Category Archives: Things to Do

Explore Niagara’s Patio Scene

Patio Season

IN NIAGARA

Niagara was made for Patio Season.

Whether you prefer wine or beer, spirits or smoothies, Niagara’s roots are steeped in fresh, award-winning products, perfect for sipping and savouring in the region’s wide-open spaces. While wine tours and brewery-hopping offer a great introduction into the great tastes of the region, a tasting experience is truly elevated with the right foundation – a patio.

From sprawling spaces and beautiful balconies, to hidden oases and private platforms, Niagara is full of patios for you to enjoy a tasty beverage under the open summer skies. To help you sip your way through the countryside where good things grow, Visit Niagara has five perfect patios to get you started, no matter your tastes.

Niagara was made for Patio Season.

Whether you prefer wine or beer, spirits or smoothies, Niagara’s roots are steeped in fresh, award-winning products, perfect for sipping and savouring in the region’s wide-open spaces. While wine tours and brewery-hopping offer a great introduction into the great tastes of the region, a tasting experience is truly elevated with the right foundation – a patio.

From sprawling spaces and beautiful balconies, to hidden oases and private platforms, Niagara is full of patios for you to enjoy a tasty beverage under the open summer skies. To help you sip your way through the countryside where good things grow, Visit Niagara has five perfect patios to get you started, no matter your tastes.

Ravine Estate Vineyard, Niagara-on-the-Lake

It’s not just the views to sprawling vineyards that make this patio a perennial favourite for locals and tourists alike. It’s all that Ravine’s outdoor space has to offer. This is the place where you can sidle up to the outdoor bar and pizza oven for one of this winery’s incredible hard ciders and a wood-fired pie. It’s also where you can bring your family to gather around a table for a more formal meal. But don’t confuse that with stuffy. There are ping pong tables to help pass the time, wide open spaces for family matches of footie and never any rush to move along.

Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery, 1366 York Rd, St. Davids

URL: RavineVineyard.com

Niagara Oast House Brewers, Niagara-on-the-Lake

The atmosphere here feels very much like hanging out in your BFF’s big, country backyard. The PatiOast is a casual gathering spot for leisurely sipping of this craft brewery’s seasonal suds, including strawberry-rhubarb ale, peach hefeweizen or its flagship Barnraiser. In keeping with that backyard feel, Brushfire Smoke BBQ serves up a changing menu of meaty and vegan fare cooked over a flame and with a view to Stratus Vineyard’s pristine grapevines, which hug Oast’s red barn headquarters.

Trust Beer Bar, St. Catharines

Grit, grain, hustle, bustle and tacos sum up the experience at one of downtown St. Catharines’ largest and newest patios. Trust brings rare and unusual suds to the city, serving them alongside tacos on a large patio overlooking an alleyway where wall space serves as a canvas to graffiti artists for their next masterpieces. The scenery is colourful, just like the city’s core. And the patio, shaded with sails to protect beer pints from warming up too quickly under the summer sun, is a fun and comfortable spot to take a load off.

Creekside Estate Winery, Jordan Station

Leave the city in your rear view when you head west to St. Catharines’ outskirts and the deck at Creekside Estate Winery. Creekside is an award-winning producer of Syrah — and one of the few Niagara wineries teasing consistently remarkable vintages from a grape that doesn’t always fare well in this climate. But everyone fares well on the deck, which conjures relaxation overlooking a koi fish pond, and comfort with charcuterie boards and casual bites by longtime wine country chef Ross Midgley. In addition to wine, Creekside makes a stellar cider, Rood Apples, that pairs well with any summer day.

Honsberger Estate Winery, Jordan Station

Beauty, charm and pizza — there’s not much more a person needs for a memorable patio experience. This family-owned and operated vineyard has a lock on all three. Once considered a hidden gem in Niagara, Honsberger and its outdoor pizza oven is rightfully becoming known as the place to while away a day from May to October. Tipple some of Honsberger’s swoon-worthy vintages or chill out with a non-alcoholic beverage, including a gelato-lemonade sipper or iced coffee. Pets are welcome.

Stoney Ridge Estate Winery, Vineland

It’s easy to miss this winery, set back from King Street, the artery carving a swath along west Niagara’s wine route. But you really don’t want to. Stoney Ridge is home to beautifully manicured rose and flower gardens that conjure Europe and provide an idyllic escape from, well, everything. Enjoy a tasting flight of Stoney Ridge’s diverse wines alongside cheese plates, or save yourself for Fridays and Saturdays when Avella’s Wood Fired Oven pulls up to serve some of the most notable pizzas in Niagara. Take your time taking in the sights and sounds, and enjoy a bottle with Avella’s signature pepperoni, Margherita or Blue Moon.

Stoney Ridge Estate Winery, 3201 King St, Vineland

URL: StoneyRidge.com

Bench Brewing Company, Beamsville

Set at the base of the Niagara Escarpment in Beamsville, Bench Brewing has quickly become as formidable in Niagara’s beer scene as the landform overlooking it. The patio is set in a protected alcove between the century school house that’s the heart of Bench and the ultra-modern addition where the brewing magic happens. Bench is known for its deep tap and bottle list boasting several award-winners. Bench brews hold their own when sipped alone on a warm afternoon or evening. They also pair beautifully with the regional, seasonal fare by chef Erik Peacock, who helms the Bench kitchen.

Bench Brewing Company, 3991 King St, Beamsville

URL: BenchBrewing.com

Redstone Winery, Beamsville

Keep heading west and you’ll find Redstone Winery, which is named for the red clay soil upon which its immaculate vineyards grow. Redstone is home to a spacious and tranquil patio overlooking rows of grapevines as far as the eye can see. In addition to offering wine by the glass and bottle, alone or alongside the locally inspired menu crafted by Chef David Cider, there’s a sizeable lawn to enjoy a packed picnic lunch. Either way, Redstone is a must-stop for enjoying the sun and warmth while it lasts.

The Good Earth, Beamsville

The Good Earth is a beacon of conviviality and its gorgeous patio overlooking English gardens, grapevines and fruit orchards has a lot to do with that. Easily one of the most picturesque and comfortable patios in the region, this outdoor dining and sipping area opens early in the season.

It’s equipped with blankets to protect against the nip in the air that can linger into May and June. And it stays open well into fall for visitors to behold the breathtaking autumn colours that spread along the spine of the Niagara Escarpment in September and October. The Good Earth patio offers a seasonal menu that changes regularly and a solid wine list that goes well with any weather, whether it’s the high heat of July or September’s more easy-going temperatures.

Lake House Restaurant - Vineland Station

What happens when you take a stunning, old Niagara home, pair it with an unparalleled view of Lake Ontario and pepper in an expansive outdoor patio featuring a taste of the Corfu coast? Transport yourself to the Mediterranean seaside with a visit to Lake House Restaurant’s waterfront patio in Vineland Station, open for lunch and dinner. The house’s natural charm offers the perfect place to quench your summer thirsts with Ontario’s finest vintages. Dive into divine dishes and Lake House’s incredible history as the lake laps the shore—and maybe make a friend or two! Said to be one of the first stops for the Underground Railway, the house played an important role in Canada’s history.

The Twenty Valley region is a short visit from the Lake House. Visit the boutique shops in Jordan Village or venture to one of the area’s 35+ wineries

Dispatch - St. Catharines

Named one of Canada’s Top 10 Best New Restaurants by enRoute Magazine, this eco-friendly restaurant offers an adventure through global cuisine on a sunny curbside patio. Creating a personalized and memorable experience for guests (with a few surprises along the way), Dispatch can be found along Niagara’s wine route within the redeveloped Lincoln Theatre in the heart of downtown St. Catharines’ arts district. Stop by for street-side small plates and drinks on a specially designed patio, where great food and summer cocktails await, along with cellar goods and take-home cocktail kits for you to recreate the feeling of sipping something great under the warm Niagara sun from home.

Continue your outdoor adventure with a stroll down to Beechwood Doughnuts for incredible vegan doughnuts before heading along the pathways hugging Twelve Mile Creek.

Lock Street Brewing Company, St. Catharines

Built by the first Lock on the Welland Canal in Port Dalhousie’s Heritage District, Lock Street Brewing Company offers a tucked-away Biergarten where you and your social circle can take your time and enjoy their range of unfiltered, 100% organic brews. Grab a seat at a table by the firepit on the open patio surrounded by trees—you’ll have no trouble sipping suds in this oasis. Taking Ontario craft beer to new heights, Lock Street’s Flagship brews are tried and true favourites, from its Port Side Pilsner and Industrial Pale Ale, to the ‘Jealous Mistress’ English Brown Ale. Looking for something a little different? Dip into an ‘Olde Red’ aged amber ale, with strong caramel and banana notes, or the ‘None the Weisser’ Belgian Witbier to taste the difference natural ingredients make in this brewery’s craftsmanship.

This patio is the perfect destination after a walk down St. Catharine’s Harbour Walkway Trail through nearby Lakeside Park. While your footprints on the park’s sandy beachfront may wash away, the memories of an afternoon well-spent in Niagara’s great outdoors will last for seasons.

Lock Street Brewing Company, 15 Lock St, St. Catharines

URL: Lockstreet.ca

Gate House Restaurant - Niagara-on-the-Lake

Niagara-on-the-Lake’s historic downtown street may be one of the region’s most beautiful—and peaceful—destinations for friends, family and couples visiting the region. Pairing one of the newest restaurants with one of the oldest and most historic buildings in NOTL (dating back to the 1700s!), Gate House Kitchen & Café’s shaded terrace overlooking Queen Street is the perfect place to sip your way through the sirahs and sauvignon blancs of the region. Taste the difference Niagara soil makes with fresh dishes using produce from local Thwaites and Ohme Farms, paired with a constantly evolving selection of wines with a focus on Ontario’s top producers of both wine and craft beer. 

After you’ve savoured your patio moment, explore Queen Street’s picturesque shops at your leisure or try something more adventurous on for size with a historic ghost tour or jump on a guided bike ride down the Greater Niagara Circle Route.

The Gate House Restaurant, 142 Queen St, Niagara-on-the-Lake

URL: TheGateHouse.ca

Taps Brewhouse - Niagara Falls

Great beer requires great food. Taps Brewhouse’s extraordinary menu and craft beers await on their expansive cobblestone patio in downtown Niagara Falls, away from the hustle and bustle of Clifton Hill’s entertainment district. As Niagara’s first and oldest microbrewery, craft beer here is brewed in small batches, but with a lot of love. Sip your way through a flight to discover what sets Taps apart – a must-try is the ‘Art Attack’ IPA, a west-coast style IPA that inspires art-full contrasts of ingredients, or the seasonal ‘Pumpkin 3.14’ (made with real pumpkin!).  Paired with a carefully-crafted menu, the brewery’s greatest bragging right is its chef!

Take a quick, post-pint drive towards the Niagara River and head south to find the legendary views of Niagara Falls. Or, head north to find Niagara helicopter tours, the Whirlpool Aero Car and Whirlpool Beach – the perfect place to start a hike in Niagara’s great outdoors.

With over 450,000 acres of wide-open spaces across the region, Niagara is home to hundreds of patios to safely share a pint or glass with those you love. Whether you prefer privately sipping under the shade of an umbrella or savouring an afternoon under the sun, Niagara’s patios look forward to welcoming you back to great taste in the great outdoors.

Patio Season in Niagara

Craft Breweries in Niagara

GoSip Niagara

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Explore the craft beer scene across Niagara

GoSip Niagara

With 15 craft breweries to visit, it is a great time to GoSip Niagara. Seasonal fruits and farm fresh flavours influence the many small producers making it truly a local harvest celebration in a glass.

Silversmith Brewing Company

Best known for their multi award-winning Black Lager, Silversmith is Ontario’s original destination brewery. Hand-crafted beers are available on tap, including exclusive seasonal and limited releases available only at the brewery.

Located in a church dating back to the 1890’s, Silversmith also features an outdoor patio and food by oddBird.

1523 Niagara Stone Rd, Virgil, ON L0S 1T0, Canada

Niagara Brewing Company

Located in the heart of the Clifton Hill district and only 200 meters from Niagara Falls, the Niagara Brewing Company aims to brew beers that proudly represent Canada’s brewing heritage and today’s innovative craft beer scene. 

Brewed on-site, and offering a selective menu of appetizers and shared platters.

4915-A Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3N5, Canada

Bench Brewing Company

Bench Brewing takes a farmhouse approach to craft brewing, pairing it with the local winemaking tradition of the Niagara region.

Located in the town of Lincoln, in the beautiful Twenty Valley, in Ontario’s fruit land, the fertile ecosystem of the land will impart a unique terroir for Bench Brewing’s craft beer, just as it does for wine.

3991 King St, Beamsville, ON L0R 1B1, Canada

Family Attractions in Niagara

Niagara Family Attractions

FAMILY TIME

In Niagara

Memories that Last a Lifetime

Whatever your Niagara may be, we’ve got you covered, no matter the season. Not sure where to start? Whether you’re looking to spend time in the great outdoors, or splash around inside an Indoor Waterpark, Niagara Canada has everything needed for a perfect getaway that will keep you coming back for more.

Clifton Hill

Clifton Hill has reinvented itself over the years, and has established itself as one of the top family-fun destinations in all of Canada. Clifton Hill features hotels, attractions, restaurants and entertainment, all just one block from Niagara Falls and the Niagara Parkway.

Clifton Hill’s exciting array of attractions including the Niagara Speedway and the Niagara Skywheel, Canada’s Largest Giant wheel providing you with views like no other of Niagara Falls.

There are a number of museums, arcades, and restaurants found throughout Clifton Hill.

And based on its stellar location, you’re just steps from Niagara Falls and attractions such as Niagara City Cruises, the Niagara Zipline, and stunning natural green spaces such as Queen Victoria Park.

Clifton Hill, 4960 Clifton Hill , Niagara Falls, ON, L2G 3N4

Niagara City Cruises

You’ll be happy to be caught in the mist aboard one of Canada’s top rated attractions, Niagara City Cruises anchored by Hornblower.

Sail upon state of the art boats, coming face-to-face with the famous Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Along the way you’ll enjoy stunning views of the Niagara Gorge, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. This is an experience unlike any other. You will feel the thundering roar, awesome power of this world wonder.

Niagara City Cruises: 5920 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6X8

Wildplay Zipline

Get a truly unique view of Niagara Falls aboard a thrilling adventure on WildPlay’s Zipline to the Falls.

This attraction is a hands-free, worry-free and fully-guided experience for both the thrill seekers and the hesitant. This is an experience like no other in the world.

WildPlay Niagara Falls Zipline to the Falls, 5920 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6X8

Niagara Parks

Experience the thrill of Niagara Parks’ attractions beloved by generations of explorers for more than 130 years.

Whether you’re standing in awe under the roar of the falls, soaring over a rushing whirlpool or surrounded by more than 2,000 free-flying butterflies, our iconic Canadian experiences will take your breath away.

Attractions include the brand new Niagara Parks Power Station, as well as the Whirlpool Aero Car, ?Journey Behind the Falls, White Water Walk, Buttefly Conservatory and more!

Tablerock Welcoming Centre, 6650 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 0L0

Waterparks in Niagara Falls

Enjoy the water year round in Niagara Falls. Home to major waterparks such as the American Resort’s Waves Indoor Water Park and the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark, the fun continues year round. Each waterpark offers unique rides, thousands of square feet of water slides, activities and fun for the whole family.

Fallsview Indoor Waterpark, 5685 Falls Ave, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6W7

Waves Indoor Waterpark, 8444 Lundy’s Ln, Niagara Falls, ON L2H 1H4

Family Food & Fun

Sure, many of us know the Niagara Region as the home of the world-famous Falls, but there’s so much more to the region.

Here you will find Niagara restaurants, wineries, farms and more, catering to all tastes and palates.

We encourage you to discover new flavours and experiences, made with love, throughout the seasons.

Various Locations in Niagara Region

Up Close & Personal with Niagara Falls

Get up close and personal with Niagara Falls. The unique thing about a visit to Niagara is just how close you can get to this iconic natural wonder.

You will be taken in by the mist, the roar and a majesty of the Falls.

Visit the Table Rock Welcoming Centre and stand feet from the iconic falls. Or visit one of the previously mentioned attractions such as Journey Behind the Falls, Niagara City Cruises and Wildplay’s Zipline to the Falls.

Tablerock Welcoming Centre, 6650 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 0L0

Hiking Niagara

Did you know that Niagara is home to amazing hiking! 

Visit the Niagara Glen Gorge is one of the best preserved remaining example of Southern Ontario’s original Carolinian forest.

Niagara is also home to the start of the Bruce Trail, the oldest and longest marked hiking trail in Canada.  

Various Locations in Niagara Region

Shareable Experiences

Shareable Niagara Experiences

Share the things that matter, with people you care about

White Meadow Farms

With roots over 75 years deep on White Meadows Farms, the Bering family is as passionate as ever to connect visitors with the unique character, quality, history and craft behind Canada’s sweetest natural treasure — 100% Pure Maple Syrup. 

Pillar and Post Hotel

The Pillar and Post Hotel, Spa and Conference Centre’s original structure was built in the late 1890’s, and since has been lovingly transformed into a charming hotel. With its relaxed elegance, modern amenities, indoor and outdoor pools, this five-star hotel boasts a rich history and features modern comforts.

Olde Angel Inn

Hearty food and ales, cozy historic rooms and good friends await you at The Olde Angel Inn, located in Niagara-on-the-Lake. This local’s favourite was established in 1789 and is one of the oldest buildings in Canada.

100 Fountain Spa

Escape into tranquility with a trip to this 13,000 square foot Niagara spa resort. Here you’ll find an extensive menu of spa services to soothe from head to toe and mind to soul. Spa guests receive access to the fireplace lounge interior seating area as well as the heated indoor saltwater pool, hot tub, outdoor pool, hot spring pool, and fitness center.

13th Street Winery

Set amongst 25 acres of estate vineyards, just west of St Catharines, 13th Street Winery creates exceptional wines that reflect the unique terroir of Niagara. The winery’s grounds offers guests a unique blend of Wine, Food and Art found via their bakery, indoor & outdoor wine tasting sections and their on-site Art Gallery.

Great Escape

Great Escape to Niagara

Reconnect

IN NIAGARA

My Niagara with Kaitlin Narciso

From taking in natural wonders to staying in boutique hotels and experiencing the great culinary adventures Niagara has to offer, join Kaitlin Narciso, as she escapes the grind of city life with a Great Escape to Niagara.

Queen's Landing Hotel

Stately Georgian-style mansion overlooking the scenic Niagara River and Lake Ontario. 

The hotel enjoys a superb location, allowing guests easy access to a range of popular attractions. Niagara Falls City and St. Catharines are also a short car ride away.

155 Byron St, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0

Ball’s Falls Conservation Area

Photographers and nature lovers alike will love the incredibly breathtaking view of the majestic Twenty Mile Creek as it plummets over both the upper and lower falls.

Located inside the Conservation Area is a lovingly maintained early mid 19th century industrial hamlet atmosphere featuring the original Ball family home, an operating flour mill, a lime kiln, a church, black smith shop, carriage shed, and more.

3292 Sixth Ave, Lincoln, ON L0R 1S0

Bistro Mirepoix

Ranked as TripAdvisor’s #1 North American Brunch, Mirepoix is a peculiar little bistro with a focus on breakfast and lunch (but mostly brunch). The unassuming location features local art and wherever possible all meals are made fresh in-house, with local, seasonal and organic, ingredients.

64 Court St, St. Catharines, ON L2R 4S2

Flat Rock Cellars

In the picturesque community of Lincoln, Ont. on the Niagara Escarpment, world class Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Rieslings are being made at the Flat Rock Cellars winery. On 98-hectores of some of the best grape-growing soil in the world, Flat Rock Cellars is heralding international acclaim for its award-winning wines.

2727 Seventh Ave, Jordan Station, ON L0R 1S0

Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery

Wine. Whisky. Beer. The sprawling grounds feature tasting bars, retail stores, tours, cocktail seminars and a VIP tasting room. Outside, relax at The Whisky Bar patio and Beer Garden for cold drinks and seasonal menus from the grill. In the winter, the water feature transforms into a backyard skating rink with DJ parties!

1219 Niagara Stone Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0

Birdwatching in Niagara

Birdwatching

NATURALLY NIAGARA

Birding Niagara in Every Season.

Niagara offers incredible locations for bird watching. Explore the popular trails and enjoy the scenic views while taking in the variety of bird species that visit the area.

Designated as a Globally Significant Important Bird Area (IBA) in 1996, the Niagara River Corridor, stretching over 56 kilometres, is home to hundreds of bird species that depend on the Niagara area as their critical habitat all year-round.

Providing a fundamental connection between the Arctic and the Amazon Basin, the Niagara River Corridor comes alive with over 380 species and 25 subspecies of birds that migrate, overwinter, and even breed in the area.

Outdoor, nature, bird, and science enthusiasts have long known that Niagara is a magnet for wildlife, especially birds. Popular birding locations include Malcolmson Eco-Park, in St. Catharines, and the Niagara Botanical Gardens, in Niagara Falls, all beautiful locations to start your bird watching journey.

Niagara Zoom Backgrounds

Niagara Region

ZOOM BACKGROUNDS

Bring the Niagara Experience to Your Next Meeting

Helicopter

From the sensation of lift-off, to the excitement of soaring above the turbulent rapids and cascading waterfalls, your Niagara Helicopters ride is a unique and spectacular experience. Your all-scenic flight gives you a thrilling view of Niagara’s natural and man-made wonders

Featured – Niagara Helicopters

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Spas

Niagara is home to numerous world class spas, including Spas that overlook Niagara Falls.

Featured – Christienne Fallsview Spa

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Butterfly Conservatory

Step inside one of the largest glass-enclosed butterfly conservatories in North America, and explore a tropical garden oasis at the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory. Admire the beauty of over 2,000 vibrantly coloured butterflies fluttering freely around you as you explore 180 metres of winding pathways adorned with lush vegetation and trickling waterfalls.

Featured – Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory

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Jet Boat

Speed across the churning Niagara Whirlpool aboard a jet boat that can skim over the surface. Prepare to get wet on the adventurous boat ride, which is a high-adrenaline alternative to slower sightseeing boats.

Featured – Niagara Jet Boat

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Icewine

The Falls. Thrilling entertainment. Fabled history. Niagara Canada is home to so many wonders, but none is as exclusive and alluring as the Icewine Festivals of Niagara – an experience you simply can’t get anywhere else. It’s a month-long celebration in January, where you will explore Icewine at three unforgettable Festivals. Broaden your palate and embrace new experiences by indulging in tastings of fine Niagara wines, an evening gala, and dinners fit for the most discerning foodies. 

Featured – Icewine Festival

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Wine

Niagara is Canada’s largest wine region, boosting over 130 wineries. Visit wineries big and small, visit a barrel room or sit outside amongst the vines and sip a glass (or two).

Featured – Peller Estates and 13th Street Winery

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Meetings & Special Occasions

Niagara features unique meeting & special event locations, inside and out. Dine overlooking the Niagara Gorge, or in this instance inside of an award winning barrel room.

Featured – Two Sisters Vineyards 

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Twenty Valley Wine

Lincoln, Ontario is home to more than 40 wineries, producing Ontario wines recognized and celebrated across Canada and the world.

Featured – Rosewood Estates Winery, Flat Rock Cellars and Twenty Valley in Winter

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Silversmith Brewing Company

Niagara is more than just wine country. With our boutique-like breweries all over the region, the craft beer industry is alive and well! The Niagara Ale Trail is your guide to the must-visit offerings in the area, both established and new to the local craft scene.

Featured – Silversmith Brewing Company in Niagara-on-the-Lake

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Niagara Parkway

It’s impossible to be in a hurry when you’re on the Niagara Parkway. Hugging the Niagara River as it stretches from Niagara-on-the-Lake in the North to Fort Erie in the South, this scenic road compels travellers to slow down and take in the view. And what a view it is. In 1943, Sir Winston Churchill described it as “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world.” The nice thing is, at only 55 km in length, there’s plenty of time for exploring along the way.

Featured – Niagara Parkway

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Comfort Maple

The Comfort Maple Conservation Area conserves what is widely believed to be the oldest and finest sugar maple tree in Canada. Estimated to be 400-500 years old, the Comfort Maple towers about 24.4 metres at its crown with a trunk circumference of 6 meters and symbolizes Canada’s strength and tradition.

Featured – Comfort Maple Tree

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Seasonal

People often ask when would be the best time to visit Niagara.  That’s not an easy question to answer.  Niagara shines in every season and there is a tantalizing variety of attractions all year round.

Spring Flowers

During the spring experience the grandeur of Niagara Falls itself, and the changing of the seasons. Highlights include the opening of botanical gardens, great theatre, festivals, vineyards and superlative dining.

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Summer

Summer is peak season in Niagara. The Falls, wine country, cycling, farms, attractions and more are just a few of the options available. Nighttime fireworks, evening cruises and outdoor patios make Niagara a true all-day destination.

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Fall

Take in the spectacular colours that the Fall season brings in Niagara. The landscape silently explodes with vibrant colors of red, yellow, and orange, and there are numerous fall events, festivals and special attractions.

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Winter

See Niagara in a different light during the winter. Highlights include the chance at seeing Frozen Niagara Falls, Niagara’s Icewine Festival season and world class entertainment events throughout the region.

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This is our Niagara. Discover Yours.

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Incoho Restaurant

Incoho

RESTAURANT

St. Catharines

The Dining Room Making a Difference

There’s a photo posted recently in the Incoho restaurant Instagram feed that conjures a different time entirely.

That might seem odd for a dining room that’s been open only a short time — since March 2019 — but given how the world has changed since then, the image feels like forever ago. The caption is more of the moment, however. It talks of how 2020 hasn’t been what Schmoll and Syegco expected. But it also expresses gratitude for the support they’ve received and celebrates the 160 Thanksgiving dinners Incoho donated to various charities and first responders.

It’s heartwarming, yet rueful. But mostly it’s reflective of the Niagara College alumni’s goal to run a restaurant that does things differently, from ensuring staff have a work-life balance that eludes many in hospitality to forging close relationships with the community. The picture shows diners gathered around tables to celebrate opening night at the downtown restaurant owned by young chefs Selah Schmoll and Ray Syegco.

Pre-pandemic, Incoho carved a niche with nearby office crowds, serving them their breakfasts and lunches. At night, diners from all over Niagara would show up for communal, single-seating dinners. Months into the pandemic, Schmoll and Syegco had adapted fully to slower, quieter takeout and patio service while keeping busy with other projects as they adapted to the new reality.

They bought excess food that farmers had grown to sell to restaurants forced to scale back inventory amid pared-down service. Schmoll and Syegco wanted to keep the pipeline open for local suppliers, so instead of putting those harvests on the menu, they turned them into meals for charities and first responders trying to stay afloat themselves in the new reality.

“We can either be negative or adapt. We chose to adapt,” Schmoll said. “We’re still around. It’s just trying our best to make it work.”

That’s meant putting on bake sales and offering all the carbs one could crave during hard times. There are fewer hours devoted to serving breakfast and lunch menus that change regularly, but the patio with new heaters and a covering is open for anyone who gets to Incoho for their morning or midday meals of breakfast sammies with egg, tomato, cheese, choice of bacon and seasonal greens or market bowls starring fresh vegetables and grains.

The dining room is open again, too, though the communal dinners have room for only eight these days instead of the usual 14. As a silver lining, two more courses of high-end comfort food with an intensely seasonal and local flair have been added to the set menu, bumping it to seven plates per person.

Still, the past few months have given the duo and their small team, which they’ve expanded, the chance to experiment in the kitchen. They’ve made their own vinegar, dry-aged meat, helped on the farm that supplies much of their produce and held those massively successful bake sales.

“It’s helped push creativity,” Syegco said. “During the slower periods, we had a lot more time to experiment. Usually when you run a restaurant, you don’t take the time to work on those skills. You have to put in extra time or go in on your day off.”

And then there are those Instagram posts with their nods to normalcy while doing things differently.

“Everything gets talked about in the kitchen. We’re all on the same page so everything’s a lot of fun,” Schmoll said. “The only difference is we slap on a mask every day.”

We can either be negative or adapt. We chose to adapt.

Selah Schmoll

Bolete Restaurant

Bolete

Restaurant & Market

St. Catharines

Collaboration Mushrooms at Bolete

When Andrew McLeod opened Bolete four years ago, all thoughts were on making his St. Paul Street dining room a destination. These days, the veteran chef has been thinking about how best to feed people at home. It’s been an unexpected shift, but then that’s what running a restaurant in a pandemic will do.

Take the composed Thanksgiving turkey dinner that was a recent collaboration between McLeod and Nathan Young of In the Smoke Cookery. All thoughts were on people who stayed home during the cresting of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic yet still craved a sense of occasion. Takeout turkey with the all the fixings was McLeod’s answer to help people celebrate on a smaller scale anyway.

“We wanted to turn this into a positive,” McLeod said. “After a negative time in the beginning, it was ‘Let’s stay on top of this, be positive and make this as amazing as we can.’ ”

There are many beginnings to go back to in McLeod’s storied career as a chef. The real beginning was sitting in the exalted dining room of Canoe when McLeod was a teenager. He was wowed by the towering Bragard hats and flawless choreography of the kitchen brigade. Soon after, he took a job washing dishes at an Italian restaurant in his native Whitby, working up the ranks to short order cook. Next came graduating from George Brown College’s culinary program, then working in storied kitchens throughout Toronto. By the mid-aughts, McLeod turned his attention to Niagara.

McLeod took full advantage of what the wine region and buckle of Ontario’s fruit belt had to offer, spending six years in the kitchen at Andrew Peller and connecting with winemakers and other chefs in the area. After a few years helming high-end kitchens in Stoney Creek and Burlington, including at Spencer’s on the Waterfront, McLeod found himself back in Niagara with dreams of a place of his own.

Bolete was it and it was a culmination of everything he’d done to that point: show-stopping food paired with the best Niagara vintages, but without the conventionality of the dining room that originally drew him to the profession.

People could sit at the bar at Bolete and watch McLeod and his team work. Or they could luck out and have him serve their entrée to them at a table. Soon after opening, Bolete ranked among the go-to dining rooms in the downtown. But then the pandemic hit and it was another beginning for McLeod, who was forced to lay-off his staff and translate fine dining to takeout.

“Standing in an empty restaurant with no people and no staff to communicate with… and waiting for the phone to ring for takeaway, it was really sad,” McLeod recalled.

Bolete had to be reimagined, starting with opening a patio in early summer after restrictions loosened. McLeod barbecued chicken and ribs and served his trademark composed dishes staring each. There were burgers with diners’ new budgets in mind, and then jalapeño mac and cheese because comfort was being given top consideration, too.

They’re still “beautiful dishes that would be a Bolete dish” but reflective of people’s cravings in a global health crisis.

So, too, is the market that McLeod has opened where tables once occupied space in his restaurant. It features take-home meals, including Young’s brisket to reheat sous-vide. There’s also kimchi from Paul Bang at Korean BBQ Town, McLeod’s own preserve projects, fresh pasta, gourmet pantry staples and wine.

“Bolete — what it is — is supporting other people,” McLeod said.

And feeding them, too. With one of the largest dining rooms downtown, McLeod is inviting diners back to physically distanced tables in a newly renovated space that currently features the photography of local shutterbug Joel Smith.

The barbecued chicken and ribs that beckoned people to the Bolete patio are still on offer. But there are plans to get back to the “OG” menu, of “lots of braises and warm comforting things,” as the weather turns colder.

That means another beginning in the story of pandemic dining. Still, McLeod is hopeful given how much he’s persevered since March, and especially since that meal at Canoe all those years ago.

“I look around the restaurant with the renovations and what we’ve accomplished, and who thought we’d do this?” he said. “We changed the entire dynamic of the restaurant in the middle of COVID with no staff and I’m proud of that. Looking around at what we’ve done, it’s kind of incredible.”

Bolete — what it is — is supporting other people.

Andrew McLeod

#OurHomeSTC

Patio Andaluz

Patio Andaluz

Mexican - Spanish Cuisine

St. Catharines

A Fresh & Flavourful Trip to Spain and Mexico in Port Dalhousie

Alejandra Lopez and Antonio Bueno decided to take matters into their own hands when they couldn’t find a suitable restaurant representation of paella or tacos. Lopez, who hails from Guadalajara in western Mexico, and Bueno, who grew up in the Andalusia region of Spain, decided to open Patio Andaluz, a Mexican-Spanish dining room in Port Dalhousie, specializing in the quintessential dishes of their homeland.

But it came after years of eating others’ spins on those recipes in and around Toronto where the couple lived for 13 years after immigrating to Canada, and leaving the table wanting.

“Tacos as a concept are tortillas with filling. You’ll find ours are traditional,” Lopez said. “People will make tacos with different ingredients and that’s OK. But sometimes you want a taste of home. I could never find a place where I could say ‘This is a taste of home; this is just like Mexico.’ I was always disappointed that our heritage wasn’t being represented in a culinary aspect.”

It is now, however, at Patio Andaluz. The couple, who have extensive restaurant experience, opened their cosy Lock Street eatery last year in a quest to provide proper tacos and shine a light on paella, the rice dish that’s one of Spain’s best-known culinary exports.

Doing that, though, means not taking shortcuts in the kitchen. So in the case of Patio Andaluz’s signature paella, which serves two, that means nothing hits the pan until an order comes in for any one of the three types they offer. It can take up to 45 minutes to make the Paella Valencia with chicken, the seafood-filled Paella de Mariscos, or the vegetarian version, Paella de Verduras, which Lopez admits is an exercise in patience for some diners. But the wait is worth it when the result is nothing short of what’s served on the other side of the Atlantic.

“We don’t want to change it. From a business perspective, we should, but we wanted to do it the way we do it for us at home or for our friends,” she said. “It’s been a challenge but we take much pride in what we do in terms of the cooking we do. We call it comfort food because it’s authentic.”

That MO of keeping things real in the kitchen extends to Lopez’s beloved tacos, too. The Tacos Baja, for example, are a nod to the Cal-Mex fish taco from the Baja Peninsula. The tacos al pastor honour the marinated pork tacos known throughout Mexico but with different regional variations, such as cooking the meat with pineapple as they do in Guadalajara. There are also the beefy tacos de asada, tacos charros filled with chicken, and tacos veganos filled with plant-based chorizo and refried beans so no plant-based eater misses out.

All the salsas topping those tacos are made daily in small batches, ensuring the freshness synonymous with true Mexican cooking.

The Patio Andaluz menu is rounded out with tapas served on larger plates specifically for sharing, including classic Papas Bravas, those cubed potatoes blanketed with salsa brava, and Tia Susi’s white clams with white wine sauce, a menu contribution from Bueno’s Aunt Susi in Spain.

Combined, Patio Andaluz’s dishes are calling cards for locals but also for diners, including Spanish and Mexican families from Hamilton and Toronto seeking flavours that aren’t easy to find beyond Spain and Mexico’s borders.

“This tells us we’re on the right track,” Lopez said. “They say ‘Now we know where to get paella. Having people from our home countries say this is where we can get food make us so proud and happy. It’s a pleasure when someone comes to the restaurant and they try (the food). It’s wonderful to see their faces change and they leave happy.”

We call it comfort food because it’s authentic.

Antonio Bueno

#OurHomeSTC

Korean BBQ Town

Korean BBQ Town

Authentic Korean

St. Catharines

A Seoul Food Experience

When life gets busy in Korea, there’s dosirak. The Korean lunch boxes, similar to a Japanese bento with all its compartments, serve up comforting staples, including kimchi, dumplings, salad and soup, to keep people going through their full days.

It turns out, though, that dosirak is also fitting when the hankering for takeout brunch hits in St. Catharines. Just ask Paul Bang, the owner of Korean BBQ Town on Wellington Street downtown. Channelling the food culture of his birth city, Seoul, Korea, Bang sees dosirak as the perfect remedy for a breakfast-lunch hybrid taken to go during a pandemic in the Garden City.

“I’d never planned on doing dosirak before because it’s takeout. I’d always focused on dining in because having a restaurant is all about people gathering,” Bang said. “But the trend is changing to more individual-style (dining).”

Still, when people do want to gather around the table, Korean BBQ Town offers one of the most unique ways in the city to do that: with table-top barbecue.

Think of shared plates — all you can eat meat and vegetables — that diners cook themselves at the table while catching up and connecting with each other over every bite. All of it is served with banchan, those small Korean side dishes that include the essential of any Korean meal, kimchi. While typically made of napa cabbage seasoned with chili pepper, kimchi comes in many forms and Bang highlights its versatility with a handful of varieties, including spicy and non-spicy versions made with daikon radish, at Korean BBQ Town.


Korean table barbecue is the ideal cold weather dining as the chill in the air becomes harder to ignore at this time of year. It’s also one of the most social dining experiences in the city, and after months of people hunkering down to flatten the COVID-19 curve, diners have been seeking Bang’s Korean barbecue for the taste of normalcy it offers them and their social bubbles.


“They’re craving table barbecue and gathering,” Bang said.

“They’re eating, they’re cooking, they’re talking because it’s been a long time since they’ve been together.”

Bang, a graduate of Niagara College’s hospitality management program, came to Canada as a young adult in 2005, settling first in Windsor with his sister. The hope was to eventually open a restaurant, so he searched for culinary programs throughout Ontario to prepare for that dream.

He chose Niagara College for its reputation and the prospects in the region when he graduated. When Bang opened Naysa Fusion, Korean BBQ Town’s original incarnation, on St. Paul Street in 2009, he was the first international student to run his own restaurant in the area. After the lockdown in March, he stuck to offering the essentials: Korean fried chicken, known colloquially as KFC, and kimchi, the latter which he continues to sell by the kilogram at his restaurant and also at the new Bolete market on St. Paul Street. Takeout is still part of his repertoire — and will continue to be as he experiments with dosirak.

But with indoor dining resuming once again, he’s back to offering a full menu, including other Korean flagships such as bibimbap, which is veggies, rice and protein served in a hot stone bowl, beef bulgogi, and chilli jeyuk pork. Tofu features prominently on the menu, too, ensuring room at the table for plant-based eaters.

While diners are undoubtedly grateful to have access to all of Bang’s dishes again, he also isn’t short on gratitude through these uncertain times for restaurateurs.

“Every day I go into the restaurant for work and I say ‘Thanks, God, for the work,’ ” he said. “I’m happy to be serving food and being in the kitchen. There’s not a complaint.”

I’d never planned on doing dosirak before because it’s takeout. I’d always focused on dining in because having a restaurant is all about people gathering,” Bang said. “But the trend is changing to more individual-style (dining).

Paul Bang

#OurHomeSTC

The Twisted Pig

The Twisted Pig

Italian Kitchen

St. Catharines

La Dolce Vida in Port Dalhousie

Opening a restaurant isn’t for the faint of heart. Opening a restaurant during a pandemic? Well, that’s for someone else entirely. Like Mike and Robyn Burgess.

The husband and wife team not only took a chance on their own restaurant when they opened The Twisted Pig Italian Kitchen in Port Dalhousie last August, they also took a chance on doing it in an entirely new city.

“In the middle of a pandemic, we decided to take the plunge and jump in,” Mike said. “We were counting on the fact the pandemic wouldn’t last forever. It was buy low and hope to still be here when it’s over.”

So far, diners are doing their share to ensure that’s the case. Many have become regulars in the few short months The Twisted Pig has been open on the corner of Lock Street and Lakeport Road. But the Burgesses are also doing their part to make it easy for them.

For starters, the entire business model of The Twisted Pig hangs on using seasonal and unadulterated ingredients in everything that comes out of the kitchen.

The Caprese salad that was such a hit this summer? It was simply good tomatoes from the garden of the Burgesses’ wine rep landing on a plate the day they were picked, then dressed with olive oil alongside fresh burrata.

“There’s no disguising it,” Mike said.

Even as the weather turns colder and gives kitchens different ingredients with which to work, the approach to food at The Twisted Pig remains the same. The fall spin on that classic Caprese stars beets, burrata, crushed pistachio and basil, for example. There are other comforts, too. They tend to come in carb form, including the fan favourite gnocchi gorgonzola, featuring hand-made potato gnocchi, gorgonzola cream sauce and Rosewood Estates Winery wildflower honey.

That dish has been so popular since The Twisted Pig opened that it’s already cemented a permanent spot on the menu alongside a seasonal version Mike makes from scratch every day.

“It’s next level and not something you’re going to make at home, spending a couple hours making gnocchi,” he said. “We’re the opposite of a chain restaurant. Everything is made from scratch and with love.”

And of course there’s pizza, given the wood-fired oven that was already in the restaurant when they bought the building in early summer. There’s classic Margherita, more current Hawaiian for those who don’t have a problem with fruit on their ’za, and everything in between that shines on crust covered with San Marzano tomato sauce and fior di latte.

All of it can be accompanied by wine, “the backbone of Italian cuisine,” including some of Niagara’s best vintages. And all of it can be eaten in the restaurant or taken to go. Specializing in Italian wasn’t a stretch for the couple who met while working at Il Fornello in Oakville. Mike led the kitchen of the popular Italian eatery after working his way up the ranks from a 17-year-old dishwasher to head chef, with culinary school and stints working in Kelowna, B.C. in between.

Robyn worked front of house. Both had been furloughed from their jobs when they decided to strike out on their own. Neither was daunted by the fact they were purchasing a restaurant with capacity for 200, including two patios and three dining rooms, during a pandemic. The couple have been living in Niagara since 2017 and on nights they weren’t commuting to work, they would explore local dining options, including the St. Catharines flourishing dining scene with the likes Oddbird and Dispatch downtown.

But then there was Port Dalhousie in the city’s north end. It had all the natural trappings of a destination with Lakeside Park and all that waterfront. Plus there was the promise of new residents with the condominium developments in the works.

When it came to dining, however, there was room for The Twisted Pig and the Burgesses’ vision of a place for both classic and contemporary Italian.

“The dining scene in Port Dalhousie was almost non-existent and that was the appeal,” Mike said. “There’s a lot of exciting things going on. St. Catharines has a really good dining scene going on but most of that is that pocket on St. Paul Street and bringing life to that area.”

And now The Twisted Pig is bringing la dolce vida to Port, pandemic be darned.

“It was important for us to give the diner the same experience we expect everywhere,” Robyn said. “We’re foodies and we like to dine out. We want to give people that same great experience.”

We’re the opposite of a chain restaurant. Everything is made from scratch and with love.

Mike Burgess

#OurHomeSTC

Fall Harvest Season in Niagara

Fall in Love with Fall

FALL HARVEST SEASON

In Niagara

It’s easy to fall for Niagara in autumn.

Farm stands loaded with diverse harvests operate at full throttle early in the season. By the time they shutter for the year, the leaves have started turning and the Niagara Escarpment becomes a breathtaking swath of technicolour boasting every shade of copper and gold. Wineries buzz with activity as grapes are harvested and the region’s world-class winemakers tease out the story of another vintage. Niagara sparkles at this time of year and there are more than a few places where it really — and rightly — shows off.

Short Hills Provincial Park, St. Catharines

This provincial park on St. Catharines’ western edge is the place to reconnect with Mother Nature and yourself, especially as the weather cools and the changing colours set the place aglow. Whether or not the pastiche of steep hills here feel short when you’re hiking on them, the name of this provincial park comes from the spirited Twelve Mile Creek forging through sedimentary deposits and glacial till, creating “short hills” in the process.

The park spans more than 660 hectares and is filled with six side trails connecting to the mighty Bruce Trail, Canada’s oldest and longest footpath stretching from Queenston to Tobermoray. Short Hills is a great beauty to behold in any season, but none so much as in the Fall while walking under a canopy of colourful foliage along this storied trail system.

It’s also filled with wild foods native to the dense Carolinian forest that reaches from the Carolinas into Southern Ontario. You can find such tree-grown treats as the pawpaw, a Kosher dill-sized fruit with creamy flesh that tastes like a cross between a banana and mango; sweet chestnut; and the Kentucky Coffee, whose seeds can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute.

There are plenty of other wild edibles, including mushrooms, leeks, garlic mustard and burdock. Just remember that foraging in provincial parks is only allowed when it’s for personal consumption. Please leave behind more than you take.

Short Hills Provincial Park, Pelham Rd, Thorold, ON, Canada

13th Street Winery, St. Catharines

Not far from Short Hills is another park-like setting, this one focusing on the bon vivant’s holy trifecta of wine, food and art. 13th Street Winery is co-owned and operated by third generation farmers Doug and Karen Whitty, and it’s truly the whole package when it comes to experiencing Niagara in a glass and on a plate.

13th Street has made its mark with award-winning Gamay Noir, a light red that hadn’t always been taken seriously until winemaker Jean Pierre Colas showed the magic that could be worked with a Gamay grape grown in the Whitty vineyards. Gamay Noir is now considered one of Niagara’s flagship wines thanks to such vintners.

This winery has also made a name for itself for another reason: its iconic butter tart. It’s a quintessentially Canadian treat represented a dozen different ways thanks to a Whitty family recipe. There’s the classic plain, raisin or pecan for the purists. But there are also super-indulgent spins, including one based on Turtles chocolates and others with raspberries & coconut, and icewine. They’re a sweet tooth’s calling card, beckoning butter tart fans from all over Ontario. 13th Street’s editions were even voted Canada’s Best Butter Tarts by House and Home Magazine in 2017.

For those who don’t want to start with dessert, chef Josh Berry focuses on what’s in season in the 13th Street Bistro kitchen. The winery market also offers take-home options, including its wildly popular salsa, frozen soups, and preserves.

No visit is complete without wandering the pristine grounds dotted with a curated collection of Canadian art. The entire space, indoors and out, is begging to be photographed so don’t forget the selfie stick.

13th Street Winery, 1776 Fourth Ave, St. Catharines, ON

Howells Farm, Pelham

Whoever coined the term agritainment must have had Howells in mind. This off-the-beaten-path attraction was a surprise hit through the summer of the pandemic with a cosy beer and wine garden set up in a greenhouse and stretching outside, where heaters fend off the chill in the air at this time of year. The bar serves up local vintages and brews by the glass. For those feeling peckish, poutine and charcuterie are options, all while beholding the expansive views of Pelham’s rolling hills.

Howells is a beacon of activity with its corn maze, seasonal-themed family fun and rides for children of all ages, candy apples, and of course, a pumpkin patch.

Fall is arguably among the best times of year to visit Niagara. Whether it’s spending time among the unadulterated natural features or enjoying those sippable, snackable attractions that have been teased from the earth by a knowing human hand, Fall in Niagara is prime time to experience everything the region offers.

Howell Family Pumpkin Farm, 2878 Holland Rd, Fonthill, ON

Fall Harvest Time in Niagara

Breathtaking Sunday Drives

Niagara's Breathtaking Sunday Drives

From roads lined with beauty to the hidden gems found throughout quaint townships and cities.

Ontario is one of the best provinces to explore because it offers something for every adventurer, no matter what day of the week it is. But when Sunday afternoon rolls around and you’re looking to relax before the rush of the week ahead hits you, there’s nothing better than rolling the windows down for a cruise on some of the province’s best scenic routes all found within a two-hour drive from Toronto.

Filled with a mix of natural wonders and charming towns, with the added excitement of world-class wineries and restaurants, the Niagara Region is the perfect place to relax. Anywhere you travel within the region you’ll be greeted by beauty, but the Tourism Partnership of Niagara has made it even simpler for you with these easy-to-follow routes that are sure to take your breath away.

Our only suggestion, slow down, turn the radio up and enjoy the ride!

Niagara Parkway

In 1943, Sir Winston Churchill described it as “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world”, so it’s only fitting to start the list with this stretch of natural magnificence. Aligned with the Niagara River as it connects Niagara-on-the-Lake in the North to Fort Erie in the South, while on this drive you’ll find yourself wanting to slow down and take in the views. Interested in making a few pitstops along the way? Then this 55 km route is perfect for you as it is lined with some of the regions most noteworthy attractions. Whether you choose to see Brock’s Monument at Queenston Heights Park, the Niagara Floral Clock, Butterfly Conservatory, Whirlpool Rapids or the Willoughby Historical Museum, this drive is nothing short of exciting. The highlight of this road trip is the stunning up-close views of the renowned Horseshoe Falls, a sight you’ll have to see to believe.

Twenty Valley to St. Catharines

Looking for a lesson in geology? Take a cruise anywhere within the Twenty Valley to St. Catharines region. This route illustrates the beauty of where the Niagara Escarpment carved its place alongside Lake Ontario’s glistening coastline through millions of years of erosion. One of the best ways to get a true sense of this region is through the fruits of its labour. Have your designated driver enjoy the fresh and local fare while you sip the region’s greatest export, wine. Wineries like Fielding Estate Winery and Hidden Bench Winery in Beamsville, Stoney Ridge Estate, or Flat Rock Cellars can all be found along this route. If a more active adventure is what you seek then this is also the route for you! Along the way make a stop at Short Hills Provincial Park, where you’ll be greeted by 735-hectares of the natural environment. This park, located in the centre of the Niagara Peninsula offers hiking, fishing, bird watching, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and mountain biking on authorized trails.

Niagara Stone Road

Located in quaint Niagara-on-the-Lake, this drive boasts pretty views and landscapes filled with green grass. While on this drive you may want to make an afternoon stop for brunch as Niagara Stone Road is famous for its long list of wineries located on and around it. Depending on the season you can expect to find acres of lush green grass and beautiful blossoms along this route. Remember to roll down the windows and turn up the tunes while you take in that fresh Niagara air.

Port Colborne to Fort Erie

Crossing the northern tip of Lake Erie, this route connecting the lakeside city of Port Colborne to the Historic Fort Erie is the perfect drive to fill your afternoon. Looking to cruise with friends, family or a significant other? Pack yourselves a picnic as this route offers explorers plenty of stop-off points to enjoy a shoreside lunch. Travelling west to east, you’ll start your journey in Port Colborne where you’ll find nothing short of fun things to do. History buffs can learn about the local architectural history of the region and surrounding communities on a self-guided walking tour of 33 homes, sites and properties all located in and around the Downtown Business District and Welland Canal. Looking to embark on a modern-day treasure hunt? Head for the antique trail where you’ll find more than 30 outlet stores selling unique collectables and treasures from years past.  Once you’re back on the road you’ll arrive in the Fort Erie where you can spend the rest of your Sunday browsing through their weekly Farmers market hosted at the Fort Erie Racetrack, where visitors can shop through vendors selling fresh farm products, signs and paintings, chocolates and cookies, jewellery and more!

Port Dalhousie To Niagara-On-The-Lake

If you’re looking for picturesque lakeshore views and breathtaking landscapes, this 22 km route is a must-experience! Heading west to east, start in the beautiful Port Dalhousie Harbour, where you can take full advantage of the 1,500-feet stretch of white sandy beaches at the historic Lakeside Park. Remember to pack a lunch, Lakeside Park is also an excellent site for picnics, with a picnic pavilion, concessions, playground equipment and beach volleyball courts available to all. Here you can also take a ride on an antique carousel carved in 1905. Seemingly frozen in time, the Lakeside Park Carousel still only costs 5 cents a ride. Be sure to also flock to the lighthouse located at the end of the marina pier. Here you can catch a panoramic view of the Toronto skyline, and those heading in and out from ports around the world. Finish off your day with dinner at one of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s many top-quality restaurants lining the towns charming streets. Known as the “Culinary Capital of Canada”, NOTL serves visitors anything from upscale cuisine and fine dining experiences to family-friendly and pub-style favourites.

Now that you’re equipped with all the best routes to waste time on your next Sunday afternoon, it’s time to put the peddle to the metal and go! From roads lined with beauty to the hidden gems found throughout the region’s quaint townships and cities, we invite you to sit back, relax and cruise through Niagara discovering everything it has to offer.

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Kaitlin Narciso and Friend Fireside

Shareable Experiences

Shareable Niagara Experiences Share the things that matter, with people you care about White Meadow Farms With roots over 75 years deep on White Meadows

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Parks and Greenspaces to Explore

Parks and Greenspaces

TO EXPLORE

5 “Undiscovered” Parks and Greenspaces That You’ll Want to Find

With most of us looking for a little extra space these days, it can almost seem as if there aren’t enough options. But let’s face it, there are tons of options if you’re looking in all the right places.

If you are looking for vast, open space to lay your eyes on, plant a picnic basket on, dig your toes or hiking shoes into, that is a little less “been there, done that” and more of a glorious hidden gem with jaw-dropping views — look no further than the Niagara region.

With over 3,000 acres of parkland, 3,000 kilometres of hiking and more in Niagara, you’ll be sure to find your perfect undiscovered oasis. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to spend an hour or two in between vineyard visits or an entire afternoon in the great outdoors, there’s plenty of space for you and your crew to enjoy all that Niagara has to offer.

Here’s where to start:

Dufferin Islands, Niagara Falls

Serenity and seclusion await! Explore 10 acres of paradise on this incredible series of manmade islands connected by bridges and walking trails. Although only a short drive south from the hustle and bustle of Niagara Falls’ biggest attractions, this unique and tranquil escape is one of the region’s “best kept secrets,” favoured by both locals and tourists alike. Perfect for anyone looking to take in a quiet, scenic stroll not too far off-the-beaten-path or an afternoon picnic in a storybook setting. If you simply cannot get enough of this little slice of paradise, come on back when this gorgeous space goes from green to white and bright! Make this your new go-to spot, and you’ll be happy to know its open year-round and is the site of the Winter Festival of Lights, where twinkly bright, colourful Christmas lights are on display around the islands from November through to January. 

Dufferin Islands, Niagara Falls

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, Niagara Falls

Just 10 minutes from the Falls can transport you to another world in Niagara! Take a quick drive along the Niagara Parkway and continue taking in all things beautiful by stopping in at the Botanical Gardens. Also home to the Butterfly Conservatory, where you will be amongst almost 100 acres of breathtaking gardens and their world-famous rose garden with over 2,400 blossoming beauties to see. Onsite you’ll spot the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, whose students maintain the manicured gardens all around you. Whether you’re a flower enthusiast or just have an appreciation for these bursts of colour that Mother Nature has to offer, immerse yourself in a world of blooms including perennials, azaleas, herbs and even a formal parterre garden all surrounded by butterflies. Needless to say, this is a magical experience you won’t want to miss that will truly set your heart aflutter!

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, 2565 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls

Charles Daley Park, Jordan Station

Everything is better by the beach, and green spaces are no exception! With not one, but two beaches, this 22.5-acre waterfront park is a total gem. Offering sand and greenspace galore, this park is perfect for those who want to spend their day surrounded by nature. In the summer months, enjoy the park’s lush green lawns, dig your toes into the sand on the beach or even take a hike. With both the Fifteen and Sixteen Mile Creeks flowing through Charles Daley Park into Lake Ontario, take advantage with a scenic creekside trek, indulge in the ultimate Canadian summer activity— canoeing —or tap into your fishing skills. If you end up staying the day or popping in during the evening hours, you won’t want to miss the stunning sunset over Lake Ontario at the end of a glorious summer day. With almost too much to do at this park, should you want to extend your visit and stay the night, be sure to check out the nearby Jordan Village for cozy accommodations, wine tastings, as well as one-of-a-kind shops to help you pack for a charming park or beach picnic with your pals in between activities.

Charles Daley Park, Jordan Station, ON L0R 1S0

Short Hills Provincial Park, Thorold

This expansive park doesn’t fall short on space as the largest park in the Niagara region! Nature lovers will delight in the astounding beauty of the Short Hills area, the result of a glacial erosion over 12,000 years ago when the Short Hills area was flooded by what we now know as Lake Erie. Pretty cool, right? These steep, small hills and valleys create a landscape that is unlike anything else in the region, and something you’ve got to see to believe! If you’re looking for a solid hike, a space to mountain bike and even horseback ride, the park’s mixed terrain including forests, meadows, creeks, waterfalls and hills, make it the perfect space to delight in these activities against a beautiful backdrop. For those who prefer to stay on track, there are seven trails in the park including the iconic Bruce Trail, should you yet to have knocked that off your bucket list! If you’re up for rewarding yourself after taking in a trial, be sure to visit a nearby award-winning winery such as Henry of Pelham, 13th Street Winery or Hernder Estate Wines.

Short Hills Provincial Park, Pelham Rd, Thorold

Queen’s Royal Park, Niagara-on-the-Lake

If you are looking to capture the iconic beauty and breathtaking scenery that is so wonderfully unique to Niagara-on-the-Lake, look no further than Queen’s Royal Park on your next trip to the area. Known for its picturesque picnic area, charming gazebo, waterfront path, beach access, and sweeping views of Lake Ontario, Fort Niagara, and the Toronto skyline, this park is a must-see and must-experience destination for locals and visitors, alike. With plenty of benches and picnic tables throughout, there is no shortage of points to take in the waterside sights whether you choose to sit, stroll, or venture down to dip your toes in the sand and water. When planning your visit, be sure to bring a camera as this park provides ample space for incredible selfies and group pictures that are sure to be cherished for years to come!

Queen’s Royal Park is a destination that you have to see to believe.

Queen’s Royal Park, 45 Front St, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Our undiscovered parks and green spaces await being discovered by you, your way! Grab your friends, family and those within your bubble to bask in the natural beauty of Niagara while savouring the beautiful weather.

Niagara Parks and Greenspaces

Picnics in Niagara

Dining Al Fresco

NIAGARA PICNICS

Countless places to pull over for a picnic.

Dining outdoors is often at its best when it involves a picnic basket and blanket.

Dining al fresco might just be one of the best things about warm weather. That doesn’t always have to happen on a patio, though. There are countless spots in Niagara to roll out a picnic blanket, lay out a spread of food and bask in both the heat of the season and the joy of being surrounded by nature and beauty.

Niagara, with all its views and bucolic beauty, is made for picnicking. Whether it’s sitting under what’s believed to be the oldest sugar maple in Canada or being in the midst of the action on the shores of Lake Ontario, the region boasts some of the best backdrops for an outdoor nosh. Here are just a few.

Brock's Monument, Queenston

Views to the past and to the Niagara River are what make this picnic spot a stunner. With sprawling lawns hugged by immaculate gardens, a gateway to the Bruce trail and one of the most gorgeous views of the mighty Niagara, Brock’s Monument is a must for packing a lunch and whiling away an afternoon. There’s a picnic shelter and playground, too, making this spot family-friendly. Don’t forget to check out the monument to Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock and Tecumseh, two heroes of the War of 1812.

Comfort Maple Conservation Area, Fenwick

If you’ve never hugged a tree before, you might want to after standing in the presence of the Comfort Maple. It’s believed to be the oldest sugar maple in Canada at more than 500 years old. The Comfort Maple, protected by the Ontario Heritage Act, has limbs that feel like they stretch for miles, making this a comfy space to spread out a blanket and have a quiet bite outdoors.

Comfort Maple Conservation Area, 640 Metler Rd, Fenwick

Lakeside Park, St. Catharines

It’s the muse for a Rush song for good reason. Lakeside Park is St. Catharines’ crown jewel of green spaces, located on the Lake Ontario shoreline. Lakeside Park is home to beaches, picnic shelters, large lawns for tossing a frisbee or running around after your picnic. Most notably, there’s a century-old carousel offering rides for just five cents. The carousel is one of 350 antique merry-go-rounds still operating in North America today. It’s a stone’s throw from Port’s pubs and other landmarks, including remnants of the first Welland Canal and Henley Island, home of the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, which runs every August.

Queen's Royal Park, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Selfies in the gazebo are a must at this popular park located where the Niagara River spills into Lake Ontario. Have a picnic to the soundtrack of waves lapping the shore, and the clip-clopping of horse hooves from passing carriages, all while overlooking Old Fort Niagara, a former French fort that operates today as a U.S. Coast Guard station. Queen’s Royal Park is also steps away from Queen’s Parade, the main street through Old Town, lined with stores for window shopping, The Exchange Brewery to tuck into for a tall cold one, and Il Gelato di Carlotta, a must-stop for Italian-style gelato.

Queen’s Royal Park, 45 Front St, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Lakebreeze Park, St. Catharines

This a hidden gem in the city’s north end is little more than a park bench and serene lookout over Lake Ontario. But it’s the perfect spot for a peaceful and private picnic for two. Watch the sunlight dance over the water as ships line up to enter the Welland Canal and enjoy the escape from busy-ness here. If you feel like walking off your outdoor meal, this tiny park is steps from the Waterfront Trail, a 3,600-kilometre path stretching from the St. Lawrence River around the Great Lakes to Sault Ste. Marie.

Niagara Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake to Niagara Falls

There are countless places to pull over for a picnic along this winding artery connecting Niagara-on-the-Lake to Niagara Falls along the Niagara River. Some are small, peaceful enclaves. Others are wide open spaces where families gather for afternoon reunions, using supplied picnic tables and barbecues to cook up hot dog feasts or enjoy a packed lunch. Notable stops include the Niagara Glen Nature Centre and Thompson’s Point near the Whirlpool Golf Course.

Montebello Park, St. Catharines

You aren’t imagining it if you find this downtown St. Catharines park feels a little like Central Park. Montebello Park was designed in 1887 by Frederick Law Olmstead, one of the architects of New York City’s famous, expansive green space. Though Monetbello is smaller than the Big Apple’s natural tract, it still boasts some fabulous features, including a manicured rose garden, the Walter Ostanek Pavilion, named for St. Catharines’ favourite son and Canada’s Polka King, an architecturally notable bandshell, playground, picnic tables and large open spaces in which to spread out.

McFarland House, Niagara-on-the-Lake

This 220-year-old Georgian home is one of the oldest buildings in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the picturesque backdrop to memorable picnics. The former home of boat builder for King George III was recently renovated and typically serves as a tea room that beckons history buffs and scone fans. In summer, MacFarland House offers picnic lunches made with ingredients grown onsite. Packed lunches can be enjoyed at the nearby MacFarland picnic pavilion or taken to go elsewhere.

Kingsbridge Park, Chippawa

Set along the Niagara Parkway, Kingsbridge Park is a lush and relaxing place to take a load off amidst nature. Another full-package picnic location, Kingsbridge Park offers large green spaces to spread out, run around, kick a ball with friends and family, and, of course, enjoy a picnic. There are pavilions with tables, a playground, and trails to stroll among large, mature trees, too. But best of all there are waterfront views to both the Niagara and Welland Rivers to drink in while you eat.

Dining outdoors is often at its best when it involves a picnic basket and blanket. And it’s even better in Niagara, where candidates for a new favourite spot abound, both on and off the beaten path.

Kingsbridge Park, 7870 Niagara Pkwy

Picnic in the Park

Dining outdoors is often at its best when it involves a picnic basket and blanket. And it’s even better in Niagara, where candidates for a new favourite spot abound, both on and off the beaten path.

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Patio Season in Niagara

Patio Season

IN NIAGARA

Niagara was made for Patio Season.

It’s true Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment team up to achieve ideal growing conditions for the area’s fruit and wine grape crops but they also work magic for sitting outside to enjoy a drink or meal.

Niagara’s bragging rights are plentiful. Among them is its long patio season, stretching well into fall when others elsewhere have moved outdoor dining and entertaining indoors until the mercury points to perfect patio weather again. There’s no shortage of decks with panoramic views of the region’s rural landscape or outdoor seating offering a more urban vibe.

Ravine Estate Vineyard, Niagara-on-the-Lake

It’s not just the views to sprawling vineyards that make this patio a perennial favourite for locals and tourists alike. It’s all that Ravine’s outdoor space has to offer. This is the place where you can sidle up to the outdoor bar and pizza oven for one of this winery’s incredible hard ciders and a wood-fired pie. It’s also where you can bring your family to gather around a table for a more formal meal. But don’t confuse that with stuffy. There are ping pong tables to help pass the time, wide open spaces for family matches of footie and never any rush to move along.

Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery, 1366 York Rd, St. Davids, ON L0S 1P0, Canada

Niagara Oast House Brewers, Niagara-on-the-Lake

The atmosphere here feels very much like hanging out in your BFF’s big, country backyard. The PatiOast is a casual gathering spot for leisurely sipping of this craft brewery’s seasonal suds, including strawberry-rhubarb ale, peach hefeweizen or its flagship Barnraiser. In keeping with that backyard feel, Brushfire Smoke BBQ serves up a changing menu of meaty and vegan fare cooked over a flame and with a view to Stratus Vineyard’s pristine grapevines, which hug Oast’s red barn headquarters.

Lock Street Brewery, Port Dalhousie

Port Dalhousie is hopping in the summer. Whether it’s with beachgoers, residents in search of their morning cuppa or revellers looking for a pint who are crowding the streets, this St. Catharines neighbourhood is one of the best places in the region to people watch. The balcony of this small brewhouse, overlooking Main Street, is the place to do that. But for those wanting a different view, brewery founder Wolfgang Guembel tapped into his German roots and set up a biergarten oasis around back. Shaded by mature trees, filled with picnic and wine barrel tables, a fire pit, and room for entertainment, this is a peaceful refuge in one the busiest parts of the city during the warm seasons.

Lock Street Brewery, 15 Lock St, St. Catharines

Trust Beer Bar, St. Catharines

Grit, grain, hustle, bustle and tacos sum up the experience at one of downtown St. Catharines’ largest and newest patios. Trust brings rare and unusual suds to the city, serving them alongside tacos on a large patio overlooking an alleyway where wall space serves as a canvas to graffiti artists for their next masterpieces. The scenery is colourful, just like the city’s core. And the patio, shaded with sails to protect beer pints from warming up too quickly under the summer sun, is a fun and comfortable spot to take a load off.

Creekside Estate Winery, Jordon Station

Leave the city in your rear view when you head west to St. Catharines’ outskirts and the deck at Creekside Estate Winery. Creekside is an award-winning producer of Syrah — and one of the few Niagara wineries teasing consistently remarkable vintages from a grape that doesn’t always fare well in this climate. But everyone fares well on the deck, which conjures relaxation overlooking a koi fish pond, and comfort with charcuterie boards and casual bites by longtime wine country chef Ross Midgley. In addition to wine, Creekside makes a stellar cider, Rood Apples, that pairs well with any summer day.

Creekside Estate Winery, 2170 Fourth Ave, Jordan Station

Honsberger Estate Winery, Jordon Station

Beauty, charm and pizza — there’s not much more a person needs for a memorable patio experience. This family-owned and operated vineyard has a lock on all three. Once considered a hidden gem in Niagara, Honsberger and its outdoor pizza oven is rightfully becoming known as the place to while away a day from May to October. Tipple some of Honsberger’s swoon-worthy vintages or chill out with a non-alcoholic beverage, including a gelato-lemonade sipper or iced coffee. Pets are welcome.

Honsberger Estate Winery, 4060 Jordan Rd, Jordan Station

Stoney Ridge Estate Winery, Vineland

It’s easy to miss this winery, set back from King Street, the artery carving a swath along west Niagara’s wine route. But you really don’t want to. Stoney Ridge is home to beautifully manicured rose and flower gardens that conjure Europe and provide an idyllic escape from, well, everything. Enjoy a tasting flight of Stoney Ridge’s diverse wines alongside cheese plates, or save yourself for Fridays and Saturdays when Avella’s Wood Fired Oven pulls up to serve some of the most notable pizzas in Niagara. Take your time taking in the sights and sounds, and enjoy a bottle with Avella’s signature pepperoni, Margherita or Blue Moon.

Stoney Ridge Estate Winery, 3201 King St, Vineland

Bench Brewing Company, Beamsville

Set at the base of the Niagara Escarpment in Beamsville, Bench Brewing has quickly become as formidable in Niagara’s beer scene as the landform overlooking it. The patio is set in a protected alcove between the century school house that’s the heart of Bench and the ultra-modern addition where the brewing magic happens. Bench is known for its deep tap and bottle list boasting several award-winners. Bench brews hold their own when sipped alone on a warm afternoon or evening. They also pair beautifully with the regional, seasonal fare by chef Erik Peacock, who helms the Bench kitchen.

Bench Brewing Company, 3991 King St, Beamsville

Redstone Winery, Beamsville

Keep heading west and you’ll find Redstone Winery, which is named for the red clay soil upon which its immaculate vineyards grow. Redstone is home to a spacious and tranquil patio overlooking rows of grapevines as far as the eye can see. In addition to offering wine by the glass and bottle, alone or alongside the locally inspired menu crafted by Chef David Cider, there’s a sizeable lawn to enjoy a packed picnic lunch. Either way, Redstone is a must-stop for enjoying the sun and warmth while it lasts.

Redstone Winery, 4245 King St, Beamsville

The Good Earth, Beamsville

The Good Earth is a beacon of conviviality and its gorgeous patio overlooking English gardens, grapevines and fruit orchards has a lot to do with that. Easily one of the most picturesque and comfortable patios in the region, this outdoor dining and sipping area opens early in the season.

It’s equipped with blankets to protect against the nip in the air that can linger into May and June. And it stays open well into fall for visitors to behold the breathtaking autumn colours that spread along the spine of the Niagara Escarpment in September and October. The Good Earth patio offers a seasonal menu that changes regularly and a solid wine list that goes well with any weather, whether it’s the high heat of July or September’s more easy-going temperatures.

Niagara sparkles at each one of these patios. Spring, summer or fall, relaxing with a glass or meal served outside is one of the best ways to enjoy the region. Whether you spend an entire day at putting your feet up at one of these patios, or check off each one on your warm weather to-do list, you’re bound to find a new favourite refuge to while away sunny days.

Patio Season in Niagara

Niagara’s Craft Cider Scene

Locally Grown

CRAFT CIDERS

Niagara's Cider Scene

Local Tree Fruits Worthy of Pressing.

It’s the middle ground between wine and beer, and more and more are trying locally grown & produced Cider here in Niagara. The region boasts 10 cider makers, who are proving that more than our grapes are worthy of pressing and fermenting. So are our local tree fruits. A few of the region’s cider makers, including the award-winning Niagara Cider Company, Garage D’Or and 26 Acre Craft Cider Company, offer a tasting room experience. Many are housed inside of local wineries, who have added hard cider to their offerings as the thirst for this beverage has grown.

Niagara’s unofficial cider trail stretches across the region, showing a diversity of styles and flavours that will leave fans of this drink hard-pressed to choose a favourite. Whether you prefer an unadulterated hard apple cider or like to dabble in something with a peach or pear base — even pineapple — there’s something for everyone in Niagara’s cider scene.

Puddicombe Cider Company

Must-haves: Sir Isaac’s Pear Cider; Puddicombe Family Tree Hopped Apple Cider

Technically, this cider maker exists just outside Niagara’s borders. But you can see the sign welcoming visitors to Niagara Region from this 220-year-old fruit farm, making the Puddicombe family, who run the place, honorary Niagarans.

Puddicombe Cider started in 2010 with its flagship Sir Isaac’s Pear, based on the classic English Perry. The beverage was part of a business plan to use the farm’s pears, once destined for a now-shuttered fruit cannery. What started as few barrels grew into an empire with the Sir Isaac’s line expanding to include an apple and peach cider. The Puddicombe Family Tree brand of dry and rustic Loyalist-style ciders was added a few years later and pays tribute to the family’s United Empire Loyalist roots.

Flavours include cranberry and pineapple, along with crisp dry-hopped versions of apple and pear. Today, Puddicombe’s is one of the largest craft cideries in Canada, offering tours and hosting festivals in the beverage’s honour.

Fielding Craft Cider Co. at Fielding Estate Winery

This premium dry cider features 10 varieties of apples ranging from the tart Northern Spy and Golden Russet to the sweet Ambrosia and Honey Crisp — each one balancing out the other. All apples are sourced in Niagara and their juices are fermented in stainless steel before moving to neutral oak barrels. Fielding Craft Cider is light and bright and can be sampled in the winery’s tasting room overlooking sweeping vineyards on the Beamsville Bench, one of the many sub-appellations of the Niagara Escarpment.

Fielding Craft Cider Co., 4020 Locust Ln, Beamsville

Tawse Cider at Tawse Winery

One of Canada’s most acclaimed biodynamic and organic wineries threw its hat into the cider ring in 2015 after excruciatingly cold winters took a toll on grape crops and something was needed to fill the void. The result is an an off-dry sparkling cider sold in cans and featuring a blend of five varieties of Ontario apples. The winery is a sight to behold, so after sampling the cider in the tasting room, take a tour of this state-of-the-art facility with its six-level gravity flow design, geothermal system, wetland bio-filter and 200 acres of pristine vineyards.

Ironwood Cider at Sunnybrook Winery

This fruit winery is one of the region’s original hard cider makers, turning out kegs and cans of its Ironwood Cider long before the current craft cider boom. Even with other wineries jumping on the cider bandwagon, Ironwood continues to be a perennial favourite among cider drinkers. This cider tends toward the dry end of the spectrum and is made with a handful of heritage apple varieties, including the Northern Spy, Empire and McIntosh, which are balanced by the more recent additions to the apple family tree, Gala and Ambrosia.

Shiny Apple Cider at Small Talk Vineyards

Must-haves: Bootleg Spice Cider; Apples & Pinot Noir; Peach Cider

Just down the road from Sunnybrook Winery is the whimsical Small Talk Vineyards, home to some of the most inventive ciders coming out of the region. Small Talk was an early adopter of ciders with its Shiny Apple Cider, an off-dry, red apple concoction. It was joined soon after by a surprising red apple-Pinot Noir blend. Those flagships have since grown to include a peach-apple blend, a seasonal offering that’s now available year-round due to demand.

Other ciders include the popular spiced apple, a salted caramel edition that conjures candy apples, and a floral and fruity juniper and orange cider. Hard ciders have become such a prominent part of the Small Talk portfolio that it now boasts the Shiny InCider Club with exclusive creations for members.

Lowrey Bros. Cider at Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery

Crisp, dry cider is a calling card here. Ravine carries a hard apple cider, a perry made with Cold Snap pears, and a seasonal peach version sold under its Lowrey Bros. label, which is a throwback to the family’s farming history in Niagara. You can sample Lowrey Bros. ciders in the winery’s tasting room or at Ravine’s restaurant featuring quintessential wine country cuisine — all that’s seasonal and local and pairs well with a glass of cider or wine.

There’s also an outdoor pizza kitchen, patios with stunning views, and access to ping pong tables and other activities. Rumour has it drinking cider improves your game.

Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery, 1366 York Rd, St. Davids

Cider 101 at Niagara College Teaching Winery

College isn’t what it used to be. These days students are learning how to make hard cider and they’re proving to be aces at it. Cider 101 is a modern, dry cider available year-round at the college’s Wine Visitor and Education Centre, where guests learn about all things craft cider in Niagara and beyond. It’s where you’ll also find some of the students’ single-batch creations, including an award-winning bottle-fermented Brut cider made from russet apples.

The college’s hard ciders have become the apple of many people’s eyes, including judges at the U.S. Open Cider Championship, where Cider 101 has competed against others from throughout the world and won multiple gold medals since it was launched in 2015.

Niagara’s hard ciders are the cherry on top of this region’s storied beverage scene. They’re another example of how Niagara’s knack for quenching the thirst of just about anyone, no matter what they prefer in their glass.

Niagara College Teaching Winery, 135 Taylor Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake

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