts the condemned man jerking and bucking. Wispy smoke from the guy's head and wrists completes the mock execution.

A table-rolling seance scene; torture chamber; soaring, purple-eyed grim reaper, rampaging wolfman and ol' Frank himself, turning and glaring at visitors from his lab slab, are other traditional displays.

A more modern display is the new Courtyard by Marriott hotel farther up the street. The 119-room hotel features a restaurant, an indoor pool, and a bar-lounge and is equipped with decorative pine log accents on the exterior for the rustic look so prized by Adirondack visitors.

ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER  
People enjoy the nice weather on Canada Street in the Village of Lake George in Lake George on Sunday, June 9, 2019.ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
People enjoy the nice weather on Canada Street in the Village of Lake George in Lake George on Sunday, June 9, 2019.

On the ground level people can stop for burgers and beers -- and other foods -- at Charlie's Bar and Kitchen and Barleycorn's beer garden. The latter might spark a memory; the "John Barleycorn's" bar was located in this area several decades ago.

"It is a great mix of attractions and restaurants and now we have the Marriott on Canada Street as well," said Amanda Metzger, marketing director for the Lake George Chamber of Commerce. "So that has changed the character of the street. What we've seen with the Marriott coming in is increased people in downtown Lake George year-round. That has been a good catalyst for the village of Lake George."

More: Your guide to summer on Lake George

The east side of Canada Street is home to Shepard Park and Beach, Bella's delicatessen, Ben & Jerry's ice cream and access to restaurants such as King Neptune's Pub and the Lake George Shoreline.

Chris Rice, marketing and event coordinator for the Shoreline, has seen Canada Street during prime time.

"It's non-stop, wall-to-wall foot traffic," she said. "Lots of families, little and teenage kids with parents."

Rice also has seen the street change over the years. "It's become more diverse, ethnically," she said. "Tourism has changed in the last 25 years, I feel Lake George is coming around to realize that. For a while, Lake George was stuck in the '70s. In the last five years, it has dramatically blossomed ... there's more appreciation for the reason to be here -- the gorgeous lake."

ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER  
People enjoy the nice weather off Canada Street in the Village of Lake George in Lake George on Sunday, June 9, 2019.ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
People enjoy the nice weather off Canada Street in the Village of Lake George in Lake George on Sunday, June 9, 2019.

There are places for old-fashioned jewelry, Mexican food, craft beers, bacon and eggs and cigars. At different times of the year, Canada Street visitors can walk with Elvis impersonators, motorcyclists and jazz musicians.

"We enjoy the weather, we enjoy the lake, we enjoy the ice cream," said Debbie Edwards of Boston. "We especially like Mike Slater."

Slater, a Massachusetts-based Elvis impersonator in town for Lake George's annual late spring salute to the rock 'n' roll singer, walked a few steps ahead.

"Everybody's friendly and it's very clean," said Judie Dionne of Berwick, Maine, visiting Shepard Park with her husband, Dennis.

Not all the reviews are positive. MaryJo McCartney is a manager at the Capri Pizzeria, which has been dishing out mozzarella, sausage and sauce since the early 1970s. She said Canada has changed plenty over the years, and she's not crazy about all the alterations.

One criticism -- McCartney said the village took down all the large trees on the street. "They put up all these little dinky ones," McCartney said of the 10- and 12-footers that now provide shade on Canada.

"The people are different," McCartney said. "The cell phones ruined everything."

Jackson Facteau, 5, of Mariaville, is too young for cell phones. But he's old enough for low-powder caps. He was banging the noise-makers outside the pizzeria as the rest of his family took a break from walking.

"We love it, we're here all the time," said mom Jill Facteau, holding 8-month-old Charlotte.

"We come up from Mariaville probably twice a month," said dad Jamison. "We like the pizza, we like the food, we like the atmosphere."

Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]

More: Your guide to summer on Lake George

 

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