History with a view
Fallsview Boulevard’s past & present.
AND IT’S EVER CHANGING FACE
+ harry houdini AND HIS MYSTERIOUS NIAGARA CONNECTION
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elcome to the summer edition of On the Boulevard. As a tourism publication, we bring you in-depth articles on all the best things to see and do during your visit to Niagara Falls. For this issue, we cover the innovative side of Niagara (Niagara Craft Breweries, page 23 and the Niagara Integrated Film Festival, page 89), the picturesque side (Hornblower cruises, pg 66, Niagara Floral Clock, page 49), the historical side (History of Fallsview area, page 95 and Harry Houdini, page 15)â€Świth a little bit of food and wine thrown in (of course). Weâ€™ve definitely got something for everyone. This time of year is particularly beautiful in Niagara, so take advantage of it by getting out and exploring everything this area has to offer. Have a great summer season, and I hope you enjoy this issue of On the Boulevard.
Megan Pasche Editor TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 7
ANDREW HIND & MARIA DA SILVA
Andrew and Maria are freelance writers specializing in travel, history and lifestyle. They have a passion for new adventures and experiences, and for exploring little known stories. Andrew is never without a book or three in hand, and some obscure historical fact at the tip of his tongue. Maria is a natural storyteller who loves the paranormal, cooking and good wine (mostly, she’ll say, for putting up with Andrew). You should follow them @discoveriesAM.
Convinced she would have made a better teen in the 80s instead of the 90s, Jill’s passion for writing came after seeing the movie Stand by Me. When Jill is not moonlighting as a freelance writer, she is an Elementary teacher juggling her three children. Along with being a regular contributor to Today Magazine, Jill’s articles have been featured in Canadian Running, Pedal, Allergic Living and @OECTA. jilltham.wordpress. com @JillBT
A retired teacher, Sherman Zavitz has had a fascination with the history of Niagara Falls for many years. Past president of The Lundy’s Lane Historical Society and has served on the boards of The Canadian Canal Society, The Friends of Fort George and the Niagara Falls Museums. He has been recognized for his historical expertise by being appointed official historian for both the City of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and The Niagara Parks Commission.
Lynn is a food, wine and travel writer, author of three international award-winning cookbooks and regular contributor to REV Publications. Lynn specializes in culinary tourism covering regional cuisine destinations, slow food, culinary holidays, wine, spirits and “la dolca vita”. She can be reached for questions or comments at lynnogryzlo.com.
Lauren graduated from The University of Western Ontario with an honours BA.in Media Studies, where she also completed many creative and journalistic writing courses. She loves to travel, meet new people, and take too many pictures! Currently Lauren is learning to speak Mandarin. She lives for the summertime, vacations, and anything involving lots of sunshine!
Evan Saviolidis is a Wine Tasting Challenge Grand Champion, Journalist for Canada’s largest wine magazine: Quench, Instructor for The Canadian Association of Professional Sommelier, and teaches wine appreciation courses in Niagara at WineSavvy. For complete information, please visit evanwinesavvy.com.
Gabrielle is a writer with REV Publishing and holds a passion for covering travel and event pieces. She is always up for an adventure and loves meeting new people but also maintains close relationships with her Keurig and bicycle. Her favourite time of year is scarf season and she has easily watched the movie Armageddon 200 times. You should follow her @gabrielletieman
A Taste of Italy in Every Bite
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Located in Hilton Hotel & Suites Niagara Falls/Fallsview, directly across from Fallsview Casino Resort. 6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3V9 pranzoniagara.com | 905-353-7174 | facebook.com/pranzoniagara Complimentary parking for dining guests.
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On The Boulevard by Today Magazine is published by Rev Publishing Inc. All opinions expressed in On The Boulevard by Today Magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of On The Boulevard by Today Magazine, it’s employees or owners. Reasonable care is taken to ensure that the information contained in this magazine is as up-to-date and accurate as possible, as of the time of publication, but no responsibility can be taken by On The Boulevard by Today Magazine for any errors, omissions or comments made by writers or interviewees that are contained herein. Furthermore, responsibility for any losses, damages or distress resulting from adherence to any information made available through this magazine is not the responsibility of On The Boulevard by Today Magazine. 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 for publication is assumed. All unsolicited material submitted to On The Boulevard by Today Magazine are submitted at the author’s risk. Manuscripts and or photographs intended to be returned must be accompanied by sufficient postage. On The Boulevard by Today Magazine does not assume any responsibility for any claims of our advertisers and reserves the right to refuse any advertising.
COVER STORY 15
THE LEGENDARY HARRY HOUDINI
The master illusionist’s mysterious connection to Niagara.
FOOD & DRINK 18
AN AMUSE TO YOUR BOUCHE
HOP ALONG NIAGARA’S BEER TRAIL
EVAN’S WINE RATINGS
Creating your own grazing board.
Beers that wouldn’t be caught kegged. It’s the new dinner party. A true Canadian winery.
Evan Saviolidis weighs in on a selection of Niagara wines.
ABOUT TOWN 49
THE BEAUTY OF PASSING TIME
The floral clock and it’s ever-changing face.
CELEBRATING NIAGARA’S GRAPE HARVEST
Niagara Wine Festival.
NIAGARA’S BEST DAY TRIPS
DON’T LOOK DOWN
HITTING THE LINKS
IGNITE YOUR COMPETITIVE SPIRIT
The prettiest, most eclectic communities that simply demand exploring. A history of risk takers who dared to brave the falls. Summer of Thrills is back, front, centre.…and up – way up. Live vicariously through these daredevils as they take Niagara’s highly anticipated thrill show to new heights. Niagara’s Golf Trail’s 7 must play courses in the Region. Pan American Games.
HERE. SEE. DO 89
THE NIAGARA INTEGRATED FILM FESTIVAL
HISTORY WITH A VIEW
A mélange of food, film and wine.
Fallsview Boulevard’s roots & ever-changing landscape.
COVER STORY catwalker/Shutterstock.com
Harry Houdiniâ€™s Mysterious Niagara Connection H By Andrew Hind and Maria Da Silva
arry Houdini was one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century. Mysterious and larger-than-life, he mesmerized audiences with spectacular acts that blended danger with a showmanâ€™s flair. Though little remembered today, Houdini had a long association with Niagara Falls that was just as mysterious as any of his celebrated performances. Harry Houdini was born Erich Weiss to a poor Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary on March 24, 1876. He took his immortal stage name in honour of his idol, the French magician Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin. In time, however, he surpassed the achievements and renown of Houdin and indeed all other magicians of the day to become the greatest escape-artist and illusionist the world had ever seen. >> TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 15
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McManus - Young Collection
Houdini’s life, like the acts he performed on stage, was full of drama and shrouded in mystery. Some claim, for example, that he was a spy in the employ of Scotland Yard. Others, most notably Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes and at one point a close friend of Houdini, claimed that he was a medium who used supernatural abilities to perform his magic acts. Certainly, the magician kept his stunts a closely guarded secret and often outwardly lied about his background to retain an air of the unknown about himself. The great magician visited Niagara Falls several times with his beloved wife, Bess, and upon forming the Houdini Picture Corporation in 1919 made sure that the first film he made would feature the Falls. Filming of The Man From Beyond, which Houdini not only produced but also starred in, took place at Niagara Falls in May of 1921. One of the most celebrated scenes in the movie sees Houdini swimming through the raging rapids to rescue the heroine from certain death. It was a stunning and death-defying performance, the equal of any of his stagecraft stunts for sheer drama. What the audiences didn’t realise was that Houdini’s audacious swim was nothing more than a Hollywood effect; Houdini was in no danger and the swim through the rapids certainly did not test his physical mettle since he strapped into a leather harness that slid on a cable and made the stunt effortless. Still, there was something fascinating about watching the undisputed master of magic onscreen with a location so shrouded in mystical allure. Houdini died a mere five years later on October 31, 1926 at Grace Hospital in Detroit. Stories that his death was the result of a failed stage act or of being punched in the stomach are false; in truth, he died of peritonitis, internal poisoning resulting from a ruptured appendix. Many people find it oddly appropriate that the world’s greatest magician should die on Halloween. In his last will and testament, Houdini bequeathed his magic paraphernalia to his brother Theodore, who had followed him into the industry and was known professionally as Hardeen. Theodore was free to make use of the items, but was left with strict instructions that they be burned upon his retirement so that no one would discover the secrets of their stagecraft. For reasons unknown, Theodore did not follow Houdini’s implicit instructions. Instead, the effects were put into storage and, for a while at least, forgotten. Then, in 1967, the collection of magic items were re-discovered and put up for sale. Houdini must have been rolling over in his grave. The secrets of his life’s work would be revealed, and the legacy of mystery and marvel that he had worked so hard to preserve would be dashed.
After learning of the sale from an article appearing in the Toronto Star, entrepreneur Henry Muller saw an opportunity to combine the timeless reputation of Houdini with the kitsch of Niagara Falls and make a fortune. Muller managed to acquire the collection and then purchased a former meat packing plant on Centre Street near Niagara’s tourist core at Clifton Hill to serve as their new home. After months of renovations on June 6, 1968, the doors to the Houdini Magical Hall of Fame were swung open to the eager public. Muller and his investors were pleased with the reception, but it seems as though a long-dead Houdini was not. He let his displeasure be known early and frequently. During the first year of the museum’s operation, there were a series of six mysterious fires in the building, a robbery, as well as a freak accident in which one of the museum directors walked through a plate glass window and died an excruciating death. This string of inexplicable misfortune caused many to speculate that the museum was cursed, and if indeed it was, the logical choice for the offending spirit was Harry Houdini himself. For a man who had cheated death so many times and had developed an avowed interest in mysticism, voicing his anger from beyond the grave didn’t seem impossible or even extraordinary. The curse seemed to follow the museum even after it moved to the 19th-century Victoria Park train station atop Clifton Hill in 1972. Nevertheless, the Houdini Magic Hall of Fame remained one of Niagara Falls’ most popular attractions. In a spectacle worthy of Houdini, the museum came to a dramatic end on the night of April 30, 1995. A fire broke out within the building and began racing through the exhibit halls, spreading so fast that responding fire fighters were powerless to stop their relentless advance. Hundreds gathered to watch the inWant more ferno. By morning, the building had Houdini? Scan here. been gutted and most of its contents destroyed. It seemed that Houdini’s wishes had finally been carried out. The cause of the fire has never been determined, leading some to even blame the deceased magician himself. Today, Ripley’s Four Dimensional Movie Theatre stands on the grounds of the former Houdini Magic Hall of Fame and Niagara Falls’ connection with the master magician has been largely forgotten. For more dramatic history tales associated with Niagara Falls, please see Andrew Hind and Maria Da Silva’s Niagara: Daredevil’s, Danger and Extraordinary Stories (Folklore Publishing). TM
FOOD & DRINK
IN DEFENSE OF THE
GRAZING BOARD AN AMUSE TO YOUR BOUCHE BY LYNN OGRYZLO
The grazing board: it’s a funny name that conjures up images of cows in a field. Yet to me, it’s the most delicious of casual dining experiences. Of course, I’m talking about sipping on drinks that stimulate an appetite for nibbles of gourmet foods that you and your friends’ leisurely nosh while layering the experience with great conversation. Often confused with a charcuterie board, a grazing board is the cheese platter of the 1980s, reincarnated by the modern day carnivores’ lust for cured meats and demand for exciting flavours. They include both meat and cheese with accompaniments that can be tart, crunchy, smooth or savoury. When put together properly it becomes a continual play on the palate that lasts for hours. Charcuterie boards on the other hand, are only cured meats with a few condiments for flavour contrast. Notice how I said cured meats and not charcuterie. Charcuterie is a French word and yet, very few (if any) of the ingredients on the board are French. Think about it, prosciutto and salami are Italian, kielbasa is Polish and ham hocks are German. Sure, cornichons, the little French, miniature, tart pickle is the perfect foil for rich fatty meats but it has now been replaced with Korean kimchi which does the same job yet adds a modern twist with a complexity of flavours the little cornichon lacks. Creamy French pate has become passé being replaced with coarsely textured terrines, which are both English
and French inspired. So where is the justification to use the French word charcuterie? John Zagaria of Dolce Lucano, the Woodbridge equivalent to Niagara’s famous Pingue Prosciutto is a specialist in all cured meats but he refuses to use the French word charcuterie. Preferring instead to talk of salumi, the Italian word for the same family of meats such as sopressata, capacola, bresaola, Genoa salami and prosciutto. But since the word salumi is not showing any signs of popularizing the way charcuterie did, I think we’ll continue to hear charcuterie. My preference has always been for a grazing board because it offers many more options to try new and interesting foods. Organized properly a grazing board becomes an afternoon amuse to your bouche. The goal is to feel pampered and satisfied in an atmosphere of indulgence. To do this, quantities are kept to a minimum while maximizing on the number of flavour elements. Keep in mind that on any good grazing board there could be three meats, two cheeses, three accompaniments, bread and fruit. Certainly you can add more or less, depending on the number of people and the time you have to indulge. The great thing about a grazing board is that you own it. It can be as adventurous or tame as you like and get this – all ingredients can be purchased from a convenient grocery store to a well stocked, specialty food shop. How much easier can decadence be? >>
GRAZING BOARD DESIGN MEAT The deli counter is your playground when selecting a mix of cooked and cured meats. Be adventurous with a smoky speck and creative with slices of cooked sausage. Bacon-like pancetta will add richness and real Black Forest Ham will add a bit of sweetness. You may also want a cured sausage like soprasatta or aged items like bresaola. Whatever you do, don’t forget Niagara’s quintessential cured meat, prosciutto di Niagara. If you choose two different meats, plan on two ounces of total meat per person. The more kinds of meat you have, the more people tend to eat so for three meat choices, count on three ounces of total meat per person. Bring meats to room temperature for the best flavour. To do this, remove them from the refrigerator approximately 15 to 20 minutes ahead of serving and simply include a small fork for serving.
CHEESE Don’t cut the cheese! That is so 1970s! Instead, leave it whole. To make the board more visually appealing, stick to an odd number of different favours and styles of cheese. Firm cheeses include Asiago, Grana Padano and Manchego. Everyone loves a rind cheese such as brie, gorgonzola and ash veined. If you like creamy cheeses, pull out a small bowl and fill it with rondule, buratta or chèvre. You can also try selecting cheeses by the type of milk such as cow, goat or sheep for a range of different flavours. When planning your cheeses, balance the strength of the cheese to your choice of meat. If you choose smoky meats, pair it with an equally strong blue cheese. If your meats are salty and elegant such as prosciutto, a hard cheese like Pecorino partner best. If you’re serving a really strong cheese, serve it on a separate platter to avoid flavour contamination. To serve, bring the cheese to room temperature by removing it from the refrigerator approximately one hour before serving. For firm cheese, a knife with holes prevents the cheese from sticking to it, a butter knife works for soft cheeses and for hard varieties, a cheese plane will shave off the perfect thickness of cheese for your cracker. If you don’t have special cheese knives, just remember to provide one knife for each cheese to avoid mixing the different flavours together.
ACCOMPANIMENTS Condiments, condiments, condiments! Use them generously, they build layers of flavours beyond the meat and cheese, add interest and round out the entire experience. Serve them in little bowls on the board with a small spoon or knife for easy sharing. Choose a variety from the following: Acidic foods cut the richness of cheese. Choose from gherkins, kimchi or anything pickled like red onions, artichokes and mushrooms. Fresh fruit such as slices of mild pear, the tang of an apple or grapes. Look for delicate champagne grapes for a special treat. Oily foods are a great foil to meats. Examples are olives and marinated vegetables such as mushrooms, eggplant and sun-dried tomatoes. Flavour excitement comes from sweet, savoury and salty foods. The sky is the limit here. Grainy mustards, vegetable salsa, fruit chutney, honey, ratatouille, caponata, bacon jam, wine based jelly or caramelized onions. Textural diversity is as important as flavour. You could add crunchy raw vegetables but I recommend roasted nuts or apple chips. Dense and chewy can be had from dried fruit such as figs, cherries or apricots. Bread plays a supportive role. Offer a selection of breads, including sliced baguette, bread sticks, and crackers in all different shapes and sizes. It’s not a good idea to vary the taste and texture among the breads because they will just fight with everything else on the board. If you’re serving soft cheeses and spreadable condiments, slices of fresh baguette allow for easy smearing of all the flavours.
SPREAD OUT THE SPREAD Once you've chosen your food it’s time to put the platter together. Choose a large plate, a food grade wooden board or marble slab, with plenty of room so that none of the cheeses or meats touches anything else and you have plenty of room for cutting. Really strong cheeses should be on their own platter. TM
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BY GABRIELLE TIEMAN
HOP ALONG NIAGARA’S
rowing amongst Niagara’s acres of grapes is a brewing community that has beer drinkers flocking to the Niagara Region in search of creative small batch microbrews. But these are not your typical mass-produced, found in a frat’s keg style beers. Focused on creating strong unique beers that mirror Niagara’s home grown produce, these small independent breweries are converting the once wine dominated region into a hotspot for exceptional Ontario craft beer. >>
NIAGARA BREWING COMPANY 4915-A Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls, ON. WHAT MAKES PEOPLE COME BACK: Creative beers, locally sourced ingredients and traditional brewing methods The Niagara Brewing Company has big plans for downtown Niagara Falls. Opening its doors to the public this May right in the middle of the carnival fun of Clifton Hill, this latest addition to Niagara’s craft brewing route offers a varied roster of innovative and smooth drinking brews created with traditional practices and locally sourced produce. Residing in the former site of the legendary Foxhead Inn – one of the first luxury hotels in Niagara Falls – and the once WWE store, Niagara Brewing Company says they plan to honour the spirit of the fox by employing daring processes, bold flavours, and a strong desire to create the perfect beer. The multi-level on-site brewery will also offer a comprehensive craft brewing experience with a stand up tasting bar, outdoor patio, retail store and seated restaurant – featuring beer paired sharing plates like charcuteries and small plates including fan favourites like sliders and tacos. Guiding the team is legendary Brewmaster Gord Slater. An avid member of the craft brewing industry since 1969, he has held an essential part in the design and commissioning of more than 60 breweries in North America; lending his wealth of experience and passion to breweries worldwide for over 35 years. “I came out of the University of Guelph from the Agriculture program and one of my professors that I got along best with was in research with Molson,” says Slater. “So he forced me into their business straight out of school. In 1984 when the craft brewery business was legalized by the Ontario Government, that’s when I swung into developing brew pubs, breweries and brewing premises as a consultant. “[Niagara Brewing Company’s Team] was thinking about craft beer because it is a growing market segment in the alcohol business,” said
Slater. “And so they brought me down to look at two potential properties and get things going.” Slater says the company will focus on traditional brewing practices to produce canned, kegged, bottled, cask-conditioned and barrel-aged beer. Focusing on four established brands – their Honeymoon Peach Ginger Radler, a premium blonde Lager, a versatile Amber Ale and a high-hop IPA – along with four floating taps that will feature seasonal and inspirational brews crafted on whim. The brewery plans to produce 15 cans per minute and 20 kegs per hour – an incredible volume for a new craft brewery. “Our beers are not going to be your ordinary beers; they are going to be clean, smooth and easily drinkable,” said Slater. “The Radler will be a ginger peach instead of your traditional citrus base; the IPA will be more East Coast than West Coast. Some will say it’s too much of an IPA while beer geeks will find it not enough. “ The floating taps will focus on promoting Niagara flavours, drawing inspiration from the areas diverse and lush agriculture. “One of our missions here is to try and pull the regional agriculture into our plan in order to promote both the region and our brand,” said Slater. “We are using a Summer Wheat beer as our base. It’s a great base beer – it could be run either as is or have local fruit added to it depending on the season. We could add strawberries, cherries, pumpkin, whatever we decide and whatever the season permits.” Along with clean and balanced beers, Slater plans to bring new concepts to the Niagara Brewing Company in the forms of eco-friendly brewing and an established water conservation system. “There is a great concern generally in the industry, by the Ministry of the Environment,” said Slater. “The breweries are asked to partake in consulting work in order to check their discharge into the atmosphere. And some people say that is being fostered by the large breweries – which tend to be a controversy among craft brewers. So what we are doing is that we are going to take technology involved in condensing vapours. It is fairly common in many industries but not so common in the craft beer industry. So we are taking that technology and advancing it as much as we can here so that we will not be discharging into the atmosphere outside of our doors. “With the cost of energy and water and heat, we are trying to be a little more ecofriendly in conservation of our water use as well,” said
All of our ingredients are natural and if we make a special season brew, the flavours generally come from local farmers and their produce. Slater. “Whenever we cool anything, that heat will be recovered from the cooling process and put back into the system to be reused. Anytime that we can minimize the discharge down the drain we will have a process put in place. Water is a precious item and beer is 95 per cent water. So we have to be conscious of it.” Niagara Brewing Company hopes to grow not only as a tourist favourite but as a favourite amongst locals and fellow craft brewers in Niagara, with the goal of promoting the local brewing industry as a unit. “It’s not our intention to be the lone wolf over here,” said Slater. “The trouble with a growing industry is that you have a lot of people who are great brewers that don’t have management experience. I have been in the industry long enough to gain some of that so I am open to answering questions from anybody. “During the summer months our focus will be whoever comes through the doors and in the fall we already have plans in on how to draw people from the local area: Special dinner nights, brewmaster dinners, events and educational seminars. All of those to encourage both the home brewers and the people who want to learn about the brewing industry to come down here.”
TAPS ON QUEEN BREWHOUSE & GRILL 4680 Queen Street, Niagara Falls, ON. WHAT MAKES PEOPLE COME BACK: large variety of beers, live music & inexpensive daily specials Located in the heart of Niagara’s tourism and wine country, Taps on Queen is a custom crafted micro-brewery meets brew pub hybrid in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Taking clean drinking very seriously, Taps is known for strictly using only the most natural local ingredients, hops, malted barley and yeast to build their unique and refreshing craft beers. Founded in 2004 as a unique craft brewery, Taps quickly became known amongst the locals and tourism sector as a top producer of fresh and distinctive craft beers. As popularity grew, so did business in tandem; expanding their locations and acquiring Niagara’s Best Beer company along with their brewer Ian Watson to the team, expanding their Syndicate restaurant chain to open two new locations in St. Catharines and Grimsby and outgrowing their previous Taps location in Virgil, choosing to make the move to Niagara Falls. “They wanted a restaurant so they took their production brewery and made it into a restaurant,” said Phil Everett, head brewer at Taps on Queen. “The tanks are huge compared to a normal brew pub set up – about four times the average size. This allows us to produce more of
our flagship beers that people come in for.” Amongst this wide range of ales, stouts, lagers and seasonal beers on tap is Taps’ three signature pours; Logger Lager, Light Lager and Niagara’s Best Blonde Ale, one of the only beers that is bottled and distributed in local Beer Stores. Everett said that it is their pure ingredients and lack of filler that makes their beers so much better than the common name brand variety. “Sixty per cent of conglomerate beer can be made from corn and rice, which is essentially filler,” said Everett. “So in a sense, most of those brands are more not beer than beer because beer is defined as malts and barley. All of our ingredients are natural and if we make a special season brew, the flavours generally come from local farmers and their produce.” Though the seasonal beers are never a guaranteed feature, these flavoured beers when available have become the most popular amongst regulars. When brewed, the flavours stem from fruit and spices grown in Niagara, including the peach and pumpkin purees both most recently used for culinary experiments and beer production. “The pumpkin beer we bring out every fall and it is a little like a zombie apocalypse when we release it because people come swarming,” said Everett. “We come in early to pre fill growlers because we know we won’t be able to keep up. No one wants to cook a pumpkin pie to bring to turkey dinner - just bring a growler of pumpkin beer.” Everett said Taps is the creative site for their exceptional beers – with experimentation always at the forefront – including unique barrel aging projects. “We did an imperial stout in the barrels not too long ago and it was pretty popular,” said Phil. “The craft brewers brought back this style of beer production. It is very heavy, very vinous, and it works really well with the Jack Daniels style of flavours.” Other specialty brews are derived from team brainstorming and voting process called the Growler Club; a fun spirited social gathering that invites local beer lovers to meet every third Monday of the month to eat, sample new brews and discuss ideas for great beers. “I am usually presented with a few ideas and then I either run with it or create a beer inspired by one of the suggestions” said Everett. Though craft breweries still maintain only a small percentage of the beer market, Everett said it is this style of community involvement and collaboration that has helped craft breweries on their continual rise to popularity. “As craft brewers, especially in this area, we all work together,” said Everett. “Majority of us went to school together or learned together, so we all work together in a collegial sort of atmosphere to carve a chunk out of the bigger brewers. Beer overall is losing market share and we are taking what remains of that market share from the bigger brewers via education and getting people to understand why we make beer like we do.” Taps also features daily food specials and live music on both indoor and outdoor stages, showcasing music from every genre along with open mic nights, karaoke and cover bands to appeal to a more diverse crowd. >>
SILVERSMITH BREWING COMPANY 1523 Niagara Stone Rd, Virgil, ON. WHAT MAKES PEOPLE COME BACK: Crisp draft and bottled beers and great local food. Living and brewing by the motto “We make beer that doesn’t suck,” small batch brewery Silversmith has become a favourite amongst both the locals and tourist crowd since opening in Virgil, Ontario. Known for brewing crisp, original brews with a dedication to local flavour, the modern brewery believes that as Niagara attracts more attention for their growing culinary culture, beer lovers deserve a locally produced, high quality beer to accompany it. Silversmith’s co-owners Matt Swan and Chris Pontsioen decided to build a brewery just as unique as their craft brews; the 19th century church just outside of downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake was the perfect property. “We like things of high quality and appreciate nice esthetics so we wanted a building that would fit that model,” said Swan. “We deliberately wanted to keep the character and esthetic of the church, but add features that would encourage people to stay and interact while enjoying their beer. “ Maintaining this idea that beer is inherently social, Swan and Pontsioen set to creating a modern beer hall atmosphere that would encourage people to not only enjoy beer, but relax and have fun with their friends and others visiting the brewery. “We do not operate like a winery,” said Swan. “We do not have a tasting bar but we have a full on beer hall. In a tasting room you are expected to stand, taste and purchase and leave where we encourage people to come in here and socialize and enjoy beer in the traditional beer hall feeling. We believe that beer is social and that you really can’t enjoy beer properly if you are simply tasting.” But what makes the Silversmith experience truly unique is their less
traditional methods of brewing; having begun a few years ago to experiment with a traditional European barreling program which focuses on aging beer in French or Canadian oak barrels that have previously held wine. “We leave the beer in these barrels for anywhere from six months to a year,” said Swan. “We let it sit and mature and turn into something interesting. One of the great things we get to do with that is we can add different fruits or spices or hop them differently.” “It is a different beer from what most people are expecting,” said Swan. “It is a very kind of old school European way of brewing and bottling beer, it hasn’t caught on hugely in Ontario yet. It isn’t really mainstream yet but we like to do it - it’s fun and successful thus far.” Featuring four flagship beers and monthly limited edition brews, Silversmith’s brewing team, led by brew master John Legassicke, a graduate of the Masters of Brewing and Distilling program at HeriotWatt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, brews approximately 16 beers annually and up to 3,000 litres a day. All of their beers are offered in either 650 ml bottles or in growlers – a large bottle that holds close to 4 pints each, to help conserve on waste. “If you know you’re going to have four pints, or have a party, [Growlers] are way more economical,” said Swan. “There is a lot less waste.” When possible, Silversmith uses local produce to support Niagara farmers, resulting in seasonal brews like their Oyster Stout, a traditional dry Irish stout and a collaborative brew with the Tide and Vine Oyster Company. Though their beer is what brings people in the door, it is the food that helps keep them in the building. Partnering with Mike Langley for more than just collaborative brews, the co-owner of the Tide & Vine Oyster Company, has made a home at Silversmith brewery, serving food five days a week from Wednesday to Sunday and working diligently to build a menu designed to complement Silversmith’s beer. Featuring traditional menu items from global beer cultures, Silversmith’s menu boasts traditional German sausages, baked chicken wings and poboys that reflect local, in season produce and of course, oysters. “We have American influence, we have British influence and we have German influence - three strong beer cultures,” said Swan. “The culinary experience is one that is tied pretty closely to those cultures.” Though you can find Silversmith’s brews in multiple restaurants throughout Niagara, this brewery experience is one you will not want to overlook. “We encourage people to come with their friends, try as many beers as they safely can, eat some great food and relax,” said Swan.
BROTHERS BREWING CO. Pelham, Ontario & Various Restaurants in the Niagara Region WHAT MAKES PEOPLE COME BACK: Experimental brews & a continually evolving roster of Pale Ales
rewing is a family passion for twin brothers Colton and Asa Proveau. Co-owners and brewers at Brothers Brewing Co. in Pelham, Ontario, their craft brewery is a long harboured dream that has begun to take route within the Niagara Region. Founded in 2014 on the goal of providing beer drinkers with well-crafted beers, this young addition to Niagara’s craft brewing circuit is quickly developing into a sought-after favourite on many local bars’ tap rails. Offering growing core-brands like their evolving Pale Ale series, a steady stream of experimental batches, periodic multi-brewery collaborations and a rotating selection of seasonal brews, the Proveau brothers are constantly experimenting and evolving their brand into something unique. “When you’re so small you want to be so creative in every aspect of the process,” said Colton. “The idea was to make something fairly crafty that wasn’t readily available around here but was still drinkable and enjoyable. Something that people could drink and say ‘Oh that’s different’.” Strategically choosing different educational paths to nurture their independent skills necessary to building a successful venture, Asa enrolled in Niagara College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Management Program while Colton chose the Business Administration program at Brock University. Following the two year program, Asa continued to dive head first into the
craft, gaining experience from established breweries throughout Ontario and fine tuning his skills at Sleeman Brewery and Muskoka Brewery. “We always want to brew with heart and versatility in it,” said Colton. “The reward is just being able to brew.” It is this creative drive that has grown their evolving Pale Ale series and developed signature favourites like Tandem Pale Ale, White Stout and Pelham Pale Ale – the later brewed using their own home grown hops. “The big breweries can’t come out with a new product on a whim because of the size of their production,” said Asa. “That’s what people like about the small guys. We come out with things on a whim that have diverse flavours and different takes on classics.” Though they currently do not have a facility open to the public and brew on contract, Brothers Brewing Co. has made their beer widely available to the public – holding permanent taps at popular pubs Iggy’s Pub and Grub in Fonthill and Kully’s Sports Bar in St Catharines along with a dozen pubs on a rotating basis in Niagara, Guelph, Hamilton, Kitchener and Waterloo when excess beer is available. Though they currently brew at Niagara College and on a homemade small scale electric system developed by Asa, Brothers Brewing Co. has big plans on the horizon to further expand and establish their brand once Colton graduates. This duo said they hope this expansion will allow for further collaboration with farmers and vineyards in the area, allowing for experimentation with wine barrel brewing and more seasonal brews. “Niagara Region is a bountiful place and we like to use as much local produce as possible,” said Asa. “We were born and raised here and we are very influenced by that culture. We want our brewery to be more than just a manufacturing facility, we want to create something that the community can relate to and pride themselves in. We plan on working with local businesses, sourcing local ingredients to develop a really Niagara centric thing.” >>
“That’s what people like about the small guys. We come out with things on a whim that have diverse flavours and different takes on classics.”
OAST HOUSE BREWERY 2017 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON. WHAT MAKES PEOPLE COME BACK: Local flavoured seasonal beers and winery style tasting bar Great beer is just down the road. No truer statement can be used to describe Oast House Brewery, the new kid on the block in Niagara’s quick growing brewery community. Founded in 2012, this winery inspired craft brewery has taken beer enjoyment to a new level, converting a century old barn into an upscale tasting bar and modern brewery for the public. Drawing inspiration from both its European hops kiln namesake and the local Niagara farming community, Oast House has evolved their brews into an elevated flavour experience, profiling the unique produce flavours of the region and filling a niche in the wine centric community. “Whether it is France, Australia, Argentina, you would always find in wine regions that there would be a microbrewery tied in,” said Cian MacNeill, marketing manager and partner with Oast. “After you have finished wine tasting all day, you need something refreshing – especially on a 30 degree day where you’ve been drinking red wine. When there is a brewery nearby to cleanse the palate, well it just seems to work.” Housing a 40 barrel system and strong brewing team lead by head brew master Mike Pentesco, Oast has created a group of flagship beers that have put Oast on the map both in Niagara and the city of Toronto; including their Farm House Ale collection featuring their Barn Raiser Ale, Saison and Biere De Garde prepared in similar fashion to champagne. “We liked the idea of a really premium beer that is made the old way,” said MacNeill. “They spend a month, sometimes two months, just in the stainless steel and then they’re not done. Then you take them out, add more yeast and sugar and then they stay on their side
and go into another cellar so that they are naturally fermenting in the bottles. I just find that there is so much more complexity and depth to these beers when you do them like that because it not only traps the carbonation but the flavour is trapped as well.” Alongside their Farm House collection is a diverse array of local brews that complement the harvest seasons and work with challenging produce to create intense flavours; including the wildly popular strawberry rhubarb beer, peach beer and Country Bumpkin pumpkin ale made entirely from locally sourced pumpkins and squash. “In the summer we try to keep up with seasonal produce and create beers that mirror those seasons,” said MacNeill. “Our strawberry rhubarb beer has taken on a life of its own. There was a lavender company down the road and [the owner] came by and dropped off a bag of lavender and said ‘Can you do something with this’ so we made a lavender cardamom beer.” Oast also works hard to source their hops primarily from the Niagara Region, with the rest coming from Northern Ontario farmers. “Some local farmers have started growing us hops and we are trying to use as much of those as possible,” said MacNeill. “Which I always say is the Niagara way of doing things. If you can grow it yourself, do it.” Another way Oast has chosen to support local is by bringing in chef Adam Hynem-Smith, owner of El Gastronomo Vagabundo food truck, every Friday as the brewery floor is converted into a modern bistro, featuring live music, great local food and inexpensive pints of beer. “It’s Adam’s kitchen when he comes in here, he gets to make whatever he likes,” said MacNeill. “Adam is a huge beer fan and loves our beer so it came together really naturally.” “We think beer is much more versatile in terms of pairing because of the carbonation. If you have one type of wine that pairs with everything it’s sparkling. That taste and that body and that dryness; sparkling wine has it and beer has that too. It has that carbonation and that body which pairs so well with rich foods like in a gastro pub.” This evolving brewery has even added a new private events space to their breweries roster of entertainment value. The Hayloft, a new private events space, features harvest tables and jaw dropping views of the surrounding vineyards and is perfect for a holiday get together or corporate event.
We brew our flagships pretty much constantly to keep up with demand and try to experiment as much as possible with the others. Our Enlightenment Pale Ale makes up 75 per cent of the beer we brew, we just can’t brew it fast enough.
BRIMSTONE BREWERY 209 Ridge Road N, Ridgeway, ON. WHAT MAKES PEOPLE COME BACK: Unique and environmentally conscious brews Sometimes, good and evil can create something exceptional. Inspired by their brewing environment, Brimstone Brewing Company, an independent nano-brewery located in a re-imagined 20th century church in Ridgeway, Ontario, is handcrafting distinct beers and expanding on traditional styles of brewing to create inspired blends. What began as a hybrid between a glorified home brewing operation and a small scale commercial production, with great brews in place and mass expansions on the horizon, this small scale, environmentally friendly brewery is only growing more prominent with age. Having already outgrown their original 150 litre batch operation, Brimstone has since expanded into a 1500 litre batch brewery, featuring a beer hall, mini tap room and venue for local music. Owner and head brewer Rod Daigle says this limited space for small batch brewing never hindered their creative process and if anything, allowed their beers to become more unique and evolve into something really special. “We aren’t brewing by the glass - but it’s close,” said Daigle. “But brewing on such a small scale means you can play around with the flavours and create beers that are new and interesting.” Featuring unique flagships and seasonal beers, Brimstone manages to cover a broad range of styles and tastes despite their brewery size. Though the majority of their beers are sold exclusively in house, Daigle, along with brewing partner Mark Stephens, are known to brew at a frequent pace multiple times a week to keep up with the demand. “We brew two to three times a week and then the periphery work we fit around that,” said Daigle. “We brew our flagships pretty much
constantly to keep up with demand and try to experiment as much as possible with the others. Our Enlightenment Pale Ale makes up 75 per cent of the beer we brew, we just can’t brew it fast enough.” Other fan favourite beers include the refreshing and hoppy Hail Mary American Pale Ale and seasonal brews like their Bitchy Witch Pumpkin Ale, Midnight Mass Oatmeal Stout and the Cranberry Dunkel Weiss – refreshingly carbonated dark wheat ale that is fermented on whole cranberries. But it is the emphasis on environmentally friendly brewing that has captured the attention and devotion of local beer consumers. “Breweries use a lot of resources,” said Daigle. “An inefficient brewery can use three times its water to brewing ratio. We try to minimize our consumption of water; we recapture water with tanks inside the brewery and if there is extra water we pump it into other tanks and use it to wash with and water plants.” Brimstone has also started a hops growing initiative that gets interested locals involved in growing hops with the help of rhizomes – small roots that are cut from the main root system of a mature hop plant – to help Brimstone cut down on their outsourced hops. “We do grow our own hops, but we don’t use them exclusively because we would run out very quickly,” said Daigle. “We started the hop growing initiative by asking locals if they would help us grow hops. We had 25 interested locals – and we could have had even more. We sourced hop rhizomes from the Ottawa area and said if you grow these for us we will brew a Thank You Ale and have everyone in for a celebration.” Included in their environmentally conscious efforts is a beer centric food menu that is constantly evolving to compliment the in house brews and make use of the produce left behind from brewing. Featuring gastro pub style food Thursday to Saturday, in house chef Matt Macgregor utilizes both the beers made on site and strictly local produce to craft home style food. “Our chef utilizes the spent grains from the beer to make pretzels and pitas and then from there he makes fish tacos and others,” said Daigle. “Then the grains he doesn’t use he donates to a local farmer who raises quail and then exchanges that for local produce that we then use in our menus.” The bar also features local music and open mic nights that have performers playing right amongst the brewery equipment, adding unique sounds and a unique experience. TM
ITâ€™S THE NEW DINNER PARTY BY: LYNN OGRYZLO
The most leisurely of all meals with no boundaries and no rules, brunch has become our new dinner party. I often wonder how this lovely culinary tradition began. The most exciting story originated in London in the late 19th century. Apparently there was this group of students and as the story goes, they liked to drink – a lot. So, they thought a later meal on Sunday morning would allow them to stay out later on Saturday night. This somehow became a license to party hardy and it explains the use of Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s as traditional brunch drinks and a perfect example of the English term, “hair of the dog that bit you”. Leave it to English to decide the way to cure a hangover was with more drinks. Today, brunch is often seen as a casual meal, yet I think it has a certain luxurious feel to it. Think about it, on what other occasion can you take your time rolling out of bed and looking forward to a gourmet breakfast complete with cocktails? Under these conditions, brunch becomes my perfect way to start the day. Of course, this means you’re going to prepare a lot of the meal the night before. It’s like all those magazines that suggest preparing meals hours in advance so you can enjoy your company when they arrive. I’m going to suggest doing most prep the night-before so you can sleep late like you know all of your guests will be doing. Take a quick inventory of restaurant brunch options and the list can include all or some of the following; eggs, pancakes, sausages, bacon, ham, fruits, pastries, along with large roasts of meat or poultry, cold seafood like shrimp and smoked fish, salads, soups, vegetable dishes, many types of breadstuffs, and desserts of all sorts. If you have a large staff with unlimited time and budgets, you too can have a buffet table overflowing with these options like restaurants do, but remember one thing when planning brunch – you are not a restaurant! It’s wiser for you to pick a few items that can easily be made ahead of time and serve it as a regular meal. So if your heart is set on Eggs Benedict or a Spring Chèvre Soufflé, then be prepared to be the only early bird in the group. If you want to lazily roll out of bed, looking forward to leisurely meal with guests, then here are a few suggestions for a pulling off a decadent brunch like a pro.
Yogurt should always be eaten in very small amounts, should always be plain and should never be low fat. Stick to good yogurt and you’ll be happy with the full flavour you get from layering tangy yogurt with fresh sweet berries and crunchy, earthy, granola. Use small, stemmed dessert glasses and only fill half way. Up your game by marinating the berries in icewine or your favourite liqueur the night before. Serve them on a white plate in the centre of the table and let your guests help themselves. Another healthy way to use yogurt is to smear a tablespoonful or two between paperthin crepes and top with fresh berries and dust with granola. Make the crepes the day before, layer them between sheets of waxed paper and refrigerate them to keep them fresh and in perfect condition.
You’ve seen it everywhere, a poached egg on top of everything from steak to rice. So go for it and top crab cakes with a thick layer of guacamole, a delicate salad of arugula leaves, bacon slices and yes, a poached egg. Everything except the poached eggs can be made the day before and refrigerated. If you don’t like poaching, then whip your eggs. Line large muffin tins with bacon and cook mini, aged pecorino cheese soufflés inside – yum. You can make these the day before and simply warm them later. Egg casseroles like Creamy Egg Strata, Red Pepper, Mushroom and Brie Frittata and Swiss and Bacon Pie can be prepared the night before then mixed together and baked on brunch day. If that’s not inspiration enough for your next brunch, try baking eggs. Dishes you’ve made the day before such as a nest of potato rosti, stuffed peppers or layered spinach and sausage are perfect for this. Just wrap them in foil and bake to reheat. Remove the foil and crack eggs overtop and return to the oven to finish baking. You can top anything from a Moroccan Tagine to an Indian curry by topping it with an egg and baking. >>
A hidden Niagara treasure. Two Sisters Vineyards marks the beginning of a new chapter. Gently unfolding over 7 6 acres, Two Sisters Vineyards tells a story of a simpler time, celebrating natureâ€™s landscape and the endless beauty of graceful architecture.
Areas so inviting, you may wish to revisit your itinerary and linger a while.
Enjoy a glass of our wine and experience the art of true winemaking. Delight your palate with Italian-inspired dishes at Kitchen 7 6.
240 John Street East, Niagara~on~the~Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0
The key to success with brunch breads is to know your baker. You want to serve your guests the best possible quality on this special occasion so find an artisan baker who produces a high quality bread selection. You could ask your baker if there are frozen options available that you can bake up fresh and warm. Croissants are most popular but so is the light, almost sweetish, eggy flavour of brioche, Pannetonne has a lemony lightness to it, rye is more robust and slices of French baguette are versatile. These breads are especially delicious toasted with lots of soft, sweet butter on then. Scones, biscuits, monkey bread or sticky buns can all be made the day before and baked on brunch morning. The smells of fresh bread in your home would drive the greatest enemy of wheat into a frenzy. If you’re unsure of baking bread, purchase fresh pizza dough from a bakery and roll it into sticky buns to bake in the morning. I would stay away from traditional pancakes because they need to be made fresh but thick Belgian waffles can be made the night before and simply warmed before serving. Make a waffle bar by serving them on one plate with small bowls of accompaniments like whipped cream, fruit granola and dried fruit so your guests can create their own toppings.
Of course, Mimosas and Kir Royales are the classic champagne based brunch cocktails, but modern day hostesses can be a little more creative these days. I like to mix up a blend of coconut water, grapefruits wedges and sprigs of fresh rosemary. Let that steep overnight, place it in the centre of the table so your guests can serve themselves and put a bottle of sparkling wine next to it for guests who want to make a cocktail of their morning drink. Choose from champagne, sparkling wine and Moscato d’Asti. In addition to being especially good with eggs, the effervescence of sparkling wine stimulates the palate and creates a sense of lightness that is welcome early in the day. Moscato is lighter in alcohol (typically 5 – 6% alcohol) and that always welcome for mid-day drinking. Check out the more than 100 brunch dishes and cocktails on The Ontario Table Pinterest page, Brunch My Way and enjoy. TM
You’ve probably heard Brutus, Montreal’s renowned bacon bar takes bacon and brunch to the next level with their all-bacon brunch menu that includes their bacon-meatball breakfast poutine. Ok, some of you are salivating but I find the overuse of bacon an assault to my stomach. I prefer to add bacon to quiche, tarts, biscuits or scones. Throw crispy bacon into a frittata or a eggy brioche brunch casserole. However you like your bacon, it should be thick-cut, lean as possible and cooked slow to render as much fat as possible. Smoking is optional and by-the-way, so is bacon. Maybe it’s time to explore the other popular brunch meats like country ham (cut thick), sausages of all kinds, smoked salon and shrimp.
A CITY GUIDE IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND. DISCOVER THE ENTIRE CITY OFFLINE WITH NO ROAMING CHARGES
MEGALO A TRUE BY GABRIELLE TIEMAN
CANADIAN WINERY Megalomaniac Winery is nothing short of jaw dropping. Original in their product, bold in their flavours and audacious with their branding, this groundbreaking winery continually crafts wines of distinction – but with a touch of sass. This cheeky line is a daring turn for a Niagara homegrown – touting brand favourites SonofaBitch Pinot Noir, Bravado Cabernet Sauvignon, Narcissist Riesling and Bigmouth Merlot. But though Megalomaniac may use their unique branding and attitude to poke fun at the occasionally rigid and traditional Niagara wine industry, each wine remains loyal to the Niagara Region with their elevated homegrown characters; creating a truly unique reflection of a Canadian winery with a global perspective. What began as strictly a retirement side venture for owner John Howard has since rapidly grown – evolving from a brand of limited quantity, hand-crafted wines made by some of the finest winemakers into an established world class award winning winery. Megalomaniac’s 120 acres of vineyard on the Vineland Upper Bench in Lincoln has been cultivated and restored to its natural glory; boasting five varietals on premise and a newly constructed multi-level winery featuring an open concept tasting bar, retail facility, private tasting rooms and a rooftop terrace. The winery is even believed to rest upon the highest vantage point on the Niagara Escarpment between Milton and Niagara Falls; so no matter where you find yourself standing and in which direction you may glance, you receive incredible panoramic views of both the Niagara Region and Toronto and Niagara Falls skylines. Howard, the former proprietor of Vineland Estates Winery and Executive Vice-President for Canon’s North American operations, is no stranger to the evolution and growth of industry. Under Howard’s innovative eye, Vineland Estate’s once petite winery grew into a highend operation with much acclaim; expanding vineyards
by 300 acres and growing production from its humble 2,000 case beginnings into a 50,000 case operation over the course of eight years. Howard has done much the same with his newest venture. What began as a single vintage meant to help financially support his charity Kids’ Health Links Foundation, which provides computers for children in hospital so they can stay connected to family and friends, took off. And though Howard’s initial goal was to limit annual production to a few thousand cases while keeping the bottle price low, the winery has continued to grow exponentially; developing from 2,000 cases to roughly 35,000 cases in a few years and boasting a 50% compounded growth rate for four years running. "I was going to spend my retirement f ly fishing, I was going to spend time in Bordeaux [France], and I was going to farm this property,” said Howard. “I wasn't really keen on the notion of making wine again. For me, I was done making wine in Canada; I had two Wine Chateux in France [With the Jeanoueix family, a dynasty in the wine industry]. So we did one vintage, where a portion of the proceeds would go to the charity, and called it Megalomaniac. “I called it Megalomaniac frankly to poke fun at people in the wine business who take themselves too seriously,” said Howard. “And I didn't care, because it was only going to be one vintage. Everyone will know who I am poking fun at and in a year, it will be over.” But the vintage sold out within 90 days and in tandem with the wine’s success, the foundation established a threshold. It became clear to Howard that the foundation could have a huge impact on children hospitals across the country. The notion of taking it national came up, so he made another vintage. Today, neither the winery nor the foundation has ceased growth; with the foundation currently residing in 11 of the 13 children’s hospitals across Canada.
MANIAC "At the beginning, we were cautioned that wine journalists would beat us up pretty badly because of the name,” said Howard. “But our sense was that if we produced a really good wine at an affordable price, there would always be a place for that product. That has been a bit of a threshold; producing the best wines we can, but presenting them at a very affordable price. Our underlining theme is value and it is very important to us and our customers." Following the success of the vintages, Megalomaniac quickly found themselves at the forefront of interest in the wine world. Their brilliant packaging – which portrays a faceless figure of a male executive wearing a bowler hat – received much acclaim in 2007 when Narcissist Riesling was singled out as the only individual design to earn double-gold honours at the San Francisco International Wine Competition under unanimous vote. "I really think the branding struck a note with wine people internationally," said Howard. "To win gold, first you have to have more votes than anyone else from the tribunal, but to get double gold it has to be unanimous. It's a pretty big deal for Napa [Valley].” Though Howard says he had no aspirations to expand the brand past its original concept, Howard said they had no choice but to build the new building – which opened in 2014 – to accommodate current and future growth. Rising upwards from the Underground Cellar Howard had constructed years previous to house farming equipment, a winery of esteem rose with one reoccurring theme: that it be Canadian. “I wanted it to be Canadian,” said Howard. “And I wanted it to be organic. All of the stone is from the escarpment. Majority of the wood is Canadian. It’s supposed to look Canadian and I want it to look Canadian because we are in Canada. This idea of trying to emulate Italy, France; I don't get that. You want property that looks French? Buy in France!" Though they farm a variety of Bordeaux varietals imported from France on the property, this passion for a true Canadian winery can be found flowing effortlessly among the grapes surrounding the vineyard – with Howard’s patriotism mirrored by the Crimson King Maple Trees that line the drive into the winery. “Anyone who takes a photograph - there is a maple leaf in front of it," said Howard. "That's who we are. But it was natural that we would
have Bordeaux varietals here because of what we were doing in France. Some of the same vine clones we have on our properties in France are planted here so it gives us an interesting dynamic." The winery farms a traditional blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot on the home vineyard and an evolving crop of five varietals on the rolling fields of the main vineyard including all Bordeaux varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc – and Pinot Noir and Riesling. “We are very keen on farming what we put into the bottle,” said Howard. “We want people to see that and see the commitment we have got in terms of owning and operating and maintaining the amount of vineyard that we have.” The winery also features on premise labs and state of the art fermentation and barrel rooms for on-site wine tasting, testing and experimentation. Megalomaniac chose to invest in both high end cigar barrels and traditional round barrels for developing their wines – allowing their wine makers the opportunity to experiment and test aging and development components on the same grapes. But expansions are not set to cease in the near future. Howard said the winery is currently working on the addition of an 8,800 square foot patio accompanied by large stone pillars that will surround the tasting bar and retail facility in order to help soften the concrete exterior and provide even greater views of the surrounding region. Another 1,800 square foot balcony will rest above and a 4,200 square foot roof garden that will offer a seating area with breathtaking views will adorn the top of the building. Howard said they are also looking to build an experimental kitchen for catered events and add drone technology into the vineyard for live profiles of the grapes. All renovations sit with the same goal of creating an all-encompassing Niagara wine experience. “We really want people to come out here and have fun and get a perspective of Niagara that is traditional," said Howard. "If it wasn't for this industry, all of this land on the horizon could soon be planted with basements. We’ll always pride ourselves in protecting our Agricultural Heritage." “We’re proud of our Niagara Heritage and we’re certainly proud of our Homegrown Wines!” TM
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konzelmann estate winery
Niagara’s ExclusiveLakeshore Winery In 1984, fourth generation winemaker Herbert Konzelmann arrived in Niagara-on-the-Lake, from Stuttgart Germany, with a design to establish a Canadian winery under the family banner. The single greatest factor in his selecting Niagara-onthe-Lake and specifically the shore of Lake Ontario, was a mesoclimate perfectly suited to Konzelmann wines. Because it is so large and deep, Lake Ontario has a moderating effect on vineyard temperatures near the shore. The growing season is prolonged, often well into autumn, allowing the grape to mature and develop a more constant natural sugar level. The additional moisture and most notably the morning mists and heavy dew in the lakeshore vineyards, give Konzelmann wines a uniquely delicate and fruity character. Konzelmann Estate Winery is heralded as, ‘Niagara’s exclusive lakeshore winery’ but that is more reflective of the quality of the wines than any pretence among the staff or stewards of the winery. Konzelmann Estate Winery is widely regarded as providing friendly, informative and educational experiences for visitors through both tours and tasting. In the summer months, vineyard picnics and weekend barbeques are an enjoyable way to experience the winery and the more than 30 different VQA selections of quality wine for tasting or purchase. Konzelmann’s list of national and international awards and accolades are too numerous to mention, but of special note is the Top 100 selection of the Konzelmann Vidal Icewine by the editors of Wine Spectator magazine in 2008. Surpassing over 19,000 entries, Konzelmann is the first Canadian winery to receive Top 100 honours. These accolades have served as nothing but inspiration for Herbert Konzelmann, who continuously strives to create the best in low yield, high quality premium wines from the terroir. The Konzelmann philosophy is nowhere better captured than in their premium Winemaster’s Collection. Handpicked grapes from only the oldest vines are sorted for quality three times, then gently ushered forward with 100 years of family wine knowledge; this exclusive collection represents the best of the Konzelmann vineyard.
WINE By Evan Saviolidis
WHITE 91 Konzelmann Estate Winery Vidal Icewine 2010, Niagara ($65) This Icewine has started to reveal mature notes of caramel, alongside the dried apricots, peach compote, marmalade, nuts, spice and honey. Full bodied and super rich, the acidity is on the low end, so chill it well and drink with blue cheese or a terrine of foie gras. (ES) 91 Tawse Winery Quarry Road Gewürztraminer 2013, Vinemount Ridge ($24.95) Without a doubt, this is a brilliant off-dry Gewürz! It serves up peach, honey, rose water, cardamom, ginger, cold cream, lychee and pineapple. The palate is thick with soft acidity, 12% alcohol and a super satisfying finale. Drink until 2016 to take full advantage of it exuberance. Pair with Thai food. (ES) 91 Vineland Estates Elevation Riesling 2008, Niagara Escarpment ($30) For me, 2008 was one of the best vintages ever for Riesling in Niagara. That said, Brian Schmidt, Vineland’s winemaker, saw something special in this wine, and decided to age a few cases so as to allow nuance to develop in the bottle – a judicious call! Perfumed, the bergamot, honey, peach, lime, crushed rock and white flowers beguile. The balance, crisp acidity, concentration and a long finale will ensure another a decade of aging, at least. If you are a Riesling lover, do not miss out on this beauty! (ES) 90 Two Sisters Vineyards Unoaked Chardonnay 2013, Creek Shores ($24) Two Sister’s is a stunning new winery right beside Peller Estates in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Think of this wine as an amped-up, ripe Chablis, what with all of its aromatic pear, green apple, citrus, white peach, lime, yeast and minerals. Oysters and freshwater fish were made for this beauty! (ES) 90 Stratus White 2012, Niagara ($44)
Evan Saviolidis is a Wine Tasting Challenge Grand Champion, journalist for Canada’s largest winemagazine, Quench, Instructor for the Canadian Association of Professional Sommelier and teaches wine appreciation courses in Niagara at WineSavvy. For complete information, please visit evanwinesavvy.com
The release of this Stratus White celebrates two significant milestones- the 10th bottling of this wine as well as the 10th anniversary of the opening of the winery itself. Unlike previous renditions, this full-bodied white is a blend of only three grapes (usually 5 to 6) - 43% Chardonnay, 42% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Semillon. A bouquet of peach, pineapple, honey, pear, spice, vanilla, wax and cream is complimented by sound acidity. Fleshy, with excellent length, it should drink well over the next 3 to 4 years. (ES)
100 Point Scale 95-100= Outstanding 90-94=Excellent 85-89=Very Good 80-84=Good 75-79=Drinkable
90 Mike Weir Family Vineyard Limited Edition Unoaked Chardonnay 2012, Niagara ($19.95) This non-forested Chardonnay offers up generous aromas of peach, honey, mango, banana, pineapple and sweet apple. The palate is ripe and concentrated, adding dashes of spice and cream, as well as an extended finale. It is ready to drink tonight with a filet of mahi-mahi topped with a fruit salsa or roast chicken. (ES) >>
90 Thirty Bench Winery Small Lot Riesling Triangle Vineyard 2013, Beamsville Bench ($30) From a vineyard planted in 1981, comes this redolent Riesling full of bergamot, kaffir lime, white peach, petrol and smokey minerals. The tension between acid and slight residual sugar is beautiful. The long finale will ensure a decade or more of life ahead. Red snapper in a red curry/peanut sauce or chicken satay will be magical with this wine. (ES ) 89 Palatine Hills Sauvignon Blanc Neufeld Vineyard 2013, Niagara Lakeshore ($18) This is a superb barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc. Huge fruit salad, honey, passion fruit, guava, pink grapefruit, cream, spice and mineral weave around a core of refreshing acidity. Fine depth and excellent length make for an ideal partner with a halibut filet or even a grilled rosemary scented veal chop. (ES) 88 Ravine Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Niagara ($28) Lime, gooseberry, nectarine, white grapefruit, herbs and minerals weave around a medium body and crisp personality. It is linear with very good length and is a perfect pairing with a grilled vegetable salad topped with goat cheese or chilled shellfish. (ES) 88 Palatine Hills Prestige NV, Niagara Lakeshore ($22.95) Even though the label says it is non-vintage, the majority of the base wine for this bubbly came from the cool 2009 vintage, which was perfect for sparkling wine production. Made from 100% Chardonnay, it spent 30 months on the less, imbuing the wine with yeast, brioche, cream, peach, anise, and apple qualities. The palate shows fine mousse, fresh acidity and superb length. (ES) 88 Riverview Cellars Angelina’s Reserve Gewürztraminer 2012, Niagara River ($19) A rather opulent and creamy Gewürz with a fragrant nose of pineapple, flowers, peach, lime, green melon, ginger and spice. There is some residual sugar and solid acid to round out the rich texture. Chill well before serving. (ES) 88 Legends Estates Terroir Semillon 2013, Lincoln Lakeshore ($17.50) This is one of the few mono-varietal Semillons produced in Ontario - a grape which suffered substantial damage from the severe winter of 2014. Peach, honey, kiwi, wax, spice and lanolin meet up with crunchy acidity and a slight sweetness. Drink now. (ES)
RED 91 Pondview Winery Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon Unfiltered 2012, Four Mile Creek ($34.95) Being a big fan of the 2010 version of this wine, I was hoping that the 2012 rendition would be just as glorious - well, it is! Full-bodied, yet elegant, this 14.3% alcohol wine doles out the blackberry, cassis, >>
violets, raspberry, mocha, mint, roasted herbs and graphite qualities. The tannins are still forceful, so hold for two years and then drink until 2022. (ES)
finale and gritty tannins which require some more bottle age to sort themselves out. Drink from 2016 to 2021. (ES)
91 Reif Estate Winery Meritage 2012, Niagara River ($34.95)
89 Redstone Pinot Noir Limestone Vineyard 2012, Twenty Mile Bench ($29.95)
For the number lovers, this is a blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. For the wine lovers, this is a full-bodied red with a complex bouquet of sweet vanilla, cassis, violets, raspberry, cocoa and mint. Length is fabulous with tannic structure to ensure a decade of aging. (ES)
Even though this Pinot comes from the warm 2012 vintage, it displays poise and elegance. The brilliant ruby colour heralds the plum, raspberry, cherry, earth, cocoa and spice. The acid is fresh and the tannins are supple, so drink now over next two to three years. Pair with charcuterie or ahi tuna steak. (ES)
91 The Foreign Affair Dream 2012, Niagara
89 Rockway Vineyards Reserve Meritage 2012, Twenty Mile Bench ($19.95)
This appassimento-style blend of 33% Merlot, 33% Cabernet France, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot is truly impressive. Clocking in at 14.7% alcohol, it sings with chocolate, blackberry, kirsch, violets, dark cherry, prunes and a hint of rubber. Full-bodied, with some residual sugar, the wine is already approachable, but will handle another half decade in the cellar. (ES)
This wine proves why we blend Cab Sauv, Cab Franc and Merlot together - each varietal compliments the others! This rich and velvety red doles out the dark fruits, mocha, vanilla, anise, coconut, mint and violets. It is stylish with excellent length. Drink over the next 8 years.
91 Trius Grand Red 2012, Niagara ($55) If you thought the 2012 Trius Red was great, wait until this beauty crosses the lips. Full-bodied and elegant, the layers of cassis, dark cherry, vanilla, violets, herb, spice and earth carry long on the finale. The fine tannins will ensure it ages over the next decade. A blend of 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 27% Cabernet Franc. (ES) 90 Two Sisters Merlot 2010, Niagara River ($48) A broad shouldered, fruit forward, oaked Merlot, which is starting to show some complexity from age. The plum, cherry, blackberry, cocoa, coffee, spice and cedar are layered on a thick texture, soft tannins and a long finale. Drink over the next 2 to 3 years. (ES) 90 Reif Estate Winery Merlot Reserve 2012, Niagara River ($25.95) There is almost a port-like quality with all the overripe plum, blackberry and cherry qualities. Add in the spice, cocoa and earth, as well as a rich texture and great length and you have one fine bottle of Merlot which will age gracefully over the next five years. (ES) 90 Ravine Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, St. David’s Bench ($35) Elegant, the opaque black colour heralds the cassis, vanilla, spice, mint, violets, cocoa and smoke which are framed on a refined, medium body. There is great length and suave tannins, so drink until 2020. Pair with rack of lamb. (ES) 90 Château des Charmes Merlot St. David’s Bench Vineyard, St. David’s Bench ($29.95) This is one serious Merlot, which has benefited from the heat of the 2012 vintage. Full bodied, it hits the senses with plum, blackberry, vanilla, cocoa, vanilla, anise and dried herbs. It is concentrated, with a long
89 Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Block 11-140 Cabernet Franc 2012, Twenty Mile Bench ($24.95) With 18 months of barrel aging under its belt, this medium to full-bodied Franc shows off raspberry, coconut, herbs, cassis, violets and vanilla qualities. There is very good length as well as some unresolved tannin which suggests aging until the end of 2015 and then drink until 2022. (ES) 89 Malivoire Stouck Vineyard Meritage 2011, Lincoln Lakeshore ($29.95) Here you will find a great Meritage from a less than easy vintage for dark grapes. Medium body, the raspberry, cassis, savoury herbs, tea, toast and violets are supported by some granular tannins. Great length. Now to 2018. (ES) 89 Henry of Pelham Baco Noir Reserve 2012, Ontario ($24.95) For my taste, this is the best Baco in Ontario. Full bodied, there is copious amounts of jammy dark fruit which is supported by smoke and cocoa notes from new barrel aging. Fresh acidity and a slight sweetness rounds out the texture. There is solid length and 5 to 6 years of life ahead. (ES) 88 Konzelmann Merlot Barrel Aged 2012, Niagara ($19.95) Here you will find a straight-up fruit driven Merlot with flavours of raspberry, cherry, spice, dark cocoa, vanilla and toast. Medium in body, the tannins are soft and the finish carries the fruit. Ready to drink tonight with duck breast or a charcuterie board. (ES) 88 Henry of Pelham Family Tree 2012, Niagara ($18.95) This delicious blend of 48% Shiraz, 23% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Merlot offers enticing flavours of pepper, plum, cassis, roasted peanuts, cocoa, roasted herbs, vanilla and incense. There is richness on the palate before the juicy acid and round tannins fill in the finale. Very versatile as a food wine! (ES) TM
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NIAGARA’S FLORAL CLOCK THE BEAUTY OF PASSING TIME BY GABRIELLE TIEMAN
Our lives revolve around time. Alarm clocks, schedules, timers; time is an ever controlling factor in day to day life. But Ontario Power Generation and the Niagara Parks Commission’s Floral Clock has given us the opportunity to look at time, having halted the rush and planted the beauty back into the passing minutes in a literal fashion. >>
BUT THE CLOCK’S FACE IS NOT SIMPLY A PRETTY DESIGN. ROSSI AND HER DESIGN TEAM UTILIZE THE CREATIVE SURFACE TO COMMEMORATE THE HISTORY OF THE NIAGARA PARKS COMMISSION AND HYDRO AS WELL AS CELEBRATE SPECIAL EVENTS IMPORTANT TO THE COMMUNITY.
This free horticulture attraction featured along the Niagara River Parkway adjacent to the Centennial Lilac Garden and Sir Adam Beck Generating Stations entices millions of tourists annually, all coming to take in the beauty of this modern mechanical clock meets organic botanical wonder. Built to act as a beautiful distraction, the clock was designed and constructed in 1950 by Ontario Hydro with the intention of drawing attention away from the wires that surround the area. “The clock was more or less built to soften all of these wires,” said Donna Rossi, lead hand gardener to the floral clock. Inspired by a similar famous clock found in the Princess Street Gardens in Edinburgh, Scotland, Ontario Hydro Chairman Dr. Richard L. Hearn was told to look into the floral wonder in 1903 while on a business trip. Inspired by the beauty of the clock and the attention it was attracting, Hearn set away to design a similar, but more impressive in stature, clock which would later be constructed in 1950. In 1977, Ontario Hydro joined with the Niagara Parks Commission allowing them to control the maintenance and design of the botanical aspect of the floral clock while Ontario Hydro maintained the original design and construction of the hardware – including the clock mechanism, hands, transformers, drive system and musical applications that are housed within the three small rooms underneath the clock. To this day, the Floral Clock continues to be a team effort. “This is a full partnership with Ontario Hydro,” said Mark Dykstra, Senior Director of Parks with the Niagara Parks Commission. “It is on Ontario Generation property. The Niagara Parks Commission maintains the garden piece of it, Ontario Hydro works with us on the infrastructure piece.” Today, the clock is more than three times the size of its inspiration in Scotland, with the face measuring 40 feet across, the planted area measuring 38 feet across and containing over 16 thousand locally grown carpet bedding plants and three traditional hands that weigh a combined 1250 pounds. But the clock is not only a once annual feat, it features two faces each year; one in the spring that is made up of violas which provide a colourful design to welcome the spring and the second at the beginning of June for the summer season, showcasing thousands of carpet bedding flowers. Chosen for their easy maintenance, these summer season flowers begin growing in the greenhouses at the School of Horticulture in November and include red, pink and yellow Alternanthera, grey and green Santolina and other similar plants that are used until the ground frosts in October. “It’s based on the ability to trim it and keep the height low,” said Dykstra. “Other annual plants just get too tall and then you lose the blossom. The actual density of the colour that you get with those plants is what creates this pattern.” >>
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“Even annuals you would have to keep deadheading and you wouldn’t always get the colour,” added Rossi, a graduate of Niagara College, who has been part of the Clock’s maintenance and design team since 1998, with her first designs featured in 2000. But the clock’s face is not simply a pretty design. Rossi and her design team utilize the creative surface to commemorate the history of the Niagara Parks Commission and Hydro as well as celebrate special events important to the community. “Whether it is a theme, like the War of 1812 or an anniversary like the one for Hydro coming up in 2015, groups do contact us with an interest in displaying it on the clock,” said Dykstra. “In the end, it is like a piece of art the beauty of it.” Past clock faces have commemorated the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara, The Boy Scouts, and the War of 1812. Community members can pitch ideas to the team for inspiration, but the majority of the ideas come from Rossi, usually almost a year prior to the planting. “I try to come up with the design one year before,” said Rossi. “The ideas are always there. I am always looking at things, on sides of buses or billboards, wherever I get an idea.” Following finalizing the clock’s face design, Rossi puts the design to
scale and puts a graph on it. Then it is given to the carpenters who make a wooden template of the design. Once the template is done, Rossi sets out to make the metal forms that outline the design and help in the planting process. Starting from the top and working their way down, it takes a team of six plus people and four days, weather permitting, to rip out the plants, lay the design and plant the new seasonal arrangements. But the manual labour does not end at the initial planting. Every two weeks, two gardeners of the maintenance team halt the clock to trim the plants in order to maintain the height and colour of the clock face’s design. This process takes two to three half days, weather permitting. Adding another touch of whimsy, curving around the clock’s face is an 85 foot wishing well pond, housing bright gold fish and lily pads. Constructed as a preventative tactic to ensure tourists did not climb up on the clock or pick the flowers, all summer long tourists can be found tossing change into the pond and making a wish. When the Parks drain the pond later in the season, the coins are given to Ontario Power Generation who then give it to local charities. So next time you’re in Niagara taking in the beauty of the great Niagara Falls this summer, pack a lunch, take a trip along the river and let yourself marvel at the Floral Clock and the beauty of passing time. TM
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CELEBRATING NIAGARA NIAGARA’S WINE GRAPE HARVEST FESTIVAL
By: Lauren Charley
There is something divine about the ABOUT… peaceful scenery when cruising down long The Niagara Wine Festival was established 64 years ago, in 1951, country roads, as the sun is setting behind as a way to celebrate the region’s grape harvest. Niagara is the home of Canada’s largest grape and wine industry, and is internationally acclaimed a pink and blue sky, with a crisp breeze by wine experts and enthusiasts who have fallen in love with the area signifying summer’s end. Every autumn, for its scenic beauty, peaceful countryside, renowned “farm-to-table” locals and businesses from around the approach to cuisine, and of course, its refreshing, award-winning wines. region come together to welcome tourists “As the leading tender fruit producer in Canada, agriculture has always been a very important piece of who we are as a region,” says Kimberly and host a celebration in recognition of Hundertmark, Executive Director of Niagara Grape & Wine Festival. what the Niagara Region is known for: its Niagara Wine Festival has had a significant economic impact on the legendary wine country. The Niagara Wine region, enabling hospitality, retail, and tourism businesses to prosper in Festival marks the annual celebration of the every season. What began as a singular fall festival, incorporated as part of the “Niagara Grape and Wine Festival”, has now expanded to three grape harvest and embraces the region for events, with the additions of the New Vintage Festival in June, and the its local cuisine, music, arts and culture. Niagara Icewine Festival in January. All three festivals keep the spirit of This year, the annual Niagara Wine wine alive in the region, embracing it as an important part of its history, festival is scheduled to take place between identity, and culture. The Niagara Wine Festival offers a number of attractions which the September 12 and 27. During this time there whole family can enjoy. Kids love celebrating the grape harvest through will be many events and activities hosted a selection of events such as parades, concerts, entertainment acts, and in various locations throughout the region, street parties. including the Grande Parade, festivities in The 64th Annual Meridian Grande Parade celebrates this year with Montebello Park, tours and tastings, and the theme “Harvest Street Party”. During the procession, schools, businesses, restaurants, sports teams, and financial sponsors maneuver proudmany opportunities to enjoy the fine culinary ly through downtown St. Catharines, as they display their extravagantly expertise of Niagara’s top chefs. decorated floats and glowing community pride. The parade this year will TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 55
I have been fortunate to be part of the Niagara Grape and Wine Industry for 21 years. The rich tapestry of experiences that we have woven makes me so very proud. Everyone should be lucky enough to work in collaboration with the amazing growers, winemakers and storytellers that I can call friends. – KIMBERLY HUNDERTMARK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NIAGARA GRAPE AND WINE FESTIVAL
be held on Saturday, September 26 at 11am, as it jaunts along the traditional route beginning at Welland Ave and climaxing along St. Paul Street. The 64th Annual Meridian Grande Parade celebrates this year with the theme “Harvest Street Party”. During the procession, schools, businesses, restaurants, sports teams, and financial sponsors maneuver proudly through downtown St. Catharines, as they display their extravagantly decorated floats and glowing community pride. The parade this year will be held on Saturday, September 26 at 11am, as it jaunts along the traditional route beginning at Welland Ave and climaxing along St. Paul Street. On the second and third weekends of The Niagara Wine Festival, Montebello Park’s “Centre Stage”, in the heart of downtown St. Catharines, brings attendees a full roster of extraordinary Canadian musical talent. These musicians include popular, local bands and wellknown Canadian tribute bands. The enjoyment of live music is accompanied by a selection of fine decadent foods and exquisite wines, offered by participating wineries and business vendors, set up throughout the park. Visitors will also find this a hot spot to find unique trinkets and treasures, sold by local retail boutiques.
FESTIVAL DISCOVERY PASS Over the three weekends between September 12 and 27, the Discovery Pass is the ultimate way to maximize your experience of the legendary Niagara Wine Festival. With the $40 Discovery Pass, guests can enjoy a sampling of the exquisite local wines paired with its perfect culinary accompaniment, using the expertise of Niagara’s top chefs and viticulture experts. The pass includes a selection of eight “experiences” held at any of the 38 participating wineries in Niagara. Each winery hosts a unique tasting with an original theme, where attendees can indulge in the best of both their culinary skills and winemaking expertise. At every establishment, the experts have worked carefully to pair their best wine of the harvest with a food that is both original and sensationally delicious. Guests can expect to try gourmet and exotic savouries like vegetarian white lasagna cupcakes and maplesmoked bacon pumpkin tarts, matched with the perfect wine to enhance the flavours of each delicacy.
PLANNING YOUR VISIT TO NIAGARA WINE FESTIVAL Whether you are a local or a visitor to the region, Niagara Wine Festival is sure to provide an exciting way to savour the last of the warm and comforting summer months, as the season comes to an end and welcomes the fall grape harvest. Every year there are new wineries, businesses, acts, and events to be discovered, keeping the celebration fresh whilst keeping its proudest traditions. To begin your research on this fantastic opportunity to embrace Niagara’s grape and wine industry, visit niagarawinefestival.com to start planning your itinerary! TM
BEST BY: LYNN OGRYZLO
Even though Niagara is in the middle of a great continent, far away from large masses of water, it is far from dry. In fact, some of its greatest assets cling to our fresh waterways. From Niagara Falls to Twenty Valley Creek, the Niagara River to Lake Erie, Niagara’s most beautiful water systems have some pretty eclectic communities that simply demand exploring. NIAGARA FALLS We all know Niagara Falls is a kid friendly place, but there is no escaping its magnificence. Walk the beautiful floral laced boardwalk in front of two waterfalls; the Canadian and the American waterfalls both called Niagara Falls by the locals. Take a deep breath and feel the uplifting power from the water crashing all around you. Then go below to Journey Behind The Falls and feel your hair go horizontal from the sheer force of it all. Niagara Falls and its power over you is nothing short of magnificent. Continue to be awe-inspired down river where the White Water Walk gets you up close and personal with the hypnotic white capped rapids as they splash and crash at the base of sheer rock cliffs. Remember, as Niagara Falls carved itself further and further down the Niagara River, it left behind stunning vistas. If all that fresh air leaves you a bit hungry, Elements on the Falls Restaurants serves up a great selection of upscale casual fare or head to the Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra for the best Italian-influenced food or Windows by Jamie Kennedy for a true taste of local, all three get you up close and personal with Niagara Falls and if you’re dining at night, be prepared to be wowed by the nightly light show over the Falls or the weekend fireworks. >>
FOR ME IT’S A LUXURY DESTINATION CLOAKED IN A VILLAGE VIBE PORT COLBORNE A sailors dream for sure, for me it’s a girlfriends day-away. Take a stroll down Historic West Street with quaint, canal side shops on one side and the beautiful boardwalk filled with cascading flowers on the other. Among the shops are 270 West, Glam Girl and Serendipities (all ladies fashion boutiques), Something Else (jewellery and home décor), Alphabet Books, Canalside Kitchen Store and Crew’s Quarter (home and garden shop). Old Port, as the locals call it, is more than one street; wander the back roads for Jack’s Toy Store, JB Fashions, Tuck Jewellery, Yardbirds Nature Shop and Ten Thousand Villages all on Clarence Street. One of the regions best Farmers’ Market happens here on Friday mornings. Dining in Port is even better with Minor Fisheries (freshest fish and chips in Niagara), The Smokin Buddha located in the old King Street train station (a destination eatery of creative, healthy, eclectic cuisine), Canalside Restaurant or the Market Café across from Market Square (best coffee shop with market sourced dishes). Port’s second and lesser-known region called Ole Humber Stone centres around Main Street as it crosses the Welland Canal. Here you’ll find big city style in Absa-fashion-lutely, take in High Tea at the Duchess Café or pick up flowers and something sweet in Bremfields Bakery, Florist and Antique Shop. Drive across the Welland Canal for lunch at Lucy’s, a Port institution and famous for it’s long list of notable guests like author Bill Thomas, Pierre Burton and Justin Trudeau. THOROLD Giant Lakers (the giant ships that roam the Great Lakes) draw crowds of enthusiastic watchers and why not? The Welland Canal
runs through Thorold with a perfect view of the massive vessels being lifted up and down Lock 7 – incredible! But for me, the draw to Thorold is the small town gone uptown revival. The main street has been historically restored and one-of-a-kind boutiques have moved in. At Fig Street, dubbed the Kate Spade of Thorold you’ll find ladies fashion stationery, food-art cards and other rare, big-city finds. Angies O’H Antiques offers beautiful articles of a by-gone era and newer things that fit with her personality, Knyvettism presents fashion, furniture and art from repurposed materials, Steadman’s Jewellers, a diamond specialist is a Thorold institution and Gypsy Alley has clothing, purses and an eclectic collection of great stuff. It’s astounding to find international fashion designer Shannon Passero in the quaint, old firehall building on Albert Street and interior designer John Kazmir in the Quebec Bank Building. On The Front Café is the perfect coffee shop with chocolate leather chairs to sink into and the new owner of the Panini Café, fine dining chef William Brunyansky (Charles Inn, Niagara-on-theLake), makes a mean panini and every option can be ordered gluten free. The beautiful Keefer Mansion Inn is perched on a hill with great views of passing Lakers in the distance. This restored, brownstone mansion houses a fine dining restaurant and spa. Thorold is a bike-friendly destination and a stop on the Circle Trail Bike Route. QUEENSTON VILLAGE History buffs visit this tiny little village with more historical destinations than coffee shops but for me, Queenston will always be about the prettiest village in Ontario. Few people know that the Queenston dock is the only place
north of Niagara Falls where the land dips down to meet the water. It’s also the widest spot along the part of the river; bring a lawn chair or sit on a rock and skip stones in the glass-like texture of the water. On the other side are towering cliffs of shale and rock with Artpark perched above – a great place to take in a riverside concert. Back in the village is the most beautiful oleander tree in Niagara. When it’s in full bloom (spring) people come from miles around to behold the magnificence of this great old tree and the beauty that blossoms on the corner of Kent Street and Queenston Streets. One block uphill of the tree, at the foot of the escarpment is the MacKenzie Heritage Printery. The grey stone building is wrapped in lush green ivy that thrives in the shade of the pine grove. Look beyond the Printery and you’ll find wooden stairs that lead to the top of the escarpment. Once there, make your way cross Queenston Heights Park to a little oasis called Locust Grove. Perched above the Queenston dock and parallel to Artpark, the views from Locust Grove includes the Niagara River as it winds its way down to Lake Ontario. Locust Grove is simply breathtaking and the perfect perch for a picnic with more concert music wafting over from Artpark. Queenston is also the start of the Bruce Trail and even a 10-minute walk along the trail reveals forest beauty, wild greenery and cool air on a hot summers day. JORDAN VILLAGE Look out Yorkville, this upscale oasis in the heart of Niagara agriculture draws cyclists and hikers, but for me it’s a luxury destination cloaked in a village vibe. Jordan Village is a man made village that centres around Cave Springs Winery, On The Twenty Restaurant and Inn On The Twenty. On The Twenty Restaurant is perched high above the beautiful Twenty Valley below. The valley, carved by a large creek, is the water tributary fed by Balls Falls to the south and flows into the Jordan Harbour to the north. Back in the village is a full afternoon of browsing through galleries, fabulous shopping, antiques, history, wine tasting and dining. Tintern on Main, Pamela’s and Arezzo are ladies fashion boutiques offering unique clothing and accessories usually reserved for big city boutiques. IronGate Garden Elements is full of fabulous, one-of-a-kind garden art and accessories. CHIC by Janssen will impress you with stunning, French inspired, rare furniture and S & B Antique Gallery offers unique furniture pieces of a by-gone era. AvantGuarde Emporium is a fun curiosity shop and across from the Jordan Hotel, a perfect spot for lunch. A village walking tour brochure is available at the Jordan Historical Museum and in the Heritage Gift Shop. TM
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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE
n July 5, 1887 the Queen Victoria Park Commission took over jurisdiction of the land along the Niagara River gorge and the decision was made to address the many tragedies that had occurred at the Falls due to stunts and daredevil acts. The Commissioners decided to prohibit rope and wire walkers from anchoring their ropes and wires on the gorge wall. As recently as 1976, the Commission studied the question of tightrope walks across the Niagara Gorge, meeting with representatives of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to jointly review this issue. Their recommendations noted that the original purpose for establishing the Niagara Parks was to remove the growing carnival atmosphere adjacent to the Falls. After consideration of items such as allocation of resources, environmental impact and public safety, both Commissions denied permission for these events. In November 1996, The Niagara Parks Commission denied a request for a proposed skywalk by Jay Cochrane. Commission Chairman Gary Burroughs announced, “The net effect of this type of event is to encourage less qualified individuals to perform stunts or feats that put not only themselves at risk, but also those who may be involved in their rescue.” The Niagara Parks Commission prohibits stunting on all of its properties under the authority granted under Regulations of the Niagara Parks Act. Stunting now carries a maximum fine of $10,000. Following is a chronology from the mid-1800s to 1951, of attempts to go over the Falls in a barrel or some other device, to go through the Class 6 rapids of the Great Gorge, or to walk across on a tightrope. Some of these stunters were successful, others died in their attempt. >>
NIAGARA’S Daredevils A HISTORY OF RISK TAKERS WHO DARED TO BRAVE THE FALLS. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 63
daredevi s JEAN FRANCOIS GRAVELET (THE GREAT BLONDIN) Professionally known as “The Great Blondin”, Gravelet was the first of many tightrope walkers to appear at Niagara Falls. He was a professional artist and showman trained in the great tradition of the European circus. At age 31 he came to America and made the announcement that he would cross the gorge of the Niagara River on a tightrope. On June 30, 1859 the rope was in position and at five o’clock in the afternoon Blondin started the trip that was to make history. Watchers saw him lower a rope from the tightrope to the Maid of the Mist, pull up a bottle and sit down while he refreshed himself. He began his ascent toward the Canadian shore, paused, steadied the balancing pole and suddenly executed a back somersault. Never content merely to repeat his last performance, Blondin crossed his rope on a bicycle, walked blindfolded, pushed a wheelbarrow, cooked an omelet in the centre and made the trip with his hands and feet manacled. Yet even these stunts failed to satisfy Blondin’s urge to test himself. He announced that on August 19 he would cross the gorge carrying his manager, Harry Colcord, on his back. It was to be the supreme test of Blondin’s skill and stamina. According to Colcord, the trip was a nightmare. In the unguyed centre section, the pair swayed violently. Blondin was fighting for his life. He broke into a desperate run to reach the first guy rope. When he reached it and steadied himself, it broke. Once more the pair swayed alarmingly as Blondin again ran for the next guy. When they reached it Blondin gasped for Colcord to get down. Six times in all Colcord had to dismount while Blondin had to charge the crowd on the brink to prevent the press of people forcing them back in the precipice. He died in England at the age of 73. WILLIAM LEONARD HUNT A resident of Port Hope, Ontario, known as Signor Farini, William Hunt duplicated almost all Blondin’s stunts, but never managed to steal the limelight from Blondin. The Niagara Falls Gazette reported Farini’s September 5, 1860 washing machine stunt, “He strapped an Empire Washing Machine to his back and walked slowly to the desired place in the centre of the rope”. He secured his balancing pole and machine on the cable. He then drew water from the river nearly 200 feet below, in primitive style, with a pail and cord. Several ladies, desiring to patronize him in his character as a washerwoman, had given him their handkerchiefs to wash. Before long his washing was done, the handkerchiefs wrung out and hung up to dry on the uprights and crossbars of the machine. With the washing flapping in the wind, he adjusted his load and returned. HARRY LESLIE After the 1859 and 1860 performances of Blondin and Farini, there was a lull until June 15, 1865 when Harry Leslie, billed as “The American Blondin”, crossed the Whirlpool Rapids gorge on a rope.
ANDREW JENKINS On August 24, 1869 Andrew Jenkins crossed the Whirlpool Rapids on a rope, riding a velocipede. MARIA SPELTERINA A 23-year-old Italian woman, Maria Spelterina was the only woman to cross the Niagara gorge on a tightrope. In 1867, she walked backwards, put a paper bag over her head, and wore peach baskets on her feet to inject some drama into her crossings. STEPHEN PEER Stephen Peer of Niagara Falls, Ontario made several crossings, but a few days after his walk on June 25, 1887, his body was found on the rocks below. It was assumed that he had fallen while attempting a night crossing wearing his street shoes.
of niagar a ANNIE TAYLOR (Survived) Mrs. Annie Taylor, a 63-year-old schoolteacher, decided that a trip over Niagara Falls was her way to fame and fortune. On October 24, 1901, assistants strapped her (along with her cat, as seen in this photo) into a special harness in a barrel. A small boat towed the barrel out into the main stream of the Niagara River and the barrel was cast loose. The rapids first slammed it one way, then the other, then came the drop and a bone-wrenching jar so violent that Mrs. Taylor was sure she hit rocks. Seventeen minutes after the plunge, the barrel had been tossed close enough to the Canadian shore to be hooked and dragged onto the rocks. Mrs. Taylor was dazed but triumphant and being the first person to conquer the mighty Falls of Niagara, she found the fame she sought so desperately. But fortune was a bit more elusive. Twenty years after her brush with death at Niagara, she died destitute.
Niagara Falls has always held an allure for those who like danger, like to test the limits of human endurance. It has held so much allure in fact, that Niagara Parks had to officially state that stunting on their property is prohibited. These pages highlight a history of stunting at the Falls; some stunters were successful, others were not as lucky.
BOBBY LEACH (Survived) Bobby Leach, an Englishman, successfully made a trip in an all-steel barrel on July 25, 1911, and then spent 23 weeks in hospital recuperating from numerous fractures and other injuries. Fifteen years later on a lecture tour in New Zealand, he slipped on an orange peel, broke his leg and died of complications from the injury. CHARLES STEPHENS (Died) The next barrel stunter to try the Falls was also an Englishman, Charles Stephens. When his heavy oak barrel hit water after the drop over the Falls on July 11, 1920, Stephens went out the bottom. He was killed and only one arm was recovered. JEAN LUSSIER (Survived) Jean Lussier, a native of Quebec, designed a six-foot rubber ball composed of 32 inner tubes and a double-wall steel frame. One of the biggest crowds on record saw the stunt on July 4, 1928. The ball took some hard knocks in the rapids but the skip over the Falls was perfect. About one hour after entering his ball, Lussier stepped ashore none the worse for wear. For many years he displayed his ball at Niagara Falls and sold small pieces of the inner tubes for souvenirs at 50 cents a piece. GEORGE STATHAKIS (Died) On July 4th, 1931, George Stathakis, a Greek chef from Buffalo, went over the Falls in a 2,000-pound contraption of wood and steel. He survived the plunge over the Falls only to die after becoming trapped behind the curtain of water for 22 hours. He had enough oxygen for only three hours. RED HILL JR. (Died) In the summer of 1951, Red Hill Jr. planned to go over the Falls in a flimsy contrivance he called the “Thing” which consisted of 13 inner tubes held together with fish net and canvas straps. On August 6, the “Thing” headed into the rapids with Hill in it. It was tossed into the air, upended, thrown from side to side and bounced off rocks. It was starting to disintegrate even before it reached the Falls. When the drop came, the “Thing” disappeared into churning water at the base of the Falls. Seconds later what was left floated into view. The following day, Hill’s battered body was taken from the river. TM TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 65
WE ARE NIAGARA FALLS HORNBLOWER NIAGARA CRUISES
VOYAGE TO THE FALLS BOAT TOUR The legendary boat tour of Niagara Falls is Canada’s most iconic visitor experience. It’s been thrilling millions from all over the world for more than 150 years. You may have seen the Falls before, but you’ve never seen them quite like this! So why just look at them when you can get right in? Hold onto your heart and get ready for the thrill of a lifetime. Hornblower will take you on a ride you’ll never forget. Into the very heart of the mighty Horseshoe Falls! Prepare for an awe-inspiring journey aboard Hornblower’s state-of-the-art 700-passenger catamaran boats. You’ll experience the famous boat tour of the Great Gorge, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and of course, an up-close and personal connection with the world’s most famous cataract – the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Hornblower’s Voyage To The Falls boat tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and an absolute must for every visitor to Niagara Falls. Open daily from 8am, boats sail every 15 minutes until dusk.
FALLS ILLUMINATION CRUISE & FALLS FIREWORKS CRUISE Featuring on-board licensed bars, light snacks and music, these extended 40-minute cruises are Niagara’s ultimate evening entertainment. Set to the backdrop of starry skies, the dazzling city skyline and amazing coloured illumination of the Falls these intimate cruises are the very best way to view the Falls at night. Guests can savour fine Niagara wine and beverages on-board while cruising the Gorge and taking in the magic of Niagara Falls at night. There’s no other evening entertainment quite like this! Falls Illumination Cruises operate daily in season and sail 9:45-10:25pm. Falls Fireworks Cruises include a bonus 10pm fireworks spectacle directly overhead. This is a Niagara Falls experience not to be missed. As colours whirl and sparks fly above, this incredible Falls cruise is the ultimate highlight of any evening out. Falls Fireworks Cruises operate every Friday, Sunday and holiday from May 15 through September 7. Boats sail 9:45 to 10:25. With limited availability tickets sell out fast.
If daytime thrills aren’t your cup of tea, then be sure to enjoy Hornblower’s all new night-time Falls Illumination Cruise or Falls Fireworks Cruise.
If you’re one of the lucky few who can snag tickets to the Falls Illumination Cruise or Falls Fireworks Cruise, be sure to go early and take in the evening sunset while relaxing at Hornblower’s unique new Fallsview Patio. Nestled in the gorge at the river’s edge there is nowhere else you’ll get a view anything like this. Enjoy the remarkable setting, great music and Hornblower’s famous hospitality before or after sailing. If you’re lucky and the breeze is just right, you can sometimes catch a soft waft of fine Falls mist. It doesn’t get any closer than this! Whatever you do while visiting, be sure to plan an evening out with Hornblower Niagara Cruises. They are certain to deliver an amazing experience and memories that will last a lifetime.
To reserve your ticket book online at niagaracruises.com or call toll free 1-855-264-2427. Located at 5920 River Road (Niagara Parkway) at the foot of Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls CANADA.
“Dancing Polar Bear” by Noo Atsiaq, 22” tall x 12” x 8”
Native Canadian Art Gallery 129 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, L0S 1J0 Canada Phone: 905-468-8787 Toll Free: 1-855-668-8787
Native Arts Niagara 3845 Main Street Jordan, ON, L0R 1S0 Canada Phone: (905) 562-8888 Toll Free: 1-800-646-2848
By Megan Pasche
Sometimes, you just have to let go and live life on the edge. But nobody lives these words more thoroughly than the entertainers of Niagara Falls. >>
THIS YEAR’S THRILL ACTS INCLUDE: THE SKY SCRAPING SWAY POLE ACT “Take in the unwavering courage of daredevil athletes atop 2 flexible slender poles. Witness unforgettable aerial acrobatics, a jaw dropping midair exchange and you won’t want to miss the death defying descent! Towering above Victoria Avenue at 70 feet tall and visible from a great distance, this heart stopping performance couldn’t be more high profile!”
ACROBATIC MOTORCYCLE HIGH WIRE “A motorcycle balancing atop a thin steel cable with a trapeze aerialist beneath it. The motorcycle rider completes several death-defying stunts, including free standing on top of the motorcycle, as the aerialist performs various acrobatic stunts from the trapeze. Then, the motorcycle and aerial artist amaze the crowd by defying gravity and flipping the bike and trapeze numerous revolutions around the cable.” Shows for the Acrobatic Motorcycle take place between the Tussaud’s billboard sign and Day’s Inn (5943 Victoria Avenue)
WHEEL OF FATE “This act features an acrobatic daredevil acrobat on one end of a giant pendulum while his beautiful female partner counterbalances on the opposite end in an awesome display of incredible balance and impeccable timing. Witness the fearless daredevils as they build momentum while walking, running and jumping inside and outside of this huge revolving apparatus. Watch in amazement as these death defying athletes fly through the air like super heroes for the ultimate finale.” Shows for the Wheel of Fate take place on the rooftop of the Imperial Hotel (5851 Victoria Avenue). Summer Of Thrills runs Thursdays to Mondays starting July 2nd until September 7th with 4 thrills shows daily at 2pm, 4pm, 6pm and 8pm. Street shows run approximately 30 minutes each and the sky high thrill acts are about 10 minutes each. More information can be found at topofcliftonhill.com
Sometimes, you just have to let go and live life on the edge. But nobody lives these words more thoroughly than the entertainers of Niagara Falls. Over the years, Niagara has come to be known as home to those who know no fear, boasting a rich history of acrobats, street buskers, daredevils and thrill seeking performers (for more information on Niagara’s thrilling history of daredevils, see page 64). And though 155 years has passed since the first stuntman successfully crossed Niagara Falls with nothing but a thin rope separating him from a 170 foot plunge into the rapids, daredevil antics continue today to test the boundaries of what most deem the impossible. Taking a twist on the traditional venue of street performances, this summer’s busker acrobatics are taking to the air and ground as world renowned aerial artists invade Niagara’s skyline with death defying disshows performed hundreds of feet above the famed Clifton Hill dis trict and the streets themselves with a wide array of variety acts. This free daredevil series put on by Zero Gravity Circus, an cominternationally renowned Toronto-based circus production com pany, the Victoria Centre BIA and the Tourism Partnership of Niagara will showcase three separate gut dropping shows with Sepperformances running four times a day, five days a week until Sep tember 7th. This summer will feature both variety acts and thrill acts. The variety acts will feature “a wide range of versatile, professional entertainperforming artists who provide engaging, memorable entertain showment…variety shows are largely interactive and comedic and show discicase the talent and skill of many colourful and exciting circus disci plines-magic, chain saw juggling, clowns, rola bola, escape acts, rope walking” and more. The Thrill act portion of Summer Of Thrills has been expanded since last summer, and Vince Ferro, Summer of Thrills event coordinator notes, “in addition to the wheel of fate and the motorcycle highwire acrobat act; this year’s Summer Of Thrills will introduce an additional death defying thrill act; two 70 foot high sway poles.” In addition, Vince says, for this summer’s event, an educational element will be added, with visitors having the opportunity to interact with some characters from Niagara’s daredevil past, including Annie Taylor, Charles Blondin and the Great Farrini. They will be available for photos before and after every thrill act. The performers in this year’s thrill acts are Hans and Natalia Winn, who come from a long line of circus performers. The Winn family goes back eight generations into the circus world and are famous for their high wire acts, stunts and aerial escapades. Hans Winn, the patriarch of the Winn family, died last year, but his family continues on the legacy. Hans Sr. started in the circus at the age of 6 and he and his siblings grew up in a German travelling circus. The family moved to California in the 1960s, and they began performing in state fairs and festivals. The act eventually grew to include more family members, with Hans Sr. continuing to perform into his late 70s. Hans Sr. had six children and most of them perform in the circus, including his son and daughter who together, are the stars featured in Summer of Thrills. Ferro says that spectators from last year’s event were amazed at the “high calibre, death defying” thrills that were performed, and this year’s event promises to propel the experience to new heights of excitement, disbelief and awe. TM
Nothing quite says summer like golf. Once the air warms up and the greens dry out, courses become flooded with golfers – and the Niagara Region is no exception.
An internationally respected golfer’s paradise, the Niagara Region boasts over 50 of the most beautifully tailored and artfully designed golf courses in the world – creating the greatest concentration of golf facilities in a single region in Canada.
But, with 50 golf courses throughout the Niagara Region, it can be hard to decide which courses to schedule into a vacation. Niagara has simplified the choosing process, compacting seven of the must play courses open to the public into the Niagara Golf Trail.
BY GABRIELLE TIEMAN
HITTING THE LINKS on niagara’s golf trail
Heralded as a golfer’s dream, the Niagara Golf Trail has something for every golfer. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a casual player, there is a course that caters to your individual ability, price range and preference. The trail’s courses range from world class to entry-level, all designed by the best in the sport. Featured courses on the trail include Beechwood Golf and Country Club, Grand Niagara Golf Club, John Daly's Thundering Waters Golf Club, Legends on the Niagara Golf Complex, Royal Niagara Golf Club, Whirlpool Golf Course and new this year is Seneca Hickory Sticks Golf Course, the first American course to join the trail. To find out more about the Niagara Golf Trail, golf packages and green fees, visit niagaragolftrail.com.
GRAND NIAGARA GOLF CLUB
BEECHWOOD GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB
When a course is designed by an architect as internationally celebrated as Rees Jones, you are guaranteed an exceptional round of golf. In its tenth season, the Grand Niagara Golf Club does not disappoint, with uniquely crafted holes that pay homage to world-renowned courses. Known as the “Open Doctor,” golf architect Rees Jones is famous for revitalizing PGA championship courses across North America. Upon completing his design for Grand Niagara, Jones told reporters he had “built a golf course worthy of a major championship.” Bob Culig, PG member of Canada and head golf professional at Grand Niagara, says what Rees Jones has done for this course is make it user friendly. “All skill levels can come and enjoy the course and what we have to offer,” said Culig. “Even the most experienced golfer can receive a challenging game while someone less familiar with the game can get out, have fun and enjoy the nature of the course while learning how to golf.” But as a championship golf course only minutes away from Niagara Falls, crowds could be a worry; but Culig guarantees golfers never feel rushed at the Grand Niagara. “When you are playing it is like you and your partners are out by yourself,” said Culig. “There is so much land, it is a large property, and even though you’re not by yourself, it feels like it – even on those busy days. [Rees Jones] has taken a large piece of property and made it very nice for the golfer who enjoys being out in nature.” Operating as a semi-private facility, the Grand Niagara caters to locals who are looking for memberships and individuals who want to drop in for a game.
JOHN DALY’S THUNDERING WATERS GOLF CLUB
Having recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, the Beechwood Golf and Country Club boasts a rich history along with a tough game of golf. Located in St. Catharines, it sits on preserved history, a landmark which was once the scene of “musket fire and fighting,” and the site of the Battle at the Beech Woods in 1813. This par 72 layout and semi-private establishment features gently rolling terrain, contoured fairways and strategic water hazards that combine to make each hole a unique experience – and equally as difficult. Golfers can expect to find eighteen classically designed holes, each moderately difficult. Another semi-private facility, Beechwood is a welcome course for locals and tourists alike.
A landmark golf course in Canada, Thundering Water’s Golf Club is famed golfer John Daly’s first signature golf course in the country. Located in Niagara Falls’ Fallsview Tourist District, it is a mere 1,500 yards from the iconic Horseshoe Falls – and just as impressive in stature. Sitting at a challenging par 72, this John Daly signature course is not to be taken lightly. Designed in collaboration with Canadian golf architect Bo Danoff, Thundering Waters brings Daly’s “risk for reward” strategy to life and places it onto the fairway. Combining nature’s tranquillity with obstacle treachery, Thundering Waters features sweeping fairways, sculpted bunkers and creeks all nestled between sand dunes, which combine for a difficult, yet, enjoyable, game of golf. >> TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 73
These aesthetically pleasing sights also function as interesting obstacles for the gentleman golfer. The course tests your accuracy and offers a challenge for golfers to improve their game. Though not for the weak of heart, the course is friendly to golfers of all skill levels.
LEGENDS ON THE NIAGARA GOLF COMPLEX The largest of the seven courses on the trail, Legends on the Niagara Golf Complex has not one, but two exceptionally crafted eighteen hole championship level golf courses. This natural setting is a golfer’s dream getaway, sitting on one thousand acres of natural turf, water hazards, sand traps and landscaping. If this wasn’t enough, the course also plays host to an extremely large driving range and bonus 9-hole course. The impressive Battlefield course is located on the north side of the Legends on the Niagara property. Designed by Canadian golf architect Douglas Carrick, a veteran who has created a truly unique course that challenges every level of golfer. The course features a nice mix of wide, links style holes with generous fairways and greens that are bound by dense forest and brush. The second course, Ussher’s Creek, located on the south side of the property, is one of Canadian golf architect Thomas McBroom’s finest achievements. This challenging course features thick stands of trees, wetland hazards, knee-high fescue rough and impeccable conditioning from tee to green. These all combine to make Ussher’s Creek a classic parkland course. Both courses feature four sets of tees, catering to all levels and encouraging play from juniors to the most advanced golfers.
ROYAL NIAGARA GOLF CLUB Known as a must play course of international standing, the Royal Niagara boasts 7,000 yards of sculpted fairways, rolling greens and water, designed by landscape architect Ted Baker. Baker, the founding member of the Stanley Thompson Society, is known for preserving famed golf courses throughout North America. Tucked away next to the historic Welland Canal, Bruce Trail and Niagara Escarpment, the unique golf course incorporates natural landscapes to make for a difficult course. Although heralded for being a championship golf course and fairly challenging – it was host to the Telus Skins Game in 2003 – Velizar Amoff, operations manager at the Royal Niagara, says the course has a little something for every level of golfer.
“The course has five sets of tees so it is accessible to all calibres of players,” said Amoff. The golf club’s three individually designed championship level 9-hole courses allow golfers who place a high premium on originality to thoroughly enjoy themselves. Amoff said it is the unique layout of the course and its convenient location to the border that keeps tourists coming back to their courses each season.
WHIRLPOOL GOLF COURSE Revered as one of the highest rated and renowned golf courses in Canada, Whirlpool Golf Course is an 18-hole championship public course in the Niagara Region. The course features challenging designs by renowned golf architect Stanley Thompson, one of Canada’s most accomplished and respected golf course architects. Before Thompson’s premature death at 59, Thompson designed and remodelled over 145 golf courses– with the majority throughout Canada. Known for his strategic design tactics, Thompson was steadfast in his belief that golf must be played with the mind as well as the body. His courses reflect this thoughtful design tactic in its artfully crafted sand traps and bunkers. Dramatically situated next to the Niagara whirlpools, it is hailed as one of the most challenging courses on the Niagara Golf Trail. But this should not dissuade any golf lovers to try out this course. Its intrinsic design and prestige that accompanies its 72-year heritage makes for an appealing course for all experience levels.
SENECA HICKORY STICK GOLF COURSE A new partner with the Niagara Golf Trail, Seneca History Stick Golf Course is the trail’s first American partner. Located in Lewiston, New York just over the border from Niagara Falls, this picturesque public course is aptly named to reflect the presence of the rare and protected Shellbark Hickory trees that line the course. Designed by architect Trent Jones, whose repertoire consists of over 500 golf courses throughout the United States, is known for working with nature when designing a course – and Seneca Hickory is no exception. The course mirrors with its natural surroundings of lakes and mature trees to create a serene course for all playing levels. And don’t overlook warming up before you hit the greens. Seneca Hickory Stick boasts some of the most realistic practice facilities in the area, including a natural grass driving range, vast putting green and designated grass and sand chipping areas. TM
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A Rich Artistic Vibe
Buffalo’s creative roots run deep. There’s a rich artistic vibe that infuses the entire community, from the masterworks of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery to the regional treasures of the Burchfield Penney Art Center to small but influential institutions like Hallwalls, CEPA Gallery, Squeaky Wheel, Big Orbit Gallery and the Buffalo Arts Studio. That same vibe can be found in storefront galleries, mural covered walls and festivals and fairs – both old and new – devoted to the visual arts. Experience the power of art in Buffalo. “It may just now be getting buzz as a center for creative types, but Buffalo has been on the radar of art aficionados for decades.” THE NEW YORK TIMES STYLE MAGAZINE
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ALBRIGHT-KNOX ART GALLERY
“Just GO – it was brilliant!!!” “A real surprise…the quality and the breadth of work they have is amazing. Old masterpieces from the most famous global painters of all time through to contemporary work by the biggest international names in modern art. If you did not know you were in Buffalo you would only expect this level of quality in New York, London or Paris. Just blew us away with the variety.” Reviewed by acrossthepond1, a TripAdvisor traveler » Toronto, Canada » August 23, 2013
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What a great find! BURCHFIELD PENNEY ART CENTER
Reviewed by E J, a TripAdvisor traveler Rochester, NY » October 19, 2013
“I would absolutely recommend the Burchfield. We stumbled upon it after visiting the Albright-Knox, and I’m so glad that we crossed the street to check out this small but wonderful gallery.” RHEA ANNA
Hallwalls is a venue for presenting cutting edge culture in the form of visual art exhibitions and performances, in all disciplines, with a special concern for socially sensitive content. CHARLES CLOUGH
Your all-inclusive admission gives you use of: New for 2015 2 Jumping Pillows* Pedal Bike Go-Karts*
Sky Quest Ropes Course* Sky Tykes* Safari Rides*
Splash Pad Kite Flying Paddle Boats
Catch & Release Fishing Safari Tram Ride
*These attractions available June 1st-Labour Day
Only 10 Minutes From Niagara Falls!
tour the lavender field. a truly unique experience
The on site boutique is full of natural products made in Niagara with real essential oils
made in Visit us on July 11&12 for Niagara Lavender Festival. We dare you to try Garlic Ice Cream at the Niagara Garlic Festival Aug 29 tours, lavender field, distillery & boutique
758 Niagara Stone Rd, Niagara-On-The-Lake
new boutique & soap factory
54 Metcalfe Street Elora, Downtown
open 7 days 10-6 all seasons
IGNITE YOUR COMPETITIVE SPIRIT PAN AMERICAN GAMES 2015 By Jill Tham
Most top athletes participate in many events before they reach the highest level of competition. The Pan American Games is an important milestone in an athlete’s career. The Pan American Games is the world’s third largest international multisport games occurring every four years. Canada has had the privilege of hosting the Games twice; both times in Winnipeg, MB. This year, Canada will have a third shot at hosting the Games; this time with events happening in our own backyard. Toronto, will be the official host of the Games and will utilize many venues in different cities across southern Ontario. Approximately 400 events in 36 sports will take place between July 10th to 26th and the Parapan Am Games from August 7th to 15th. “In the Pan Am Games, there are a few different sports that are not in the Olympics such as bowling, karate, racquetball and wakeboarding,” says Mike Strange, former Pan American Games athlete and Olympic boxer. “It makes them distinct from other competitions.” “The vibe of the Pan Am Games is just like the Olympics. You get to experience the same jitters and excitement of an opening ceremony. For a boxer, the Pan Am Games is probably the toughest games, other than the Olympics, because of the incredible talent from Cuba and the United States,” states Strange. Mike has a positive outlook for Canada’s success at the 2015 Pan American Games. “I look forward to seeing the athletes compete for gold in our community,” says Strange. One of the venues for the Games in the Niagara area will be the Welland International Flatwater Centre. The centre will host canoe and kayak sprinting. The Welland Canal is a man-made passageway that enables cargo ships to transport goods between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The Canal is an important part of the St. Lawrence Seaway as it moves ships up and down the escarpment through a series of locks. Several decades ago, an area of the canal in Welland, was rerouted, leaving the old shipping lane perfect for flatwater sports and competitions. Since construction, this section of the Canal has been used by the city and its members to compete and train in the areas of swimming, sculling, canoe polo, kayaking, dragon boat, triathlon, canoeing and water polo.
IN THE PAN AM GAMES, THERE ARE A FEW DIFFERENT SPORTS THAT ARE NOT IN THE OLYMPICS SUCH AS BOWLING, KARATE, RACQUETBALL AND WAKEBOARDING MIKE STRANGE
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The City of Welland has been working diligently to upgrade the facility in preparation for the Games. Efforts include widening a section of the canal and building a timing tower, an athletic centre and permanent seating for 500 spectators. With ten million dollars of upgrades, the Welland International Flatwater Centre will now provide an off season location perfect for training. “The addition of the only multisport moving water training tank in Canada provides for a unique legacy opportunity. Owning the podium starts in Welland and every Canadian athlete participating in a flatwater sport will make their way to the Olympics, World Championships, Pan American Games and podium via the Flatwater Centre,” says Stephen Fischer, Executive Director of the Welland Recreational Canal Corporation and Welland International Flatwater Centre. Only a short drive from Welland to St. Catharines, one can find the calm waters of the Martindale Pond, home of the Royal Canadian Henley Rowing Course. The Henley is no stranger to the thrill of competition as it has hosted several rowing events and North America’s largest annual rowing regatta. The Henley’s storied history made it a natural choice as the site for 14 rowing competitions. In preparation for the Games, upgrades will be made to the main bridge that connects the rowing facility to the mainland. The summer of 2015 will be an exhilarating one for both residents and tourists of the Niagara Region as they welcome hundreds of athletes and thousands of visitors. Niagara invites you to come for the spectacular view of the falls and stay for the Games. The rowing events at the Canadian Henley Rowing Course in St .Catharines will be taking place from Saturday, July 11 to Wednesday, July 15, and the Canoe/Kayak Spring events at the Welland International Flatwater Centre, will be taking place from Saturday, July 11 to Tuesday, July 14. Tickets for both events can be purchased by visiting toronto2015.org/tickets
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All unaccredited quotes are taken directly from wellandcanal.com and toronto2015.org TM
Built to Last
The list of masters behind Buffalo’s most beautiful buildings and neighborhoods reads like a “Who’s Who” of some of history’s greatest architects: Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Stanford White, Eliel & Eero Saarinen, Henry Hobson Richardson, Frederick Law Olmsted. Buffalo’s extraordinary collection of architecture and urban design is a proud reminder of the city’s heyday and a catalyst for its renaissance. Explore Buffalo’s vast outdoor museum of American treasures on one of our many five-star house and walking tours.
Buffalo has one of the most extraordinary concert halls in the United States. A gift to the city from a deeply generous music-loving family whose name graces the building, Kleinhans Music Hall combines elegant simplicity with vibrant acoustics. Once new seating is installed to celebrate the hall’s 75th Anniversary in October 2015, it will comfortably seat 2,400 people while making each person feel the concert is being played for them alone. JOANN FALLETTA, MUSIC DIRECTOR, BUFFALO PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
DARWIN MARTIN HOUSE
Buffalo seems to be built of the Wright stuff. Spread throughout the city are a collection of homes and buildings – some that were only dreams of architect Frank Lloyd Wright – that in some way rivals the cluster in the Chicago area. PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
I guarantee that this will be the strangest, most unusual tour bus you will ever have the pleasure of riding. Built from a vintage school bus and retrofitted to be sans-roof, the Open-Air Autobus sports leopard-print seats and has some of the most enthusiastic architectural tour guides this side of the Erie Canal. DESIGN SPONGE
A T R AV E L E R ’S R E V I E W
BUFFALO CITY HALL TOURS
“Wonderful tour” BUFFALO AERIAL PICTURES
This beautiful art deco building is a treasure. Our guide was full of information and anecdotes. View from the observation deck is amazing!” Reviewed by SkanLaker, a TripAdvisor traveler Skaneateles, NY » September 22, 2014
A T R AV E L E R ’S R E V I E W
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S GRAYCLIFF ESTATE
“What genius” “If you are going to visit the Darwin Martin House, be sure to take some time to drive to Graycliff. We purchased in-depth tours for both properties before we traveled to Buffalo and I would recommend doing this.” Reviewed by don9290, a TripAdvisor traveler » Minneapolis, MN » October 1, 2013 NANCY VARGO
here . SEE . do
FILM, WINE FOOD:
THE NIAGARA INTEGRATED FILM FESTIVAL BY GABRIELLE TIEMAN
Film, wine and food are coming together once again to celebrate fresh and unique cinematic finds at the annual Niagara Integrated Film Festival (NIFF) this June. Returning for their second year to shine a cinematic spotlight on the natural beauty of the Niagara Region, NIFF will once again take full advantage of the region’s resources by combining the best of Niagara’s offerings into an amalgamated masterpiece of wineries, nature and top shelf independent films from across the globe. 40 films and 100 screenings will be showcased over the June 18-21 weekend throughout St. Catharines, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Twenty Valley. Sticking to the precedent set during last year’s successful festival, the films will premiere in an assortment of venues – ranging from traditional such as local cinemas, auditoriums and theatre halls to the unconventional vineyards, amphitheatres and even airport hangars which will host outdoor screenings amongst the grapes in full summer glory. >>
THE FESTIVAL IS NOT JUST ABOUT SEEING A MOVIE, IT IS AN EXPERIENCE. - KATE YORGA
Kate Yorga, the Programming Director for NIFF, says the festival is not just about seeing a movie, it is an experience. "We all remember the first non-typical film we saw,” said Yorga. “Because it does take a while to get your palette adjusted to something that doesn’t have the typical story structure or a different style of storytelling. This is a great chance to explore those kinds of films." Yorga says veteran programmer Tony Watts has been globe-trotting and attending film festivals for months now, chasing over 100 films for 40 slots and scouting critically acclaimed features in preparation for making his best picks for what to be showcased at NIFF. "There are thousands of films around the world and it is a complicated process but mainly we are looking for premieres: world premieres, international premieres, or national and Canadian films," said Yorga. "We are always asking ourselves: is it a great film? Is there something entertaining or informative about it in the sense of a documentary? What is their plan for the film? Distributors make a plan for each particular film that they choose and they set up which festivals all over the world to release it to audiences. If it has already played in Canada, we probably won’t take it, because again, we are looking for premieres." This year’s festival will present three Canadian premieres over the course of three days: the documentary The Lost Aviator and comedies People, Places, Things and Unexpected. They will also showcase a vast variety of genres and styles in order to appeal to a greater audience. Featuring a smattering of sci-fi, fantasy, comedy, spotlight films, dramas, shorts and everything in between; ensuring every genre is properly represented and that there is something to appeal to the vast demographic audience present in Niagara. “Festival audiences are a special breed of people,” said Yorga. “These are people that are adventurous and are willing to see something that is not showing at the regular multiplex theatre. We are lucky to have a vast audience in Niagara and we choose films that suit a wide range, from dramas to comedies, to family films and documentaries. Some thrillers and darker fare. Maybe some foodie films and anime.”
Set in the golden age of Aviation, The Lost Aviator director Andrew Lancaster follows the life and times of his great uncle, Captain Bill Lancaster and uncovers a fascinating tale of high adventures, obsession, a love triangle and a sensational murder trial. People, Places, Things directed by James C. Strouse stars comedian Jemaine Clement and will have audiences in stitches. Follow Will Henry, a newly single graphic novelist, balancing parenting his young twin daughters and a classroom full of students while exploring and navigating the rich complexities of new love and letting go of the woman who left him. Unexpected, a comedy by director Kris Swanberg, features a large cast including academy award nominee Elizabeth McGovern and How I Met Your Mother alum Cobie Smulders. An inner-city high school teacher discovers she is pregnant at the same time as one of her most promising students and the two develop an unlikely friendship while struggling to navigate their unexpected pregnancies. Other movies to screen at NIFF include I’ll See You in My Dreams; a soon to be favourite directed by Brett Haley starring Blythe Danner, Sam Elliott and Martin Starr. Yorga said that though their team travels around the globe to try and choose films that are unique and different from the norm, it is impossible to reach every international film festival. Online screening processes and the internet have made it easier for festivals like NIFF to capture a broad scope of films and uncover cinematic masterpieces from around the globe. "It is a great process now with online screeners," said Yorga. "In the old times you had to get film teams to send the hard copy [of the film] to you. Even with DVDs it wasn't the easiest. But now you can send them to us online and everything is protected by watermark so we can watch them and see what we think without fear of it getting into the wrong hands." Along with the feature length films, The World’s Smallest Film Festival competition is back featuring one to three minute shorts shot entirely on any smartphone or tablet. This year’s theme for the films is
water, staying true to Niagara’s defining characteristic, and must be shot entirely on either a smart phone or tablet. Niagara Rises will also return for a second year. The program exclusively showcases homegrown features made by Niagara Region’s resident film makers, writers, directors and producers. Other events returning include food and film events Filmalicious and Film Fest. Filmalicious will pair local wineries and world renowned cuisine with original feature-length films for a night of world class dining and film outside in the vineyard; with Film Feast, wineries will once again host an evening of food, wine and short films. "There is so much to do in the Niagara Region so the fact that you can combine seeing a great vineyard with having a wonderful dinner and enjoying a film is a special thing," said Yorga. "It's about making magical memories." Ticket prices start at $25 dollars for individual films and move upwards depending on the event. Yorga said she encourages movie goers to choose at least one foreign film to view throughout the course of the festival. "I always advise people to check out the foreign films in particular because those especially will not be coming to a theatre near you and this is probably your only chance to see amazing cinema from around the world," said Yorga. "It is a special opportunity." NIFF was brought to reality by the legendary Bill Marshall, one of the original founders and chair emeritus of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Widely known as the world’s most successful public film festival, TIFF, originally known as “The Festival of Festivals,” was first brought to life in 1976 as an outlet for international producers and film makers to showcase their films and original productions to a broader audience. Showcasing an average 350 films from over 70 countries annually, the festival is widely known for jumpstarting the careers of many actors and directors and placing Canada on the map for film excellence and appreciation. For more information on the festival schedule, events and purchasing tickets, visit niagarafilmfest.com. TM
Josh Silburt, Morning Fog - Ottawa Valley (detail), acrylic and oil on panel, c.1985, Allan Silburt Family Collection
2015 EXHIBITIONS: JOSH SILBURT: ARTIST IN TURBULENT TIMES ARTHUR LISMER: THE ARTIST AS TEACHER CARTOONS, CARICATURES, AND SATIRICAL PRINTS MARC AURÈLE DE FOY SUZOR-COTÉ AT RIVERBRINK AVANT LA LETTRE: CANADIAN LANDSCAPE BEFORE THE GROUP
Summer Hours: (May 15 - Oct 25) Daily 10 am - 5 pm
Winter Hours: (Oct 25 - May 12, 2016) Daily 10 am - 5 pm
116 Queenston Street, Queenston (NOTL), ON www.riverbrink.org
905.262.4510 TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 91
All the City ’s a Stage What were once known as the “lively” arts are exactly that in Buffalo –
brimming with vitality, energy and uncompromising creativity. More than 20 theater companies entertain audiences year round, including the summertime pleasures of Shakespeare in Delaware Park, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2015. Buffalo’s musical offerings are just as eclectic with clubs and concert halls presenting the kind of diverse programming you’d expect to find in a much larger metropolis. Of special note this year is the 75th anniversary of one of the most renowned concert venues in the country – Kleinhan’s Music Hall, home of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Let us entertain you!
Shakespeare in Delaware Park has been going since 1976. The setting, only 10 minutes drive from downtown, is superb, in a venue designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the man behind Central Park, on a gently sloping hill where all of Buffalo brings folding chairs and picnics to enjoy the show.
The admission is free, the experience priceless. THE TORONTO STAR
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SHEA’S PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
Reviewed by Annma, a TripAdvisor traveler » New York, NY » October 14, 2014
“There were no performances scheduled at Shea’s for when we were in Buffalo, so we decided to go on the behind-the-scene tour instead. Are we glad we did. Our very knowledgeable and engaging tour guide gave us a thorough tour that highlighted the history and restoration of this marvelous space – the last surviving Tiffany-designed theater in the U.S.! We can’t wait to come back to see performances here.”
PAUSA ART HOUSE FIVE STARS ON YELP
What a wonderful place to gather, hear great music, view original art with the changing exhibitions, grab a glass of wine or local beer on tap, attend a wine tasting, have a small bite to eat. They are all about showcasing local visual and musical talent. What a tremendous addition to the strong local art movement! Karen M., Buffalo, NY
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IRISH CLASSICAL THEATRE COMPANY
“Wonderful Theatre Experience!!!”
“If you love live theatre and are visiting Buffalo you’ll love the Irish Classical Theatre. The stage is done in the round which creates a unique perspective for the audience. The price is right and you’ll enjoy your evening out. Then go to Mother’s for a late night 5-star dinner.” Reviewed by Timothy V, a TripAdvisor traveler Oklahoma City, OK » November 27, 2013
NIAGARA’S PREMIER ADVENTURE
Tall to ride Wet Jet
Promo Code: REV2015
*promo code must be mentioned at time of reservation
Niagara-on-the-Lake Niagara Falls Lewiston
Niagara Helicopters Flightseeing Tours
For the thrill of a lifetime! Explore Niagara from above
Niagara Helicopters 3731 Victoria Avenue Niagara Falls, ON
OVERLOOKING THE GRANDEST SCENE IN THE WORLD
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BY SHERMAN ZAVITZ “You are indeed lucky in the magnificent setting of your convent school and I am sure it is an inspiration daily to look out of the windows at Niagara Falls.” These were the words of the Countess of Bessborough to the staff and students of Loretto Academy during her visit to the school on October 25, 1933. She and her husband, the Earl of Bessborough who was Canada’s governor general at the time, were on a one-day visit to Niagara Falls. Loretto and its lovely location directly overlooking the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, an area long known as Fallsview, had been included in the Countess’s itinerary. Today it’s the thousands of visitors each year looking out the windows of one of the many Fallsview hotels who are inspired by the sensational view of the famous falls below. At one time Fallsview was a relatively quiet area. Now, with many large gleaming hotels as well as the Fallsview Casino Resort, it is throbbing with excitement and energy – a key location in the huge Niagara Falls tourism industry. A look at Fallsview’s past reveals a many-sided story. During the early years of Niagara’s settlement and tourism, Fallsview benefited not only from its marvellous location but also by having the Portage Road bisect the area. Opened in 1790, the Portage was the Niagara Region’s first major road. Connecting Chippawa and Queenston, it was used to transport freight and passengers around the rapids and falls of the Niagara River. (Although the Portage lost its commercial importance in 1830 following the opening of the Welland Canal, much of the original route, now a busy thoroughfare, still remains.) >>
Charles Willson seems to have been the first to realize Fallsview’s potential as a business site. Around 1795 he opened a tavern on the east side of the Portage Road where the Oakes Inn is now located. Charles died around 1812 after which his widow, Debora, took over the ownership and management of the business. During the War of 1812 Willson’s Tavern is mentioned in various dispatches, letters and journals. Debora declared herself to be neutral, providing refreshments (along with information) to both British and American officers who stopped at her establishment. This must have placed her in compromising and even dangerous situations at times. Nevertheless, her tavern remained open all during the war. Part of its popularity with the military of both sides seems to have been due to Debora’s two lovely adult (and single) daughters, Harriet and Statira, both of whom worked in the tavern. Following the War of 1812, Debora sold her property and business to William Forsyth, a prominent local entrepreneur. He made improvements to the building and constructed an addition that offered rooms for overnight accommodation. The name was changed to the Niagara Falls Hotel. A guest in 1822 described the Forsyth family’s hotel, noting, “Their place might have been an old farmhouse in Worcestershire. The house was low with little windows and lozenge-shaped panes, cow houses, stables and pigsties hung close around. The public road (the Portage) was in the rear.” Later that year Forsyth demolished his Niagara Falls Hotel and on the same site built the Pavilion, Niagara’s first major hotel. Described in an 1836 Niagara guide book as “having an imposing appearance,” the Pavilion was three storeys high and of white clapboard construction. At both the front, which faced Portage Road, and the back, which overlooked the falls, were galleries for viewing the area’s scenery. Apparently the Pavilion’s bar was a widely- known, popular gathering spot. Adam Fergusson of Scotland visited Niagara in 1831. Arriving at the Pavilion’s bar, he met well-known Upper Canada (Ontario) frontiersman Doctor William “Tiger” Dunlop. Fergusson wrote, “I scarcely recollect of anything more welcome than a beverage with which my companion (Dunlop) regaled me at Forsyth’s, under some odd name, but which consisted of a bottle of good brown stout turned into a quart of iced water with a sufficient quantity of ginger, cinnamon and sugar; truly it was a prescription worthy of being filled.” The Pavilion was destroyed by fire on February 19, 1839. By that time Fallsview had become a religious centre. This began with the construction of a lovely little Roman Catholic Church that still stands looking out over the cataracts and upper rapids of the Niagara River. Originally known as St. Edward’s, construction of the church began in 1837. St. Edward’s had both its status and its name significantly changed in 1861. Early that year, Archbishop John Joseph Lynch of the Roman
Catholic Diocese of Toronto became greatly concerned about events unfolding in the United States that seemed to be hurling that country into a civil war. He suggested to Pope Pius IX that a pilgrimage shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Peace be established overlooking Niagara Falls – a place he described as “the grandest scene in the world.” The Pope agreed with the Archbishop’s proposal and on March 1, 1861 issued the appropriate decree to elevate St. Edward’s to a place of pilgrimage. The name was then changed to the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace. Six months later a small group of nuns arrived at Fallsview. Members of the Sisters of Loretto, this religious congregation had been given a large parcel of land immediately north of Our Lady of Peace for establishing a school to be known as Loretto Academy. It was first housed in a former hotel. This was replaced by a large stone building constructed in two stages between 1869 and 1880. Although the school closed in 1982, this landmark heritage structure still stands. On the other side of Our Lady of Peace is the Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre. Originally built as a hospice and a residence for members of the Carmelite Order, the building formally opened in 1899. Both its use and to some extent its look have changed over time - for a number of years it was a school for young men in training for the priesthood. A highlight is the 1926 chapel which features a number of incredibly beautiful stained glass windows. While 19th century Fallsview obviously witnessed a great deal of religious-related activity, it also saw, at least for a day, one of the most extraordinary, even bazaar, entertainment events ever held in Niagara Falls. The date was August 28, 1872 and the event was the Grand Buffalo Hunt. While the show’s promoter, local businessman Thomas Barnett, had expected to be able to import a large number of buffalo from Nebraska, due to a host of logistical problems, only two actually arrived here along with a Texas ox. A few Indians from the American West were hired as well as a number of Mexican cowboys. Directing the show was none other than “Wild Bill” Hickok. Designed as a promotional event for Niagara Falls and held inside a large, especially fenced area, advertising promised the Grand Buffalo Hunt would be a “thrilling spectacle.” However, it turned out to be more of a boring yawn. A reporter covering the event for the local press noted, for example, how one of the buffalo cows was brought out from a pen in the centre of the enclosure. But “it just loafed around and then laid down.” Finally persuaded to stand up, she was then lassoed and pulled back into the pen. The rest of the brief show was no better, the reporter summing up the whole thing as a “swindle” and a “farce.” Railways played a significant role in the early development of tourism in Niagara Falls. For the Michigan Central Railway in particular, the late 19th century brought a business bonanza and a public relations coup, due, in large measure, to Fallsview.
The Michigan Central (later the New York Central) was an American-owned line connecting Detroit and Buffalo via southern Ontario, from Windsor to Fort Erie. In 1883 the company constructed an extension of their mainline from Welland to Niagara Falls, with the tracks passing by Fallsview. At the same time, a bridge was built to take their trains across the Niagara River into Niagara Falls, New York and then on to Buffalo. As a finishing touch, the company created a large, attractive viewing platform at Fallsview, just below Loretto. Once all this was completed, the Michigan Central launched an advertising blitz, calling itself “The Niagara Falls Route,” declaring, “There is but one Niagara Falls on earth and but one great railway to it.” All this had the intended effect – business on the company’s Niagara Falls line boomed. Part of the company’s publicity described how all daylight trains would stop at Fallsview: “Every train stops from five to ten minutes at Falls View – which as the name indicates is a splendid point from which to view the great cataract. It is right on the brink of the grand canyon, at the end of the Horseshoe, and every part of the Falls is in plain sight. Even if he is too ill or too lazy to get out of his car, every passenger can see this liquid wonder of the world from the window or the platform. Thousands of beauty lovers and grandeur-worshippers will journey over the only railroad from which it can be seen.” The Fallsview stops ended in the 1920’s. In the decades that followed, passenger train service on the line rapidly declined until it was dropped altogether. An era had passed – times had changed. Later owned by Canadian Pacific, the tracks were closed and torn up in 2001. By the mid-1920’s, a large number of Niagara visitors were arriving by automobile. As an outgrowth of this trend, tourist camps became popular, a place where you could park your car and pitch a tent or, in most cases, rent a cabin. Some also featured a camp kitchen where simple meals could be prepared. The Falls View Tourist Camp (historically, the area was spelled as two words) quickly became a popular place to stay in Niagara Falls. Located in the area where the Embassy Suites and Tower Hotels are now, the camp provided a superb view of the falls by day while at night the roar of the cataracts would lull you to sleep in your tent. By 1935 the Falls View Tourist Camp was gone, a likely victim of the Great Depression. A major turning point in Fallsview’s fortunes came in July 1962 with the opening of the 325-foot- (98-metre) high Seagram Tower, the first of Niagara’s viewing and dining towers that overlooked the falls. Now operating as the Tower Hotel, it offered a whole new concept in Niagara tourism and put Fallsview firmly in focus for vast numbers of visitors and residents. The area has not looked back since. War, religion, transportation and tourism have all played a role in the long history of Fallsview. While the look of the area has changed over the years, the view is still an “inspiration.” TM
F A L L S V I E W
C A S I N O
R E S O R T
More Than a Casino! • ENTERTAINMENT – Over 250 shows every year
• GAMING – Over 3,000 slots and 100 table games • DINING – Over 20 dining options • HOTEL – 374 luxury rooms with a full-service spa and fitness centre
6380 Fallsview Boulevard
Must be 19 years of age or older to enter the casino or attend performances at Fallsview Casino Resort.