The Niagara Wine Route – Visit the Best Wineries in the Niagara Region

niagara wine photo
Photo by Ben Lawson

The Niagara Region is not only home to a natural wonder, but also a rich agricultural area. The Niagara Escarpment is a 725 km (450 mile) long shelf/transition zone running through southern and central Ontario. In this area, the climate is moderated by Lakes Ontario and Lake Erie, with mineral-rich soils left over from the glacial era.

This unique combination of lakes and extremely fertile soil make the area a grape grower’s paradise, and home to some of the world’s most renown wineries. Because the cooler lake air flows across the region in early spring, the buds are inhibited from blooming before the last frost. The Escarpment climate is similar to that of other great wine regions in the world, such as Burgundy, the Loire Valley and New Zealand. The Niagara Region, as it is known, is home to the great vinifera grapes, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Riesling.

These vineyards are spread over 16,000 acres and are a site to behold in late spring and early summer. Over 100 wineries make the Niagara Region their home and many tasting tours and special accommodations are available for the wine connoisseurs and everyday folks to enjoy their stay.

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1696 Niagara Stone Rd Niagara-on-the-Lake L0S 1J0
3201 King St Vineland L0R 2C0
1366 York Rd St Davids L0S 1P0
3210 Staff Ave Lincoln L0R 1S0
3550 King St Lincoln
15608 Niagara River Pkwy Niagara-on-the-Lake L0S 1J0
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Featured Photo by wader

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Top attractions in Niagara Falls

With the 2015 Pan-Am games in Toronto in full swing, we have compiled a list of things to do in Niagara Falls which is a one hour drive to where the games are held. With countless wineries, golf courses, family attractions, and natural scenery, the Niagara Region offers an amazing day-trip getaway.

1. Play a round of golf at one of Niagara’s 48 golf courses:

“Niagara is home to 48 golf courses, creating the greatest single concentration of golf facilities in one region, anywhere in Canada. The Niagara Golf Trail features the area’s top seven courses open for public play.”
– source: www.niagaragolftrail.com

golf photo

Photo by malpraxis2000

2. Experience a tour of some of the 70 award-winning local wineries

“Niagara’s unique geography and climate has allowed for breathtaking vineyards and wineries throughout the region. From small boutique wineries, to organic wineries and even celebrity wineries, there’s a wonderful diversity to keep visitors coming back again and again.”
– source: www.tourismniagara.com

niagara wine photo

Photo by chezrobyn

 

3. Marvel at a breathtaking view of The Niagara Falls

The best view of the Falls is the Canadian side. We are fortunate to have the view of all three waterfalls! Niagara Falls is located in the Niagara Region which is a peninsula which makes us famous for our Waterfalls, beaches, escarpment, fruit farms, rolling hills and our wineries.
– via Niagara Falls Tourism

maid of mist niagara photo

Photo by Fei.cn

4. Visit one of the many museum attractions in and around Niagara Falls

Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum

Home to the Louis Roy Press, oldest in Canada and one of the few original wooden presses remaining in the world.

Located in the home of the 19th Century firebrand editor William Lyon Mackenzie, The Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum is Canada’s largest working printing Museum.
– via www.mackenzieprintery.org

 

Fort George

 

Located in the historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Fort George was the headquarters of the Centre Division of the British Army during the War of 1812, and played a key role in the defence of Upper Canada.
– via www.friendsoffortgeorge.ca

 

Clifton Hill

Located on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, Clifton Hill offers an exciting array of attractions, resort hotels, restaurants, shops and nightclubs…providing fun experiences for everyone.
– via Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls Canada

 

5. Enjoy Niagara’s natural attractions and diverse ecosystem

 

Butterfly Conservatory

The Butterfly Conservatory is located on the grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, 10 minutes north of the Falls. Over 2,000 butterflies, made up of 45 different species, call this beautiful space home.
– via www.niagaraparks.com

 

The Bruce Trail

The southern terminus of the Bruce Trail is located at the stone cairn in Queenston Heights Park.  Near the famous Niagara Falls, the park is perched in the west side of a deep gorge carved over the centuries by the Niagara River.
– via The Bruce Trail Conservancy

Feature Photo by `James Wheeler

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Battle of the Titans – Skylon Dinosaur Attraction

Skylon - Battle of TitansTravel back 65 million years to a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Visitors will be immersed in over a century’s worth of scientific research as they venture through recreations of Cretaceous habitats, witnessing the sights and sounds of this vital period in Earth’s history.

Battle of the Titans is an interactive encounter featuring authentic fossils, striking graphics, dramatic videos, living dioramas, remarkable displays, realistic background audio and stunning, life-size animatronic dinosaurs; all making you, the visitor, a part of the action.

Around every corner of the exhibit lurks a new discovery. Stumble upon a classic battle between two behemoths of that time period, the mighty T-Rex and the powerful Triceratops. See how they lived, how they died and how they shaped the earth as we now know it.

Kids – $9.95 plus taxes and fees
Adult $11.95 plus taxes and fees
2 adults and 2 Children (4-12 years) $34.95 plus taxes and fees

Hours:
Open 7 days a week everyday 9:00 am- 7:00 pm (July & August Peak time)
Jan-May Fri, Sat and Sun 9:00 – 6:00 pm,
September & October Midweek closes at 4:00 pm weekends (Fri and Sat) close at 10:00 pm
November & December open Weekends only 9:00 am-10:00 pm close early on Sundays.

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Casino Fallsview Concerts

Casino ConcertsAvalon Ballroom is a world class concert venue in Fallsview Casino Resort, Niagara Falls Canada. The 1,500 seat theatre has over 250 performances a year featuring the biggest headliners in the world. Some of the most recent performers include Ringo Starr, Jay Leno, Bill Cosby, Diana Ross and Il Divo. As one of Canada’s premier entertainment destinations it offers visitors to Niagara Falls an intimate and fun concert experience.

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Niagara Nature Reserve

By: photo by: wonkanerd

One of the most beautiful hikes along the Niagara Escarpment is found in the Niagara Glen Nature Reserve. The climb to the top of Queenston Heights leads down to the bottom of the Niagara River Gorge  just a mile upstream are the Niagara Falls.

Four kilometres of trails wind through the incredible natural features of the Reserve. To make the most of your hike, purchase an interpretive trail map from the Feather in the Glen Gift Shop at Niagara Glen. Wintergreen Flat, the picnic area just off the Niagara Parkway, is where your descent begins.

The metal staircase leads you down into the gorge where you can follow well-marked, colour-coded trails through the forest. They’ll lead you to the river banks and whirlpool.

Centuries of erosion and blasting have broken rock from the walls of the Gorge, creating rocky rubble of various sizes. Natural stairways between the rocks were built with local stone. Ferns and mosses grow in the deep rocky crevices, generating cool, fresh air.

The Niagara Parks Commission leads guided nature hikes. . The Niagara Glen Nature Reserve is located on the Niagara Parkway. Take the QEW to Highway 405 and follow it to the Niagara Parkway. Go north past the Butterfly Conservatory and the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, then watch for the Niagara Glen Feather in the Glen gift shop on the left.”

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Dinosaur Adventure Mini Putt

Clifton Hill Dino Mini PuttEnjoy the excitement on top of Clifton HiIl, Niagara Falls,  surrounded by gigantic pre-historic dinosaurs and lush vegetation with your family or friends, playing miniature golf at Dinosaur Adventure Golf ! The uniquely contoured course with multi coloured greens is fun for both the novice and the experienced and the entire course can be played in about 45 minutes.

The magnificent putting greens are full of undulations, water hazards, and real sand traps. For the non golfer, the prehistoric background of dinosaurs offers view about history what it was all like in days gone by.

The Course is fun for the entire family. During or after your putting, be sure to stop by our concession stand to enjoy our great selection of drinks and ice creams too.

Dinosaur Adventure Golf is located behind the Niagara SkyWheel, with the entrance to the immediate right of the SkyWheel. Call 905-358-3676 for hours of operation, ticket prices and other helpful information.

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Beamer Conservation

At the edge of the Escarpment, north of Grimsby, Beamer Memorial Conservation Area is an ideal location for viewing the annual spring raptor migration over the Niagara Peninsula.

Birds of prey, such as, hawks, eagles, and falcons migrate in the daylight and depend a great deal on lift from the air. The unique topography of the area lends itself perfectly to aid in raptor migration. In the Escarpment’s Beamer Memorial Conservation Area, two sources provide the lift that raptors seek. Strong updrafts develop from winds off the lake which impact the Escarpment cliffs, and _Èthermals’ form when nearby farm fields warm in the sun. Weary from their long migration, which includes circumventing the lake, raptors glide almost effortlessly on the updrafts or thermals. They migrate west toward the head of the lake near Hamilton.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CCkNQhI7JI&w=640&h=360]

The annual hawk migration is monitored by Niagara Peninsula Hawkwatch (link to an external site.) March 1 through May 15, members of Hawkwatch battle almost any weather to conduct daily counts and identification of birds of prey. Birders may count over 1,000 birds on a good day.

A permanent sign displays silhouettes of birds of prey in flight. During migration, a list is posted with daily and seasonal totals. The information gathered at Beamer, combined with data from other hawk-watching areas in North America and Mexico, is used to track long-term population fluctuations. Beamer Memorial C.A. was recently designated an Important Bird Area (IBA).

Along the Escarpment at Beamer Memorial Conservation Area, Bruce Trail provides panoramic views of Grimsby and Lake Ontario. Four lookouts are scenic stopping points along the crest of the Escarpment. The Lookout Trail leads to incredible views, which include the 23-metre falls over the Escarpment.

To get to Beamer Memorial Conservation Area, take the QEW to Exit 71/72, Christie Street (Mountain Road). At the top of the Escarpment turn right on Ridge Road, go 1.6 km to Quarry Road, turn right and proceed to the parking lot.

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Kurtz Orchards

Kurtz Orchards has everything for the family. In addition quality fruits and vegetables from local growers, the orchard Farm offers a variety of confectionaries, jams and specialty food. In addition the Orchard is dedicated to agriculture, entertainment and education.

The Farm Market is filled with gourmet foods, honey, preserves, and jams of every type, fruit baskets, collectibles and gifts for the entire family. Prior to buying any product, there are ample samples one can taste. The traditional Canadian maple syrup, soups, crackers, cheese and every type of pie and desert is available.

Kurtz Orchards offers a family gathering where visitors can socialize, learn about healthy eating, and speak directly with the people that make and or grow their food.

Fruit and vegetable of almost every type can be found. Besides the food products, there are crafts and gift shops. During the months of July and August, some of the largest and sweetest strawberries, raspberries and cherries are available. In October, grapes and pumpkins are in season.

The sweetness and tender fruit is believed to be due to the micronutrient in the soil and the quality of fruits that rival’s products from California. For the children, the varieties of ice cream, candies and chocolates that will be sure to delight.

It is located at 16006 Niagara Parkway, about 12 minutes along the escarpment from the Falls.

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Dufferin Islands

Trails invite leisurely walks that wind through the eleven small islands, over many small bridges and lead to wonderful areas where it is possible to view waterfowl and other inhabitants.

The Dufferin Islands are an excellent location to enjoy a peaceful picnic lunch. Anglers of all, ages can enjoy the “catch and release” program here.

During the annual Winter Festival of Lights, from mid-November to mid-January, Dufferin Islands are a “must see”. The whole area comes to life with numerous colourful, animated lighting displays.

500 m. (1/2 Mile) south of Horseshoe Falls

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Niagara Glen

Photo By: SteFou!

The Niagara Glen is a unique area of the Niagara River carved out between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago as the erosive forces of Niagara Falls passed through here.

Designated as a Nature Area in 1992, the Niagara Glen presents a fascinating study in provincially rare flora and Carolinian forest types and is an important birding area. Hikes through the Niagara Glen involve an elevation change of over 60-m. (200-ft).

Proper footwear, suitable for steep and rugged terrain is required. Guided Rim Tours also provide an informative, easy stroll along the top of the Glen. Available in summer season only.

2 km. North of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, opposite Whirlpool Golf Course”

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Minolta Tower

The Konica Minolta Tower was built in 1961 and has become a prominent structure in the Niagara Skyline. Standing nearly 325 feet, it provides one of the best views of the Falls, without getting wet.

Once on the top the Observation deck, a magnificent panoramic view of the Niagara Falls and surrounding landscape is obtained. The windows in the Observation have been designed in such a way so they prevent the glare of the sun and allow for excellent photography.

Around the entire deck are mounted photographs of the Niagara town and its monuments, including the Falls. Also located on the Observation deck are telescopes to get a close up view of the Falls. On a bright sunny day, one can see multiple rainbows and the foggy mist for miles around.

Also located on the observation deck is the Pinnacle Restaurant which caters to all types of food. Because of the splendid view obtained, the Tower has frequently been used for wedding couples and private parties. In the basement of the Tower are located various gift, souvenir and fast food restaurants. Recently, a five star hotel has been built in the surround area.

The best time to go up the tower is either early morning or late evening. For the romantics, the most gorgeous view is at night when the Falls is illuminated.

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Bird Kingdom

Bird Kingdom

Bird Kingdom
A world class tropical adventure, located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, is the largest free-flying indoor aviary in the world. More than 400 birds make their home in this multi-level rainforest setting nestled in a building which has housed some of the area’s top attractions of the past. A 40-foot waterfall, tropical plants, and hundreds of birds from around the world put on a show for the public. Many of the 80 species of birds living at Bird Kingdom are endangered or threatened in the wild.

The building that houses this attraction was the original Spirella Corset Factory, built in 1907. It was one of the first poured concrete buildings ever made in Canada. The building then became home to the famed Niagara Falls Museum in 1958, with its world-renowned collection of Egyptian artefacts. Amazingly, it was discovered the museum had been home to the actual mummy of King Ramesses I! Unfortunately for the museum, that fact wasn’t discovered until after the museum closed and the mummy was safely returned back to Egypt.

World’s Largest Free Flying Indoor Aviary !

The birds living in their natural habitat is not the only exhibit. There are also a collection of saltwater fish, spiders, bats, snakes, skinks, and reptiles too, all of which make their home in the same tropical environment the birds flourish in.

Bird Kingdom also features a Small Aviary, where smaller birds make their home; the Javanese House, a 125-year-old nobleman’s house from the island of Java; Nocturnal, an exhibit which stays light at night and dark during the day so night-living animals will be active during the museum’s hours; and the Macaw Market, featuring bird-related collectibles and gift items.

Trip Advisor’s Travelers’ Destination Choice Award for 2011

There are many hidden secrets to discover in our Nocturnal Jungle as well. Children can search for treasures from the past in our Kids Archaeology Dig and win a free prize! Be amazed to learn about Niagara in our Historic Niagara room.

We also hold children’s birthday parties and even a 2 week summer camp yearly! Bird Kingdom is open 365 days a year! Visit us at www.birdkingdom.ca to see all the upcoming events happening weekly.

Hours or operation are September – June 9:30 AM – 5 PM
July – August 9:30 AM – 6:30 PM

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Brock Monument

Photo By: RichardBH

Take the climb to Queenston Heights and experience a key moment in Canadian history. In the War of 1812, on October 13, Major-General Sir Isaac Brock led the British forces under him to fend off invading American troops. Brock gave his life in a charge up the Escarpment.

The Brock Monument now stands to acknowledge his role in preventing American domination of Canada. Queenston Heights is also the head of the Bruce Trail. The start of Canada’s longest footpath is marked with a stone cairn at the eastern end of Queenston Heights Park.

The Niagara Parks Commission manages Queenston Heights and the other Niagara River parks. Since 1885, the Commission has been charged with preserving and enhancing the natural beauty of Niagara Falls and the Niagara River corridor. The Commission maintains approximately 1,619 hectares of parkland along the river, in addition to the 56-kilometre Niagara River Parkway.

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Adventure Theatre

The latest in Niagara entertainment is the recently upgraded Adventure Cinema. The best of Canadian Technology has allowed the creation of the screen, which provides an excellent history of the Niagara Falls. The large 5 story (45 foot) screen and the latest in sound technology present a real life-like view of the Falls and its evolution over time.

The movie is about 45 minutes long and details the landscape and geological nature of the land, the first settlers in the area and how the area was developed into a tourist attraction. Also presented is a picturesque view of the individuals who either have gone over the Falls in barrels or tried to walk across on a high wire.

The state-of-the-art film technology creates an image of unsurpassed clarity and realism. The images produced are so real like that one is quickly absorbed into the story. With the floor shaking digital surround sound, you will feel like you yourself are tumbling over the falls.

The show lasts 45 minutes and can be seen on the hour all day. The theater is located at the bottom of the Niagara Falls State Park Visitor Center.

For the non English speaking tourist, Headsets are available which translate in numerous languages including French, Japanese, and Spanish etc.

The theater does have access for the handicapped patrons. Entrance to the theater is $10 for adults and $6 for children under 12.

Niagara’s Natural Wonders

Niagara Falls summer tourist season wraps up offering Autumn adventures and events in the Niagara Parks. Great deals on family attractions from Sept thru winter seasons in the Niagara Region.

Enjoy upcoming concerts and festivals celebrating Niagara’s Natural Wonders including the Niagara Wine Festival, Fallsview Casino concerts, and Fireworks displays, and Winter Festival of Lights.

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Observation Tower

Photo By: Britt Reints

From the Prospect Point Observation Tower in Niagara Falls NY, one can view most of the Canadian and US side of Niagara Falls area from a 360-degree panorama. On sunny days, a splendid view of Mist arising from the Falls inter mixing with a colorful rainbow is a sight to see. This steel and glass tower has become a favorite for those who want to view the Falls without getting wet or tired.

After viewing the outside from the top of the deck, one can ride the glass elevators to the bottom and arrive directly to the boarding docks for the Maid of the Mist.

The indoor deck does offer a snack bar and a gift shop, and the deck does have high-powered lenses for closer viewing. The Prospect Point Observation Tower is open all year around but the hours are much shorter in the Winter. To avoid long crowds, it is best to arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

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Hydro-Electric Dam

Photo By: Ken Doerr

The single greatest source of hydroelectric power in the world, the Niagara River is home to several power plants. The 2 most famous plants on the Canadian side are the Sir Adam Beck I and II, named after the first head of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission. Combined, the Beck power stations produce over 2 million kW of power.

During the East Coast Blackout in the summer of 2003, Niagara Falls and area retained power. 14m (45 ft) diameter tunnels run under the city of Niagara Falls to divert 68 Million litres /minute to the power stations. Niagara Falls used to erode at a rate of 1m (3ft) every 10 years. The diversion not only creates power, but has slowed the rate of erosion to 30 cm (1ft.) every 10 years.

Butterfly Conservatory

With over 2,000 free flying tropical butterflies in a lush rain forest setting complete with waterfalls and pools, this is a photographer’s dream come true.

Observe the numerous species as they flutter, soar and feed on nectar and pollen. In summer, step outside the conservatory to experience a native butterfly garden that attracts many of the 120 species of butterflies native to Ontario. Open year-round.

Located 9 km (5 miles) north of the Falls on the Niagara Parkway on the grounds of the Botanical Gardens & School of Horticulture

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Old Fort Niagara

By: Jesse Davis

The British occupation of North America has numerous reminders of the past and one of them is the Old Fort Niagara. The Old Fort was built way back in 1726 at the entrance to the Niagara River. The Fort served as a resting area for new troops and also served as a garrison for the wars which took place between the British, Americans and the French. The Fort also served as a base for military campaigns during periods of hostility.

Like most old British monuments, this stone masonry built Fort has a lot of features of old Victoria era Fortresses of the 16 and 17th Century. The Fort had good access to the nearby railroads and the sea.

Today, The Fort is a monument to the historic events that occurred nearly 300 years ago. It symbolizes the courage, valor, sacrifice and heroism of many who fought for Freedom.

The Fort was completely burnt down in the 18th century and has undergone numerous major reconstructions to restore it to its original glamour. In its relatively unspoiled setting on a bend of the Niagara River, the Fort survives as an authentic vestige of the past.

Administered by the New York State Park, the Old Fort has a number of historic structures, furnished rooms, museum exhibits, and even a bookstore. Interpretive programs, educational lectures, guided tours, and special events are offered throughout the year.

Tourists have been coming to this Fort for decades and each year the numbers are increasing, making it a very popular destination. Asides from the Fort, the surrounding scenery and rivers offer some of he best views of the natural landscape in the North.

The Fort is now operated by the New York State Office of Parks and located in Youngstown, NY. For more information one can call 716 745 7611

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IMAX Theatre

When you go to Niagara Falls, your visit there wouldn’t be complete without visiting the IMAX Theatre Niagara Falls, Canada. This theatre is the home of one of the most magnificent IMAX movie of all time which is “The Falls Movie: Legends and Daredevils”. This movie lets you travel back to the time when native people worshipped thunder spirits and other spirits of nature. The movie will also let you meet daredevils and legends who challenged and survived Niagara Falls. Some of these people are the Great Blondin who completed a tightrope walk over the Falls, 63-year old Annie Taylor who went over the Falls in a barrel and 7-year old Roger Woodward who survived the Falls with only a lifejacket.

The film is also available in 6 different languages through complimentary headsets and is available for the French, German, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin and Spanish languages while dedicated French and Japanese shows are available daily.

The IMAX Theatre is composed of a 620-seat auditorium, 60-feet high screen image that is 4500 times larger than a regular TV screen and 12,000 Watts of Digital Surround Sound by Sonics Proportional Point Source™ loudspeaker system that uses 44 laser-focused speaker drivers. The Theatre can be found at Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls and is located next to the Skylon Tower and Niagara Fallsview Casino.

For schedules, the film “Niagara: Legends and Daredevils” is shown every hour on the hour with French and Japanese dedicated shows available only by request during winter. As of 2009, admission prices vary for walk up rates, online rates, and group rates. Walk up rates are $14.75 for Adults (13+) and $10.62 for Children (4-12). Online rates are given 25% off the regular price plus taxes so they are only $11 for Adults and $8 for Children. For groups of more than 20 people, rates are$8.60 for Adults and $5.45 for Children.

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