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Love Affair with Canada
I have a love affair with Canada because it was the first country I visited after I received my passport in 2016. In fact, I’ve visited Canada four times in the past two years, and I still do not have a stamp in my passport! Technically my first stamp is from the Bahamas.
There are many places to celebrate Canada Day such as Vancouver, Montreal, but the Niagara area is one of my favorite places to celebrate all things Canadian!
Hint: If driving from New York, check to see what the wait times are to cross the border. More often than not, I’ve found out that it is better to cross the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge rather than the Rainbow Bridge.
There is so much to do in the Niagara Falls area; I’m not talking about the casinos, shopping, and food, but the nature, beauty, and wonder of Niagara Falls.
Of course, you need to see the Falls. There are many ways to experience the falls: riding the Hornblower, walking on the Journey Behind the Falls, or having a bird’s eye view from Skylon Tower
All attractions do cost a nominal fee, and if you have only had one attraction that you have enough time to visit, I suggest going on the Hornblower. The Hornblower is like no other attraction (well it is very similar to America’s Maid of the Mist on the New York Side) in the Niagara area. For some reason, I was very excited to receive my complimentary poncho to wear on the boat. The poncho to me signified that we were going to get extremely close to the falls and we were going to get wet!
My second favorite way to see the falls was walking through Journey Behind the Falls. This unique attraction gives visitors a way to walk through the tunnels and pop out very close to the Falls. You will get wet on the observation deck (but you get another poncho!), and you can view the Hornblower get super close to the falls.
Finally, Skylon Tower is an excellent way to see the falls. If you love to have a 360 view of an area, make sure you visit this unique feature of Niagara. One can reserve a table at the Revolving Dining Room, the Summit Suite Buffet or go straight to the top to soak in the views. Fortunately, one of our hotels gave us complimentary tickets to see this attraction, so we did not need to pay the $15 per head to experience this wonder.
Moving away from the falls and towards Niagara on the Lake are a couple of different activities for the family to enjoy. One of the most peaceful areas to experience the natural beauty of Canada was on Niagara’s White Water Walk. This attraction is a boardwalk where visitors can see how the Great Gorge was created. Walking on the edge of the river, guests can watch the raging white water pass right by them. This attraction is wheelchair accessible except for two areas which are reached by stairs.
Further down the road is the Niagara Aero Car! This car began operation in 1916 and suspends from six sturdy cables. Guests will receive 360-degree views of the rapids because when the trip makes the halfway point, everyone walks in a circle so they can see the other side. This attraction is not wheelchair accessible, nor do I suggest getting in the car if one has mobility issues because one will need to walk in a circle with up to 34 other passengers.
Niagara on the Lake
As much as I love Niagara Falls and all the outdoor activities one can do in this area, I adore Niagara on the Lake. This town is about a 30-minute drive from the Niagara Falls City Center and is wine country for this region.
Anytime I go to Niagara on the Lake; I look up which wineries have Icewine. Even though it seems like most Canadians do not enjoy Icewine, I love it. Icewine is a dessert wine that is produced from grapes that froze on the vine for 72 hours. At the 72 hour mark, usually in the middle of the night, the workers in the winery go out and pick the grapes. During this process, the sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, which produces a concentrated, sweet wine.
My favorite wineries are Inniskillin and Jackson Triggs. These were the two wineries that we initially visited because we were given free vouchers from our hotel. The vineyard is in excellent shape, and the winery tour was great. We walked all over the winery and were able to try different wines in the different rooms – including the cellar! Inniskillin and Jackson-Triggs are sister companies, and Inniskillin also has a just Icewine tour for $15 CAD.
I always make sure to try another winery or two while in town, but for some reason, I’m always drawn to my two firsts. Icewine is also made with the different variety of grapes; my favorite is the Cabernet Franc and the Sparkling Franc Icewine.
Fun Fact: if you stay longer than 48 hours Canada each person in your party can bring two bottles of wine back to the United States Duty-Free.
Niagara on the Lake also has a great downtown area for shopping, food, and fun. We usually spend a couple of hours walking around shopping and enjoying the weather. I highly suggest stopping by COWS on Queen Street and grab a quick ice cream cone.
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