Lincoln is a town on Lake Ontario in the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada. The town's administrative and commercial centre is in the community of Beamsville. Lincoln's location between the southern shore of Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment provides for a moderate climate with mild winters. The area is known in Canada for its orchards, vineyards, wineries and restaurants that feature local produce and wines. Fruit crops grown in Lincoln include cherries, peaches, apples and pears, and during the summer attract many tourists from all over Ontario, particularly Toronto.
Lincoln's earliest known inhabitants were Neutral Indians. Archaeologists from the Royal Ontario Museum found evidence of a Neutral encampment with a long house about two kilometers east of Beamsville, on Cave Springs Farm. Until vandals destroyed them about 30 years ago, there were a number of Indian faces carved in stone high on the Escarpment wall nearby. The Neutrals were decimated by the Iroquois in 1653. When the first European settlers arrived in 1777, there were only a few semi-migrant native people living in the caves near Beamsville.
The earliest European settlers were ex-Butler's Rangers who had fought on the side of the Loyal in the American Revolution. United Empire Loyalist Jacob Beam began what is now the town of Beamsville in 1788. Both of his homes - the original one located on the Thirty, as well as the one near downtown Beamsville - are still intact today. Senator William Gibson is another key figure in the history of Beamsville. His mansion is now the Girls' Dorm at Great Lakes Christian College. Beamsville is also home to the annual Lincoln County Agricultural Fair, usually held on or around the first weekend of September. This fair is a very well known fair throughout the area, and attracts thousands of people every year since its inception in 1857. In 1898, hockey players in the town of Beamsville were the first to make use of a hockey net. The town was also home to the first Japanese-Canadian home for the aged in 1967.
Mennonites (Pennsylvania Dutch) walking north from the United States in 1799 founded the villages of Jordan and Vineland. An Ontario Historical Plaque was erected at the Jordan Museum by the province to commemorate the first Mennonite Settlement's role in Ontario's heritage. The First Mennonite Church in Vineland, adjacent to the cemetery at the corner of Regional Road 81 (former Highway 8) and Martin Road, organized in 1801, is the oldest Mennonite congregation in Canada. Good hunting and fishing as well as excellent soil and waterways attracted these early settlers. Agriculture flourished, and tanneries, grist mills, saw mills and woollen mills sprang up in Glen Elgin (now known as Ball's Falls), Tintern, St. Mary's (Jordan Station), Jordan, Rockway, The Thirty (now vanished) and Beamsville.
With a large natural harbour at the mouth of Twenty Creek, Jordan and Jordan Station became busy shipping centres for the export of logs for masts, tan bark, hides, ashes used in industrial centres for the manufacture of soap, as well as grain, flour, fruit and fruit products. A small ship building industry existed for a time on the banks of the Twenty. Today, Lincoln is a leading area for tender fruit production and grape growing. Its wines are achieving international recognition and winning awards for quality. "Greenhouse Friendly" Lincoln also has the largest concentration of greenhouse operators in Canada. In its earliest days what is now Lincoln was regarded, and governed, as an extension of the province of Quebec, but in 1791 the Canada Bill placed it in English Upper Canada. Colonel John Graves Simcoe, first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, divided the province into 19 counties. He named Lincoln County after its English counterpart, and each of its 12 townships, including Clinton and Louth, after towns in Lincoln County, England. The first township councils, formed in 1793, had no legislative authority. In response to the Rebellion of 1837, the 1849 Municipal Act gave local councils much more power to deal with local matters.
The Town of Lincoln came into existence on January 1, 1970, a municipal corporation created by the Legislature of Ontario through the amalgamation of the Town of Beamsville, the Township of Clinton, and approximately half the Township of Louth. Through a vote of citizens, "Lincoln" was chosen to be its name.
The region is in the heart of Ontario's wine country and contributes greatly to the wine industry in the Niagara Peninsula. Many wineries from the area have taken home top awards, including Grape King at the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival, as well as international awards. Wineries in Lincoln include Malivoire, East Dell Wineries, Thomas and Vaughan, Thirty Bench, Angel's Gate, Peninsula Ridge, Cave Spring Cellars, Daniel Lenko Winery, Magnotta, Mountain Road Winery, Legends Estates, Crown Bench, and Corner Stone.