The Painted Ladies of Grimsby – Gingerbread Houses by the Beach

The Painted Ladies of Grimsby look like gingerbread houses out of your Christmas storybook. They are not only painted in vibrant colors but also extremely decorated on their exterior. The intricately handcrafted woodcarvings will surely catch your naked eyes.

Painted Ladies of Grimsby Niagara Toronto Canada
Painted Ladies of Grimsby

Strolling around the neighborhood feels like you are in a candy land full of sweets you’d ever want in your life! Though no candies were given or passed on to tourists like us (maybe because we’re not kids anymore 😂), we were just happy we discovered this place on TikTok.

Painted Ladies of Grimsby
Grimsby is just less than an hour from Toronto.

More than 100 years

While we were strolling and taking pictures around, a very nice couple were standing in front of their colorful house. We were hesitant to disturb their peace by asking them questions but they were smiling while we were taking photos – so we said hello.

Colourful houses in Canada
This colourful house (on the right) was built in 1896!

From them, we found out that they inherited their Victorian house built in 1896! The poor mathematical part of my brain instantly blurted out, “Oh my, it’s over a hundred years old!” Later on our way home, I used a calculator and gasped, “Oh my, it’s 126 years old!”

Colourful houses Grimsby
Does it look like a real doll house?

Perhaps, for the kids, these painted houses are like life-size doll houses. I can’t blame them if they see / call them as such.

Painted Ladies of Grimsby
Things to do and see in Grimsby.

Though the houses exist since 1900s, residents only started painting their houses 35 years ago.

Things to do and see in Grimsby.
Look at that art and the architectural beauty!

A Bit of History

In the 1840s, this area used to be a summer camping ground run by the members of the Methodist Church. This was a perfect place to spend summer for the kids as it was/is close proximity to the wooded beach. They started with tents, then to cottages which, at first temporary but became permanent later on.

Things to do and see in Grimsby.
Even the fences have their own designs.

When the area flourished, estaurants, shops, banks , gardens and other businesses started showing up. But the Methodist Church went bankrupt in 1909, an American bought the land it turned it into, guess what, amusement park! Of course, there was a rollercoaster, a casino, theaters, and more!

Painted Ladies of Grimsby
Things to do and see in Grimsby.

Today, you won’t see a thing that connects to its “amusement park” days. You can only see painted houses that stay true to their original aesthetic. Head to the heart of the park and you will find an old bell from the era.

Things to do and see in Grimsby.
It’s like a candy land out here!

Why named Painted Ladies?

Now that you know a little bit of its history, perhaps you’re a bit disappointed that the Painted Ladies of Grimsby was/is not a place where talented lady painters lived/live? 😊

Things to do and see in Grimsby.
Things to do and see in Grimsby.

The term ‘painted ladies’ first appeared on a book by two American writers Elizabeth Pomada & Michael Larsen. It refers to Victorian and Edwardian houses that are repainted with three or more colors to show the details of its architectural beauty.

Things to do and see in Grimsby.
People still live in these houses. So mind your manners.

The first row of colorful houses that were called “the painted ladies” are the ones in front of Alamo Park in San Francisco, USA.

Painted Ladies of Grimsby
Painted Ladies of Grimsby

So, if the term “painted ladies” loosely refer to a row of colourful houses – then there are many of them around the world. I’ve seen them in Elfreth Alley in Philadelphia, in Cuba, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Vienna, and anywhere.

Things to do and see in Grimsby.
Grimsby is between Toronto and Niagara Falls.

Getting there and things to remember

If you are from Toronto, you will pass Grimsby on your way to Niagara. It’s actually pretty easy to find it on Google Map. We went around the neigborhood for a while until we found a designated parking space. REMEMBER that there are people living in these houses, so mind your manners. Don’t be that tourist that everyone hates. 😂 Be also aware of passing cars on the street and don’t step on lawns if there are signs that prohibit you from doing that.

After strolling around the hood, go and check out the beach. If you don’t fancy the cold water of Lake Ontario for now, enjoy a quiet walk along the beachside trail.


A wanderer. A frustrated photographer. Hiker. Lover. Half extrovert, half introvert. Solo traveler.

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