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Dining WITH A View Transform a simple meal into a memorable event.



on the





Indoor Waterparks, Adventure in Niagara, and Unique Winery Experiences.




MEAT... DONE WELL ALL YOU CAN EAT CUTS OF MEAT Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse brings the flavours of Southern Brazil to Niagara. Guests feast on unlimited cuts of meat carved tableside. Enjoy the delicious preparations of our gaucho chefs along with our gourmet salad bar, authentic Brazilian side-dishes, and award-winning wine list.

Located in Hilton Hotel & Suites Niagara Falls/Fallsview, directly across from Fallsview Casino Resort. 6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3V9 brasaniagara.com | 905-353-7187 | facebook.com/brasaniagara Complimentary parking for dining guests.

Li ve E n ter t a i nme nt N i g ht ly C re a t i ve Cock t a i l s O pe n D a i l y From N oon

Located in Hilton Hotel & Suites Niagara Falls/Fallsview, directly across from Fallsview Casino Resort. 6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3V9 spycelounge.ca | 905-354-7887 | facebook.com/spycelounge Complimentary parking for dining guests.

find anything. anywhere.




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.

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.

JILL THAM 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




Sandra has been a professional photographer for 30 years— from studio portraiture, weddings and families, to magazines, tourism and interiors. Sandra also spent eight years in the wine industry doing marketing and special events. A writer/photographer for REV publishing for 3 years, she specializes in wine, tourism and lifestyle subject matter. Contact her at ozkur.ca.

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 favorite time of year is scarf season and she has easily watched the movie Armageddon 200 times. You should follow her @gabrielletieman

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.

ANDREA K AISER Andrea Kaiser grew up in Niagara, and is no stranger to the Ontario wine industry. You could say she was born into a life of food and wine and now shares this passion for Niagara Flavours through her writing, teaching and work. Well, we will call it work for lack of a better word.




Five Course Dinner


Located in Hilton Hotel & Suites Niagara Falls/Fallsview, directly across from Fallsview Casino Resort. 6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3V9 watermarkrestaurant.com | 905-353-7138 | facebook.com/watermarkfallsview Complimentary parking for dining guests.

elcome to our beautiful region of the world, and welcome to the winter edition of On The Boulevard. My favourite thing to do when I visit a new city, is to hit the ground running. Explore everything! Down alleyways, around corners, up stairs…if it looks intriguing, I’m investigating it. And even though I live in Niagara, I’m still finding new places to explore. There’s always something new opening up, or somewhere old that I’ve only just heard of. If your idea of fun is the same as mine, check out some unique Niagara experiences (page 22 and page 33). Another of my favourite things to do when I’m travelling is to learn about the history of a place. I’m not talking boring fact and figures, but real anecdotes about the people who have lived, loved and died in a place. Check out page 47, for the true story of some daring rescues that happened in Niagara Falls, it’s sure to give you a whole new perception of the thundering waters. Winter is a pretty beautiful time of the year here, and sure, it’s cold, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing all that Niagara has to offer. Enjoy your vacation, and have a great winter season!



PUBLISHER Rev Publishing Inc. PRESIDENT & CEO Daniel A. Pasco GENERAL MANAGER Candace LeBlanc ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER Alexandra Mills BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER David Mace EDITOR Megan Pasche CREATIVE DIRECTOR Tina Lanzillotta GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Tabitha MacDonald, Rachel Bertrand, Christina Picton, Jenn Blais IT/WEB DEVELOPER Justin Soungie MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR Kaila Henderson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lynn Ogryzlo, Evan Saviolidis, Gabrielle Tieman, Andrea Kaiser, Jill Tham, Sherman Zavitz, Sandra Ozkur TO ADVERTISE PLEASE CALL 905.356.7283 or 1.877.888.2825 WEBSITE todaymagazine.ca

facebook.com/RevPublishingInc @revpublishing www.revpublishing.com

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.











Rediscovering the near extinct art of butchery.

Lynn Ogryzlo spends an afternoon in the kitchen with Charmian Christie.

If you are looking for the perfect wine to pair with dinner or a great gift for somebody, wine tasting grand champion Evan Saviolidis has brokendown what wines work with what and why. These Niagara wineries offer a plethora of experiences and insight into Niagara’s favourite beverage.


Like bread is to butter, milk is to cookies and chips are to dip, in the world of food pairings there are those that, well, are simply just right.


A magnificent view can transform a simple meal into a memorable event.



Whatever your travel style, whether you want to spend time outdoors, challenge yourself with new adventures or just plain have fun, Niagara has got something for you.





Two high-adrenaline attractions are being added to Niagara’s diverse portfolio of ecoadventure tours this Spring 2016.

Gone are the days when you have to wait until the summer months to enjoy some family time plunging down exhilarating water slides.






Tales of life and death on the Niagara. Fun and historic facts about Niagara.


Exploring Niagara’s rich retail landscape.

HERE. SEE. DO 62 65


During winter time, there is another ice marvel to celebrate during Niagara’s winter —Icewine, a national treasure. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 9

OF THE MATTER The Loss of Neighbourhood Butchers WRITTEN BY LYNN OGRYZLO

He sat across from me in a blood stained white jacket, his ball cap pulled down just above his eyes to shade his face. A man in a black leather jacket approaches and hands over a bundle of twentydollar bills, a few hundred dollars worth I’m guessing, maybe three-hundred, maybe even five. They talk chicken and bones then the man walks into the meat locker and closes the door behind him.

and the industry was no longer willing to pay well for a skill set that could be done more efficiently with general labourers at huge meat packing facilities. The devaluing of butchery as a trade coincided with people spending less and less time in the kitchen, consumers were losing their culinary skills and opting for one-stop shopping at grocery stores. Now, the neighbourhood butcher is almost extinct and consumers seldom understand the difference between a flank steak and a tenderloin. Today we see chefs and artisan farmers learning a few butchery skills to offer consumers ‘nose to tail’ cuisine, but unfortunately this new interest hasn’t revived the profession. Today, grocery chains have taken over a market that once belonged to independent butchers. Most grocery stores today have full service meat counters as well as ready-cut options available in large meat departments. The efficiencies of central cutting facilities means that meat can reach the consumer at a better price and for those who want a specific cut of meat, well, the full service counters have trained staff that will happily do it for you. Abe Van Melle is Resident Butcher and Technical Manager at the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence (CBCE), owned and operated by Canada Beef in Alberta. Abe is a butcher at the heart of butchery worldwide. Abe works with beef industries from all over the world from France to Argentina, China to Norway. “We’re all learning,” says Abe who goes on to give an example of French butchery. “The way they cut meat in France is different than Canada,” says Abe who explains they’ve learned that if they isolate a certain muscle in the shoulder of cattle, they can take an otherwise tough piece of meat and make it a tender piece just by the way it’s cut. As quickly as our meat industry discovers new ways to bring us delicious cuts of meat, consumers would rather buy a steak in a restaurant than venture into a meat counter surrounded with choices never available to their grandparents. Today, we have more types and grades of meat with dozens of different varieties of cuts, thickness levels, grades and degrees of marbelling. It’s all a bit confusing for consumers. To reacquaint consumers to the best way to enjoy meat, Canada Beef has developed a phone app called, Roundup (available for iPhone, Android and iPad). This simple app is geared to helping consumers buy, cook and get more enjoyment out of every mouthful of beef. If you’re like most consumers who wander the meat department of a grocery store until you’re inspired by a great looking cut of meat. Now you can instantaneously look up dozens of different ways to cook it complete with recipes. Then, while you’re still in the grocery store, you can pick up any other ingredients to make the recipe for dinner that night. It’s brilliant. Just search the Roundup app for your free download. While our meat industry has become global, stronger and increasingly efficient with more choice in more places for consumers, it has also become less personal. While consumers are excited to have industry wide advancements like never before, we still pine for our neighbourhood butchers who put a trusted face behind the food we feed our families. It is a new world meat lovers so embrace it. Now get out your iPhones for that’s now the new way to choose a great piece of meat. TM



This is how business is done at Upper Cut Meats in the heart of the St. Lawrence Market. Bob Stoyanovski started working here to put himself through college. Then a change in circumstances put a butchers knife in his hand and he jumped in with a love for the business, the art of butchery and the neighbourhood appreciation for their butchers. Bob has been a butcher and now an owner of Upper Cut Meats for 36 years and the man in the black leather jacket is one of his trusted customers where business is based on a handshake. Bob is a natural butcher, he finds the sight of a well-aged steak as sexy as ever, the smell of fresh blood exciting and what he likes even more—his life, tightly intertwined into the fabric of the neighbourhood. Bob is the go-to meat guy in the St. Lawrence Market who has cultivated tight relationships with 38 restaurants, 57 caterers and countless regular customers; they get the best meat, Bob gets to be the best butcher. “About forty years ago you would find a butchers shop on almost every street corner in the city,” laments Bob. Back in the mid 1970s, your friendly neighbourhood butcher was as highly regarded as the doctor or lawyer. But with meat so easily available and seductively displayed at large grocery stores, most people have opted for one-stop shopping and have turned their backs on the relationship they once had with food, the people who grow it, raise it, harvest it and especially those that sell it. These are our greatest friends, our avenue to optimum health and our best access to food in its prime, in this case, meat. I ask Bob about the future of butchery. “There aren’t many butcher stores so not many jobs left,” explains Bob, but is quick to add, “no one wants to be a butcher anyway. No one knows what good meat is anymore.” Bob explains how everyone thinks it’s romantic, even nostalgic to be a butcher, but butchery is a really difficult job involving the strength to lift a 220-pound carcass, the patience to be splattered with blood, the tolerance to smell raw meat and the stamina to slice and saw large volumes of meat in cold conditions. The days are long, it’s stressful and not so glamorous. “I start out with a clean white jacket at 5 a.m. every morning,” says Bob pointing to his blood stained overcoat. But most of Bob’s customers know a little about meat, that’s why they come to a butcher, “they know we have the best. It’s the job of a butcher to know what he’s doing.” Bob spends some of his time at abattoirs selecting the best carcasses, and that often means with some aging. Then he hangs them in his cold storage where he ages them even longer. He makes sure his cuts are aged a minimum of three weeks, often more. Bob points to a few steaks that have a brownish ring near the outside edges. Like a fine wine, the brown ring eludes to aging. Bob sees the future going towards more Halal and Kosher meats. “It’s the same price so why not,” he says. There’s more demand because of the growing populations. But time has not been kind to butchers. With the expansion of supermarkets in the 1980s, huge hinds of meat were now starting to be cut at large packing facilities and distributed. This was the first departure away from butcher shops and away from butchers who were once as well compensated as plumbers and electricians. Throughout the next decade butchers grew less and less relevant

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Mason jars filled with baking supplies line the shelves. She pulls one filled with white powder laced with long slivers of black and shakes vigorously, spins off the top and dives in with as much glee as a banker fanning through a stack of thousand dollar bills. “It’s my vanilla sugar, it just tastes better,” says Charmian Christie, author of my favourite baking book, The Messy Baker. Charmian lives in a beautiful, 100-year old farmhouse in Guelph. Her kitchen is filled with yellow-pine cupboards, flooded with soft light from the multi-paned windows and infused with a sense of peace from giant trees shading the

kitchen from glaring sunlight. It’s a kitchen that would inspire anyone to bake and here I am, invited to spend a day baking with the Messy Baker in her century-old, inspiring kitchen. If I were to write a cookbook about baking, I’d like to think I could write one as good as this. The recipes are simple enough to keep you relaxed in the kitchen with flavour combinations so creative they make your mouth water, seductive photographs that stir you into action and it’s crammed with so much of Charmian’s personality that it makes you feel like she’s with you baking in your kitchen. >>


Charmian pours some vanilla sugar over a twisted knot of dough; it’s her homemade pastry. She begins to roll it out. The chilled dough layered with cold, hard butter flattens easily beneath her rolling pin. It’s easy to see who’s in command. “I thought I’d make Palmiers,” she says as she feels the top of the sheet of pastry every so often, gauging the thickness like a medium studying her crystal ball. Like any other skill, “you have to practice to get good at it.” She’s making Vanilla-Scented Palmiers from her cookbook, the little ears of flaky, sweet pastry. She continues to sprinkle handfuls of vanilla sugar over the dough and roll. She shakes her foot as some of it falls to the floor. She laughs, talking about some of her baking disasters then shrugs her shoulders and says, “life is not perfect, baking is not perfect but they’re both pretty good.” When the pastry is ready, she pours more sugar over the top, running her hands over, ever so lightly to make sure it’s coated evenly. She flips the dough over and does it again until the raw dough is covered in coarse vanilla-scented sugar. Like any good baker, she’s anxious for the flavours that will materialize when the pastry and sugar bake together and she can’t wait, “I love the caramel flavour from all the baked sugar.” She trims the edges to carve a perfect rectangle shape on her large pastry board. “It’s my lucky pastry board, it was my aunt Hilda’s and now it’s mine.” She folds the pastry into a long log shape, wraps it in plastic wrap and spins around to put it in the refrigerator. It needs to chill again. The little trimmed bits go into a sandwich bag, “these are the bakers treats,” she says with glee. The Messy Baker cookbook is filled with both sweet and savoury baking, it’s for people who cook and would like to bake if only someone made it easy enough or fearless enough. “I tried to remove as many barriers to baking as possible.” Inside the book are recipes for Chili Cheese Twists and Blueberry-Lime Muffins, Smoky Mushroom Crepes and Boozy Chocolate Torte. “It’s important to make food yourself, (that way) you control what’s in it.”

She begins to clear away all the sugar and wipes down the board. Out of the refrigerator comes another knot of dough that she flattens with ease. She’s now making a leek and mushroom tart. “You can buy the puff pastry dough if you want, just make sure it’s an ‘all butter’ puff pastry. It cooks up with the best flavour,” she advises. Back to the board, Charmian is rolling the dough into another rectangular shape. She trims it to perfection, maneuvers the soft dough onto her rolling pin and maneuvers it to the centre of a parchment paper lined baking sheet. She scores the edge, about an inch all the way around. “This edge will puff up creating sides to the tart.” She pops it into the refrigerator to chill and she turns her attention to the stove. In a large skillet she melts a huge knob of butter and microplanes a garlic clove. The garlic pulp dissolves into the frothing butter and fills the air with the seductive aromas of butter and garlic. Now we’re getting hungry. As it bubbles away, in go the leeks and mushrooms and they cook until they’re both soft and firm. She seasons them with thyme, stirs one last time and tosses them into a large strainer that hovers inside an even larger bowl. She’s draining the mushrooms and leeks, “so they don’t turn the dough soggy.” “If you want to switch the vegetables up for others that you like better, go ahead,” Charmian talks while she wipes down the counters, “the toppings are up to your imagination, it’s the dough that you don’t want to mess with.” Charmian doesn’t remember when she first fell in love with baking, she thinks perhaps she was born


with a wooden spoon in her mouth except for Charmian, the spoon was covered with cookie dough; “chocolate chip,” she declares. Some of her earliest memories were of her mom making cookies and giving her the wooden spoon to lick clean. Sadly her mom was such a good baker that the bowl was almost completely cleaned out by the time Charmian had finished the spoon and set her sights on the bowl. When she was old enough, Charmian would come home from school and bake up a batch of cookies almost every day. “I love chewy cookies, the kind that have a chewy bite. I think that’s why I love cookie dough so much,” she says, “food is memories and my fondest are of my mom and I in the kitchen baking.” The tart shell comes out of the refrigerator. She begins to top the dough with heaping spoonfuls of the mushroom and leek mixture, careful not to place any over the score line. “Think of it as colouring inside the lines,” she laughs, the edges will become the puffy sides to the tart. Lastly she grates a thick coating of Gruyere cheese over the tart before popping it back into the oven. Now comes the best part of baking: the eating. We dig into the tart and the warm cheese strings as a piece is pulled away. I sink my teeth into it and the rich savoury flavours of the earthy cheese, meaty mushrooms, sweet leeks and crisp buttery dough fill my olfactory senses with divine satisfaction. I sip on my warm mint tea and set my sights on the vanilla-scented palmiers. They’re little, the perfect size for a sweet treat. The caramelized sugar has cooled and it crunches beneath my teeth as the fine, layered pastry crumbles into buttery shards. As I chew I get that big caramelly, sweet taste that creams across my tongue and works so seductively well with the buttery, flaky dough. This is simple food, good food, food to live by. As I bask in the aromas and daylight that is Charmian’s kitchen, it appears pretty neat and tidy, certainly very clean for the amount of activity that just went on. For the messy baker I imagined a face covered in streaks of flour, open jars and canisters of baking ingredients littering every counter and smears of food from the various stages of cooking across every counter, stovetop and cupboard door. But rather than being a messy baker, Charmian is really giving everyone who has ever hesitated to bake, permission to ‘get messy in the kitchen’. TM



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ine Tasting Grand Champion, Evan Saviolidis has over 30 years of experience in the food and wine industry, and here he rates some of the best wines in the Niagara area. If you are looking for the perfect wine to pair with dinner or a great gift for somebody, read on for a breakdown of what wines work with what and why. >>



HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2013 WHITE SHORT HILLS BENCH | $29.95 Made from yields of two tonnes per acre and fermented in French oak, this beauty is elegant and concentrated. It reveals a multi-dimensional personality of toast, honey, apple, sweet peach, pineapple, banana, hazelnut, mineral and caper berry. Lobster or crab served with warm butter was made for this wine. (ES)




If you are a lover of great Chardonnay, this is one that should not be missed. Medium to full-bodied, it is ripe with peach, cream, baked apple, pineapple, spice and lilac on the nose. On the palate, cream, vanilla, banana and minerals add dimension. Long finish, fresh acid and superb length make for a brilliant pairing with lobster or poultry. (ES)




A pale gold colour leads into aromas of peach, orange rind, vanilla cream, banana, red apple, oregano and spice. Concentrated, ripe and elegant, the palete shows more spice and cream, with sound acidity framing everything quite nicely. (ES)




Charles Baker continues to produce some of Niagara’s most profound Rieslings. This vintage is leaner but still possesses great persistency. Pale straw with a green tinge, the bergamot, white peach, lime zest, honey and lilac on the nose meet up with apple, pear and huge minerality on the palate. Long finish with zesty acid and slightly off-dry. I dream about Choucroute garnie with this beauty! (ES)


SOUTHBROOK ESTATE GROWN SMALL LOT WILD FERMENT CHARDONNAY 2012 WHITE FOUR MILE CREEK | $34.95 Only seven barrels of this impressive Chardonnay were produced. A medium golden colour leads into a layered bouquet of coconut, butter cookies, honey, anise, golden apple, Bosc pear and white flower. On the palate, it is all about minerality, citrus, spice, toast and green apple melding with high acidity and a long aftertaste. Pair with grilled salmon topped with a herb cream sauce. (ES)

95–100 . . . . . . OUTSTANDING 90–94 . . . . . . . EXCELLENT 85–89 . . . . . . . VERY GOOD 80–84 . . . . . . . GOOD 75–79 . . . . . . . DRINKABLE 74 & UNDER . . BELOW AVERAGE




Made in the style of an Alsatian Vendanges Tardives, this Pinot Gris is medium sweet with 50 g/l of residual sugar. That said, the concentration and lowish acidity combine with the sweetness to give the impression of something that is sweeter. Full bodied, there is enormous peach, honey, cream spice, red apple and cream. Drink with a foie gras appetizer or munster (or other wash rind cheeses) after a meal. (ES)




Gold Medal winner in the Semi-Dry Riesling category at this year’s Ontario Wine Awards. An explosive bouquet of peach, honey, mandarin, bergamot, lime and mineral beguiles. The crisp acidity is held in check by some residual sugar, but for all intents and purposes, it comes across as a dry wine. All I kept thinking about when drinking this wine was a huge plate of sushi and sashimi. (ES)


THIRTY BENCH WINERY SMALL LOT RIESLING TRIANGLE VINEYARD 2013 WHITE 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)




For me, this is the best Chenin Blanc being made in Ontario. Naturally fermented, the lovely balance between the acidity and sweetness supports the lemon, lime, honey, peach, apple juice, pineapple, honey and minerals. Excellent length. Try with an ashed goat cheese. (ES)




Partially barrel fermented, this Sauvignon Blanc gushes gooseberry, passion fruit, tomato vine, fruit salad, herbs and vanilla on the nose. On the palate, peach, citrus and honey chime in. Long finish with vibrant acidity and a touch of sweetness makes for a superb pairing with crab cakes or pasta primavera topped with feta cheese. (ES)




Toast, peach, honey, anise, baked apple, pineapple and smoke weave together on the nose in this mid-weight white. The palate reveals a creamy texture with a spine of minerality and great length. Cream based dishes are perfectly suited for this wine. (ES)




If you are a Riesling lover, you should run to pick up this steal of a deal. Peach, lime, honey, bergamot, grapefruit and white flowers inundate the senses. Off-dry with tangy acidity and great length. (ES)




A new classy label has been created for this stalwart Ontario bubbly. Winner of a silver medal at this year’s Ontario Wine Awards. Made from 100% Riesling and off-dry, it features baked apple, peach, citrus and minerals. Perfect with spicy appetizers or coconut shrimp. (ES) >>


94 RED


The name of this wine is a tip of the hat to the famed Amarone producer Guiseppe Quintarelli, whose wines were the reference point for Len Crispino, when he decided to start the Foreign Affair a decade ago. The grapes for this 17%+ alcohol monster were dried for three months before being pressed. It possesses the texture of syrup, and a sexy profile of plum, dried olives, maraschino cherries, anise, mint, milk chocolate and vanilla. Yes, the price is out of reach for most of us mere mortals, but this is a singular wine, which will continue to evolve for the next 15 to 20 years - and I have never said that about Ontario red before! Serious meditation wine here! (ES)

90 RED

93 RED


Quite possibly the best Stratus Red to date! A saturated ruby colour leads into a complex mix of blackberry, cassis, raspberry, cocoa, coconut, vanilla, violets, mint and pepper/anise. It is concentrated and long lasting with sweet fruit on the mid-palate before the firm, dry tannins make an appearance. Hold for four years and then drink until 2025, preferably with a NY strip. A blend of all three Bordeaux varietals plus a smidge of Tannat. (ES)

91 RED


In all my years of evaluating wine professionally, I have never seen an Ontario Cabernet Sauvignon with such a saturated/black colour. Then again, 2012 was an exceptional vintage for reds. This gold medal winner at this year’s Ontario Wine Award is full bodied with a personality of crème de cassis, raspberry, herbs, mint, dried earth, spice and dried cocoa. The remarkable length and ripe tannins will ensure a decade of positive evolution. (ES)

91 RED


This 14% plus alcohol Meritage is smooth and concentrated with loads of plum, vanilla, raspberry, dark cherry, mint, chocolate, vanilla. The palate is rich with a long finish and a tannic backbone. Hold for a year and then drink until 2023. A blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. (ES)

91 RED


This appassimento-style blend of 33% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc, 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 5 to 6 years in the cellar. (ES)

91 RED


This Icewine busts out a perfume of strawberry, raspberry, guava, cassis, vanilla and herbs. On the tongue, it is pure essence of berry with a succulent aftertaste. Chocolate fondue all the way. (ES)


Gold Medal winner in the Merlot category at the Ontario Wine Awards - and it is easy to see why! Medium to full body, a perfume of coffee, violets, blackberries, plum, spice, chocolate, roasted nuts and roasted herbs meets up with raspberry and smoked qualities on the palate. Great length and ready to drink now. (ES)

90 RED


Full bodied with lots of smokey tobacco, cassis, vanilla, violets, raspberry, herbs, cocoa and spice. Excellent length and lots of ripe tannins will ensure eight years of positive evolution. Pair with a NY strip topped with an herb demi-glace. (ES)

89 RED


An impressive Syrah which was harvested at a paltry one ton per acre. Smoke, plum, dark cherry, raspberry, cassis, black pepper, vanilla and oregano on the nose meet up with purple flowers and graphite on the taste buds. Soft texture with a vibrant personality and long finale. (ES)

89 RED


Wowser- delicious Gamay alert! Juicy, yet concentrated, the raspberry cream, strawberry, dried herbs, and white pepper are just magic in the glass. With all of its upfront flash, it is ready to drink with pasta or pizza. (ES)

88 RED


Plum, smoke, chocolate chip cookie dough, raspberry, vanilla, dried earth and carnations are all present in the soft and alluring Merlot. Mid-weight, with great length and suave tannins make for immediate accessibility. (ES)

88 RED


From a cool vintage, this wine achieved an impressive natural alcohol of 14.5%. A combination of cassis, raspberry, fresh herbs/mint, smoke, vanilla and anise are featured. On the attack, the initial perception is that of sweet/ripe fruit, before turning elegant, and finishing with finegrained tannins. Drink over the next three to four years. (ES) TM

Splash Away THE DAY



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888.234.8409 • www.FallsviewWaterpark.com Falls Avenue at Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls, Canada



There is nothing quite like a day spent out in the vineyard. Whether it is an afternoon enjoying vintages at the tasting bar or a sunny day biking through the grapes, wineries offer a plethora of experiences and insight into Niagara’s favourite beverage. But if you have overdone the traditional how-it-is-made wine tours and are looking to experience a fresh side to the popular Niagara Region attractions, look no further than the unique experiences offered by these national winery treasures.



PELLER ESTATES 10 BELOW ICEWINE LOUNGE The coolest winery tour available in Niagara, Peller Estates new 10Below Icewine Lounge has created an enhanced tour experience next to none for groups tasting Peller’s famed ice wines. As the lounge name dictates, Peller did not simply chill the room to a brisk -10 C; the 300 squarefoot lounge set to the ideal harvesting temperature for the majority of Canadian Icewines contains over 30,000 pounds of ice. The ice has been used to create many of the room’s structural components and visual design including social media hashtags, stories about ice wine and how it was all made. Guests are supplied with gloves and parkas before being treated to samplings of three of Peller’s Icewines – Vidal Blanc, Riesling and Cabernet Franc – in the ice chilled room. Though as with all ice, the room is bound to melt, Peller’s team says they will use this one year life span to give the lounge a fresh new look annually. The lounge is quickly becoming the most popular component of Peller’s Complete Greatest Winery Tour package, allowing international guests visiting during Niagara’s warmer months to experience the winter harvest season. The Greatest Winery Tour leaves every 30 minutes between 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and costs $15 dollars. The room can accommodate up to 20 people but tours are currently limited to 15 people at a time. peller.com. >>


SOUTHBROOK WINERY’S BIODYNAMIC VINEYARD Green enthusiasts and wine lovers alike will find their home at the contemporary Southbrook Winery. The winery has set out to prove that green initiatives can work in an Ontario vineyard; harnessing both organic and biodynamic viticulture to build great wines that are a true reflection of Niagara soil, water and ecosystems. Today, Southbrook’s 150 acre property is considered 100 per cent organic. From the sheep that graze amongst the grapes to the grapes themselves, the winery has proven that the principles of organic agriculture – using natural inputs, less water, less energy and no chemicals or genetic modification – can produce an incredible biodiversity of agriculture and improve the overall health of their natural property. But it’s not only Southbrook’s acreage that is green; their winery and hospitality pavilion became the first winery building to receive the Gold level of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) from the Canada Green Building Council. Their floor-to-ceiling double-glazed windows provide natural light and control temperature transfer, indoor water usage is controlled with automatic and low-flow fixtures and native wetland plants have been added to help break down pollution from storm water draining off the parking lots – and these are only a few to be named. Southbrook offers a number of tours that help groups truly appreciate the lengths they have undergone to minimalize their carbon footprint. Their “What’s the Buzz” tour has guests walk the property and learn about organic and biodynamic Viticulture and Viniculture; Earthly Infused Food Pairings have guests enjoy a wine and tapas style food pairing and see first-hand how different Biodynamic ingredients find their way onto the plate. southbrook.com

JACKSON-TRIGGS BARREL CELLAR & MODERN ARCHITECTURE At the world renowned Jackson-Triggs winery, great wines and food are not the only delights served to guests. Known for being one of Canada’s most architecturally stunning wineries, Jackson-Triggs unique perspective on modern day architecture is the perfect juxtaposition against the natural beauty of Niagara’s vineyard based landscape. Jackson-Triggs’ Essential Tour and Tasting experience is the answer for individuals looking to consume every aspect of the vineyard and winery in a single day. Guests are given an all-encompassing tour of the vineyards, state-of-the-art production facility, impressive outdoor amphitheatre and traditional underground Barrel Cellar. Discover the story of their wines and the inspiration behind their architectural concepts and design – all while being educated on their wine making process and creative methods. The Barrel Cellar, a particularly impressive portion of the tour, is one of the more traditional aspects of Jackson-Triggs. The private underground wine cellar is the perfect backdrop for wine tastings, food pairing events and is available for private rental ideal for dinner parties and intimate gatherings. jacksontriggswinery.com TM

THE GOOD EARTH FOOD AND WINE COMPANY’S COOKING SCHOOL One of Niagara’s original farm to table influenced kitchens, The Good Earth Food and Wine Company uses only the freshest ingredients in everything they make; utilizing primarily homegrown ingredients. Helping feed Niagara since 1998, Good Earth Food and Wine Company has made it their mission to insure Niagara embraces their local bounty once they have left the company’s dining room and returned to their own kitchen, Offering interactive demonstrative cooking classes for both locals and tourists looking to sharpen up their knife skills and add to their recipe books. Chefs focus on an ever evolving array of culinary genres, recipes and menu styles – from traditional Korean bibimbap to gourmet meals made from every day garden bounty. No two classes are the same and all offer an interesting new take on homegrown food for chefs returning for more than one class. Classes are held either in the indoors or outside in the al fresco kitchen surrounded by orchards and cooks are able to take their finished product home with them post class to enjoy and brag over. Culinary classes evolve with the seasons and award-winning guest chefs are known for paying a visit to the Good Earth kitchen. Classes have included three course cooking demos on Korean Seoul Food Weekend – a celebration of Korean food and Niagara bounty – with acclaimed chef and author Sang Kim; Bite Size Brilliance classes arrive just in time for the holiday season, focused on the perfect finger food for your next cocktail party. Each culinary class varies in size, price and length so make sure to visit their website when choosing a class to attend. goodearthfoodandwine.com.

CAVE SPRING’S OLDEST FUNCTIONING WINE CELLARS Dating back to 1871, Cave Spring’s historic winery casts an old school perspective on today’s modern wine industry – boasting the oldest functioning wine cellars in all of Ontario and representing some of Niagara's oldest viniferous plantings — including Chardonnay and Riesling. Though the winery was founded in 1986 by the Pennachetti family and winemaker Angelo Pavan in the historic former Jordan Winery, the cellars date back much further into wine making history. Nestled on the terrace of the Niagara Escarpment along the Beamsville Bench, Cave Spring’s has become renowned for not only their wines, but for their appreciation of the Niagara Region and the history ingrained in their property – their bottles labeled with 'Estate Bottled’ designation contain 100 percent fruit grown at Cave Spring Vineyard. Cave Spring offers a number of tours and tastings for groups looking to experience the winery at length. Designed to be both fun and informative, the tours focus on a number of topics, from food pairings to cool climate wine making. Daily drop in tours are available during the summer months as well as by appointment cellar tour and tasting packages that are ideal for groups. cavespring.ca >>


yin yang




In contrasting flavours we might pair sweet and salty or spicy and sweet. Case in point, one of the most incredible cheese pairings with a sweet and luxurious Icewine is a salty blue cheese. The yin and the yang meet to create perfect balance and harmony. Like bread is to butter, milk is to cookies and chips are to dip, in the world of food pairings there are those that, well, are simply just right. But why is it that peanut butter is best with jelly and beer with pizza? I can’t imagine my chicken wings with anything but blue cheese and hello salt, where’s the pepper? But it’s not always easy to define why even the most unusual of food matches work, but when you know it, you know it, no questions asked. The same is true for food and wine pairings. Wine and cheese for example is almost always a given. The acidity and tannin in the wine combines perfectly with the lactic acids of the cheese. It’s like putting cream in your coffee or milk in your tea. Together all is right in the world, a harmony of opposites. And while there are no hard and fast rules for finding the yin to your yang in matching the right food to the right wine there are a few guidelines that can assist in finding your culinary Nirvana. One theory, is to match ‘like with like’. For example if you are cooking a light meat such as fish or poultry look for a light white wine such as Riesling or Pinot Grigio. Prepare it in a butter sauce and instead pair with a buttery oak aged Chardonnay that’s richer in flavour. And who can’t imagine a seared steak paired with a big bold Cabernet Sauvignon? But it’s also true that opposites attract. Two extremes can create a balance. In contrasting flavours we might pair sweet and salty or spicy and sweet. Case in point, one of the most incredible cheese pairings with a sweet and luxurious Icewine is a salty blue cheese. The yin and the yang meet to create perfect balance and harmony. And go ahead, try a sweeter Gewürztraminer next time you order in spicy Thai or Indian. You won’t be disappointed. Looking for some inspiration and a bit of adventure? Look no further than Niagara-on-the-Lake,

where wineries serve up classic and sometimes unusual food pairings throughout the winter months. In November ‘Taste the Season’ is a great motivator to start thinking about holiday entertaining. What could be more festive than sparkling wine with spiced pumpkin pie or a ripe Syrah paired with a pork terrine topped with blueberry and black pepper compote? Or maybe think outside the box and plan a meal to start with a fresh and lively Riesling matched with an authentic Thai chicken and coconut soup. January is naturally when Niagara-on-the-Lake celebrates all things Icewine and the wineries will not disappoint with sweet treats to match with nature’s naturally decadent dessert wine. The ever popular Icewine marshmallow S’mores showcase how ‘like’ flavours work well together in creating harmony in balance. However, if sweet and savoury pairings are more your style, think bacon and blue cheese. And finally in February, wineries take on one of the most challenging of food items to pair with wine by way of ‘The Days of Wine and Chocolate’. Chocolate has been touted as notoriously difficult to match due to its slightly bitter, slightly acidic nature, and its own tannins which can overpower most wines. But if we use our two guiding principles the result can be remarkably delicious. Why not try a Merlot matched with a flourless chocolate brownie or perhaps if the wine is sweeter it might pair well with a spicy chocolate chicken tortilla soup? The possibilities are endless, we only need to use our imagination. My last piece of advice, drink what you like. I drink Sparkling wine with well, everything. And there is no accounting for taste - we are all different. To make your own classic matches, start off on the traditional paths and then deviate a little, or a lot, you might find a yin to match your yang where you least expect it. TM


Niagara Helicopters Flightseeing Tours

For the thrill of a lifetime! Explore Niagara from above

Niagara Helicopters 3731 Victoria Avenue Niagara Falls, ON

905-357-5672 www.niagarahelicopters.com





magnificent view can transform a simple meal into a memorable event. Whether it is the sun over the thundering waters of Niagara Falls while you enjoy your bacon and eggs or the colourful lights that dance across the city scape while you slice into a steak, Niagara’s Fallsview Restaurants’ incredible cuisine and breathtaking panoramic views are guaranteed to delight at every meal. These famed restaurants not only provide incredible views of the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and the notorious Canadian Horseshoe Falls, but as well offer sky-high sights of Niagara’s bustling tourist district and attractions. Whether you are celebrating a family milestone, a romantic getaway for two, entertaining a client or simple treating yourself to a worldclass meal, Fallsview dining has a menu to suit your craving and scenic views that are guaranteed to leave you awestruck straight through to dessert. >>


THE KEG STEAKHOUSE & BAR | NINTH FLOOR 6700 FALLSVIEW BOULEVARD, NIAGARA FALLS Appreciate one of Niagara Falls’ most spectacular views while enjoying one of North America’s most popular steak houses at the Keg Steakhouse & Bar. Constructed with the idea of creating an all-encompassing dining and falls viewing experience, the steakhouse, located in the impressive Embassy Suites Hotel, is surrounded by striking floor to ceiling windows which allow patrons to dine while taking in Niagara Falls from every angle. Open for both lunch and dinner, the Keg is the ideal location not only for year-round appreciation of the Falls, but for enjoying Niagara Falls’ seasonal firework displays – Canada’s longest running firework series – which take place right above the Horseshoe Falls. Feast on crab and cream cheese stuffed mushrooms, sesame seasoned tuna tartare, Applewood smoked bacon wrapped tenderloin or the New York king of steaks; there is a dish to satisfy everyone at the table and a view to truly make it a night to remember.


ribs with crisp pancetta and Yukon mashed potatoes. Their fixed-price three or five course menu options allow diners to customize their dining experience and enjoy multiple courses at an affordable price – because you will want to sample it all.

SKYLON TOWER REVOLVING DINING ROOM | 5200 ROBINSON STREET Prominent above the crowds at one of the highest vantage points in Niagara, the Skylon Tower’s Revolving Dining Room is unlike any dining experience in the region. The iconic destination attraction that once defined the Niagara Skyline today offers award winning continental delicacies presented at 775 feet into the sky. The menu is rivaled only by the incredible panoramic views of eight thousand square miles of Canada and the United States visible to diners from every perspective as the room silently revolves a full 360 degrees over the course of the hour. Menu items include Mediterranean Seafood Gumbo, Surf and Turf with 9-ounce rock lobster tail and filet mignon and Skylon’s Spectacular Rack of Lamb. But the spectacular scenery is not only ready for enjoyment once you have arrived in the dining room. The journey to the top of the tower is an exhilarating 52 second ride in a glass pod that runs along the outside of the Skylon Tower – so get the camera ready as you both arrive hungry and depart full.

THE RAINBOW ROOM | THE CROWNE PLAZA - 5685 FALLS AVENUE THE WATERMARK | 33RD FLOOR - 6361 FALLSVIEW BOULEVARD Elevating the Niagara dining experience, The Watermark Rooftop Fallsview Dining has created an elegant and contemporary atmosphere that both complements and mirrors the grandness of Niagara’s waterfalls and local produce. The signature restaurant of the Hilton Hotel and Suites Niagara Falls Fallsview, the Watermark rests 33 floors above the ground and offers inventive cuisine complimented further by stunning floor to ceiling windows and an almost birds-eye view of both the Canadian and American Falls that reside below. The menu features fresh farm-to-table continental fares and local produce infused dishes including the famed Pingue Prosciutto and Antipasto [crafted with local organic prosciutto] and slow cooked short

Set directly across from Niagara Falls, the Rainbow Room, located in the historic Crowne Plaza Hotel Niagara Falls-Fallsview, presents an expertly crafted contemporary Italian menu with a Niagara twist. Lead by famed head chef, author and TV Host Massimo Capra, the Rainbow Room has been put on the map for its elevated traditional dishes. Chef Capra has created a new level of culinary experience by utilizing and appreciating Niagara’s epicurean landscape; with each dish featuring Niagara produce as the culinary star and revolving around Capra’s motto “use the best to create the best”. Dishes that must be tried include Capra’s Forest Mushroom Fig Risotto, Truffled Sweet Potato Cannelloni, Maple Mustard Crusted Ontario Lamb Rack and Organic Niagara Greens that utilize locally farmed sweet potato “fieno” dried Niagara fruits. Each dish is further complemented by the incredible views of Niagara’s waters seen perfectly from your seat and guaranteed to leave each diner entranced. TM TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 31

NIAGARA EXPLORE. THINK. PL AY. Whatever your travel style, be it wanting to spend time outdoors, challenging yourself with new adventures or plain having fun (or a mixture of all these), Niagara has got something for you. From our plentiful nature trails to the crazy Clifton Hill, you won’t ever run out of things to do during your vacation here. >>


about TOWN


THE ACTIVE TRAVELLER CROSS COUNTRY SKIING SNOWSHOEING Niagara is full of amazing places to get outside and explore, especially on foot (or, well, at least with something strapped to your foot) We are lucky to have conservation areas filled with walkways and wildlife, scenic skiing trails, and tons of paths that snake and meander through some of the best scenery this province has to offer. Your best bet is probably to bring your own equipment if possible, but if not, check out Ski Pro Shop in St. Catharines (skiproshop.com) for information on rentals. There are daily, weekend, monthly and seasonal rentals available.


SHORT HILLS PROVINCIAL PARK GOOD FOR: Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing Short Hills is a huge 735-acre natural environment park, which covers parts of St. Catharines, Pelham and Thorold. It’s a great place for winter activities, and trails are marked according to which activity is permitted on the trail. This is an area where it is extremely important to stay on the marked path, as it’s very easy to get lost in Short Hills (I speak from experience; I have had to be rescued not once, but twice from Short Hills. I didn’t even knowingly leave the marked path, so fellow directionally challenged people beware) Parking is available off Pelham, Roland and Wiley Roads.

GOOD FOR: Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing


This is Canada’s oldest and longest footpath, and the Niagara portion of it stretches from Queenston to Beamsville. Planned hikes are available on pre determined days, or you can hike solo whenever you want. Badges are given if you register and then complete the entire Niagara section of the trail. If you are extremely ambitious, you can sign up to hike the entire trail from end to end. To put it in perspective, if you hiked for 8 hours a day, it would take approximately 30 days to finish the entire trail. There is no set time limit for doing an end-to-end hike, you could take thirty days or thirty years, and either way, you still get the coveted badge at the end. Maps are available online from the Bruce Trail Conservancy.

This beautiful area set in Twenty Valley got its name from the family that originally lived there. In addition to being able to see the original home, restored church, an operating flour mill, a lime kiln, a black smith shop and carriage shed, there is also a recently opened Centre for Conservation, which has many interactive exhibits and programs. Several trails run through the area, and maps are available online, which will lead you to the various points of interest, as well as the upper and lower falls.

GOOD FOR: Snowshoeing

NIAGARA RIVER PARKWAY TRAIL GOOD FOR: Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing This is a beautiful 56-kilometre bike path that links Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie. It’s fairly straight and it runs parallel to the Niagara River, and passes some beautiful sights along the way, including numerous points of interest for tourists, such as the Floral Clock, Fort George and the Butterfly Conservatory.

FRIENDSHIP TRAIL GOOD FOR: Snowshoeing This path runs sixteen kilometres across Fort Erie, and winds through farmland, villages, watersheds and residential areas. Parking is available on Ridge Road, Crescent Road, and Lakeshore Road.

WATERFRONT TRAIL GOOD FOR: Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing The Waterfront Trail stretches from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Quebec, following the shores of Lake Ontario. The Niagara portion begins in Niagara-on-the-Lake and goes through St. Catharines, Lincoln and Grimsby. The trail varies between off road paths and streets in residential neighbourhoods. It is a multi use trail and is good for various winter activities. Trail maps are available online from the Waterfront Trail official website.

GREATER NIAGARA CIRCLE ROUTE GOOD FOR: Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing This multi-use, paved trail makes its way through Niagara, linking Lakes Erie and Ontario, as well as the Welland Canal with the Niagara River. It passes through historic Port Colborne, where in addition to historic sites, you will pass various shops, attractions and restaurants. >>


THE STRATEGIST ESCAPE ROOMS The popularity of escape rooms in Niagara only continues to grow, and luckily for us here in Niagara (and those visiting), we are home to some pretty great ones. These games are real life interactive puzzles that you and your team work to solve so you can escape the room in under an hour. Each room usually has a story or a theme involved as you work your way through the game in stages.

ESCAPE ROOM NIAGARA FALLS This place has a fairly constant rotation of different games. They are located in Downtown Niagara Falls. Some of their past games have included:” The Attic”, “Backstage”, “The Bunker”, and “The Castle”. There are not any scary elements in this game and they are suitable for children as well, ages eight and up. Visit their website escaperoom.ca

ADVENTURE ROOMS This place is also located in Downtown Niagara Falls. It is the same basic premise: solve puzzles, escape the room, but with a different story. Their current game is called “The Missing Finger”. This group has a 20% escape rate and is suitable for ages 8 to 77. It doesn’t contain any horror elements, and like the other games, it is designed to make you think, and challenge you. Check out their website at adventurerooms.ca

Established 1982

Family Estate

THE HOUR This is the only escape room in St. Catharines and is located in downtown St. Catharines. They have four different games going on, all with very different themes and stories. Currently, the games are: Emma’s Disappearance, Jailbreak, Mutiny At the Hour and The Lost Ones. More info at the hourstcatharines.com

FUN SEEKER LASER TAG If you want to feel like a kid again (or if you have kids you need to entertain), why not sign up for a exciting game of laser tag? It’s not just about running around the room, shooting people with lasers, it’s about defending your base and coming up with a strategy to win. You can form alliances, you can play with a team, but the main objective: be the last man or team standing.

ZAP ZONE NIAGARA This place is located in downtown Niagara Falls, and is played in a 2500 square foot arena. It’s dark, smoke swirls, lights flash, and music plays. It’s some of the most fun you’ll have on your vacation. Visit their website at zapzoneniagara.com

NIAGARA FALLS FUN ZONE Their Galaxy Guest Laser Tag arena is a 2000 square foot space with a space battle theme. It allows for a great way to have fun with friends or family when you are on vacation. More info at niagarafallsfunzone.com rmnoa357 / Shutterstock.com

CLIFTON HILL If it’s fun you are looking for, then look no further than Niagara Fall’s “Street of Fun”, Clifton Hill! The carnival like atmosphere appeals to the kid in all of us, and it is full of arcades, rides, fun houses, haunted houses, mini golf, gift shops, restaurants, bars and more. If it’s late night entertainment and dancing you seek, you’ll find somewhere on Clifton Hill to party all night. A Clifton Hill Fun Pass is available for purchase on cliftonhill.com and you can receive a discount by purchasing the tickets online in advance. TM

•Wine Sensory Garden • •Open 7 Days a Week • • Award Winning Icewines • • Artisanal Cheese and Gifts • • Legacy Tours in Season • • VQA Wine Bar and Boutique • 15608 niagara r iver par kway niagara-o n-the-lake canada 905-468-WINE (9463)

w w w. re i f win er y.com @reifwinery facebook.com/ReifEstateWinery

Mansion on Delaware Avenue

Royal Treatment Girlfriends get the


ou know it’s going to be a great girlfriend getaway when your weekend starts with an eager-to-please butler jogging out to your car to unload your bags even before you’ve popped the trunk.

“James” (yes, that’s really his name) is one of a half dozen butlers on staff at the elegant 28-room Mansion on Delaware in downtown Buffalo that dates back to 1869. The butlers are happy to drive you around town, pour you a complimentary drink in the drawing room at cocktail hour — even run you a hot bath in your whirlpool tub. Their white glove treatment sets the stage for a couple of days of being spoiled rotten in Buffalo.



StAr trEAtMENt At GrOOM SErvicE The pampering continues when we head to Groom Service Beauty & Dry Bar, an upscale beauty bar on the ground floor of the elegantly restored Hotel Lafayette. Here, positive feminine energy abounds, and not just because this grand neoclassical hotel was designed in the early 1900s by Louise Blanchard Bethune, the first American woman who worked as a professional architect. Katie Ambrose, a New York makeup artist to the stars who recently moved back to Buffalo to open the salon, gives her clients the kind of luxurious beauty experiences usually Groom Service Beauty & Dry Bar

reserved for celebrities. My girlfriend Donna and I spend a couple of glorious hours with Katie that begins with a mini meditation session involving crystals and “angelic spray” to help balance our chakras and continues with a facial, “intuitive make-up lesson” and hair styling. A final application of feathery false eyelashes has us coquettishly batting our eyes over our lunch menus when we pop in next door to the Pan-American Grill & Brewery to fortify ourselves for an afternoon of shopping with scallop cakes and sugar beet salad.

EMPOriuMS ON ELMwOOD It’s no secret that Canadians love to power shop Buffalo’s outlet stores, but we opt to bypass the mega malls for some good old fashioned street shopping. We spend a few hours strolling the mile-long Elmwood Avenue, checking out the eclectic range of dozens of retail offerings. We peruse furnishings made by local craftspeople at rÓ, float in the aroma of hundreds of exotic seasonings at the elaborately stocked Penzeys Spices, ooh and ahh over the unique gift selections (dragonfly salad tongs anyone?) at the charming Everything Elmwood, browse best-

sellers at talking Leaves, the city’s oldest bookstore, and try on flowing summer dresses in a range of boutiques, from Anna Grace to Blush and Second chic, an upcycle consignment shop where I pick up a vintage halter dress for a bargain basement $22. When we stop to fuel up on caffeine, even the SPot coffee shop is

Second Chic

a delight with its powder blue Victorian settee and tempting display of red velvet donuts, a local specialty that proves irresistible.

Out ON tHE tOwN Our extended shopping trip means there’s little time for dinner so once again the butlers at the Mansion accommodate us by preparing plates of pizza and fresh fruit before driving us to the opening night of the raucous musical, The Book of Mormon, at Shea’s Performing Arts center. The restored theatre, which features a full season of blockbuster Broadway musicals, boosts eight-foot tall crystal chandeliers and intricately painted ceilings in the lobby, recalling its glory days as an elaborate movie house dating from 1926.

Mansion on Delaware by KC Kratt. Groom Service and Second Chic by Katie Ambrose. Shea’s by Jim Bush. Buffalo Proper by Lisa Lubin.

After the show, we aren’t quite ready to call it a night. Fortunately, another theatregoer recommends a stop at Buffalo Proper, a restaurant and bar that tips its hat to the prohibition era when wealthy Buffalonians found a way to sneak a drink in defiance of the 18th amendment. Here, master barman and cocktail curator Jon Karel regales us with further theatrical Shea’s Performing Arts Center antics, displaying his frenetic energy while concocting fancifully named drinks such as Bare Knuckle Boxer, Snake Charmer and Killer Bee’s. It’s the perfect end to a perfect day. Tomorrow, we have a couple more stops to finish our Buffalo getaway – including an afternoon outing to canalside, a beautiful new waterfront area with free events from pilates classes to classical concerts, and what will prove to be a very memorable five-course prix fixe menu with wine pairings at Martin cooks, the city’s first example of chef’s counter dining where guests look on while the chef prepares his signature dishes in an open kitchen. But right now, as the clock hits midnight, we’re ready to head back to our fluffy beds at the Mansion. We ring our butler who arrives in minutes. As I climb into the backseat I utter words I’ve been looking forward to saying all day: “Home, James.” Buffalo Proper



Two high-adrenaline attractions are being added to Niagara’s diverse portfolio of eco-adventure tours this Spring. The world class Zip Line experience and Aerial Adventure Courses will captivate both the young and young at heart when visiting Niagara’s entertainment district. Brought to life by WildPlay Niagara Falls in partnership with the Niagara Parks Commission, both aerial attractions promise a hybrid adventure and educational experience for groups wishing to explore and learn about the Niagara Parks in a hands-on fashion. Both human-powered eco-attractions will feature guided historical tours and an education on the surrounding eco-systems along with a new and thrilling visual perspective of Niagara Falls. >>

Light on intensity but overflowing with excitement, Wildplay’s Mist Rider Zip Line to the Falls is fun for guests of all ages who wish to glide through never before seen perspectives and breathtaking views of the Canadian and American Falls, the Niagara Whirlpool, Gorge and Niagara Parkway all in one fell swoop. This sky-high attraction guarantees an experience that will have visitors appreciating the power of Niagara’s waters unlike ever before. The four side-by-side high-speed zip lines will descend 2,200 hundred feet from the base of Clifton Hill at the Niagara Parks Commission’s Grand View Marketplace into the Niagara Gorge below at the decommissioned Ontario Power Generating Plant – looking up to the Horseshoe Falls above. Zip liners will be able to travel down one at a time or race their family and friends to the bottom. “[The Zip Line] is another way to experience and appreciate Niagara Falls,” said Lindsay DiCosimo, Marketing Manager for WildPlay Niagara. “The zip line is right front and centre to Niagara Falls; you can’t get this view from anywhere else in Niagara. It is completely new and a fully guided adventure. If you want to get up close and personal, there is no other way in the city for you to do this.” Individuals who don’t wish to participate in the zip line can enjoy the sights and watch their friends and family take-off from the viewing area at the top by the launch platform. The first of its kind in Niagara, Wildplay’s Whirlpool Aerial Adventure Course is scheduled to open on the north side of the Whirlpool at Thompson Point along the picturesque Niagara Parkway. This recreational activity is said to improve physical skills and strengthen mental courage; all while providing awe-inspiring vistas of the Niagara Gorge. “It is going to feature a little bit of everything; wobbly bridges, mini zip lines, rope swings, cargo nets,” said DiCosimo. “The obstacles that are hanging from the trees will increase in difficulty as you go through the course. So everyone starts off at the same level and as you go through things get a little more challenging. You’re facing your fears and overcoming your self-perceived inhibitions as you build your confidence as you get through the course.” Open to all ages, the fully guided nature-based course is self-paced and will feature three separate courses that will range in level of intensity, difficulty and height. The Family, Classic and Extreme courses will take approximately two hours to complete and take participants upwards to 60 feet into the air. The Family Course, targeted towards children ages 5-12 years-old, will be lower to the ground and feature smaller scale course obstacles; creating a perfect attraction for birthday parties, after school groups and field trips. “It is easily manageable for the younger demographic,” said DiCosimo. “For parents that maybe don’t want to do the full course themselves, this kid’s course is specifically designed for them.” But the aerial course is not only attracting young audiences. DiCosimo says this unique attraction is ideal for families, couples and all groups in-between because it strengthens and builds trust while encouraging team work and mutual support – all while getting everyone outside and working up a sweat in the fresh air. “You’re in a group setting, you are doing challenges that you might not think you can overcome but with group encouragement and by working together you can figure out the best way to approach the different challenges,” said DiCosimo. “…by getting outside and completing a course like this people can shine in a different light,” said DiCosimo. “You can play off of different people’s strengths and bond as a group.” Guides are also in place every step of the way to lend support and encouragement to anyone who is struggling and wishes to bypass an

obstacle. They will also provide historical anecdotes as you enjoy the attractions, with a focus on the surrounding landmarks including: the formation of the Niagara Falls, the previously active power generators, wildlife and plant life in the area and the early explorers who settled in and helped develop the region. The grounds surrounding the aerial course will continue to remain open to the public and feature picnic tables and lots of greenery to enjoy even when you do not feel like participating in the course. “The aerial course will help get people to explore the parkway a little bit more and get out of that downtown core area,” said DiCosimo. “It will keep them in the area a little longer than a quick trip into Niagara Falls will.” Aerial course prices will range between 40-50 dollars per course with additional add-ons of 10 dollars available for extended courses. Waivers are required by all participants and are available electronically online or by email and fax. The zip line will run approximately 60 dollars per person. Prices for both attractions are still under consideration, but DiCosimo said both will be kept family friendly and reasonably priced while remaining comparable to similar adventure courses in the area. Group packages are in the works and will be available for those who wish to visit with a large group or bundle both Wildplay’s Mist Rider Zip Line and Whirlpool Aerial Adventure Course together. Discounts will also be available through Niagara Parks’ Adventure Passes. Tickets will be available to purchase in advance online and on location depending on availability. TM






one are the days when you have to wait until the summer months to enjoy some family time plunging down exhilarating water slides. In recent years, indoor waterparks have made a statement in many communities across North America, making it possible to enjoy this once seasonable pastime year-round. The Americana Conference Resort and Spa Waves Waterpark and Fallsview Waterpark are two of the community’s hot spots for some wet and wild fun in Niagara Falls, Ont. The entire gang, young and old, will be entertained as these attractions are designed for everyone to enjoy. >>


AMERICANA CONFERENCE RESORT & SPA The Americana Waves Waterpark differentiates itself from other waterparks by “bringing the outdoors in.” The facility’s retractable roof and sliding doors allows guests to enjoy climate controlled waters while not losing out on the sunlight and breezes that only Mother Nature can provide. Upbeat music and fun décor complete with tropical greenery add to the feel of being in the natural environment. Several comfortable lounge areas provide a place for parents to relax, while providing excellent vantage points to watch over their children enjoying the aquatic facilities. The park is on a modest scale making it a calming experience for parents. Imagine plunging two storeys through a pitch black tube, venturing outside the facility and ending back inside with a splash in the pool. The Americana also has two body slides that do not require a tube, and are guaranteed to excite it’s riders over and over again. In the Aqua Play

Unit, parents are permitted to coast down the slides with their children on their lap or in their arms; another unique feature not found at many waterparks. When you need a time-out from the thrill seeking, escape to your own private getaway in one of the two new cabana rentals. Allow yourself to feel like you are on a private beach being pampered like an A-lister by your own wait staff. If the fully serviced location doesn’t entice you, the 42 inch television and DVD player may seal the deal. Whether you are with the family and putting the little ones down for a nap in the pack and play, or hanging out with friends, the cabana will provide a little bit of seclusion. Your little ones will be filled with excitement and wonder as they explore the interactive play structure and toddler pool complete with bubblers, swings and an abundance of toys to play with in balmy 88 degree water. The toddler slides at the Americana will have the wee ones smiling proudly as they slide safely and independently while you watch from a few metres away on one of the many poolside tables for family and friends. Another unique feature of Americana Waterpark is the outdoor leisure, recreational and playground areas that are available free of charge to the guests on the weekends and holidays. Nightly entertainment is also held poolside. With entertainment ranging from Mad Science demonstrations to reptile shows, your children will have plenty to see and do. The Americana doesn’t just cater to individuals staying at the hotel. “Day passes with locker rentals are available for visitors and local residents,” states Aquatic Manager, Krista Phillips. “We also host birthday parties and special events.” Although there are many features of the facility that keep people coming back for more, friendly staff is what makes this location stand out amongst other facilities. “It’s a family operated hotel. I’ve worked here for twenty years and loved every minute of it,” states Phillips. If your idea of waterpark bliss includes being kissed by the sun and caressed by the breeze, the Americana Waves Waterpark and its retractable roof and sliding doors is just the ticket for you and your family. Whether or not the weather is amenable to splashing and sliding outside, the climate is always tropical and inviting in this fantastic indoor water park. For more information visit americananiagara.com

FALLSVIEW INDOOR WATERPARK “No one thought Dino Dicienzo Sr. was serious when he suggested building a waterpark on top of the parking garage of one of his hotels,” states Brent Gusnowski, Operations Manager of the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark. Being the only one of its kind, the waterpark is located atop of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Niagara Falls, Ont. The 125,000 square foot facility is guaranteed to thrill the whole family, especially your “tweens” with its many features including the massive 1,000 gallon tipping bucket, 6-storey high water slides and full-sized wave pool. This large open concept space provides a clear view of the entire facility for parents to keep an eye on their loved ones. The facility is equipped with five tube and body slides, four extreme slides, two hot tubs, one splash pad and a dry play area. Aside from all the impressive aspects, this indoor waterpark has another unique feature - an unforgettable view of spectacular Niagara Falls. Nowhere else can you be in a waterpark with the thunderous Falls as your backdrop. One aspect of the facility that is guaranteed to make you feel like you are in an episode of Cribs or Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous is the facility’s rooftop outdoor pool. The pool is open year-round complete with a heated floor. The pool is always packed and kept at an even 88-90 degrees, giving you an escape from the cold during the winter months. Two adults only hot tubs situated away from the main slides provides some up-close and personal time for parents and couples. “The facility is different from other waterparks because it has a specialized “rubaroc” floor fail-safe to prevent slips and falls,” states Gusnowski. Safety is the most important aspect to Gusnowski and he ensures the facility is in top shape. “Our single rider slides for children end in 8-10 inches of water instead of a drop into a pool of water,” states Gusnowski. This thoughtful design feature adds safety for the little ones and peace of mind for parents. The Planet Hollywood Beach Club Restaurant will provide a place to refuel before your next plunge down the adrenaline-charged slides or before having 1000 gallons of water shower you from the enormous tip bucket. Adults can enjoy some adult time at the Planet Hollywood Bar located on the second floor balcony of the facility. At peak times, the facility employs 80 staff including guest services, pool staff, and operations. “The facility is directly connected to the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel, Crowne Plaza Hotel, and Skyline Inn. The Fallsview Water Park is also a short walk from the Clifton Victoria Hotel and Inn at the Falls. Special hotel promotions come with four free waterpark passes making the experience affordable to many. The facility also allows walk-in passes for local residents and visitors to the city that are not staying in one of the associated hotels. There are women’s, men’s and family change rooms and lockers for guests and visitors of the hotel. Birthday parties, corporate and other special events can also be celebrated at the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark. From relaxing in the soothing waters of a hot tub, to racing down the sky-screamer, the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark has fun in store for toddlers, adults, and everyone in between. For some relaxation and white-knuckling excitement visit fallsviewwaterpark.com TM



Life and Death on the Niagara BY SHERMAN ZAVITZ It was August 6th, 1918. The news sped through Niagara Falls like a flash fire. Two men, the story went, were marooned on a scow that was grounded on some rocks in the Niagara River, not far from the brink of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Both skeptics and believers raced to the scene. The story, which was all too true, had begun around three o’clock that afternoon while crews from the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company were deepening the Niagara

Falls Power Company’s intake canal on the American side of the river, about 1.6 kilometres (a mile) above the Falls. Large scows, towed by tugs, were being used to take the excavated material out into the river where it was dumped. Suddenly one of the tugs struck a sandbar with such force that the tow line snapped, allowing the scow the tug had been pulling to quickly drift into mid- stream and head toward the Horseshoe Falls.

On board the scow were Gustav Lofberg, 51, and 53-year-old James Harris. Lofberg was a bachelor while Harris was married and the father of five. Despite the almost paralyzing fear that must have gripped the two men, they had the presence of mind to open the bottom dumping doors, flooding the scow’s compartments. This slowed its progress until it grounded on some rocks opposite the Toronto Powerhouse, a hydro-electric generating plant on the Canadian side. >>


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One of Niagara’s most spectacular wintertime creations, the ice bridge is much like a huge, thick suspended glacier stretching across the Niagara River Gorge directly below the Falls.

While for the time being at least, Lof berg and Harris were not about to go over the Falls, they were marooned in the heart of the torturous and deadly Upper Rapids about 255 metres (850 feet) from the Canadian shore and approximately 792 metres (half a mile) from the brink of the cataract. Word of the stranded men quickly spread throughout the area and great crowds soon gathered along both banks of the Niagara River. Several employees from the Toronto Powerhouse had witnessed the accident and called the Niagara Falls Fire Department. Chief Al Newman and his men rushed to the scene, bringing with them a small lifesaving gun. It was carried to the roof of the generating plant and discharged. As the Niagara Falls Review noted, “The rope whirled toward the watching men on the scow. It spun out an estimated 300 feet and fell into the river.” A second attempt brought the same result. The rope was just too short to reach the scow. The U.S. Coast Guard at Youngstown, New York, was contacted and arrived shortly after with their larger lifeline cannon. This was more successful. When the line was shot from the roof of the powerhouse, it easily reached the scow, prompting a mighty cheer from the large number of spectators. Harris and Lof berg immediately tied this light rope to a crude windless they had labourously constructed. The Coast Guard team, under the command of Captain A. Nelson, then tied a heavier rope to the lifeline as well as a block and tackle holding a double guy line. While dozens of men on the powerhouse roof held the lines taut, the stranded men began to turn their windlass. It was a difficult and slow job. “In the early evening,” the Review reported, “after hours of torturing progress with the windlass, Lof berg and Harris reached their hands into the water to grasp the heavy rope.” As darkness fell, powerful search lights were set up on the shore and on the powerhouse roof, eerily illuminating the scene. About 9:30, a breeches buoy (a canvas sling suspended from a pulley) was put in place on the heavy rope. Working the guy lines, the crew on the powerhouse roof began to slowly move the breeches buoy out to Lof berg and Harris. It looked as though the two men would soon be safely back on land. But it was not to be. Partway out, the breeches buoy suddenly stopped, sending a groan of despair rippling through the crowd. It was soon determined that the line had fouled. For two hours attempts were made to correct the problem by pulling back and forth on the guy lines, all to no avail. While it would not advance, fortunately the breeches buoy could be brought back to the powerhouse. It was now around midnight and Captain Nelson decided to temporarily suspend the rescue

operation to allow him time to come up with a solution to the breeches buoy problem. This information was conveyed to the stranded men by means of a large sign illuminated by one of the lights. Lofberg and Harris rested fitfully, wondering if at any moment the violent water racing past their scow would dislodge it and send them to their doom. Back on shore, William “Red” Hill Sr. introduced himself to Nelson and told him that he would be willing to go out to try and correct the problem on the lines. Hill, from Niagara Falls, Ontario, was Niagara’s most knowledgeable riverman and a recognized hero who had recently returned home after having been wounded and gassed in France while serving in the First World War. Hill was told the line was presumed safe, although it had not been tested under a weight. He replied that he was willing to take the risk. Shortly after three o’clock in the morning, Hill went out in the breeches buoy. With the beam from the searchlight following him, he reached the trouble spot and untangled the lines. Problems continued, however, and at 5:30 Hill had to make a second trip out on the lines. Finally all difficulties were overcome and the breeches buoy reached the marooned men. Harris was first off the scow, reaching the powerhouse roof at 8:50 a.m. after being slowly pulled to safety across the turbulent water. Lofberg arrived about an hour later. With each arrival a great cheer went up from the crowd. A doctor examined both men but, although weak from hunger and fatigue, they were remarkably fit considering their 19-hour ordeal. Harris later told reporters that he was going to tie himself to a tree well inland so, as he put it, “I’ll know I’m safe.” The following morning, after a solid night’s sleep, the two men were back at work. A salvage operation to recover the scow was not considered feasible and so, although some deterioration has taken place, the scow still clings to its rocky perch. Dramatic events at Niagara Falls were nothing new. In fact, it is very likely that some of those who witnessed Harris’s and Lofberg’s deliverance from death recalled another rescue attempt just six years earlier in which William “Red” Hill Sr. had also played a major role. Sunday, February 4, 1912, was a clear, windy and very cold day in Niagara Falls. Nevertheless, hundreds of people both residents and tourists were on hand that morning to view the gorgeous winter scenery around the Falls and to take a walk on the ice bridge. One of Niagara’s most spectacular wintertime creations, the ice bridge is much like a huge, thick suspended glacier stretching across the Niagara River Gorge directly below the Falls. Beginning in the 1880s, the ice bridge became a popular playground. Local businessmen even set up concession shanties out on the ice where

one could buy drinks (including whisky), hot dogs, souvenirs, and get a tintype picture taken. Among the visitors to Niagara Falls on that fateful Sunday were Eldridge and Clara Stanton of Toronto. The 36-year-old Eldridge acted as secretary-treasurer for his brother’s printing firm. After leaving their Niagara Falls, New York, hotel around mid-morning, Eldridge and Clara, 28, took an elevator into the gorge and began exploring the hills and valleys of the ice bridge, which was estimated to be around 300 meters (1,000 feet) long and 18 meters (6o feet) thick. As noon approached, the crowd began to thin as people headed indoors to get warm and have some lunch. Only the Stantons and a handful of other visitors were left on the ice. Included in this small group were Ignatius Roth and Burrell Hecock. Natives of Cleveland, both were 17 years old and had been lifelong friends. Also still on the ice was William “Red” Hill. Suddenly, a few minutes before noon, a loud ominous crack like the lash of a huge whip was heard. Seconds later the ice bridge began to break up and move downstream. Hill yelled a warning and ran for the Canadian shore. Most of the others also reacted quickly and made it safely to either the Canadian or American side. However, the Stantons, Roth and Hecock, standing on a huge moving ice floe in mid-river, hesitated, not sure which way to go. The two youths then made a dash for the Canadian shore. The Stantons went in the opposite direction, only to find their escape cut off by a wide channel. Hill, at great peril to his own safety, rushed back onto the moving ice and yelled at the couple to head for the Canadian side. With the riverman helping them, the Stantons made it to within 15 meters (50 feet) of the riverbank when they suddenly encountered another slush-filled channel. Paralyzed with fear, Clara and Eldridge would not go on even though Hill told them the gap could be crossed. Instead, they turned back, with Hecock and Roth following. With extreme danger at his very feet, Hill had no choice but to leave them and scramble ashore. By now, the large floe carrying the marooned quartet was passing under the Upper Steel Arch Bridge, which was located close to where the Rainbow Bridge currently stands. Officials at the bridge phoned the police and fire departments which raced to the scene. Roth and Hecock ran on ahead of the Stantons who were now exhausted from the exertion and tension. Clara soon collapsed, telling

her husband that she couldn’t go on. Not able to get her up, Eldridge shouted to the two youths for help. Hecock responded, leaving Roth and going back to help get Clara on her feet. Roth kept moving and managed to get a little closer to the Canadian shore. “Red” Hill, who was running along the riverbank, felt there was a chance Roth could be saved and began to shout instructions to him. The young man jumped over openings when and where he was told and struggled over the hummocks of ice. When he was close enough, Hill threw him a rope and pulled him ashore slightly over 1.6 kilometers (a mile) below the Horseshoe Falls. Roth had cheated death. Meanwhile, the ice floe carrying the three remaining helpless victims was racing down the river and would soon be in the grip of the Whirlpool Rapids, one of the most violent stretches of white water in the world. Their last chance at rescue would be the ropes that had been lowered by the police and firemen from the Cantilever Bridge and the adjacent Whirlpool Rapids Bridge. Just before reaching the bridges, the large floe broke into two sections, leaving the Stantons on one piece and Hecock on the other. It was Hecock who reached one of the ropes first. He grabbed it and grimly hung on. As the men on the bridge began to haul him up, the young man tried to help himself by climbing hand-over-hand. Frozen fingers and exhaustion conspired against him. As he began to lose his grip, he tried to get his legs around the rope. When this failed he made a desperate but futile attempt to hang on with his teeth. With the rope now spinning like a top from the wind, Hecock’s head fell back, he let go and plunged into the river. He was seen for a few seconds and then vanished forever. Moments later the Stanton’s floe reached the Cantilever Bridge. Eldridge seized a rope and tried to tie it around Clara’s waist. The ice was moving too fast, however, and he had to let go of the rope before he had time to tie a knot. The same thing happened with the rope hanging from the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge. There was no hope now. An eyewitness reporter described the final moments of the drama: “He raised the woman to her feet, kissed her and clasped her in his arms. The woman then sank to her knees. The man knelt beside her; his arms clasped close about her. So they went to their death. The ice held intact until it struck the great wave. There it was shattered; there the gallant man and the woman at his side disappeared from view.” Their bodies were never found. TM


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On 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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. TM

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Niagara houses a diverse collection of shopping districts unlike any typical home town mall. Each offering a unique shopping experience, these one-of-a-kind plazas, shopping centres and heritage streets can simultaneously cater to the frugal shoppers in your group and the ones looking to splurge while away from home. Bring a little bit of Niagara back with you when you leave! OUTLET COLLECTION AT NIAGARA 300 Taylor Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Unique Characteristics: Canada’s Largest Open Air Fashion Outlet Canada’s largest open air fashion and lifestyle outlet centre the Outlet Collection at Niagara is a destination within a destination. Offering fashions as breathtaking as the Niagara sites, this unique shopping hot spot is one of the most exciting shopping destinations in the region. “We offer a completely different experience than a traditional mall,” said Carly Rupcic, Tourism Manager at Outlet Collection at Niagara. “The beautiful environment really has set us apart. We have put a large focus on making this a really beautiful atmosphere to not only shop in but visit and spend a day; because when people visit Niagara they don’t want to be cooped up inside. >>


“We have gorgeous gardens and beautiful spaces where people can come and enjoy a real community like setting which is a lot different from an average mall,” said Rupcic. “We have live music on weekends, special events and celebrations and giveaways. We want our customers to be surprised and delighted while they are here.” Encouraging travelers to shop local, the Outlet Collection has created a shopping haven that hosts a variety of stores unique to the Region that are anything but ordinary. Offering new outlets alongside mall favourites like Lululemon, Bass Pro Shop, Davids Tea, White House Black Market and Chicos to name a few. New in Spring 2016, the Outlet Collection will welcome one of the first Sacs Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH stores in Canada to their block. The Outlet also plays homage to the Niagara wine region they reside in, hosting unique wine retailer Wine Country Vintners and two wine barrel walls created by barrels donated by local wineries.

Heritage District Niagara-on-the-Lake Queen Street & Surrounding Nooks of Niagara-on-the-Lake Unique Characteristics: Heritage Buildings, Hidden Treasures & One-on-One Passionate Service Discover hidden treasures and unexpected delights within the winding shop filled streets of Niagara-on-the-Lake. From everyday must-haves to those once-in-a-lifetime special finds, the walkable heritage district of Niagara-on-the-Lake is sure to offer a shopping experience unlike any other. A central part of the fabric of the Niagara community, Landmark Shops of Niagara-on-the-Lake – a small group of shop owners committed to bettering the community as a unit – have come together to help reinforce the importance of working together in the region. Not only do the Landmark Shops of Niagara-on-the-Lake sell unique Niagara centric products, but offer shoppers a personal and educating shopping experience.

“The majority of the shops are individually owned and operated by people with great passion for what they do,” said Janice Thomson, Executive Director at Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce & VCB. “They make shopping a really different experience than you would get from anywhere else.” “That’s what sets us apart; people are passionate about what they are doing and care about giving good service,” said Thomson. Shops you must not miss include culinary connoisseurs Cheese Secrets, the timeless Beau Chapeau Hat Shop, Niagara-on-the-Lake Jewellers and Precious Metal Studio and more. All are individually owned and operated by active members of the community who are committed to honing their crafts, understanding their products and contributing individual service and a true interest in their customers. “The owners of these stores are from the community and have ties to the area,” said Thomson. “The people working at the stores and running the businesses have a great knowledge of the region and the attractions offered. They have seen the Shaw shows, they have been to the wineries, and they are happy to lend advice to visitors.”

Canada One Brand Name Outlets 7500 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls Unique Characteristics: 100% wheelchair accessible & Canadian Brands and Products A unique fresh air shopping experience, Canada One Outlets features over 50 of the finest retailers in the Niagara Region – including a number of Canadian exclusive brands and products. This exclusive variety of stores includes shoe and bag retailer Stance – distributor of Canadian brand Herschel Supply Company, a bag and accessories retailer –as well as timeless designer brand outlets including Roots, Coach and Nine West to name a few. Also new to the outdoor pavilion is Wicker Emporium – a wooden furniture and home décor store. Promoting an easily accessible shopping experience for all, Canada One Outlets has separated itself from competitors by creating an

That’s what sets us apart; people are passionate about what they are doing and care about giving good service.

entirely wheel-chair and elderly accessible outdoor shopping centre for all to enjoy. “It is really a mall that is easy to shop,” said Marjorie Ruddy, Marketing Manager at Canada One Brand Name Outlets. “It is outside, it’s not that large; you can park right in front of every store and just run right in. All curbs are rounded. It’s not like you’re parking in front of a mall entrance and then have to navigate. It is very accessible to everyone.” Along with its easy to navigate design, Ruddy says designers focused on creating an airy, outdoor space for allowing shoppers to enjoy the fresh air while partaking in their favourite pastime. “With the wonderful weather that Niagara enjoys, you never want to be stuck inside a stuffy mall,” said Ruddy. “We have something that traditional malls just don’t have: you can enjoy the fresh air as you shop.”

The Galleria Shops at Fallsview Casino 6380 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls Unique Characteristics: Chic boutiques & glass walkways connected to nearby hotels Staying downtown and feeling the urge for some immediate retail therapy? The inviting and vibrant corridors of The Galleria Shops & Dining offer dozens of exclusive boutiques right next door to the world class Fallsview Casino. Filled with the latest styles, accessories, fine arts, unique Niagara gifts and collectibles, the Galleria is the perfect escape for shoppers uninterested in the casino but hoping to stay nearby while their colleagues enjoy the slots. The eclectic assortment of boutiques and specialty shops found within the Galleria’s halls include Canadian designer focused retailer Tango Boutique, specialty jeweler Vivah, innovative skin care retailer Face Shop and international jewelry designer and Pandora carrier Presents. In between can be found Niagara exclusive gift shops and retailers the Pepper Palace, featuring over 1650 hot sauces, condiments, dry seasonings and gifts, Christmas in Niagara, a year-long Christmas themed boutique and the Great Estates of Niagara Wine Store. The Galleria also offers all the services you need including hair stylists and a Currency Exchange Centre for your convenience. Connected by indoor tunnel and walkway to a number of nearby hotels – including the Four Points by Sheraton and Hilton Hotel and Suites – there is no need to battle the elements while getting your shopping fix.

Niagara Duty Free Shops 5726 Falls Ave Niagara Falls Unique Characteristics: The lowest prices of any Duty Free in Canada The Rainbow Bridge border is no longer solely a passing through point on your journey’s map. Travelers are now adding the unique Duty Free to their schedule of must visit shopping outlets while in Niagara Falls. The newly renovated store located on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls not only offers breathtaking views of both the Canadian and American Falls while you shop, but also guarantees the lowest Duty Free prices in Canada; saving shoppers up to 50 per cent on brand name products, alcohol, designer labels imported gifts, attraction tickets and souvenirs. Apart from the huge savings on brand name alcohol, beer and wine, shoppers can even indulge in products exclusive to the Duty Free including: limited edition vintages from Belvedere Vodka, Macallan Whiskey and Highland Park. Make sure to check the Duty Free website for cross border shopping information and regulations. TM TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 61

upcoming event

HIGHLIGHTS FRIDAY NIGHT FLICKS AT OLD FORT ERIE Running Fridays until December 18th (350 Lakeshore Rd, Fort Erie) Dec 11: 7pm– The Polar Express A young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express. During his adventure he learns about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas. Dec 18: 7pm– Elf After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity. JIMMY STAHL SWINGING BIG BAND CHRISTMAS December 19, 2pm at Seneca Queen Theatre (4624 Queen Street, Niagara Falls) The Jimmy Stahl Big Band & Michael Vahevel perform a Swinging Big Band Christmas Sinatra Style!

AT THE MOVIES DINNER MUSICAL December 28–January 2 at Oh Canada Eh (8585 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls) This show features over 60 of the greatest songs from some of the best iconic movie moments and soundtracks of all time! You’ll be transported back through the decades with music from your favourite comedies, dramas, horror flicks and animated favourites! Movies like Casablanca, Singin’ In The Rain, James Bond, Saturday Night Fever, Ghostbusters, Flashdance, Risky Business, The Way We Were, Magic Mike and many, many MORE! No need to visit the concession stand for this show! Each performance starts with our famous five-course, familystyle meal which is served by our multi-talented performers! Enjoy soup, salad, chicken, beef and our world famous fried Atlantic haddock, maple chocolate cake and more. Visit ohcanadaeh.com for information about tickets. >>

here . SEE . do GREG FREWIN NEW YEARS EVE GALA December 31 at Greg Frewin Theatre (5781 Ellen Avenue, Niagara Falls) Enjoy New Years Eve Vegas style! Join Greg Frewin this year as he presents a spectacular evening of magic. You will be spellbound and amazed! You will ring in the New Year with dancing to the classics of the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s with a live band. Expect all the trimmings of a festive and exciting Las Vegas style New Year’s Eve. The evening starts with a cocktail reception at 6:30 pm. Indulge in the delicious premium buffet dinner starting at 7:30pm and the Las Vegas style entertainment will commence at 9:00pm. Also includes: – New Years party favours – Midnight Champagne toast and hors d’oeuvres – Dinner & Show: 7:30p–2am – Show Only: 9pm–2am JERSEY NIGHTS January 7–10 at Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort (6380 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls) Jersey Nights is a world renowed tribute show to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Relive the memory at Fallsview Casino Resort Avalon Ballroom. Jan 7–14 (excluding Jan 11) Jan 7, 12, 13 & 14: Showtime 3:00pm & 8:30pm Jan 8 & 9: Showtime 3:00pm & 9:00pm Jan 10: Showtime 3:00pm & 7:00pm Ticket information at fallsviewcasinoresort.com/ BEER ON ICE February 5 at Niagara Brewing Company (4915 Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls) Niagara’s world-famous Icewine tradition is expanding beyond its viticultural roots with delectable Icewine and chocolate beers created

exclusively by Brewmaster Gord Slater of Niagara Brewing Company. The luscious Icewine beer puts a twist on the process of fermenting frozen grapes, while the smooth chocolate beer utilizes the delightful flavours of Hershey’s chocolate. This special evening will feature remarkable culinary creations and prove the most innovative way to experience the tropical flavours of Icewine and rich taste of chocolate is in the form of a refreshing beer on ice. Mix and mingle with Brewmaster Gord Slater. Icewine and chocolate infused delights with beer pairing from Niagara Brewing Company. More information at fallsavenueresort.com/ TWENTY VALLEY WINTER WINEFEST January 15–17 at Cave Spring Cellars at Jordan Village (3836 Main Street) This annual Winter Winefest brings together Niagara’s top winemakers and wineries to celebrate Icewine. Great food, premium wines, sparkling and Icewine served outdoors on the streets of Jordan Village. Event Times: January 15: 6–10pm January 16: 11–10pm January 17: 12–5pm Visit twentyvalley.ca for more information AN ICEWINE DINNER WITH JAMIE KENNEDY January 15 at Windows by Jamie Kennedy (5875 Falls Ave) Precious and sweet, Icewine is weaved is like a gold thread throughout the menu which showcases the best ingredients Niagara has to offer. An exceptional blend of culinary delights and decadent Icewine leads to a find dining experience designed to excite the palate! Ticket information at fallsavenueresort.com For additional and updated events, go to visitniagaracanada.com or niagarafallstourism.com TM







iagara Falls draws millions of people throughout the summer who come to enjoy the scenic beauty and majesty of the Falls, but few people realize that one of the best times to visit Niagara Falls is in the winter. As the temperatures plunge, the cascading water freezes and forms unusual ice sculptures, while the rising mist encapsulates the trees and branches in frozen layers of ice that turn the area into a crystal fantasyland. This icy wonder is not limited to just the Falls. There is another ice marvel to celebrate during Niagara’s winter — Icewine, a national treasure. Canada holds the title as the largest Icewine producer in the world and is renowned for the quality and selection of this rare and wonderful dessert wine. Because the city of Niagara Falls is located so close to wine country, it is appropriate that Niagara Falls has joined in the celebrations of the annual Niagara Icewine Festival. Held every January, this is a three-week celebration of Ontario food and wine and one more reason to visit Niagara in winter. Niagara boasts over 75 wineries on a small geographical strip of land situated between the two Great Lakes of Ontario and Erie. The microclimate is warm enough to grow premium vinifera grapes in summer and cold enough to produce grapes suited for Icewine in winter. So, when the temperature plummets, there is excitement in the air and a reason to celebrate as the Icewine harvest begins. During the festival, winemakers pop the cork and share the wonders of this glorious wine with their guests. Visitors arrive from all over the world to take part in the many events, which give them the opportunity to sample Icewines from local producers. >> TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 65

Immerse yourself in sweet sensations as you sip and sample your way through the best food, wine and Icewine in Niagara. Icewine is so special because it is difficult to produce and requires the co-operation of Mother Nature. In order to make Icewine, the grapes are left hanging on the vines long after the fall harvest is complete, waiting for the freeze to arrive. During that time, the sugars in the berries intensify as the grapes dehydrate on the vine. This maturation process gives the grapes very unique flavours. When the temperature finally drops to minus 8 degrees, the frozen grapes are ready to be picked and pressed. This happens very quickly, while the grapes are still frozen, allowing only the concentrated juice to be collected for the production of Icewine. This extremely sweet grape juice is then fermented and the final result is a delicious dessert wine. You can find Icewine made from several grape varietals: Vidal, Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, each one with its own unique flavour profile. White Icewine has aromas of tropical fruits, and red Icewine has intense berry aromas such as raspberry and strawberry. Wine enthusiasts return time and time again to sample each season’s new delights. To appreciate the complexity of this intense wine, it needs to be savoured in small amounts. So, take your time over the course of the festival to fall in love with this cherished wine. During the Icewine Festival which runs January 15-31, participating wineries host their own individual events in conjunction with three weekend festivals held in different communities within the region. The kickoff to this year’s festival begins Friday, January 19th with the Icewine Gala, which is held in the Grand Hall of the Fallsview Casino. This is a glamorous evening where representatives of local wineries fill the hall and offer samples of some of their best red, white, and Icewines. Food stations are scattered throughout the ballroom with a stunning variety of culinary treats to pair with the wines. The next day, the Wineries of Twenty Valley host a fun-loving street festival in Jordan Village. This scenic village is packed with people who gather to cheer on winemakers competing in the annual barrel-rolling contest. The main street is closed to traffic, so pedestrians can enjoy the food, wine and entertainment as they stop to warm their hands at the many bonfires along the way. On the second weekend, the festival moves to Niagara-on-the-Lake, where an Icewine village is set up between the quaint shops that line the main street. Crowds meander through this carnival of winery booths, food vendors, ice sculptures and musicians. Be sure to have your picture taken while sipping Icewine from an ice goblet at Canada’s longest icebar made of real ice. And, if you really like to party, stay to watch the mixologists compete for the Icewine cocktail trophy, after which you will have a chance to taste their imaginative concoctions. This year, the third weekend celebration will be held in Niagara Falls. Just a short walk from the Fallsview hotels, the Scotiabank Convention Centre will host the wine and culinary celebration in its state-of-the-art facility. Immerse yourself in sweet sensations as you sip and sample your way through the best food, wine and Icewine in

Niagara. Top chefs from local restaurants prepare and serve up culinary creations that pair perfectly with the wines being poured. Representatives from a variety of wineries are happy to discuss their wines and educate you about Icewine. Last year the Icewine Festival at Niagara Falls was a resounding success, says coordinator Anthony Annunziata. “People were raving about how much fun they had. Over 7000 people enjoyed the event and we are expecting to double that. This year’s three day event will be even better, with more vendors, a variety of new products, outdoor bonfires, bigger ice sculptures and of course great music!” Every year the Niagara Icewine Festival continues to evolve and now that Niagara Falls has joined the list of venues, it is easier than ever to take part in one of the best winter festivals in Canada. So, there is no need to hibernate during the month of January. It is a great time to get out and celebrate winter by attending the many activities that are sure to warm your heart and take the bite out of winter. For detailed information on Festival schedules, tickets, discovery passes, and hotel packages visit these web sites: niagarawinefestival.com icewinefestivals.com TM




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

@FallsviewCasino 6380 Fallsview Boulevard




Must be 19 years of age or older to enter the casino or attend performances at Fallsview Casino Resort.

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On the Boulevard - Winter/Spring 2016  

On the Boulevard - Winter/Spring 2016