“We must learn a lesson from every misfortune and bounce back from the falls” – Gustave Flaubert.
A perfect quote in this sanitary crisis and this charming place that we visited: Niagara Falls in Ontario.
Since traveling outside the country requires a mandatory quarantine back, we therefore stayed in Canada. As nature lovers, we took the opportunity to admire one of the most famous natural waterfalls in the world and to visit its surroundings. In this article, I recommend these 5 activities that we enjoyed during our little getaway in Niagara.
1. Boat trip
It’s no surprise that the must-see Hornblower boat that goes to the bottom of the falls is one of the things to do while in Niagara. You’ve done it already? Me too and more than once, but I still love it, especially when there are not many tourists. The falls are impressive and being below on a boat is even more so. It humbly reminds us that nature is so beautiful and growls louder than anything.
When to go? During the Covid! Yes, funny to say, but now is a great time to go. We didn’t book tickets online (but it is recommended), we went straight to the ticket office on a Saturday morning around 11am plus it was the Labor Day long weekend! We bought the tickets and 5 minutes later we were on the boat, amazing, right? There was no queue, I had never seen that. One must always look on the bright side. In terms of health and safety, the capacity of 700 passengers is now reduced to 100 passengers per turn, wearing a mask is mandatory, physical distance is respected since they use floor markers, 2 meters of distance between each marker and the famous recyclable poncho supplied. For 2 tickets purchased we paid $62.16 CAD taxes included (so $31.08 per person taxes included).
2. Cycle the vineyards
Nothing could be more fun and original to enjoy the Niagara wine route by bike. Many do and that’s why there is a well-groomed cycle path between the vineyards. There are even bikes for rent available, like Vino Velo or Zoom Leisure, but we had our own bikes from Montreal hung in the back of our car. Since you can’t take a plane, why not take advantage of being in a car and bring things that you wouldn’t have been able to by plane.
This region is good for both agriculture and viticulture. I didn’t know it, but Niagara is the region by excellence for peaches. Indeed, the region is known for its mild climate which favors the cultivation of peaches. When we rode our bikes, we had peach orchards on one side and vineyards on the other. A country setting, a carpe diem atmosphere and a warm welcome, wine-cycling was undoubtedly our favorite activity.
Guided tours of the vineyards are available by reservation only between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. We took the opportunity to buy local wines and bring them back to Quebec. The wine route includes more than 80 vineyards for all tastes, even for hockey fans with the vineyard of the former player Wayne Gretzky, but also for travel lovers through a French castle, a family of French wine growers has been established there for several generations at the Château des Charmes. Our favorite architecture was the Colaneri Estate Winery, an enchanting Italian-inspired decor, the vineyard and the castle made us travel in one of the villages of Tuscany. We would have loved to have a tasting there, but we did not have a reservation. This is only a matter of time! In short, I highly recommend this wine and cycling activity, so drink moderately and enjoy cycling as much as you want!
Did you know that Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club is the oldest golf course in North America? Founded in 1875 with 9 holes (which can also be played in 18) and offering a panoramic view of Lake Ontario, we ventured to play a few holes during the 1812 War, since the land is located near Fort Mississauga and was involved in the battle between the United States and Great Britain. Amazing to see that the land is so well maintained and much of it has remained in its original condition. Whether you are a golf enthusiast or professional, this activity is for you! It was a really nice activity that ended with a beautiful sunset and the view of Toronto city. The prices are affordable and vary according to the season and the equipment or cart rental, we had our equipment brought back from Montreal, again we took the opportunity to be by car to take the bikes and the golf club! Feel free to pass by and why not practice your swing!
4. Skylon Tower
The Skylon Tower is worth seeing for the view and for a special event. As it was my birthday! (Yes, our birthdays are special events in our calendar), my boyfriend booked us a dinner at the top of this tower and that’s why I put it in my top 5.
The 236-meter-high summit restaurant rotates 360 degrees throughout the evening allowing us to have a breathtaking view in all of Niagara Falls, especially with the lights above changing color. A magical moment to share with your partner, family or friends. The tower is certainly famous as a tourist attraction, but the place is absolutely charming for a celebration.
Also, I was very surprised with the meal. We are both #foodie and thought the food would be okay but with no expectations. From the first bite of my dish until the end, the fine cuisine of that restaurant blows my mind! So, I recommend you visiting this tower and even eat there, just for the unique experience because it’s not every day that I have a view of Niagara Falls in my kitchen.
5. Clifton Hill Street
I would have found it kitsch, very touristy with old attractions, but you know what? I felt like I was coming back to a normal life where people go out and have fun, smiles admittedly hidden under masks, but bursts of laughter, discussions, entertainment everywhere. For a moment we forget about this sanitary crisis and we enjoy life as it was before the Covid. Just for that I added it on the list of activities to do, just only to walk the streets and pass the horror museums, the wax museum, a roller coaster on top of a Burger King, a karting track and many more. Clifton Hill might not be loved by everyone for whatever reason, but we liked it for the vibe and attractiveness it can provide for a fun night out.
Of course, my top 5 is just an exhaustive list of the activities we did during this little getaway, and there are sure to be many other cool things to do. A short walk or bike ride to the top of the falls is also recommended, you will be sprayed with water, but it’s perfect when the weather is nice! We also went to a very small island called Dufferin, there is a nice park there to read a book or feed the ducks and get away from the crowded streets. If you have been to Niagara too, do you have any other cool activities to recommend?
See you later amigos!