Inspire Niagara & Beyond - Spring & Summer 2023

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Taylor, President, Niagara Casinos reaffirms that, “It’s Just Plain

Our breads and desserts are baked fresh daily and our signature roasted chicken is marinated in house for 48 hours.

*On select bottles. See in-restaurant for details. Must be legal drinking age. Taxes not included.

In our bi-annual digital publications, you will find the very best of everything Niagara has to offer. We will guide you to the wines to sip, the beers to savour, the foods in which to indulge your taste buds, the fabulous entertainment for all ages, and the amazing shopping.

We locals know what is hip and happening and are eager to share with the millions of people who visit Niagara all year long as well as the residents of our beautiful peninsula.

Our editorial team has brought together a number of not only informative, but fascinating pieces that are sure to capture your interest.

As Editor of Inspire Niagara Magazine, my goal is to bring features that speak to all things Niagara and to educate, entertain and yes, enchant our readers.



















Cover photo courtesy


TO ADVERTISE PLEASE CALL 289-397-0258 INSPIRE NIAGARA & BEYOND is published by Niagara Media Machine. All opinions
Fallsview Casino Resort. Martine Welcome to Inspire Niagara Magazine’s Spring/Summer issue!
BEYOND are those of
authors and do not necessarily reflect the views
NIAGARA & BEYOND, its employees or owners. All unsolicited manuscripts and/ or photographs submitted are assumed to be intended for publication or republication in whole or in part. The right to alter, edit or refuse photos and/or manuscripts intended is assumed. All unsolicited material submitted to INSPIRE NIAGARA & BEYOND is submitted at the author’s risk. Manuscripts and/or photographs intended to be returned must be accompanied by sufficient postage. INSPIRE NIAGARA & BEYOND does not assume any responsibility for any claims of our advertisers and reserves the right to refuse any advertising. No part of INSPIRE NIAGARA & BEYOND may be reproduced in any manner without the express written permission of the publisher.
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The 10th annual TD Niagara Jazz Festival

July 15 - July 23

The multiple award-winning TD NIAGARA JAZZ FESTIVAL is now swinging into its 10th year, and with her inspired efforts to keep jazz alive in the Niagara Region, Festival Co-Creator and Executive Artistic Producer, Juliet Dunn, has again curated stunning and innovative performance streams. She has secured programming and presented numerous fundraising events and concerts throughout the year, leading up to our 2023 July event. Once again, the inspired presentations are rife with dynamic, evocative, and cutting-edge jazz. With this thrilling programming, the TD Niagara Jazz Festival is again insuring that jazz and related music will help us to unite the world through the arts. With this in mind, and with the continued support of our generous title sponsor, TD Bank Group,

the Festival is again presenting an exciting live jazz festival experience for one and all. This superb musical and cultural event will again be showcasing not only the stunning and unique environs of the Niagara Region, but also the finest in diverse, Canadian, and international jazz and world music.

The TD Niagara Jazz Festival was co-created by local jazz musicians Juliet Dunn and her late husband and musical partner, Peter Shea. Immediately, the Festival was received with excitement, kudos and international attendance. As the Festival grew, the awards rolled in, including “Best Festival in Ontario” in 2017 and “Top 100 Festivals in Ontario” in 2019, 2020 and 2023.

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When the world was rocked by the ugly reality of COVID-19 in 2020, the TD Niagara Jazz Festival never stopped for a minute. With the incredible support from several generous supporting government funders, the Festival presented over 150 “Livestreamed” performances, including a memorable “Virtual Summer Mardi Gras” replete with a “Live” simulcast from New Orleans! Returning this year will be several popular performance streams, as well as the “JAZZ 4 the AGES” Youth Jazz Program and Competition – now in its 7th season.

Above all, the TD Niagara Jazz Festival is a celebration of the art form of jazz, designed to inspire, educate, and develop enthusiastic audiences for years to come, combining live jazz performances with an immersive Niagara experience of food, wine, culture and the natural wonders of the Niagara Region.

A few of the popular performance streams making their return this summer will include both ticketed and free concerts, including ‘JAZZ UNDER the STARS’, ‘JAZZ JAMS’, the popular ‘SOUL JAZZ in the VINEYARD’, ‘VIBES in the VINES’, ‘JAZZ FUSION on the ROOF’ and ‘MUSIC in the PARK’.

Other events that lead up to the forthcoming July Festival include our annual ‘The Music of a Charlie Brown Christmas’, and “Twilight Jazz & Blues Series’ in Niagara-

on-the-Lake, and our ‘Twilight Jazz Series’ in St. Catharines. Following the summer festival will be our 3rd annual ‘Online EMANCIPATION DAY Celebration’, our ‘HUNGRY 4 HAMMOND’ series and our 2nd annual “JAZZ CRAWL in the Fall.

The Festival is extremely proud to present the FREE community event previously mentioned, “MUSIC in the PARK”, taking place on Saturday, July 22nd at Simcoe Park in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake from 11:00 am until 10:00 pm. The all-day series of performances will include an eclectic array of artists performing a wide variety of jazz and world music. This family-friendly presentation will include four music stages, artisan vendors, food vendors, a wine and beer lounge, the Long & McQuade Instrument Petting Zoo, a TD Activation area, a special “KID’S ZONE”, which will include activities such as mural painting, games and a ‘JAZZOO! Petting Zoo’ and much more! VIP Seating for this event will also be available.

Some of the featured artists being presented this season include (but are not limited to) Laila Biali, Heather Bambrick, John Sherwood, Terry Clarke, Alex Pangman & Her Alley Cats, David Friedman, Ernesto Cervini’s TurboProp, Neil Swainson, Wojtek Justyna TreeOh!, Gordon Webster, Lorraine Klaasen, The PK Hummingbird Steel Orchestra, Donnybrook and The Tonewheels.

Photos courtesy of TD Niagara Jazz Festival.

Marshville Heritage Society Presents





Saturday, September 2 to Monday, September 4

10 am to 5 pm

Wainfleet Village Sports Complex

Hwy #3 West, Minutes from Port Colborne


Seniors 65+: $7 on Saturday only

Adults: $8

Children under 10: Free



Cooking Up a Storm

“At Strewn, terroir is a concept best experienced firsthand. It’s all here waiting for you!”

Strewn Winery is situated just outside of the historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and a wonderful experience awaits you with Strewn’s award-winning VQA wines and dining. Visitors can look forward to tasting flights, cellar tasting experiences, engaging wine-education seminars, and special events. Guests can dine onsite at OLiV Restaurant or roll up their sleeves in a hands-on class at the Wine Country Cooking School

This is where Jane Langdon comes in! And this is where you “Learn. Cook. Eat. Drink. Repeat.”

Trained as a journalist and communications specialist,

it’s easy to see why Jane is such a great fit to lead the Wine Country Cooking School. With her gregarious, welcoming, inquisitive, creative, and helpful nature, guests are sure to love the experience from beginning to end.

Here’s her story:

“Joe Will, who is the President, Founder and original winemaker and I have been friends for years. We were in Napa in 1995. I love the cuisine and winery tourism there, and we passed by the west coast campus of the Culinary Institute of America. We had talked about opening our own winery for years, and I thought, ‘Let’s do a cooking school within the winery!’ Flash forward to 1997 -- a vineyard was planted, and the original buildings were extensively rebuilt

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to create the visitor centre at Strewn and the classrooms of the Wine Country Cooking School.”

Jane is no stranger to the kitchen. While studying journalism and communications at the former Ryerson University, now known as the Toronto Metropolitan University, she worked part-time as an assistant at a demonstration cooking school in Toronto. “I’ve always loved working with food and being inspired to create with ingredients local to the region. Once Strewn was born, we literally had a marriage of food and wine. But I did not want to do a traditional chef’s training. I wanted to work with real people who can appreciate seasonal and local foods that fit easily into recipes and lifestyle.”

When asked what inspires her recipes and menu creations, Jane says, “I’m inspired by the seasons, and I learn by doing.”

The Wine Country Cooking School has a gourmet kitchen equipped with state-of the-art appliances and cookware. Paired with the best ingredients that Niagara has to offer during our four seasons, taking one of Jane’s classes is sure to be a recipe for success.

“I offer hands-on recreational classes on Saturdays that last roughly 4 hours and 20 minutes. Two people come together and go through the entire preparation and cooking process to produce a 3-course meal which is then shared by them in our private dining room and enjoyed with wine pairings for each course.”

This great concept gives guests a very personal and delicious experience where they have fun with what they are doing. They learn by doing then put what was taught into practice.

Jane goes on to say that: “I shop local as much as I can. When the seasons change and we are on the cusp of certain ingredients, I will change up the menu offerings. Summer is a great time to visit local market stands to get heirloom tomatoes and just picked fresh produce. Our guests see that you don’t have to buy exotic ingredients to make real food for real people in real time.”

Jane has noticed a new trend developing in the food industry as well. “People seem to be more interested

in bringing back that generation to generation sharing of recipes and traditions. And men have really gotten interested in cooking!”

With luxury, gourmet grocery stores popping up everywhere, younger people are also on board with changing up their food choices, steering away from fast foods. “Grocery stores now have great offerings compared to what they used to have not so long ago. It makes for a bigger variety of food choices,” she adds.

Recipe development is Jane’s second favorite thing to do right behind teaching these innovative cooking classes. “I like to incorporate ingredients that may not be as traditional, into otherwise traditional dishes. For example, adding flax seeds into breadcrumbs for cutlets. Flax seeds are so healthy, and they give the breading that extra crunch.” From using wonton wraps to make ravioli stuffed with asparagus in a lemon and tarragon sauce, to adding a touch of mustard to the milk used in the breading process to give that extra little zing of flavor, guests to the cooking school are sure to be amazed by their experiences.

Of course, there are a lot of things to be considered besides what ingredients are available locally at any given time as Jane plans her exciting menus. “People are eating differently now, and there is also the adjustment to dietary issues that need to be considered. This is why I post menu options so that potential guests can pick and choose accordingly. They know what to avoid and what they can make without putting their health in jeopardy.”

The Wine Country Cooking School also provides kitchen experiences for corporate and group events, as well as providing a new take for such occasions as engagement parties, wedding showers, anniversary parties, etc.

Jane will take you every step of the way as you engage in this gastronomic delight!

Photo courtesy of The Wine Country Cooking School.

Booming! Port Colborne is

Yes, it is! The city, located on Lake Erie, at the southern end of the Welland Canal, sure has a lot to boast about these days and Mayor Bill Steele isn’t shy about bragging rights.

“There’s so much happening right now. It’s a very exciting time,” he says. “We’re gearing up for our second Canal Days event since Covid restrictions were lifted. It will be as good, if not better than last year. We have some great entertainment that hasn’t been released yet, but people will be really surprised.” As in the past, there will be many things to see and do, including bands at Lakeview Park, vendor set-ups, local shopkeepers and restauranteurs opening their doors, an antique car show, fireworks, and lots of activities for kids and seniors alike.

Canal Days is something not to be missed!

Speaking of the Welland Canal, for the last few years

Port Colborne has been a stop for large cruises ships. In

the past, roughly 12 ships would stop in over the year, but that number has grown exponentially. “Last year, 66 ships stopped in. This year, we are expecting 72 and in 2024, we are scheduled for 122! It’s getting bigger and bigger! The Viking Octantis is being joined by her sister ship, the Viking Polaris where passengers will be disembarking to enjoy our city. We are one of many stops in Niagara. Passengers will also be seeing the Falls, the wineries – lots of things in the region. Port Colborne is part of Niagara and I’ve always said what’s good for Niagara is good for Port Colborne!” says Mayor Steele. “The entrepreneurship of our community is working with Viking to offer all kinds of experiences for shore excursions. Could be renting bikes, beach day at Nickel Beach, golf afternoon, fishing trip on Lake Erie for Walleye or Bass, shopping downtown, dining in our restaurants, walking tours, hiking tours, Lighthouse Theatre

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– these are the things we want to offer, and that Viking’s customers are asking for.”

Not only is Port Colborne a tourist destination, but it is also a growing municipality. “We’ve just received two subdivision applications. Houses are going up everywhere. We’re looking at roughly 2800 homes! It’s good growth –infilling within our urban area. The services and roads are already there minus a few upgrades here and there. The pieces of the pie don’t get any smaller unless you have development.”

As far as a Strategic Plan goes, Mayor Steele is eager to get it up and running, having just won another term in the Fall of 2022. “We’ve expanded on our previous Strategic Plan. The pillars are development in town, our tourism, how we keep our parks and beaches, how we deliver our services – as we move forward and develop our new Strategic Plan

and mold it a little bit more – economic development is our priority. We’re working well with the St. Lawrence Seaway. We’ve just announced the revitalization of Wharf 18. It’s been out of use for about 15 years now if not longer. It’s about creating jobs. Our future is bright! We’re back on track!”
Photos courtesy of the City of Port Colborne.


Ready to explore the benches, backcountry, vineyards, and villages of the Niagara Escarpment with a blend of flavours and fun that’s all yours? BenchlandsON NiagaraBenchlands NiagaraBenchlands
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Love of A Labour

Rossana Di Zio Magnotta is the CEO of Magnotta Winery, the company she cofounded with her late husband, Gabe Magnotta. For 30 years, she has been an innovator of over 180 world-class Magnotta wines. She also launched G Marquis, a collection of premium wines available at the LCBO. Under Rossana’s leadership, Magnotta products have also expanded into global markets including the United States and Asia.

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Rossana was drawn into winemaking from an early age while helping her father make his annual wine. Later, as a young wife and mother with a curious spirit, she became more fascinated with wine-making which went hand in hand with her fondness for cooking. She experimented with everything imaginable including assorted fruits, herbs and greens – even dandelions – to make different types of wine. When she began the winery with her husband, she had to earn the respect of Italian, Portuguese and Greek men, as the wine industry was very male dominated at the time. But she did! Rossana wrote a wine-making instructional book in different languages and gave it away for free. Once the book took off, the men came around asking to speak to her about their homemade wines.

Rossana always strives to create interesting wines for wine lovers and to exceed their expectations. Most of all, she identified long ago the need to demystify wine by empowering consumers with product knowledge. Magnotta Wines has a loyal and enthusiastic following making its 30-year presence in the marketplace truly unique.

Magnotta’s grapes are grown from their 180-acre familyowned and operated vineyards in the heart of the Niagara Peninsula. The entire winemaking process – harvesting, crushing, fermentation, vinification, and bottling – is managed exclusively by their winemakers and production team at their facilities in Beamsville and Vaughan. With over 180 wines at all price points, it’s easy to see why Magnotta is the third largest winery in Ontario, is one of Canada’s 50

Photos courtesy of Magnotta Winery.
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Best Managed Companies for over 10 consecutive years, and why Magnotta has earned more than 4500 awards for product excellence.

Wine isn’t Rossana’s only passion.

For more than two decades, she has also been passionate about healthcare. A long-time supporter of Toronto hospitals, foundations, and charitable organizations, she has launched the G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector-Borne diseases to help establish Canada’s first research facility to study Lyme Disease which took the life of her beloved husband Gabe. The research will lead to better testing and treatment for Lyme Disease patients in Canada. Rossana’s mantra is simple -- “I like to think I lead by

example. I deal with a lot of different people every day –customers, employees, politicians, bureaucrats, competitors, Lyme Disease patients and their families – about different topics, issues, and problems that I want to solve. I’m passionate about all of them. My best piece of advice – don’t lose your human touch. You will be surprised how much that will keep you grounded, well-balanced, and connected to people every day.”

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The G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector-Borne Diseases is a non-profit organization that was established in 2012 by Rossana Magnotta, co-founder and CEO of Magnotta Winery, in memory of her husband Gabe Magnotta who passed away after a lengthy and courageous battle with Lyme Disease. Married for almost 36 years, they founded Ontario’s third largest winery and then spent their final years in Ontario’s healthcare system battling misdiagnosis, misunderstanding and mistreatment that continues to be the norm for today’s Lyme Disease patients and families. Since its inception, the Foundation’s major goal was to establish Canada’s first research facility dedicated to studying Lyme Disease that would lead to better testing, diagnosis and treatment. Over the years, it has launched numerous fundraising events to raise the money needed to get the long-awaited research facility off the ground. The Foundation is also connected with research scientists within Canada and around the world and has developed strong alliances with the broader Canadian Lyme Disease community of patients and their advocates.

In June 2017, the Foundation announced a landmark partnership with the University of Guelph, awarding a $1.4 million grant to the university’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology to establish the G. Magnotta Lyme Disease Research Lab. It will undertake Canada’s first evidence-based translational medicine approach to the development of effective diagnostic tests and treatments for Lyme Disease. The research will reveal more precise incidence of Lyme Disease among patients in Canada, many of whom have had to leave the country to gain access to proper testing and care. The grant was made possible by the generous donations and support of countless Canadians who have been impacted or know someone who is suffering from the debilitating effects of Lyme Disease.

As the research lab expands, the Foundation is focused on raising funds to meet its $10 million goal over the next 5 years, while continuing to spread Lyme awareness and act as a catalyst for change.

Content and images courtesy of the G. Magnotta Foundation.
Casually upscale in every detail For Reservations, call 289.477.WEIN (9346) or book via our online system. @Weinlokal_niagara Weinlokal Niagara CLICK FOR A LOCATION MAP 7556 Montrose Rd., Niagara Falls, ON L2H 2E9




CULINARY MARKET, our focus is to provide you with a great selection of local produce that is healthy, tasty and fresh. All of our meals are made and inspired by Executive Chef Jan-Willem Stulp. The Grand Oak provides you with excellent gourmet meals, fresh local produce and the best in customer service.

4600 Victoria Ave., Vineland, ON L0R 2E0 t:289.567.0487 •
As Niagara Falls’ only Boutique Hotel, at the Sterling Inn and Spa one can enjoy the atmosphere of a luxury hotel with the personal touch of a fine inn. ESCAPES
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Photos courtesy of Merani Hotel Group.

From our full service spa to AG Inspired Cuisine, a fine dining restaurant offering regional cuisine in a cool urban setting, the Sterling Inn and Spa is truly an experience in itself. With amenities and rooms that cater to couples, the Sterling Inn and Spa is the perfect place for a Honeymoon or Romantic Getaway.

We are located in what was once the Borden Dairy Factory (1930s-1974). Steeped in history, this facility’s transformation of architectural heritage is an excellent example of sustainable conservation, enabling residents and visitors of Niagara Falls, Ontario to enjoy the awardwinning hotel and restaurant standing today.

Enjoy our spacious guest rooms, luxurious steam showers, complimentary breakfast in bed and all the modern amenities you would expect from a four-diamond hotel. Outside of our door the majestic Niagara Falls, the entertainment and night life of Clifton Hill, and the excitement of Casino Niagara are all within a short walk. Our on-site restaurant, AG Inspired Cuisine, is a recipient of 2022 Travellers’ Choice Award (TripAdvisor), international diners rank AG as the #2 Best Fine Dining Restaurant in Canada, OpenTable top 100 Restaurants in Canada, TripAdvisor’s 10 Best Niagara Falls Restaurants and most recently the Sustainability Award (Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence).

Inspired by the growers and producers of Niagara our menu utilizes regional and seasonal ingredients, brought together by the inventive hand of our executive chef, Cory Linkson. Beautifully designed, creative, and unparalleled dishes are crafted to satisfy the palate, while remaining true to the very essence of the ingredients. It truly is inspired cuisine.

To meet the restaurant’s commitment to staying local, ingredients are grown on the AG Farm or sourced from regional suppliers. Dishes are planted, picked daily and produced to deliver the freshest and most authentic local flavours. These ingredients inspire daily changing menus that celebrate the seasons. Even the restaurant’s signature “Rub” is made from dehydrated vegetables from the AG Farm that are ground and custom-blended.

Experience a perfect moment of relaxation together at the Sterling Inn & Spa with our personalized couples treatments. Sip on a cocktail while our team of spa and wellness experts employ techniques from around the world to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. From mud-baths to manicures and facials to foot scrubs, you’re sure to find pure bliss at the Sterling Inn and Spa.

The Sterling Inn & Spa & AG Inspired Cuisine are owned and operated by Merani Hotel Group. “At Merani Hotel Group, our mission is to be the most hospitable collection of unique brands by creating exceptional experiences for our guests, meaningful opportunities for our team members, and a positive impact in our international communities.” states Faisal Merani.

Merani Hotel Group has hotel & restaurant properties on both sides of the Niagara Falls border in Canada and the USA. Are you interested in a cross-border getaway? Make sure to check out their brand portfolio for your next superior stay.

AGInspiredCuisine aginspiredcuisine SterlingInnSpa sterlinginnspa 27

This pearl is a gem!

Tucked away at Jordan Station, in the heart of the Niagara Region’s wine country, you will find Pearl Morissette Winery, with its signature Restaurant Pearl Morissette.

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And in this restaurant, you will find Chefs Eric Robertson and Daniel Hadida, the dynamic duo who together have raised the bar on Niagara wine country dining. These cutting-edge culinary experts hail from Ontario but received much of their training in Europe. Eric tells the story, “Daniel and I worked together in Belgium briefly. We kept in touch as expats overseas and when we both found ourselves back in Canada, we weren’t sure what we were going to do. We had both worked at great regional restaurants abroad which highlighted exceptional product and exemplary growing practices. We couldn’t find anything similar in Canada. Daniel had been working at Pearl Morissette Winery and the two of us got together and opened the restaurant in 2017. We had great support with the name of the winery behind us as it already had an engaged clientele.”

So, what can one expect when dining at the Restaurant Pearl Morissette affectionately known as RPM? Well, it won’t be a traditional menu by any means. “Niagara offers a great bounty of ingredients. There is a great diversity of products and seasonality of things,” says Eric. The ability with which these two gentlemen take the literal garden

to table and farm to table ingredients and turn them into a different daily tasting menu comparing to nothing else around, is truly admirable. “We hope that we are putting Niagara on the food map as a destination for great food,” adds Eric.

Whatever you happen to be served on any given day, you are sure to enjoy every part of the experience all the while enjoying the beautiful view of the grounds and landscape through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Every chef has a favorite ingredient to work with. When asked which ingredient he likes the most, Eric has a great answer. “I really like working with celery root. It can be used in so many unexpected ways. But I also love the bumper season – September with tomatoes and warm temperature fruits like peaches --- mixed with fall root vegetables – I love the hot summer carry overs that blend into the fall. We get two seasons at once.”

Eric approaches every day in the kitchen with a spirit of adventure. He credits coffee for getting him through the busiest of days and admits to working better under pressure with time restraints. “It keeps things interesting!” he laughingly says. “Trying new things is what it’s all about –that and not overthinking.”

Eric admits to lots of trial and error and relying on his intuition when it comes to creating new dishes with the sometimes very limited ingredients that show up on any given day. Apart from seafood, everything that is sourced at RPM is local. “We have a great team and there are lots of checkpoints along the way. We have our sommelier, our chef de cuisine --- there is a great environment for open feedback which is essential to the success of a restaurant. Our sommelier, Svetlana is very flexible when it comes to off-the-cuff menu changes and product coming in the door a bit late. She tastes our dishes and gets the best flavour combos that react with our wines. Sometimes, it comes as close to our guests arriving.” he laughs.

No matter what is on the menu, you can count on the food and its wine pairings to be inventive and delicious.

Photos courtesy of Restaurant Pearl Morissette. 29



Located in the Holiday Inn & Suites, Ostin’s is proud to provide a unique experience to customers, with exceptional food, uncompromised beverage options, friendly attentive service and a welcoming presence. The all new menu that has been carefully curated to bring you a mouth-watering mix of dishes made with the highest quality ingredients.

The combination of great food and elegant atmosphere add to the dining experience, that is sure to please every member of your family or group.

To see our menu and reserve a seat, visit

Holiday Inn & Suites is Niagara’s premier entertainment destination. We have everything you need under one roof. Eat, drink and play every day of the week in our modern and exciting venue located at 327 Ontario Street, St. Catharines.


Our onsite Parkway Social features 30-lanes of bowling, a full arcade, laser tag and a full bar with 50-inch HDTV for catching games. This is a great place for any event - a birthday party, a corporate team event, a fun family outing, or a date night.

To book a lane, make a reservation, and to see what’s happening nightly, visit

You Go tta Eat Here!

Four Brothers Cucina Restaurant has been a Niagara Falls institution since 1964. Giacinto and Laura Marinelli along with their four sons established the Four Brothers Restaurant that year. They brought with them from Italy, their traditions, old-world recipes and techniques and introduced them to their new community of Niagara. “When Four Brothers was established, it became part of the ‘Big Three’ Italian restaurants here in Niagara,” said Christine Smylski, Front of House Manager. “There was us, the Capri and Casa d’Oro. We are the only ones left.” Christine is a true testament to what a great establishment Four Brothers is. She’s been there for 16 years! “My parents

had their first date here long ago, and just kept coming back. I grew up on this food!”

In 2014, the next generation of the Marinelli family rebranded the Four Brothers Restaurant to Four Brothers Cucina. The goal was to stay up to date with current dining trends but continue to prepare Italian cuisine with the same recipes and dedication as generations before.

Michael Marinelli, the son of one of the original four brothers, Ugo, is now at the helm of this Niagara landmark. He’s grown up in the restaurant and was a busser while his late mother Michelle was in the kitchen with her friends, Mabel and Mary. “These women came together every day,

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cooked together, talked – a real family atmosphere – you could actually taste the love in Michelle’s sauce,” Christine reminisces. Under Michael’s leadership, the quality of the food has remained the same. “Same recipes, same sauce, same higher-grade ingredients imported from Italy,” adds Christine. “Almost everything that comes out of our kitchen is made in-house. We have a great team and great chef who make all of the pasta, our famous Mezzaluna (housemade ravioli, short-rib and ricotta stuffing in a brown butter sage sauce), gnocchi, lasagna…”

Four Brothers Cucina isn’t just buzzing during the summer months with tourists looking for something other than a chain restaurant. It’s buzzing all year long, filled with locals from the Niagara Region, and of course, the biggest critics of Italian food, the Italians themselves. “We cater to tourists during the season, but locals are still our staple,” says Christine. “We have regular customers that we see once a week that have been coming for years. That’s a testament to just how good our food is. We have people come in to buy litres of our salad dressing and tomato sauce because they want to bring the flavors home.”

Christine goes on to explain just how steeped in tradition this restaurant is. “The Marinelli family is so great to work for! After our shifts, we all sit down to eat together – we are all treated like family, and we are hoping that the tradition of this place continues to be passed down through the generations.”

This writer is Italian, and Nonny-trained in the kitchen. I know my food! I can attest to the fact that the menu at Four Brothers is as authentic and true to taste. Although limited to traditional great dishes, it’s easy to see why everything tastes so good – the focus is on what they do well here, using the freshest and best quality ingredients.

“You know good food – and when an Italian says our food is good, then it is,” smiles Christine.

When asked what her favorite dish on the menu is, Christine doesn’t hesitate. “The gnocchi! It’s the gnocchi! It’s so pillowy and light and pairs so well with the sauce!”

Photos courtesy of Four Brothers Cucina.

The Cake That isn’t a Cake

When you first walk into the Budapest Bakeshop’s locations, the sights and smells will overtake you. And of course, you will no doubt be looking for their famous Chimney Cakes. Surprise! You will not find traditional cakes when looking at this variety of patisserie.

The staff at Budapest Bakeshop is incredibly passionate about baking these Chimneys and they just know that once you taste one of their creations, you will be forever hooked on every sweet or savory bite.

Now, as much as they’d like to take credit for the invention of the Chimney Cake, they humbly do not! Its origins go back over 300 years to Hungary. What the Budapest Bakeshop did was to take that creation to another level of deliciousness.

Every single Chimney Cake is prepared, hand-rolled, and baked from scratch each day and throughout the day. This Niagara-on-the-Lake landmark is easy to find. When you arrive to the historic town, just turn down Queen Street and follow the smell of freshly baked goodness!

Your first glimpse into the bakeshop will allow you to see firsthand the entire process right before your eyes – the mixing, the rolling, the rising, the baking, the toppings and the fillings!

The choices are yours! It’s time you tasted the cakes that aren’t really cakes at all!

Photos courtesy of Budapest Bakeshop.
70 Queen Street Niagara-on-the-Lake 905-468-0800 7500 Lundy’s Lane Unit C1, Niagara Falls 905-356-0585 807-300 Taylor Road Niagara-on-the-Lake 905-685-5500 PICK YOUR PEAK THE ART OF CHOCOLATE Enjoy our quality chocolates, whether you’re at home, relaxing for the evening or searching for that ideal gift for friends and family.
Caramel Connoisseur PYP Vegan’s Choice PYP White Out



Get away from those hustle and bustle restaurant franchises located in Niagara Falls and come enjoy a 32 year family treasure that is locally owned and operated in the heart of Niagara.

The Secret Garden Restaurant & Gift Shop is Niagara‘s best kept secret and is located directly across from the American Falls and is literally embraced by the manicured, floral splendor of the Niagara Parks’ luxuriant Oakes Garden Theatre.

Enjoy our soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, pastas, steaks, seafoods and other delicious features while marvelling at the power and beauty of Niagara Falls. Savour a glass of wine from Niagara’s award winning local winery and top off your evening by discovering a tantalizing dessert and a tempting specialty coffee selection while you sit on the outdoor patio and watch the spectacular fireworks show right above the falls.

In our attached Gift Shop, you will find Niagara‘s best selection of gifts and souvenirs to take home as a memory of your visit to Niagara Falls. From Canadian Maple Syrup, cookies, candies to t-shirts, hoodies, and sweats, to Canadiana and Native crafts, to China, mugs, salt & peppers, shot glasses, to almost everything. The Secret Garden offers a vast selection of items to remind you of your visit to Niagara, or to take a gift home for those you left behind.

Make the Secret Garden Restaurant & Gift Shop your favourite stop !


5827 Niagara River Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3K9 • 905-358-4588

DON’T MISS “The Grist”

“After 186 years, brewing is finally back to St. David’s along with a relaxed eatery in the main barn.” With almost three decades in the hospitality industry under his belt, you would think that retirement was on the horizon. Thank goodness for the Niagara Region that Rob Begin reconsidered his plans. Rob cut his teeth in the business with a pizzeria franchise in St. Catharines some 28 years ago. From there, he opened a very successful restaurant in Niagara-on-the-Lake which he ran with his wife, Danielle, for 6 wonderful years, providing an authentic and different spin on traditional fare. As fate would have it, one of Rob’s regular guests one day offered to buy the restaurant. Not one to miss an opportunity, a deal was signed, and Rob and Danielle were ready for the next chapter in their lives.

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For the next two and a half decades, Rob enjoyed a tremendous career working with a bunch of great wineries and breweries throughout the province of Ontario. “It was a beautiful life, but the travelling was intense and sometimes difficult,” he says. “I decided to retire from that life, but I still wasn’t quite ready to leave the industry behind.”

Then there was the “barn”. Originally owned by the Fedorkow family, it was used as the family farm’s packing shed and never seemed to be for sale.

“We have spent a lifetime driving past the “barn” as we affectionately call it, and have always been fascinated with the look, the area, and the potential. In our opinion, the “barn” is an invaluable piece of St. David’s history that needed to be maintained and rehabilitated back to its former glory in a new and exciting way.”

The rest is history – Rob contacted the owner, told him of his dream, and two days later he and Danielle purchased the property. “I believe in fate and that things are meant to happen if they will,” Rob says. “I think the owner was just waiting for the right time and the person with the right vision to come along. In conversation, I found out that he lived right next door to me when I was a kid on Line 3. It was the right opportunity at the right time for all of us.”

The restaurant business is a tough one, something that Rob knows very well. But his vision was to create a spot that was going to separate itself from other restaurants – and The Grist was born! Rob doesn’t mince words when he speaks of the formula for being successful in this very competitive business. “Businesses don’t fail. It’s the people running them that fail. You have to have your heart and head in it 100 percent all of the time in order to survive. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you will be successful despite the odds sometimes being against you.”

The Grist is successful for many reasons – the food, the service, the beverages, the atmosphere – but the one constant there is Rob. He is on site all of the time. He attributes his success to the fact that he spends 17 hours a

day at the restaurant and two years later, even amidst Covid restrictions, he’s still standing.

Rob prides himself on knowing his clients like he knows his own family. “Our guests know that we care about them and that we are willing to spend all of these hours in service to them.”

“There was no way we were going to tear down the barn. We wanted to retain what was there through our development.” He goes on to joke, “It probably cost us twice as much money and twice as much work to make her pretty again. We decided to blow our kids’ inheritance!”

The touches that both he and Danielle put all over the restaurant with their eclectic décor make the place unique in its design. “The design was all crafted by us,” Rob adds.

Now it’s time for the eternal question asked any brew pub owner…What’s your favorite brew?

“It’s the Italian Pilsner with a play on my family name for its name – Where to Begin – because this is where it began.” At $8 a pint, it’s a delicious introductory beer for those new to craft brews. Rob goes onto explain The Grist’s brewing philosophy – “We are aiming for unique brews, but we want to keep our beers ‘dad beers’ (with a very loving referral). All of our beers are easy to drink as none of them are over the top. People want to enjoy a beer that doesn’t have too much of a profile so that its taste doesn’t become too overwhelming.”

This philosophy extends to the variety of food on the menu, with something to please even the fussiest of palates. “We focus on simple stuff because for the most part, people have simple taste. They want good food that is consistent.” Rob goes on to explain that he never hired an actual chef as his mission was to have everyone involved with the recipes and the menu – a genuine team/family endeavour.

With his love for and commitment to his guests along with his penchant for creativity, there is no doubt that The Grist will be a staple in the region for a very long time.

Photos courtesy of The Grist.

Steeped in Tradition

Avondale Dairy Bar

The Avondale Dairy Bar is an iconic landmark in Niagara whose mission is to keep the Dairy Bar an institution that people love coming to. They serve only the finest ice cream and are always about using the best quality ingredients in every one of their creations. Their passion shines through in the finest of dairy products, flavourings, ingredients, toppings which culminate in the most lovingly prepared treats.

But Avondale Dairy Bar is more than an ice cream parlor. A visit there ignites an emotional attachment based on the surroundings, tradition, and nostalgic memories. It becomes a personal escape “out in the country” where the fully engaged staff makes every visit as memorable and delicious as the last.

All of Avondale’s ice creams are made fresh daily on the premises, painstakingly made with love and care, the old-fashioned way. All ingredients are blended into the ice cream by hand. This is not a large-scale automated factory-style ice cream, and they stand by the promise of never lowering the quality of their ice cream to the bare

minimum government standards as most large ice cream companies have.

Their menu offers a variety of banana splits, ice cream sundaes, old-fashioned sodas, floats, and milkshakes. Ice cream scoops are also a favourite to enjoy on your favourite cone type. All products are made the oldfashioned way for you to enjoy with only the BEST ingredients, and lots of them. Their secret? They use a 15% dairy butterfat base which makes their ice cream smooth, creamy and utterly decadent.

Owned and operated by Ray and Deb Sheehan since 1986, The Avondale Dairy Bar looks forward to celebrating its 70th Anniversary in 2025. You can’t visit Niagara without a stop here to savour a treat, while sitting on one of their many picnic benches under the summer sun.

You’ll love the background of a working dairy farm with about 90 Holstein cows (Stewart Haven Farms), cornfields, and vineyards.
Photos courtesy of Avondale Dairy Bar.
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Fritter Away!

Zorana Alimpic has been a fan of donuts since she was just a little girl. Her mother, Dusanka, would whip them up in the family kitchen as a special treat for her young daughter. Well, that love of cooking entwined with family tradition has opened up for the public, the world of Fritters on the Lake.

This truly is a family affair! Zoran and his wife Dusanka, (who no longer works within the shop but remains the inspiration) their daughter Zorana and her husband Yusuf, along with their son, Nolè operate this wonderful little business at 217 King Street, in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake with apple fritters being the specialty of the house. “It is one of my mom’s magical creations, a family favourite that blends our Serbian and Canadian heritage,” says Zorana.

Opening up a food-based business had been a dream of this family for years. Dusanka was known to be a phenomenal cook who loved to spread joy by sharing her fabulous dishes with family and friends. But, as with many things, life gets in the way of dreams. Zorana went away to school, and Dusanka faced health issues, and the time and money were no longer there to devote to this dream.

After completing her education, Zorana emigrated to South Africa where she met and married her husband and began her family. However, the planets aligned in 2021, with Zorana and her family moving back to Canada and in June of that same year, Fritters on the Lake opened up to a loving and welcoming reception from the locals of NOTL. Soon, word spread about the goodies coming out of this establishment and the line-ups for service began.

Their menu consists of original fritters, topped with maple, caramel or chocolate syrup, and a lake special with vanilla ice cream.

“My mom does not have formal culinary training and my dad has no entrepreneurial experience but they both love two things––food and people,” says Zorana. “At the tender age of 64, my dad became a first-time entrepreneur and made their dreams come true by sharing their beloved fritters, our family’s comfort food”.

A trip to Fritters on the Lake is a must for everyone, locals, and tourists alike! What a special treat!

Photos courtesy of Fritters on the Lake.
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A love letter to Canada – Just a 5 minute drive from the falls or an easy ride on the WeGo will take you to this 20,000 SQFT Canadian themed attraction. Enjoy a Maple Tasting in a real maple factory with an expansive souvenir gift shop. Hungry? Maple Leaf Place has you covered – step onto the outdoor patio and enjoy some of Niagara’s best wines, beers, and spirits under the shade of a giant canoe that’s right across the street from the roaring Niagara River. Plus, the best part? Admission and parking are both FREE, so you can take your time to explore and celebrate Canada. Don’t forget to take a picture with one of our giant Canadian icon statues at our own “Sel e Central”! Come to Maple Leaf Place and discover everything that our great country has to o er!


This is the slogan that Niagara Casinos has used for many years. It’s not wrong! Everything that is offered in both of the casinos’ sites is filled with fun.

More Fun! It’s Just Plain

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Photos courtesy of Fallsview Casino Resort & Casino Niagara. EXPERIENCE NIAGARA FUN AND GAMES

Niagara Casinos became part of the Mohegan family in 2019. How has that transition been?

We were Mohegan’s first operation international property. The strong partnership with Mohegan offers us more opportunities to cross markets, grow our brand and drive business to Niagara Falls from new areas. Their team has been nothing but supportive throughout all of this and I cannot thank them enough as we continue this great partnership. We are really excited about the growth of the Mohegan enterprise across the globe, including South Korea, and their newest property in Las Vegas.

What are the biggest changes you have seen for Niagara Casinos?


The launch of Bar Barista has been great! It provides two unique experiences for our guests. By day, it’s a high-end European coffeehouse featuring fine pastries and by night, transforms into a contemporary cocktail bar featuring small plates, local wines, and expertly curated beverages.

The Grand Buffet relaunched in the summer of 2022, introducing a new and improved customer service experience, which includes a faster seating service and a focus on reducing our food waste.

The Golden Lotus introduced the bespoke tea experience, which is an in-depth guided tea tasting experience that is unique to our property. This has been a great addition to the Golden Lotus, along with its authentic Cantonese dinner menu.

We are preparing to open a 7,000 square foot sports bar later this year.

Our focus is really on local food and beverage, and we partner with numerous local businesses to bring the Niagara experience to our culinary options.


We’ve recently officially opened the OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino with none other than Billy Joel! The show was a tremendous success, and our guests are still talking about the event which took place in February of this year. Pitbull just performed to a packed audience! And we have some amazing performances coming later this year – Comedian Kevin Hart, 80s rocker Billy Idol, Grammy and Juno-Award winning Canadian superstar Sarah McLachlan, Cheap Trick, the legendary Tom Jones, Santana, John Fogerty, Kane Brown, and how can we forget Rod Stewart all coming to the OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino! We also announced our first ever production show coming to the OLG Stage -- Return to Grace!

Now those are just a few to mention as we announce new shows every week!

The OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino is a state-of-the-art venue! It’s outfitted with 5000 soft-seats throughout the theatre with no seat at a greater distance than 150 feet from the stage. It’s a fully AODA accessible venue that also offers T-Loop listening technology and 150 AODO accessible seats.

With the recent opening of the OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino, Inspire Niagara thought it would be a great opportunity to sit down with Richard Taylor, President, Niagara Casinos and let him fill us in on the new and exciting things happening.
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Right page: Top: OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino, Bottom Left: The Golden Lotus, Bottom Right: The Grand Buffet.
48 Inspire Niagara & Beyond

We are also continuing to operate the Avalon Theatre which is a 1500-seat state-of-the-art facility. No seat is more than 100 feet from the stage in the Avalon. In the past, this venue has hosted over 250 performances a year including Steven Tyler, Duran Duran, Harry Connick Jr., Tony Bennett and many more.


Leveraging the world’s best view of Niagara Falls, Fallsview Casino Resort developed two high-end gaming suites on the 30th floor of the hotel. Each room has three gaming tables and flexible game types to meet the player’s desire. Connected to a beautiful hotel suite we offer food and beverage on demand and the private gaming rooms provide the ultimate in privacy and convenience to the triumph of players. Fallsview Casino Resort also offers three private gaming rooms for players within the Salon Privé.


The Momentum program is Mohegan’s award-winning loyalty program which gives our players more choice and flexibility. With Momentum dollars earned as they play on both slot and table games, players can use their dollars towards Fallsview dining, the hotel, entertainment, or even free play. The program maximizes excitement with amazing rewards and benefits and players can decide where to apply their momentum dollars to suit their needs. The program will continue to expand over the next year.


This is a highly competitive market with more companies and more than 70 potential operators vying for market share and the consumer wallet. We work in partnership with Mohegan Digital to offer the iGaming app – PlayFallsview. This new line of business offers an opportunity for Niagara Casinos to expand the customer experience from bricks and mortar to the experience beyond the properties and vice versa. Our next steps are to tie the online experience back to the property through our Momentum program. This will be a competitive advantage that many companies will not be able to offer.

During the pandemic we successfully launched a social gaming app (FallsviewSocial) to stay connected to our patrons.


Fallsview offers 21 kiosks and Casino Niagara has 15 kiosks. Customers at Casino Niagara can also enjoy watching all of their favourite sports at LEV2L Sports Bar – with over 50 HD plasma screens keeping everyone in the action for all the edge-of-your-seat games. The touch-screen kiosks at both properties will allow bets to be placed on all major North American sports and a variety of other major sporting events including the World Cup. Single event wagering, parlays, props, and more betting options are also available. Bets may also be placed at the Sports Betting windows. Sports Betting Ambassadors are available at both properties to answer any questions sports enthusiasts may have regarding games, betting options or to take bets. We partnered with Kambi to provide the sports betting platform and SuzoHapp for the kiosks and we are expecting to open a Sportsbook in late 2023.

What is your vision moving into the future?

The next couple of months are very exciting for the property. We are continuing to add new and amazing entertainment to both the OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino and the Avalon Theatre. We are continuing to work on the new 7,000 square foot sports bar to support our Sportsbook which is expected to open later in the year. We are in the midst of preparing for our Hot Summer Fun promotion and our Backyard BBQ, as well as many more exciting projects for the summer season.

What do you feel offers Niagara Casinos a competitive advantage?

First, we are located in the heart of Niagara Falls. Secondly, Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara are award-winning properties that offer leading entertainment and superior guest experiences. The outstanding guest experiences offered by Niagara Casinos associates will keep customers coming back to the properties. Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara house large and impressive gaming floors with more than 4,800 slot machines and 160 gaming tables. Both vibrant properties feature over 20 outstanding dining options including the Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence for our two signature restaurants, Ponte Vecchio and 21 Club Steak & Seafood. Then, there are our aforementioned, state-of-theart, entertainment theatres. The future is bright for Niagara Casinos as we continue announce new big-name

Left page: Left: Teslatron Fountain at Fallsview Casino, Right Side,Top to Bottom: Noodle Bar, Ponte Vecchio Osso Buco, The Grand Buffet - Italian, LEV2L Sports Bar & Entertainment - Casino Niagara.

Richard Taylor Executive Biography

Richard Taylor - a recognized industry leader with a solid reputation for delivering significant results. A proven change architect, proficient at cultivating talent and building high performing teams.

Richard is President, Niagara Casinos and possesses a rare and unique professional background as he has held executive roles in all facets of gaming including Ontario Lottery & Gaming (OLG), the Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and with gaming operators. This experience has provided Richard with the ability to understand the various stakeholder expectations and also the political and public landscape that affects gaming in Ontario.

Richard currently reports to the COO and the Board of Directors for Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment Inc. and has oversight of both Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara. Combined, these sites have an employee population of 3,500. Throughout his leadership, the organization has also received numerous industry excellence awards for the hotel, the spa, restaurants, and the casino and workplace environment.

Richard is a firm believer that there is no greater driver of an organization’s success than its people – those that are united around a collective set of values and behaviours. His entrepreneurial and transformational style of leadership aligns and mobilizes the organization resulting in the delivery of a consistently well-executed customer experience.

An advocate of philanthropic endeavors, Richard promotes corporate social responsibility and has built productive relationships with numerous community groups and agencies to foster organizational reputation. Richard also leads by example and has served on various not-for-profit and charitable boards.

Richard holds a CPA/CMA designation from the University of Windsor and a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Richard has also graduated from several executive programs including the University of Reno, Rotman School of Business and most recently, Queen’s University.

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entertainment each and every week and look forward to the opening of a new Sportsbook in late 2023.

What is your typical day like?

I like to think of myself as a very busy multitasker. I am involved in the day-to-day operations here at the casino and I’m on top of where all our projects are heading. When I am not here, I am making trips to Toronto for in-person meetings with either the OLG, ACGO or iGO. I am also on calls with MGE Corporate and with local businesses, hoteliers, and with our tourism partners.

I like to think of myself as someone you can approach to ask questions, and with whom you can be honest. I am always listening to our associate’s ideas and suggestions about how we can build and enhance the experience at Niagara Casinos

I make it a priority to stay connected with our guests, our employees, and the businesses and organizations we work with and I always take the time to stop and say hello and see how everyone is doing.

What do you feel you need most going forward to continue doing your job with maximum effect and efficiency?

We are always looking to gather information about our industry, our customers, and the market. Every decision that we make is data driven and strategically planned and this will continue to ensure we remain a viable business.

Are there considerations from local politics/organizations that you must balance with your overall mission as leader of the largest employer in Niagara?

We are committed to Niagara Falls. Collectively, Niagara Casinos injected $60 million into the local economy, furthering ties with more than 300 regional businesses. Niagara Casinos is one of the largest employers in the Region and we are excited and proud to have returned all of our employees back to work following the pandemic.

Together, Niagara Casinos, MGE and the OLG, have been promoting greater economic development in Niagara Falls, creating jobs while driving tourism activity to ensure continued revenues for both the Province of Ontario and the Niagara Region.

The completion of the 130-million dollar OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino was facilitated by a Public-Private Partnership led by the OLG. This is the type of state-of-theart venue customers want — and is essential in a competitive, tourism-driven centre like Niagara Falls.

Thank you so much for your time! And I’ll be calling you so we can meet up at Bar Barista for an espresso, maybe even a crafted cocktail.

You’re most welcome and it’s a date!

Above: 21 Club Steak and Seafood. 51

Skylon on the Skyline

“For anyone coming to Niagara Falls, the number one thing to see is obviously the Falls. The view from Table Rock at the brink is a fantastic and emotional experience. After that, it’s on Niagara City Cruises, the boat ride up to the Falls, and of course, from the Skylon Tower.” George Yerich Jr., General Manager of the Skylon Tower.

Construction began on the famed tower in May of 1964, with its official opening on October 6, 1965. The cost to build it at the time was a whopping 7 million dollars! It’s fair to say that for 58 years now, the Skylon Tower has been the one constant of Niagara’s skyline which now counts other towering structures such as hotels and the Fallsview Casino. Over the course of the years, the tower has had several owners, mostly large corporations, that is until 1986 when two local Niagara hotel owners, John Gruyich of Michael’s Inn and George Yerich Sr. of the Holiday Inn By The Falls Motel purchased it from Canadian Pacific Hotels. In 1988, George Yerich Sr. bought out John Gruyich’s ownership share of the Skylon.

At the helm today is George Yerich Jr., General Manager, who oversees the operation.

While there has been considerable redevelopment in the

surrounding city, the Skylon Tower complex still retains much of its look and feel from the 1970s and 1980s. Standing at 160 metres (520 feet) from street level and 236 metres (775 feet) from the base of the gorge, the tower features three outside-mounted “Yellow Bug” elevators that carry passengers to the top of the tower in 52 seconds, all the while giving a great view of the landscape below, including the mighty cataracts.

The tower has two restaurants at its top, the Revolving Dining Room and the upper Summit Suite Buffet. The Revolving Dining Room revolves once every hour, providing guests with a panoramic view while they are enjoying some of the finest dining Niagara has to offer. Along with a tantalizing menu of delicacies paired with fine Niagara wines, guests are entertained by the Skylon’s very own Piano Man, Doug Bates, who contributes to the overall

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dining experience with his tickling of the ivories. Doug plays 6 nights a week and has done so for the last 32 years. As a classically trained pianist, Doug has played with bands taking him all over the world, but he has called the Skylon home for the last 3 decades. His repertoire includes all of the classics, jazz, blues and he’s always happy to take requests.

Up a level, the Summit Suite Buffet will be reopening for dinner service this season. “We’re very excited to be reopening the buffet post-Covid. It’s very popular with the tour groups we receive,” adds Mr. Yerich.

An observation deck sits at the tower’s summit with both indoor and outdoor platforms. The base of the tower features a number of gift shops, fast food restaurants and a large amusement arcade.

When asked what’s new on the horizon at the Skylon Tower, George Yerich became a little thoughtful and gave ever the slightest tease as to what to expect. “Well, we’re finding that the Arcade Level isn’t as popular as it used to be. Children have so many home-based options and video games that travel with them on their devices. I can’t divulge too much right now, but I can say that we have something very cutting edge that will be replacing the arcade – a mediabased attraction is coming.”

From the top visitors will be wowed by views of the Great Gorge, the Niagara wine district, and the city skylines of Buffalo, New York, and Toronto. On a clear day, visibility from the observatory is up to 125 kilometres (80 miles). It’s definitely worth the trip up!

Photos courtesy of Skylon Tower.
5200 Robinson Street Niagara Falls, ON L2G 2A2 For Reservations 1.866.221.5056 Visit us at OBSERVATION DECKS SUMMIT SUITE BUFFET REVOLVING DINING ROOM

at any given moment you’re sure to find the perfect one

IF NOT, We’ll eat our hat! th Over10,000 hats in stock

Nestled in the historic village of Niagara-on-the-Lake, BeauChapeau captures the romantic essence of the days of the Great Gatsby. BeauChapeau will take you away from the noise of your everyday, back to a simpler time. Here you’ll find YOUR HAT, the hat you’ve been waiting for.

BeauChapeau Hat Shop first opened its doors on May 1st, 1997 at 126 Queen St. in the little town of Niagaraon-the-Lake, Ontario. Since that time, it has been its desire to delight customers with a wide selection of hats and accessories, along with outstanding service to match. In 2006, after several years of feeling very cramped in the original small space at 126 Queen St., a move became necessary to accommodate the ever-expanding selection. On April 1st of 2006 doors were opened at 42 Queen Street, BeauChapeau Hat Shop’s current location and the prior home of Irish Design.

In keeping with its desire to be more than just a hat shop BeauChapeau doesn’t just carry hats; shoppers are offered a wide array of designer labels, high quality private label hats and bags, as well as umbrellas, gloves and scarves,

and a number of other hat related accessories. Inspired by the 1920s and 30s, the selection reflects the elegance and stature of the past, all while accentuating the fashions of today.

It is not enough to just sell a great product and provide excellent service. Your shopping must be an experience, something that guests eagerly look forward to. BeauChapeau Hat Shop transports you back to a simpler time when music came from a Victrola, a gentleman removed his hat in the presence of a lady, and so on. Simply try on a hat and become the lady of the manor or perhaps pretend to be Indiana Jones. No matter where your imagination wanders, one thing is for sure – you will always leave with a smile on your face whether you make a purchase or not. That’s what it’s all about here, having fun – BeauChapeau Hat Shop, welcomes you, and is excited to have you as its guest. 61
Photos and copy courtesy of BeauChapeau Hat Shop.

Carefully Curated For You!

Shopping Pink Bubblegum Vintage

“Buy Less. Choose Well. Make it Last.”

This quote from the late great fashion designer, Dame Vivienne Westwood, speaks volumes.

Thus, it follows that trends are now moving from “fast fashion” to “slow fashion” with the emphasis on vintage and sustainable pieces plastered all over magazines and walked down the runways at “Fashion Weeks” worldwide.

The allure of vintage pieces goes far beyond trudging through thrift shops nowadays. Things have been escalated to a much higher level with the likes of online and bricks and mortar stores like “The Real Real”. Everywhere we look, there seems to be a new pop-up, peddling kitschy knick-knacks, mid-century modern furniture, and of course, vintage clothing and jewelry.There is a store in downtown St. Catharines, Ontario that has found its place on the map, above and beyond its competitors – Pink Bubblegum Vintage on St. Paul.

Photos courtesy of Pink Bubblegum Vintage.

Yes, they have a great website that updates regularly (a tough act, given that once an item is sold, there are none others like it as you would find in chain clothing stores) with a plethora of interesting, beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces but there is nothing like wandering through the store, touching, feeling and actually seeing the loveliness of everything surrounding you. The clothing is authenticated, cleaned, and expertly displayed, tantalizing the young girl and her mother, looking for a cool spin on a prom dress with matching shoes, from times long gone. The juice glasses, decorated with intact enamel flowers, circa 1968, are in mint condition, just waiting for the lemonade to be poured in. But don’t put these glasses in the dishwasher. They are from an era where the dishwasher was mom, and their fragility would certainly be compromised. There is something for everyone at this curious little boutique that reverberates in the color PINK! All purchases are delicately wrapped in tissue paper, and at the bottom of the bag, you will always find the store’s signature “Double Bubble” wedge of chewing gum, reminiscent of a time when

things were simpler, and you could get 5 pieces of the candy for 5 cents at the corner store.

Walking into Pink Bubblegum Vintage is like stepping back in time. There are pieces for house and home, art, accessories, jewelry, clothing, shoes, all coming from different eras from the 1940s right up to the 1990s, which yes, are now part of “the old days.” You’re guaranteed to find something unique at an excellent price point depending on the exclusivity of the piece and its provenance.

If the notions of pre-loved, sustainable, and vintage ring true to you, then you will not be disappointed by a visit to Pink Bubblegum Vintage.

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Cool as a Moose

Let’s face it! A trip to Niagara almost requires that you return with some form of tacky souvenir for friends and family, and although there are a number of stores that can provide you with just such trinkets, you’ll want to stop in at Cool as a Moose!

Cool as a Moose is Canada’s #1 Souvenir Store, and with a store in historic Niagara-on-the Lake, you can pick up unique apparel, gifts, and souvenirs in a fun and compelling atmosphere.

With stores across Canada from coast to coast, you’re sure to find something for everyone, including gifts and souvenirs representing Victoria, Whistler, Banff, Niagaraon-the-Lake, Quebec, Halifax, and Prince Edward Island. That’s what makes this shop so different from your standard souvenir kiosks – each location offers tailor-made, quality products that represent things that are unique to whichever town you are visiting. From logo t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, and glasses, to food products originating in Niagara such as various tender fruit jams, maple syrup, fudges, etc. You are sure to hit it out of the park with whatever you bring back from your travels to Niagara.

Photso courtesy of Cool as a Moose. SHOP NIAGARA TAKE NIAGARA HOME
SHOP NIAGARA ONLY IN NIAGARA 66 Inspire Niagara & Beyond

rescuing, restoring reloving life


In 2019, I fell in love with a dusty, dirty and damaged oil painting. I discovered this gem in a moldy garage at an estate sale along the shores of Lake Erie. Despite its peeling paint and grimy exterior, I saw a beautifully moody, floral still life held together in a lovely, albeit beat up, frame. I bought that piece of original art for five dollars and sat it against a wall in my basement for months. Every time I went downstairs to do the laundry, I walked by the painting and reminded myself that restoring it would be my “retirement” job - just another pending project on my ever growing list of things I wanted to do once I had more time.

Art had always been a part of my life. My father was an artist and I went to art school. To this day, I love the way I feel when I create things and appreciate visual art in all forms. It’s like a jolt of happiness floods my neurodivergent brain every time I make or experience art.

I’ve always loved and appreciated old, well-loved things too. There is a psychology at play with them: celebrating history; appreciating a slower, more intentional life; grounding myself in stories that came before me; rediscovering a sense of heritage and belonging. I find so much beauty in the old and discarded. These once beautiful and loved things hold amazing stories. Little did I realize that the dirty five dollar still life was the vanguard of an evolution of my own story.

In 2020, I retired from my very conservative, corporate career of 32 years. That marketing job was a great way to help support my family, but it never fed me. It never felt authentic to me. I told myself I was exercising my right brain by creatively selling things like mutual funds, but it felt like

a waste of time. It wasn’t until I gave myself permission to immerse my brain and my hands in beautiful, creative things - painting, drawing, writing, sewing, growing a flower and herb garden, making homemade teas and tinctures - did I feel like I was finally harnessing my creativity and beginning to live my life with intention and purpose.

When I brought that rescued five dollar painting up to my porch and began cleaning and restoring it, it felt purposeful and symbolic. I was giving this floral still life a second life, and giving myself a second story too. I was emerging from living a gloomy, unintentional, uncreative existence and blossoming into the light of day. I was freshly awakened and it was time to live a more purposeful and artistically beautiful existence.

The seemingly simple act of restoring the hidden beauty of that painting helped me find a new creative love. I realized I love rescuing anything that tells a story, including old or vintage art, books, antiques, and clothing. The quest to find these lost items and then upcycling, repurposing, refreshing, and restoring them brings me great joy. I spend countless hours researching each treasure so that I can share their stories with others, so they too can enjoy them. My efforts are about more than owning and enjoying pretty things though.

I launched Second Stories Niagara as a way to share my love of living a more intentional and sustainable life. I wanted others to buy second hand and surround themselves with things that tell a story, that are purposeful and meaningful, and making their closets and homes a reflection of who they are as their authentic selves.

Photos courtesy of Second Stories Niagara.
The original five dollar painting.

I chose Instagram to share my pretty photographs and short stories about the second hand and vintage treasures I found. I share how upcycling, restoring and repurposing breathes new life into old treasures while making a significant impact on the reduction of waste on this planet. I continue to learn about the importance of sustainable living and how buying second hand not only decreases negative impact on the environment, it’s also a way to avoid the unethical and controlling strategies of manufacturers. Sustainability is also an important driver of the vintage resale industry. It’s also an important topic sellers can share resources about on social media. Injecting sustainable information and second hand tips on Second Stories Niagara now comes more naturally to me and I feel like it’s one of the ways I can play a small part in making a difference.

One month ago, I celebrated 109 rescued, restored, and reloved pieces of art. Most of them have been sold to Second Stories Niagara followers, and of course I’ve saved a few of my favourites for my own home and the homes of my family and friends. As more people become environmentally conscious and think about green living and decorating ideas, art lovers are also investing in art in sustainable creative and

personal ways. Thinking more mindfully about the longevity of a piece of artwork and choosing art that speaks to our own values and what we love to look at, rather than current trends, means that our homes will become a true reflection of who we are. Rather than being swayed by cheap and trendy decor unethically imported from the other side of the world, think about collecting decor and art that comes from the heart, just like I am.

The five dollar restored still life oil painting now proudly rests on my mantle. A gentle reminder that restoring someone’s long forgotten, discarded piece of art is a lot like reigniting something beautiful within yourself that was hiding and waiting to bloom and grow in the light.

Jody Vizza is an ex-marketer who lives in Fenwick Ontario and now rescues and restores useful vintage items and original art to relove.

Visit @secondstoriesniagara on Instagram.

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It is one of the most recognizable heritage landmarks not only in Niagara but in all Canada.

Soaring 185 feet (56 metres) above Queenston Heights, Brock’s Monument commemorates Major General Sir Isaac Brock, commander of the British and Canadian Forces at the Battle of Queenston Heights, one of the major land battles of the War of 1812 and a defining event in Canada’s history.

The battle began during the early hours of Tuesday, October 13, 1812. Brock was killed during the opening stages of the action, brought down by an American sharpshooter as he boldly led a charge up the side of the Heights in an attempt to dislodge an American force that had captured the Redan Battery, a key field fortification the British had erected two-thirds of the way up the Niagara Escarpment.

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By mid-morning the Americans had control of the Heights. However, they were driven back and defeated that afternoon by British and Canadian soldiers now under the command of Major General Roger Hale Sheaffe. Significant help was provided by some 160 Warriors from the Grand River Six Nations led by John Norton.

Brock’s death, seen as an heroic sacrifice, brought about widespread shock, disbelief and sorrow. A greatly admired man, the charismatic Brock and his aide-de-camp, John Macdonell, who died of wounds received during the battle, were first buried at Fort George in what is now Niagara-on-the-Lake.

On October 13, 1824, their bodies were reinterred in a tomb under a 41 metre (134 foot ) high monument that had been built on Queenston Heights. This original Brock’s Monument, which stood where the Laura Secord Monument on the Heights is now, was badly damaged by a terrorist bomb on April 17, 1840.

Deciding not to try and repair the monument, it was knocked down in July 1853. The remains of the fallen hero and his aide-de-camp were removed to the cemetery on the grounds of Willowbank, the Hamilton family mansion in Queenston.

Work then began on the present Brock’s Monument, to be located a short distance west of the first one. Under the direction of the architect William Thomas, a foundation was built that contained a tomb with two vaults. On October 13, 1853, with a crowd of some 12,000 solemnly looking on, the pall bearers brought the twin caskets up to the newly-constructed vaults and slid them into place. The vaults were then sealed.

This was followed by a ceremony that featured William Hamilton Merritt of St. Catharines as the principal speaker. One of Niagara’s best known citizens, Merritt was a War of 1812 veteran and who had later been the driving force behind the building of the first Welland Ship Canal. During his talk that memorable day, Merritt, who was also the chairman of the monument committee, spoke about the importance of honouring those who had fought for Canada in the War of 1812 as well as the need to erect monuments like the one being built on the Heights. He noted: “If Canada is worth preserving, we owe it to them. If it is asked why take this trouble (to build a monument),

what object is to be gained, my reply is this – it will … keep up a feeling of patriotism, a love of country, which every right-minded man should cherish.”

When the monument, crowned with a 16 foot (4.8 metre) high statue of Brock, was completed three years later, it was the second highest structure of its kind in the world. Stone steps, 235 in number, had been constructed inside the column to take visitors to the top just under the statue where a number of portholes offered a spectacular view.

The dedication ceremony for the monument was held on October 13, 1859, the 47th anniversary of the battle. Looking over the scene, the Hamilton Spectator reporter wrote: “The weather was fine and the gathering immense, not fewer than 10,000 persons being on the ground, among whom were numerous militia companies, nearly every district in the province having representatives there.

“Not the least interesting feature was the array of veterans who had fought in the War of 1812. Their curious uniforms attracted much attention and many a gaze was directed to the spot where the time-worn veterans stood.”

Sir Allan MacNab of Hamilton, a past Premier of pre-Confederation Canada from 1854 to 1856, delivered the inaugural address. Following the ceremony, he also presided over “a sumptuous dinner” for some 200 people, which was held in a large tent that had been set up nearby.

Two years after this ceremony the author of a Niagara Falls guide book summed up the view from atop Brock’s Monument as “most gorgeous.” Those same words are still appropriate.

Photos courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library and Parks Canada.

The Unsung Cemet e ry:

Niagara-on-the-L ake’s Negro Burial Ground

As one of Ontario’s oldest communities, it should come as little surprise that Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to its share of historic cemeteries where generation upon generation has been laid to rest. One of the more overlooked is the Negro Burial Ground, a cemetery whose history and significance deserves greater attention.

For almost as long as Niagara-on-the-Lake has existed the community has had a black populace, small perhaps, but important to the town’s character, nonetheless.

Between the late 18th and mid-19th century, a slow but steady trickle of blacks from the United States settled there. Some were enslaved individuals who were brought by Loyalists fleeing America after the colonies had won their

independence (there were, many would be surprised to learn, at least 80 enslaved men, women, and children living in Niagara-on-the-Lake as late as the 1820s). Some were loyalists themselves, men who had taken up arms in the name of King and Country. And, after Britain passed the Anti-Slavery Act in 1793, others were fugitive slaves seeking asylum.

The early black settlers formed an ethnic enclave within Niagara-on-the-Lake located south of William Street and bordered by King and Butlers streets. At its peak, around 200 people called the ‘Colored Village’ home.

Most blacks identified as Baptist, but for the first few decades of the village’s history there was no dedicated

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Baptist house of worship. By 1829, the Niagara Baptist community – white and black - had grown large enough that members became increasingly vocal about building a meeting house. The campaign was led by John Oakley.

English-born John Oakley was a soldier who arrived in 1814 to take part in the final campaigns of the War of 1812. An educated man, he served as Quartermaster at Fort George until 1824. When Oakley left the army, he became a teacher and, eventually, a Baptist preacher.

Oakley was instrumental in raising funds to build the Baptist church. A property was purchased on the east side of Mississauga Street just south of Mary Street, and a church was built upon it in 1831. Oakley proudly led the first sermon within on June 28.

The Baptist congregation was a mix of white and black worshippers, though the former outnumbered the former by 2-to-1. There was some tension within the congregation, almost certainly racially oriented, causing a facture that led most of the white parishioners to follow Oakley when he founded another Baptist Church in Virgil in 1845.

The first black minister was Reverend Francis Lacy, a blacksmith, who led the faithful from 1849-1856. It was during this period that the church began to be referred to as the ‘Coloured’ Baptist Church. During his time as minister, Lacy was a tireless promoter of Niagara’s black community. Sadly, it was a community in retreat. By 1861, the black population of Niagara-on-the-Lake was down to 166, and church membership stood at only 17. A decade later there were only 88 blacks in the community, and only 10 worshipped at the Baptist Church. It was inevitable that one day soon the church would close. Everyone saw the writing on the wall. That sad day came in 1878. Bereft of worshippers, the church was moved and ended its days as a storage shed.

Left behind was the church graveyard where at least 15 bodies were interred. Two of the burials harken back to one of the darker episodes in Niagara-on-the-Lake history.

In the spring of 1837, black slave Solomon Moseby stole his enslaver’s horse and fled to Canada, where he sought refuge among Niagara-on-the-Lake’s black community. Exultation turned to despair when, a few weeks later, Moseby’s enslaver arrived with an arrest warrant and extradition papers.

Moseby was detained in jail until his fate could be decided. The black community mobilized, and over 200 people, from Niagara-on-the-Lake and beyond, camped outside the jail to protest Moseby’s possible return to slavery. Some cried,

others were enraged when the extradition was ordered. When authorities attempted to remove Moseby from jail, the protest turned violent and two Niagara-on-the-Lake residents, Herbert Holmes and Jacob Green, were killed in the scuffle. Both were buried in the Baptist burial ground. And what of Moseby? He escaped, fled to England for a time, and later returned to live in Niagara.

The passage of time wasn’t kind to the burial ground where Holmes and Green were solemnly laid to rest. After the church closed its graveyard was neglected. Weeds grew unhindered. Shrubs and trees began to take root. Headstones first leaned wearily, then toppled. Some stones, local lore suggest, were even stolen for uses in home foundations.

Finally, in the 1950s, people began to take note of the historic cemetery. A plaque was erected in 1957 and, for the first time in decades, some care was lavished on the grounds. The graveyard was reclaimed from nature. But by then it was nearly too late. Only three headstones remained – and, thankfully, remain today.

One headstone belongs to little Susan Oakley, the daughter of Reverend Oakley, who died at the tender age of two. Another belongs to escaped slave George Wesley, who fled Kentucky with his family and died in 1893 after having enjoyed decades of freedom. His home still stands at 519 Mississauga Street, right across from the cemetery. The final stone belongs to Wesley’s son, George D. He was only 21 years old.

The name of the others buried here, and the locations where they rest, are lost. But maybe not for long. Attempts are being made to lift the veil of mystery surrounding the cemetery. Recently, ground penetrating radar has suggested there may in fact be 28 graves. Efforts are being made to identify all of those buried on site and to erect headstones for each. Only then will more than a century of indignity be corrected.

The Negro Burial Ground (perhaps soon to be renamed Niagara Baptist Church Burial Ground on a new plaque to be installed by the Ontario Heritage Fund), even with only three headstones, serves to remind us of Niagara-on-theLake’s once significant black community and of the church where many worshipped. It’s a solemn place, a place that reflects not only piety but also identity.

Burial Ground Location:

Mississauga Street, just north of John Street, NOTL

Photo courtesy of NOTL Museum.
and content
At Niagara
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courtesy of
Riding Stables

Dinah McGibbon has always loved horses and nature. I’ve been around horses and have lived on the Niagara Escarpment all my life. Not only have these magnificent, beautiful creatures provided me with years of riding experience, I’ve been surrounded by the natural beauty of these protected woodlands. I’d love to introduce you to horseback riding here at Niagara Riding Stables, especially since ours is the only public trail ride situated right along the escarpment in the Niagara region.

If you’ve only ever heard about the joys of horseback riding, come experience it first-hand at Niagara Riding Stables. Their location is “head and shoulders” above the rest, literally! You will treasure your time spent there for a lifetime. Take a scenic ride along the Niagara Escarpment on horseback. Leave your troubles behind as you meander through peaceful woods on one of their well-trained, well cared for horses.

Niagara Riding Stables is open year-round but due to unpredictable conditions, winter rides are weather permitting. There is a lot to see on a trail ride through the escarpment. Go trail riding along the Niagara Escarpment and experience this beautiful natural environment from horseback.

Reservations are required. No experience is necessary! Their horses are suitable for all levels of experience. Each trail ride takes approximately 45-50 minutes, and the cost is $75.00* (taxes extra) per person with a two-person minimum. The minimum age requirement for trail riding is 10 years and the maximum weight restriction is 240 pounds.

Trail rides are scheduled for 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, and 5 pm during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Winter rides are scheduled for 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm.

Meet the Horses

Every one of the horses is part of an extended family at Niagara Riding Stables, and like family members, they are treated with the utmost care and affection. Above all else, their mission has always been to work in partnership with these wonderful creatures. Go and see the difference in our horses for yourself. Just like Niagara Riding Stables, they are head and shoulders above the rest.


• The biggest member of our team at NRS

• Sweet disposition

• He’s a big boy, ideal for larger riders

• Used to work in film


• Star is a star!

• Percheron/Quarter horse cross

• Perfect in every way!

• Suitable for larger riders


• Spotted Saddle Horse with one “Blue” eye

• Very responsive, well-trained and energetic

• He’s a smooth-to-ride gaited horse

• Very energetic and enthusiastic


• One of the prettiest horses ever!

• Sweet disposition

• Loves to snuggle

• Has markings that look like Stars!


The one and only Canadian!

• Good for both beginners and experienced riders

• He’s a lover, not a fighter

• Very steady

• Excellent manners


• Louie is a sweet Morgan/Quarter horse cross

• Very gentle and good natured

• Likes to see if his riders are paying attention and takes short cuts when they aren’t


• 6-year-old black & white paint

• Very friendly and playful

• Ideal for experienced riders or confident beginners

• Mojo is the baby at NRS

The Full Niagara Experience

The Niagara Parks Commission, commonly shortened to NPC is an agency of the Government of Ontario. In total, the Commission is in charge of about 16.19 square kilometres (6.25 sq mi) of parkland along the river, in addition to the Niagara Parkway which spans 56 kilometres (35 mi). In this corridor, the NPC manages numerous trails, historic sites, picnic areas, and attractions.

is very excited about the upcoming season. “We are hopeful that 2023 will bring a more typical tourist season for us, although last season was very encouraging, with better numbers than our original projections. It’s clear we are on the road to recovery.”

The Niagara Parks Commission offers a host of attractions to suit the interests of just about anyone. Guests can ride 3500 feet across the Niagara Gorge and over the Niagara

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Whirlpool and the river’s Class 6 rapids suspended high in the sky on the Whirlpool Aero Car. Golf enthusiasts can play NPC’s two award-winning courses, Whirlpool Golf Course and Legends on the Niagara. Those favoring gastronomy can venture into any of NPC’s restaurants, but awards for the best views while dining on some of Niagara’s finest cuisine and VQA wine pairings, no doubt go to Table Rock Restaurant right at the brink of the Falls, and Queen Victoria

Park Restaurant just across the street which features indoor and outdoor dining. Both restaurants are boasting new chefs and new menus!

The closest you can get to the Falls is with a visit to the Journey Behind the Falls. Chris Giles says, “There have been significant renovations at the Journey to enhance visitor experience!” I can’t imagine how this exciting attraction can be enhanced any more than it already is. Chris is also

Photos courtesy of The Niagara Parks Commission.
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excited about the reopening of NPC’s heritage sites. “Our focus continues to be giving the best visitor experience at all of our attractions and we are happy to be reopening our heritage sites which include Old Fort Erie, Laura Secord Homestead, the Mackenzie Printery, just to name a few.” For nature lovers, NPC offers biking trails from one end of the Niagara Parkway to the other. Cyclists can literally bike from Fort Erie right to Niagara-on-the-Lake, following the mighty Niagara River all the way. Hiking trails are also bountiful with access to a variety of paths. Butterfly afficionados will be mesmerized by the number of species at the Butterfly Conservatory. Horticulture enthusiasts will revel at the sight of the Floral Clock, the Floral Showhouse and the Botanical Gardens.

Chris Giles is very proud of the fact that the NPC was able to open Phase I of the Power Station in the summer of 2021 despite the province still being under numerous Covid restrictions. “This was a big deal! The adaptive reuse of this century old power station is amazing. Guided tours are offered, and guests can enjoy an immersive light show.”

Even more exciting, is the Tunnel Experience at the Niagara Parks Power Station which opened to the public on July 1, 2022. Apart from a visit to Journey Behind the Falls, this is as close as visitors can get, on land, to the base of the Falls. “Visitors descend 180 feet in a glass-paneled elevator and explore the 2200 foot-long tunnel, leading to an observation deck at the river’s edge.This tunnel was originally excavated in 1901 with only lanterns, basic dynamite, pickaxes and shovels! There was a lot of media attention when this attraction opened.” says Giles.

It’s obvious that Chris Giles is very hopeful and excitedly anticipating the 2023 season. “We are looking forward to this season. The biggest thing for us it to build momentum with all of our current attractions and to ensure that all of our visitors get the best experience ever.”

Opposite page: Top left, Whirlpool Aero Car; Top right to bottom left, Tunnel Experience and Niagara Parks Power Station; Bottom right, Niagara Glen. Right side: Top, Niagara River; Middle and bottom, Butterfly Conservatory.

Trapped in Time: The Niagara Apothecary

The Niagara Apothecary is a beautiful 19th century building in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake. As the name suggests, for more than a century it served as a pharmacy, dispensing medicine and advice in equal measure to patrons. More than that, it’s also one of the region’s most unique museums.

Today, the building is operated by the Ontario College of Pharmacists. Behind the counter is retired pharmacist and first year museum curator Heather Arnott. “The building is an architectural treasure,” Arnott says. “There is a wow factor as soon as you walk in. It breathes history.”

The building dates to 1820 when it was built for a lawyer named Robert Dickson. His protégé and later partner, and

the second man to own the building, was Edward Clarke Campbell, a towering figure in mid-nineteenth century Niagara-on-the-Lake. Born to the community in 1806, he became a lawyer, was elected a member of Parliament in 1840, and a year later, was named judge of the United Lincoln, Welland, and Haldimand. He was an influential man indeed and conducted much of his affairs from what became the Niagara Apothecary.

In the years that Campbell was practicing as a young lawyer, the town pharmacist (‘druggist’ or ‘chemist’ in the vernacular of the day) was Rodman Starkweather, who opened his apothecary on Prideaux Street in 1820.

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In his role, Starkweather would have been responsible for mixing and dispensing medicine for the village’s ill. Medicine at the time was primitive by our standards. Many of the remedies were quite archaic, and because there was little in the way of oversight many of the medicines Starkweather provided would likely have included alcohol and narcotics.

In 1833, Starkwather sold his pharmacy to James Harvey, a pharmacist and member of municipal council. Harvey managed the business and served the community until his sudden death in 1851. Harvey’s assistant, Henry Paffard, took over the business and grew it. In 1869, Paffard purchased Judge Campbell’s offices and moved the apothecary there. Henry Paffard was Niagara-on-theLake’s longest serving pharmacist, a total of 47 years. As a reflection of how prominent a pharmacist was in any early town, and how high regard he was held, Paffard also sat as Niagara-on-the-Lake’s longest serving Lord Mayor, 23 years. It was during Paffard’s time that regulations began to be introduced into the pharmacy trade. The Ontario College of Pharmacists opened in 1871, and a few years later the University of Toronto introduced pharmacy programs. Upon his retirement at the age of 74, Paffard sold the business to his apprentice John de Witt Randall. Like his former boss, Randall would be elected Lord Mayor, serving two terms (1907-1909, 1912). He was also warden of St. Mark’s Anglican Church and district deputy grand master of the Masonic Lodge. Randall may have forever been in Paffard’s shadow, but he was a prominent man in his own right. Tragically, Paffard died of a sudden stroke in 1914. Arthur James Coyne, who also owned a pharmacy in St. Catharines, ‘Coyne Drugs,’ stepped in to fill the vacant role of pharmacist. It was never his intention to run both businesses for long, and in the end he only did so for six years until a worthy replacement was found. That man was Erland William Field.

Field had been Randall’s apprentice and would have served as his immediate successor except World War One had broken out in 1914 and Randall had immediately volunteered to served as a member of the Royal Canadian Medical Corps. Shortly after his return from the war, Field purchased the Niagara-on-the-Lake pharmacy from Coyne in 1920. He ran the business for more than four decades, before declining health persuaded him to retire in 1964. Field died a year later, but not before ensuring the historic apothecary’s future was assured by stipulating that the Ontario College of Pharmacists and Ontario Heritage

Trust would have first rights of purchase with an eye towards preservation.

Recognizing its historic value (the building was designated a National Heritage Site in 1968), the Ontario Heritage Trust purchased the building in 1969. With the assistance of the Ontario College of Pharmacists, they began the process of restoring the building and returning it to a 19th century state. Peter Stokes, one of Canada’s most noted restoration architects and a resident of Niagara-on-the-Lakes, supervised the meticulous restoration.

By 1971, the work was completed. An elderly Arthur Coyne was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony that saw the museum officially opened. What he saw must have surely impressed him; the museum is an authentic reproduction of a period apothecary. Almost all the fixtures are original to 1869, as are the black walnut countertop and the store clock. Dozens of jars and bottles line the shelves, many of them formerly belonging to James Harvey, who had them imported from Britain. In addition, early account ledgers and prescription books are displayed.

“Everything is so ornate and beautiful, from the woodwork to the dispensing cabinet. Even the grinder, used for breaking down roots and leaves, is decorative despite being utilitarian,” says Arnott. “My favorite items are the two show globes hanging in the front window, one blue and one red. These large glass vessels were a sort of advertisement of the day, letting people know, in an era when there was little regulation, that this this was an establishment one could trust.”

Arnott is looking forward to greeting guests this summer and introducing them to one of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s historic treasures.

“The Apothecary isn’t just a building with a collection of artifacts. It was a living, breathing pharmacy shop,” she says passionately. You can just imagine who walked these creaking floors before you and all the stories this building could tell.”

“The building”, Arnott continues, “represents not only pharmacy and medical history, but also Niagara history.”

Photos courtesy of Andrew Hind.
5 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake


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Wings over Niagara: Aviator Lincoln Beachey’s

The flimsy wooden airplane seemed to wobble ominously as it cleared the roaring falls. Compared to the might of Niagara, the craft looked impossibly small and fragile, like a toy. The airplane then disappeared into the cloud of mist rising from the Falls. For a moment, thousands of onlookers held their collective breaths, but a heartbeat later the plane emerged from the veil. It then dipped toward the river below. The hardest part still lay ahead.

Aviation was still in its infancy when Lincoln Beachey made Niagara Falls history in June of 1911. It had only been eight years since the Wright Brothers had made their first successful flight in North Carolina, and the aircraft of the

Niagara Legacy

day were flimsy, unreliable vehicles. There was risk involved every time a pilot lifted off the ground.

And 24-year-old Beachey loved every moment of it.

Lincoln Beachey was an aviation pioneer, a larger-than-life celebrity in his day. Born in 1887, as a youngster Beachey became fascinated with flight. As a teenager, he helped build a dirigible and made his first dirigible flight at the age of 17. Not satisfied with the craft’s performance, he later helped to design a faster, more aerodynamic dirigible and entered airship races.

Dirigibles represented a first step into the world of flight, but Beachey knew the future of aviation lay with fixed-

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wing aircraft. Starting in 1910, he began to participate in airshows performing stunts designed to awe audiences. He became the first pilot to recover from a nose-diving spin at 3,000 feet, for example, and helped invent aerobatics. Celebrated in the media, Beachey became known as ‘The Man Who Owns the Sky’ and The World’s Greatest Aviator.’ The man loved a challenge. In 1911, Niagara Falls seemed to call to him, daring him to test his mettle against the raging power of nature.

Beachey was lured to Niagara after learning there would be a $1000 purse to any aviator who agreed to perform at the US-Canada Carnival, an international festival jointly hosted by both the America and Canadian town of Niagara Falls. All he had to do was show up and perform some casual flights over Niagara Falls. His presence was enough. But that wouldn’t satisfy Beachey. He was a showman at heart. He wanted to put on a true spectacle. He wanted headlines. And so, Beachey conceived of a routine that would do exactly that.

Huge crowds—estimated at approaching 150,000 people— gathered on both sides of the Niagara River on June 28, eagerly awaiting Beachey’s performance. “After waiting patiently all afternoon for the appearance of The Birdman,” wrote the Niagara Falls Daily Record, “the crowds in the parks and the thoroughfares were at last rewarded when at 5:40pm Beachey rose into the air from the American side.” Beachey directed the plane out over the Niagara, a short distance upriver from the Falls. He followed its course, flying over the falls and through the dense cloud of mist that rose from it. That alone would have been enough for most of those assembled. But Beachy had greater things in mind. Dipping the plane suddenly, he flew straight towards the Arch Bridge spanning the gorge (located where Rainbow Bridge is today). Instead of passing over the bridge Beachey instead went under it, navigating between the spans as the plane skimmed the surface of the water by less than twenty feet.

The crowd went wild. According to the Daily Record, many opined that this represented “the most daring feat ever performed.”

If, to the people on the ground, the stunt looked deathdefying, that’s because it was. Speaking to a reporter after the flight, Beachey—a fearless aviator—frankly admitted to having been terrified by the ordeal. “I would not again attempt to fly under that bridge for five thousand dollars, let alone for the thousand-dollar purse that I won today,” he said. His aircraft testified to the danger the aviator

had faced: the ordeal had left it “looking like a beat-up orange crate.”

True to his word, Beachey never attempted the Niagara spectacle a second time.

Tragically, the legend of Lincoln Beachey outlived the man. A mere four years after his pioneering flight over Niagara Falls, the pilot was killed in an air show, on March 14, 1915, during the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. He had come out of a loop and then inverted the plane, a stunt he had pioneered, and which was extremely dangerous in the craft of the day. The strain of the maneuver caused the rear spars in the wings to break, causing the plane to crash into San Francisco Bay. A reported 250,000 people watched the tragedy unfold.

Ironically, Beachey had almost quit aerobatics several years before, citing his belief that much of the appeal for audiences was a morbid eagerness to witness the all-too frequent crashes.

In an era when flight was a novelty, people in Niagara Falls spoke in awe of Beachey and that spectacular day in 1911 for decades to come. Even today, he is remembered as the first individual to conquer Niagara Falls by air.

Photos courtesy of Community Archives of Bellville and Hastings County.

Enjoy a Pint and M ee t a Ghost!

Walk along thick, plank floors, laid in 1815, all the while admiring the exposed, handhewn beams of the same era. You’re in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake at The Olde Angel Inn and if you close your eyes and listen, you can be transported back to a time where British soldiers and townsfolk gathered for food, drink, and lodging over two centuries ago when the present-day establishment was known as The Harmonious Coach House.


On the cusp of becoming the first capital of Upper Canada, NOTL, as it’s affectionately known by locals, was then called Newark. Although historical records are a bit sketchy for that time, it’s said that The Harmonious Coach House was built in 1789 and in 1793, hosted important legislators who, as part of the New Assembly, had just passed an Act outlawing slavery, the very first of its kind in the world. These lawmakers allegedly celebrated their victory within the walls of the pub. They weren’t the only famous people to pass through, as scores of Canadian, American, and international celebrities and royalty also made the stop. After being badly damaged by fire during the War of 1812-1814, the place was rebuilt in 1815 by John Ross who lovingly named it, The Angel Inn, as a tribute to his wife.

The Olde Angel Inn boasts an excellent menu full of pub food, and a vast array of draft beer. But its food isn’t the only thing that gets star billing.

The Olde Angel Inn is home to a bonafide ghost!

Going as far back as the 1820s, a mere 6 years-post War of 1812, is the story of a young Canadian militia officer, Captain Colin Swayze, who was killed on the site in 1813 when he delayed vacating NOTL as the American army was invading – all in the name of love.

As the British army was retreating, Captain Swayze was awaiting his love for a rendezvous at the Inn. The American invaders arrived before his sweetheart, and Captain Swayze sought refuge in the basement of the inn. The terrified young soldier hid in a barrel and thought he would go undetected – that is until the Americans made their way into the basement and jabbed their bayonets into every possible

sac and barrel, mortally wounding Captain Swayze, as he curled up, not making a sound. Legend has it that the young officer has been roaming the grounds ever since, perhaps searching for his long-lost love to finally have that rendezvous.

Captain Swayze, by all accounts, is a fairly harmless ghost. He likes to make noises in the dining room after the last of the guests have left. Place seatings are moved, vases and furnishings shifted. There are often unexplained cold spots in the restaurant and hotel rooms, and he’s also been known to mischievously lock doors that no key can seem to open. Captain Swayze only becomes malevolent if by chance, his beloved British flag which flies over the Inn, is not there, something that the present-day proprietors avoid at all cost.

Many have spoken of their encounters with Captain Swayze. The most recent documentation occurred on September 5th, 2020, when the resident ghost was actually captured on camera! When staff arrived the following morning and underwent its usual check-ups and maintenance, they noticed that the motion sensor had been set off during the night. When footage was reviewed, staff was shocked to see a familiar form walking through the building late at night. The ghostly shape seemed to be wearing a militia officer’s uniform. Take a look and judge for yourselves -- or make your way to The Old Angel Inn, enjoy a cold pint, and meet a ghost!

Photos courtesy of The Olde Angel Inn.

Don’t Get Scammed!

victim’s home. Once the money is collected, the scammer is usually never seen again. This is particularly heinous in that it plays on the love and goodwill of a grandparent for a family member.

Are there any programs in place to support seniors?

Fraud and scams can be frustrating, embarrassing and a financial burden to those they affect. One way to avoid the pain and agony is educate yourself on the current scams happening around the Niagara Region. Constable Phillip Gavin of the Niagara Regional Police Services reviews key things to watch for when identifying scams and ways to prevent becoming a victim. Gavin also points out some resources and programs in place by the Niagara Regional Police Services to assist members of the community.

What are some of the current scams that individuals need to be aware of?

Gavin: Criminal scammers are known to use certain scams repeatedly until the community becomes more aware of the scam and their ability to defraud the public becomes harder. Scammers will then often move onto a new technique or one that they haven’t used in a while.

One scam that the province of Ontario and other parts of Canada have seen frequently is called the Grandparents Scam. This scam has seen many vulnerable people in our community lose thousands of dollars. During the Grandparent Scam, an unknown scammer will call a vulnerable member of our community and portray themselves to be a lawyer or police officer, stating that a member of their family is in legal peril. The victim is then told the only way for their loved one to get out of jail is by the victim paying large amounts of money for “legal fees”. The scammer demands payment in cash or often gift certificates. In many cases, a criminal courier is sent to the

Gavin: The Niagara Regional Police Service had developed education and awareness programs to help fight the Grandparent Scam. We have been using the campaign hash tag #NRPMePlus3. The hope is that it will encourage a member of the public to seek official information (NRP) and educate themselves about scam (Me). We then ask the public to create awareness and education in three people they care for (Plus3).

We also created the Point of Sale Scam Intervention Program (POSSIP). This program was developed to create scam awareness and education in retail and financial institution employees. This is a downloaded education program where employees learn to recognize and intervene in the scam. We have further arranged to have officers attend financial institutions in Niagara to meet with employees directly to discuss scam prevention and intervention.

Going into the summer months, what should visitors and local community members consider?

Gavin: The Niagara Region is a wonderful place to visit and enjoy the many things that it has to offer. Like in any community, members of the public should remain vigilant to their surroundings and make good safe decisions. Trusting one’s intuition is always a good first step. If something sounds too good to be true, it may just be.

What should local community members be aware of when purchasing tickets and attending events?

If a member of the public has plans to attend a concert or large events, purchasing tickets through the official sources of the event is important. It prevents price gouging and reduces risk from dealing with unknown people.

96 Inspire Niagara & Beyond

Recent news reports have discussed impersonating an internet or phone carrier repair person. When at home how can individuals protect themselves?

Gavin: We should always be cautious before allowing anyone unknown into our homes. Unsolicited or unannounced visits to your home by repair persons should raise your vigilance. It is your home. You do not need to invite anyone in. Your safety is paramount. Asking for identification and following up with the company is also acceptable. If you are still suspicious, contacting your local police can also help.

There is no rush to complete a transaction at the door. Request paperwork including a business card and take the time to do independent research on your own. This includes internet searches for previous clients, internet reviews of their work and business practises. Asking for references is also a good practice.

What types of protection can individuals do around the home?

Gavin: Protection around your home can include installing signs such as “no soliciting” and video cameras to cover the entrance and driveway of your property. A simple security measure that every home has is speaking through a partially closed or closed door. Opening the door and allowing someone into your home takes away your security and makes it harder to get them to leave when you no longer wish to hear what they have to say.

Distraction theft has been in the news and on social media. What should community members be aware of?

Gavin: Distraction thefts often occur in public places, such as parking lots. The victim is followed by the suspect and their criminal partners. They work together to distract the victim so that valuables can be removed often from their

car without their knowledge. We have seen suspects follow victims in stores and watch as they enter their PIN number at the point of sale. Suspects will then follow them to the car and steal their purse or the credit card. The suspects then try to complete as many transactions on the card as possible before it is cancelled by the financial institution. In these cases, one of the best forms of protection is to be vigilant with blocking the view, when entering your pin number at the point of sale.

What should parents be aware of and how can they protect their children when using social media?

Gavin: Communication and education is one of the key elements when it comes to protecting children as it relates to the Internet and social media. It is important that parents know what their children are accessing on the Internet. This can be managed by periodic checks of the phone or devices installed by the parent. There are lots of great educational tools when it comes to Internet safety, please check the Niagara Region police website.

Are there any current telephone scams to be aware of? Email? Text?

Gavin: There are numerous scams that cycle through on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many people’s phones are often hit with random text messages and emails that contains suspicious scam links. Clicking on these links leave your devices vulnerable to further cyber attack. In other cases, the scammer is hoping you will click on the link to make connections with a live person, so they can defraud you of your valuables.

How can individuals report fraud?

Gavin: If an individual has been a victim of fraud, and has had a financial loss, they should contact their local police to report it (905-688-4111). If a member of the public receives a scam email or text, they can report it at the Canadian AntiFraud Center.

What are some barriers people face when deciding to report?

Gavin: We believe that many frauds go unreported. Victims have reported that they feel embarrassed or ashamed that they fell victim to the fraud. It is important that people receive support so that victims can receive the assistance they need.

Photos courtesy of NRP.

The Legend of the Screaming Tunnel

From: ToDoCanada

Imagine standing in the middle of a moss-covered tunnel cloaked in nothing but darkness. You’re holding a single burning match and then you hear it… the hairs on your arms stand up as the entire tunnel is filled with her piercing screams. The burning match is extinguished by a gust of wind, but only you know it wasn’t the wind…. you know it was something else. You’re now standing in the dark tunnel paralyzed by fear, all you know is that you’re not alone… This is what you might experience if you visit the Screaming Tunnel in Niagara Falls. During the day it’s a simple limestone tunnel whose walls are covered in colorful graffiti and layered with moss and algae. However, at night it transforms into a sinister tunnel straight out of your worst nightmare.

So, what exactly is The Screaming Tunnel?

This 125 feet-long tunnel was constructed in the early 1800s under the Grand Trunk Railroad. Its primary purpose was to drain away water from the farmlands, but farmers used it to transport their animals and goods.

No one knows how exactly the legend originated or what really happened in the tunnel but there are a few local legends that explain the eerie screams.

All local legends agree that the screams belong to a young

girl living on a farm nearby who was set ablaze in the tunnel but, each story describes a different reason for this atrocity. According to one legend, a local farm that was near the tunnel caught fire. The young girl with her clothing ablaze ran towards the tunnel in search of water. However, the girl’s burn wounds were too severe, and she passed away in the tunnel.

According to another legend, her father was infuriated when he lost custody of his children, and so he dragged his daughter all the way to the tunnel. The outraged father then set the young girl ablaze, leaving her to die in the tunnel. Yet another tale tells the story of a young girl was raped inside the tunnel by a man who was possibly drunk. He set fire to her body so that no evidence would ever be found. Even though the tunnel has an atrocious history, it is very popular among those seeking an adventure or those who crave the rush of adrenaline from such spine-chilling experiences.

Want to test whether you can encounter the ghost? Walk the tunnel and when you get to the middle, light a wooden match. This action is said to frighten the ghost haunting the tunnel. You might hear her shrill screams and your match extinguished by a gust of wind.

Image courtesy of ToDoCanada.
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Articles inside

Giddy Up! At Niagara Riding Stables

pages 78-79

BeauChapeau Hat Shop

pages 60-61

The Legend of the Screaming Tunnel

pages 98-99

Don’t Get Scammed!

pages 96-97

Enjoy a Pint and Meet a Ghost!

pages 94-95

Wings over Niagara: Aviator Lincoln Beachey’s

pages 92-93

Trapped in Time: The Niagara Apothecary

pages 84-89

The Full Niagara Experience

pages 80-83

The Unsung Cemetery: Niagara-on-the-Lake's Negro Burial Ground

pages 76-80


pages 74-75

Second Stories Niagara: Rescuing, Restoring & Reloving Life

pages 67-72

Cool as a Moose

pages 65-66

Carefully Curated For You! Shopping PInk Bubblegum Vintage

pages 63-64

Skylon on the Skyline

pages 54-61

It's Just Plain More Fun!

pages 45-53

Fritter Away!

pages 42-44

Steeped in Tradition Avondale Dairy Bar

pages 40-41

DON’T MISS “The Grist”

pages 38-39

The Cake That isn’t a Cake

pages 34-36

You Gotta Eat Here!

pages 32-34

This pearl is a gem!

pages 28-29


pages 21-24

Love of A Labour

pages 16-20

Port Colborne is Booming!

pages 12-13

Cooking Up a Storm

pages 10-11

The 10th annual TD Niagara Jazz Festival

pages 6-8
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