• eat
  • shop
  • see
  • go
  • stay
  • daytrip
  • map
  • calendar
  • transport
  • weather
  • currency
  • tofrom

Niagara Falls

Niagara is for Everyone: Wine and Dine your way Through Niagara

pondview

PondView Estate Winery

NIAGARA IS HOME TO MORE THAN 70 AWARD-WINNING WINERIES, SOME OF WHICH HAVE CALLED THE REGION HOME FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS, WHILE OTHERS ARE STILL MAKING THEIR MARK

Among the area’s mainstays, visit Marynissen Estates, which boasts the oldest commercial planting of cabernet sauvignon in the country; Peller Estates, which also has a sister vineyard in British Columbia’s Okanagen Valley; Château des Charmes, which is owned by the Bosc family whose winemaking roots date back to the 1840s; and Pondview Estate Winery, which has been run by the Puglisi family for three generations.

southbrook

Sunset at Southbrook Vineyards

Other wineries may not have decades of experience, but they take great pride in crafting nuanced vintages nonetheless. Frogpond Farm is the province’s first winery to produce certified organic wines; Southbrook Winery is also an organic and biodynamic-certified winery; Two Sisters Vineyards is set on 76 acres with a beautiful estate; while Cornerstone Estate Winery counts their fruit wines among their best sellers.

Jackson-Triggs is internationally recognized for its award–winning chardonnays and Rieslings among others, but also has an engaging summer concert series at its outdoor amphitheatre with Canadian musicians, such as the Sam Roberts Band (June 9), Steven Page (June 17) and Whitehorse (June 18).

Ravine VineyardPizza

The restaurant at Ravine Vineyard

Wine and food are a natural pairing, and select wineries can deliver both in a single visit through on-site restaurants. Each month, The Good Earth hosts the Good Girth Supper Club, a monthly themed dinner at the bistro and orchard (May 25 focuses on soul food while June 11 is a tapas tasting). Trius Winery offers a variety of experiences like sip and snack events, or book a table at its fine dining restaurant where chef Frank Dodd prepares a seasonal menu that compliments winemaker Craig McDonald’s carefully-crafted vintages. Over at Ravine Vineyard, the local eats movement is taken quite literally—in addition to its vineyard, there is also a farm where pigs are raised and organic vegetables are grown for both the restaurant and The Canning House shop.

Treadwell is a much-respected restaurant in the region, co-owned by chef Stephen Treadwell and his sommelier son James. The wine list is comprised primarily of Niagara offerings with an emphasis on vintages from smaller producers, such as Five Rows and Lailey. Chosen as Where Toronto’s Best New Restaurant of 2015, Backhouse is the brainchild of husband and wife team Ryan Crawford and Bev Hotchkiss; she runs the front of the house while as the chef he creates their seasonally changing cool climate menu. Most wineries offer tours of their vineyards, but call ahead to confirm the schedule and fees.

—Linda Luong Luck

 

RELATED NIAGRA IS FOR EVERYONE STORIES:

Niagara is for Everyone: A Kid-Friendly Itinerary

EACH YEAR, MORE THAN 12 MILLION PEOPLE VISIT THE NIAGRA REGION FOR THEIR VACATION OR GETAWAY. HERE ARE SOME FUN IDEAS FOR MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR VISIT AND KEEPING YOUR KIDS ENTERTAINED WHILE TRAVELING AS A FAMILY.

Hornblower CHP_4974

No visit to the region is complete without seeing the falls. The sight is awe-inspiring from afar, but it’s even better to feel the thundering spray aboard Hornblower Niagara Cruises, which carries poncho-donning passengers to the base of the Horseshoe Falls and past the American and Bridal Veil falls. Or experience the action from the observation decks of Journey Behind the Falls, which traverses 45 metres down through bedrock to the foot of the falls where 2,800 cubic metres of water crashes to the ground every second.

Feel like diving right into the water instead of just watching it? Waves Indoor Waterpark is an expansive playground with kiddie pools and slides that are as tall as three storeys.

Butterfly Conservatory NPC_6067Immerse with nature at the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory or Bird Kingdom. The former is home to more than 2,000 tropical winged creatures, while the latter is the largest indoor free-flying aviary in the world. Experience animals of the amazon at the Rainforest Café, a family-friendly restaurant adorned in a canopy of trees and animatronic elephants and gorillas serving up pint-sized portions of hot dogs, burgers and pasta.

 

hershey-milkshakeHershey’s Chocolate World is a perfect spot for an afternoon pick-me-up. All manner of cocoa confections can be found here from chocolate-dipped strawberries and pretzels to cookies and milkshakes. Of course, there’s a lot of goodies to take home, too, including Kisses, Reese and Jolly Rancher products.

— Linda Luong Luck

 

 

 

 

RELATED NIAGRA IS FOR EVERYONE STORIES:

Romance at the Falls

Niagara is for Everyone: Romance at the Falls

EACH YEAR, MORE THAN 12 MILLION PEOPLE VISIT THE NIAGRA REGION FOR THEIR VACATION OR GETAWAY. HERE ARE SOME ROMANTIC IDEAS FOR MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR VISIT TO THE HONEYMOON CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

DSC_6630

Soar over the region’s lush landscape with a tour from Niagara Helicopters, which lands at one of several wineries including Hillebrand Estates and Peller Estates for lunch and a tour.

Stay on land but retain the romance with a horse-drawn carriage ride in and around Niagara-on-the-Lake. Sentineal Carriages offers 30-, 45-minute and hour-long narrated tours through Old Town.

Stop and smell the roses—all 2,400 of them!—at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. Spread across 40 hectares, the grounds are lushly maintained with the likes of rhododendrons, azaleas and vegetable and herb plantings. NPC_3716

 

Get pampered and unwind with a couples massage. Both The Spa at White Oaks and Spa on the Twenty offer side-by-side massages, but the latter can also teach couples the proper techniques to knead out each other’s knots. For a truly indulgent experience, book the Time for Two service at Five Lakes Spa Aveda, which includes a massage, facial and pedicure for two.

Have a romantic dinner amongst the stars at the Revolving Dining Room at Skylon Tower, which is perched 236 metres above ground offering a spectacular view of the falls, which is particularly pretty at nighttime when it’s illuminated.

 

RELATED NIAGRA IS FOR EVERYONE STORIES:

A Kid-Friendly Itinerary

HOTEL INSIDER: Great Wolf Lodge

BY LINDA LUONG

ABOUT THE HOTEL
This American chain of resorts first opened its doors in 1997 in Wisconsin, followed by additional outposts across the United States, including Michigan, North Carolina, Texas and Ohio. The first—and thus far only—location outside of the U.S. is in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Beloved by families, Great Wolf Lodge is best described as a resort-meets-waterpark with a glamping ambience. Rustic in decor, a log cabin theme pervades the property with such touches as totem poles at the front entrance, antler chandeliers, and a fishing cabin-themed guest service counter.

Rooms are similarly decked out in a woodsy manner. Choose from 10 suite configurations between standard, themed and premium options. Standard rooms can include one or two queen sized beds, a sofa sleeper, in-room microwave and mini fridge. Themed suites have queen sized beds with a separate sleeping area for kids, which are outfitted with bunk beds and a TV. Premium spaces include loft-style suites, rooms with private master bedrooms and semi-private living or breakfast areas. Most rooms have access to a private balcony or patio.

Most of the resort’s communal space is geared towards families, with such activities as board games in the Grand Lobby, two daily performances by animated forest creatures, and nightly story time with resort mascots Wiley, Violet, Brinley and Oliver.

The resort uses a waterproof wristband system, which means you can go anywhere during your stay without your wallet or purse, or worry about forgetting your room key. Each wrist band can unlock your room, and can also be pre-loaded with money to be used throughout the resort, including the arcade, restaurants, bars, gift shops and other services, or wrist bands can be tapped for purchases and billed to your room.

BY THE NUMBERS
Size 
A 25-acre site that overlooks the Niagara Gorge, complete with a 103,000 square-foot waterpark.
Rooms  406 suites.
Price  $219.99 to $799.99
Conference Facilities  5,000 square-feet of flexible conference space is available complete with support from sales and banquet teams. There are five meeting rooms in total that range in size; options include Fallen Timbers A and B, which can seat up to 174 people together theatre style to the more intimate Eagles Landing, which can seat 16 people. Two other rooms, Northwest Territory A and B, can seat up to 200 guests combined in a theatre style.

 

AMENITIES
The big draw here is without a doubt the expansive on-site indoor waterpark, Bear Track Landing, as well as an outdoor waterpark, Loon Lagoon that is open seasonally. Together, 2.5 million litres of water fill the space, which boasts 13 waterslides, six pools, and a four-storey treehouse water fort. There are myriad of water play options for everyone, whether its lounging in an inner tube in the lazy Crystal River, playing in the Rainbow Lake wave pool, riding the Niagara Rapids Run water roller coaster with its 52-foot vertical drop, or sliding down a waterslide. The tiniest of guests can get their toes wet in Chipmunk Cove, a zero-depth entry pool with interactive toys.

If the aquatic exercise isn’t enough of a workout, the Iron Horse Fitness Centre is accessible 24 hours a day, and has equipment such as treadmills and elliptical machines.

Or, if a little pampering is in order, there are two options: Elements Spa is an ideal spot for adults who are in need of some “me” time. The spacious facility offers a range of treatments including manicures, pedicures, facials and massages, as well as couples’ treatment rooms. For pint-sized guests, book an appointment at Scooops Kid Spa, which is exclusively for children ages 3 to 12. The colourful space is inspired by an ice cream shop, and offers manicures and pedicures, as well as a gift shop carrying the likes of foot masks, bath fizz and scrubs.

FOOD
There are eight family-friendly options at Great Wolf Lodge, which means that even picky eaters can find something to satiate their appetites or quench their thirst. Tuck into the buffet at either the Antler Shanty or Camp Critter Bear & Grille, or a fresh pie from Northwoods Pizza Company, or perhaps some ice cream at the Bear Claw Café. Buckets Incredible Craveables is located right in the waterpark, and has a menu of easy-to-eat kid-favourites like hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken strips. (Seasonally, Crazy Loon is open at the resort’s outdoor facility, Loon Lagoon.) For a jolt of java or a tea, there’s Canoe Coffee, or for cocktails and beer, there’s Grizzly Rob’s Bar.

3950 Victoria Ave., Niagara Falls, 1-800-605-9653; greatwolf.com/niagara

HOTEL INSIDER: Sterling Inn & Spa

By LINDA LUONG

Sterling Inn & Spa

ABOUT THE HOTEL
Located off the main Niagara strip, but still within walking distance of casinos and numerous other attractions in Niagara Falls, this thoroughly modern boutique hotel is easily recognizable by the milk bottle-shaped entrance. Though construction for the hotel began in 2006, the building itself dates back to 1928 when it was Cairns Creameries (and later Bordens Dairy), one of the largest cream producers in the region—hence the front façade of the building. In the 1980s, the building housed a popular nightclub and restaurant.

(more…)

19 of Canada’s Most Unusual Museums

by CARISSA BLUESTONE

Canada’s Most Unusual Museums: the world-famous Gopher Hole Museum (Photo: Colin Smith)

Did you know that Vancouver has an entire museum devoted to corkscrews, that diehard Anne Murray fans can devour every detail of her life and record a CD with her in Nova Scotia, or that a tiny town called Vulcan in the Alberta Prairies is home to a Star Trek–themed tourist “station”? From the über-Canadian to the downright kooky, these unusual, one-of-a-kind and just plain weird museums earn the moniker “cabinet of curiosities”.

Start the slideshow of Canada’s most unusual museums »

10 Cool Kid-Friendly Hotels Across Canada

By LIZ BRUCKNER

FantasyLand Hotel at the West Edmonton Mall

Complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi aside, when visiting a hotel with the shorter set, it’s the kid-specific perks that garner real praise with parents. From kid concierges to in-hotel scavenger hunts, these nationwide homes-away-from-home earn serious child-friendly clout. (more…)

Nik Wallenda To Walk the High Wire Over Niagara Falls This Friday

By SHANNON KELLY

Nik Wallenda practicing in Niagara Falls, NY last week (Photo: Bob Caple)

Daredevils have gone over Niagara Falls in barrels, boats and inner tubes and have crossed the Niagara Gorge on high wire, but no one has attempted to cross the falls themselves on a tightrope.

This Friday Nik Wallenda is preparing to be the first person to do just that, when he walks 1,500 feet across a wire suspended 173 feet over Niagara Falls. (more…)

Is This the End for the Maid of the Mist?

By SHANNON KELLY

Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls (Photo: caruba)

The famous Maid of the Mist boat company, which has offered tours of Niagara Falls since 1846, was unsuccessful in renewing its lease with the Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) this week, losing out to a U.S.-based boat tour company. (more…)

See the First Niagara Falls Tightrope Walk in 100 Years This Summer

By SHANNON KELLY


Wallenda performing in Canada’s Wonderland in 2009.

The Ontario Niagara Parks Commission voted unanimously last week to allow tightrope walker Nik Wallenda to cross Niagara Falls via high wire. (more…)

The SkyWheel: Niagara Falls, Ontario

Every Friday we feature an inspirational travel photo of a Canadian destination taken by one of our readers.

Why we chose it: We almost didn’t recognize Niagara Falls’ SkyWheel from this angle. Bathed in warm light, it looks almost like a yellowing photograph of a Victorian-era Ferris wheel—if it weren’t for the sleek enclosed (and heated!) carriages. (more…)

5 Fun Cold-Weather Activities With Kids in Niagara Falls

Photo by Kevin Millican

By William Travis

Sure, you may have to bundle the kids up for a glimpse of the falls themselves in late fall or winter, but watching the 100,000 cubic feet of rushing water plunge downward is still a thrill no matter what season it is. Away from the falls, indoor and outdoor activities make Niagara Falls a fun winter getaway.

View as a slideshow… (more…)