Discover Niagara Grown Produce

Celebrate Ontario’s harvest season with locally grown fruits and vegatables. The lands around the Niagara Escarpment make for ideal growing conditions because the diverse climate and rich soil. Here is some of what is being plucked from our farms here around the golden horseshoe.

FRUITS 

October
Apples, crabapples, cranberries, figs, grapes, pears, plums, pumpkin, quince

November
Apples, crabapples, pears, quince

December
Apples, pears (Anjou, Flemish Beauty, Bosc)

VEGETABLES

November
Amaranth, bokchoy, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage (red, green and Savoy), carrots, cauliflower, chard, collards, cucumber (greenhouse), daikon, fennel,  garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce (greenhouse), mushrooms, mustard greens, Napa cabbage, green onions, onions, parsnips, red, yellow and orange sweet peppers (greenhouse, potatoes, radishes, rutabaga, snow pea shoots, bean and alfalfa sprouts, winter squash (acorn, buttercup, butternut, Hubbard, pepper, pumpkin and spaghetti) sweet potatoes.

December

Arugula(greenhouse), baby greens(greenhouse), beets, cabbage (red, green and Savoy), carrots, celery, cucumber(greenhouse), garlic, fresh herbs(greenhouse, kohlrabi, leeks, fettuce (greenhouse), mushrooms(cultivated: button, cremini, portobello, shiitake, oyster, enoki), onions, parsnips, green, yellow and red sweet peppers (greenhouse), potatoes, rutabaga, sprouts (greenhouse), winter squash (acorn, buttercup, butternut, Hubbard, pepper, pumpkin and spaghetti), sweet potatoes, tomatoes (greenhouse), turnips, watercress (greenhouse)

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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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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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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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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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St. Johns Conservation

Twelve Mile Creek is Niagara’s only cold-water creek, and the 28-hectare St. Johns Conservation Area protects the headwaters of one of its tributaries. The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority built a .75 hectare trout pond on the creek. The public are welcome to fish for rainbow trout in the smaller spring-fed pond. A wheelchair accessible path and boardwalk encircles the pond.

Watch for tadpoles, frogs and painted turtles along the way.
Several well-marked trails guide visitors through this breathtaking, mature Carolinian forest. Boardwalks rise above wet areas covered with skunk cabbage. The diversity of foliage is amazing with an abundance of ferns, more than 400 species of vascular plants and 80 mushrooms species growing here.

This lush Escarpment woodland will take your breath away. St. Johns Conservation Area is located near Fonthill. From Regional Road 20, take North Pelham Road to Hollow Road.

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Victoria Park

Niagara has many parks and one of the most well known is Queen Victoria Park. It is located in the middle of downtown Niagara very close to the Canadian side of the Horseshoe Falls. Like its Royal name, the Park has all the appearances of being Regal.

The park has immaculate lawns and well manicured gardens. With every season, the garden is surrounded by the flowers of the season that may include tulips, fuchsia, lantanas, magnolias or daffodils. Walking through the garden one becomes familiar with the various garden themes in the Park which include a Rose garden, a Rock garden and an international collection of plants.

Autumn brings about the annual falling of the leaves and reveals another serene aspect of the Park. When it snows in winter, the icicles can be seen on all the twigs and the bare tree branches- giving an appearance of absolute solitude.

The park has all the facilities for tourist and the pristine lanes allow for a leisurely stroll. When one is tired, there are ample park benches located in the shade.

In the summer, the annual fireworks are always on display each night and there is no place better than the Park to catch the glamour of the Niagara skyline in the background.

Like most of Niagara Parks, it is well illuminated very attractively at night. The best time to visit the park is early morning or late in the afternoon. The park offers an excellent view of the majestic Falls and its roaring waters going over the Falls.

For those who are tired after a long day of walking and sight seeing, the nearby Queen Victoria restaurant provides a relaxing atmosphere with all its serenity.

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Oakes Garden

In 1932, when the Clifton hotel was destroyed by fire, the gutted site was purchased by Sir Harry Oakes. This property bought by Mr. Oakes is today located on the south side of Clifton Hill. Oakes then rebuilt the basic foundations and constructed the amphitheater.

Over the ensuing years, the natural landscape with its splendid backdrop to the Falls led to the development of the gardens. The amphitheater has all the resemblance of the Roman architecture and the immaculate gardens reflect all what is native to Canada. The gardens are surrounded by limestone and well paved lanes. The reconstructed spiral staircases with painted steps lead directly to the Falls.

In the late summer, there is no view like it and rivals some of the best images seen in Canada. The Oakes Garden is one of Niagara’s most beautiful and inspiring place. It makes one oblivious of the city’s congestion, traffic and offers a, quiet place to sit and reflect, and a presents a vision of soft colors and fragrance.

The gardens display a diverse and unique collection of plants, landscape features, and culture heritages. They reflect the human effort to create a harmonious blend of nature and art. In addition to beauty and comfort, these gardens also provide education and conservation opportunities. They are the sparkling jewels within the Niagara Falls Park System. Admission is free and there is ample parking.

Woodend Conservation

Atop the Escarpment is Woodend Conservation Area, a 45 hectare site for hiking and cross-country skiing. The Bruce Trail and other trails traverse the property. The Silurian Trail lines the Escarpment edge, looking out over the Niagara Peninsula.

Views are best in fall and winter, when the trees are bare. For hikers, summer foliage of the large deciduous trees muffles the roar of the QEW below. One is then able to appreciate songs of hermit thrushes, vireos and winter wrens.

In 1798, the United Empire Loyalist family of Peter Lampman settled what is now Woodend. The Canadian poet, Archibald Lampman, is a descendant. Subsequent family members built the present-day house in 1931. Now renamed the Woodend Environmental Centre, the house provides outdoor education opportunities for students of the District School Board of Niagara.

Woodend Conservation Area is operated by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA). Come to Woodend via the Glendale exit (38) from the QEW to Regional Road 70 (Beechwood Road). Drive up the Escarpment and watch for the Conservation Area signs.

Botanical Gardens

With its collection of thousands of plant species and cultivars, numerous exhibition greenhouses, some thirty thematic gardens, and teams of horticulturists and active staff, the Botanical Gardens in Niagara have become one of the most visited attractions in Niagara.

The Botanical Gardens are located to the North of the Falls along the Niagara Parkway. No matter what the season, visitors to the Niagara Botanical Garden are sure to be captivated by the splendid colors and fragrances from around the world as they wander from the delightful European Tulips to the Orchids from China, from the peaceful oasis of the Japanese Garden to the classically designed British gardens with immaculate lawns. Spaced in between these different gardens are a collection of trees, shrubs and various large flowering plants from all over Canada.

The gardens were opened up nearly 70 years ago and over the decades have undergone numerous renovations and reconstructions. Today the gardens also offer residential training for future horticulturists.

The best times to visit are in early spring or autumn when the full blooms of the flowers and their natural colors are splendid. Because of the crowds, the best time to visit are early mornings or late afternoon. Despite the crowds, the gardens are peaceful and tranquil .

For the flower lover, this Garden is an enriching experience and one should make the most of it. After a viewing all the flowers and plants, one can stop by at the gift shop or get a bite to eat or drink in the Cafe.

Entrance to the Garden is free and there is ample parking. The Botanical Gardens are open on a daily basis. In the Summer, Horse and Carriage tours are available and for the young lovers, even Weddings can be arranged in one the beautiful gardens.

Ball’s Falls

In the early 1800s, along Twenty Mile Creek, John and George Ball established a grist mill, sawmill and woolen mill. Ball’s Falls was a prospering pioneer community for nearly a century. The 1900s saw the town’s sudden decline, as it was bypassed by the Great Western Railway.

Now, some 200 years later, the grist mill is home to one of the few working mills in Ontario. Tour heritage buildings, such as the lime kiln and blacksmith shop. Spring and Fall craft shows and other seasonal events provide additional opportunities to enjoy a time gone by.

Hikers will enjoy trekking to the Upper and Lower Falls. Bring your camera. The Cataract and Bruce Trails are scenic delights. Like many locations in the Escarpment, Ball’s Falls is one of the Niagara Region’s most biodiverse beauties. Encounter 471 vascular plants, 53 species of mammals and 36 species of amphibians as you take in more of the natural wonder that is Niagara.

Located near Vineland, Ball’s Falls is easy to find. Take exit 57 from the QEW. Head south on Victoria Avenue and through Vineland to the entrance on 6th Avenue.

Niagara Greenhouse

Specializing in plants and herbs, the Niagara Greenhouse offers a wide and unique selection of annuals, perennials, topiaries and foliage plants as well as pottery, statuary and gift items reflective of the Niagara Region.

There is a large variety of plants and vegetables grown all year around and will astound even the novice gardener. Almost all the Green house plants are grown with the highest quality seeds which are brought from across Canada and Europe.

Whether you are a seasoned Gardener or this is your first time planning a Garden you can be sure to find all of the Annuals, Perennials, and Vegetable Plants you need to know for your gardening project.

Even the novice gardener will learn the simple bedding techniques required to grow good quality plants.

At any time the Greenhouse is visited, flowers in all stages of bloom are seen. Vegetable plants are a gardeners’ delight and in spring almost every variety of green plant is grown. It truly is a gardener’s paradise.

The Niagara Greenhouse is located just 10-15 minute walk from the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. It is open year around. Entrance is free and there is ample parking space

Niagara Falls State Park

Photo By: Jacob Enos

Niagara Falls features America’s oldest State Park and is fascinating and rich with history. At the new Visitor Center you will see how the magnificent Falls were formed and natural features such as ecology, geology, and wildlife. The new Discovery Center features fossils and minerals, as well as a multi-screen theatre featuring the history of the Falls.

Don’t miss the history of Niagara Falls, and discover hiking and other scenic attractions like biking, fishing, and cross-country skiing. The Niagara State Park features a Visitor’s Center, Discovery Center, and the Observation Tower. Weddings at the Niagara Falls State Park offer a one of a kind moment with breaktaking scenic backdrops.

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Niagara Whirlpool

The Whirlpool has a depth of 38 m or 120 ft. and the water circulates in a counterclockwise direction.

For a view from above, ride the aerocar, a cable car suspended over the Whirlpool. Conceived by J. Enoch Thompson, and built in 1913 by The Niagara Spanish Aerocar Co. Limited, according to the design of Spanish engineer Leonardo Torres y Quevedo. It officially opened on August 8, 1916.

 

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Cave of the Winds

A visit to Niagara Falls would not be the same if one did not take the Cave of the Winds Trip. The journey is one for the memories. Over the years, it has become a major attraction or tourists. The trip involves an exciting tour of the Niagara Falls from an artificial deck built on the rocky side of the Water Falls.

The thunderous noise and the rushing water are impressive and one can immediately realize the force of the water fall. The trip starts by going about 150 feet down an elevator into the Niagara Gorge.

To prevent getting soaked from the misty water, you will be given a souvenir yellowish-orange poncho and sandals (to prevent slipping on the wet floor). A specially designed deck has been reconstructed only 20-25 feet away from the water falls. The deafening noise and the roar of the falls is scary and awesome. All the tours are led by guides and the deck has been specially designed to offer the best viewing.

The Cave of the Winds offers a view of the Falls which is unseen from above. For those lucky enough, the most colorful rainbows may also be visible at different times of the day. The trip is even more exciting when the trip is undertaken in the late evening with the bright lights illuminate the falls.

The specially designed Hurricane deck has a special viewing area for the handicapped and children. In the summer, the lines are long and so it is best arrive either early in the morning or come in the late afternoon

The Cave of the Winds is only open during the spring and summer months. The Tours start at 9 am and close at 4.45 pm. For more information on the Cave of the Winds information, call (716) 278-1730. The entrance to the Cave of the Winds is $10 for adults and $ 7 for children. Parking is available.

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Short Hills

Short Hills Provincial Park is a day-use park with six trails and the Bruce Trail traversing its 735+ hectares. The Swayze Falls and the Black Walnut trails accommodate hikers, mountain bikers or horseback riders. For a hikers-only experience, try the Scarlet Tanager, Hemlock Valley, Terrace Creek and Paleozoic Trails. Two waterfalls are situated within the park.

From the parking lot, the wheelchair accessible Paleozoic Path leads to a lookout platform at Swayze Falls, where Twelve Mile Creek drops over the Escarpment. Follow the graveled path to complete the 20-minute return hike to the falls. The trail leads through a forest and meadow where butterflies enjoy wildflowers and blue-winged warblers provide background chorus from the brush.

Take a longer walk by following the horse trails into the wooded valley of Twelve Mile Creek. In the Spring, colour covers the forest floor as masses of trilliums and other native flowers bloom.

To get to Short Hills Provincial Park, take Highway 20 from the QEW through the village of Fonthill. Continue on Hwy. 20 for a few kilometres past Fonthill to Effingham Road (32/28). Turn right (north) and go 6.2 kilometres through beautiful farmland with old country homes and vineyards. Turn right at Roland Rd.

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