TWO MINUTES IN THE BOX
COUPLES TIME IN NIAGARA
SPEND SOME TIME WITH LOCAL HOCKEY LEGENDS
O N T H E C OV E R â€¦
CAMERA READY: 2018/2019
AN INTERVIEW WITH ISABELLA PASCO, HOST OF FLAVOUR PASSPORT: JOURNEY
TODAYM AGAZINE . CA
MEAT... DONE WELL ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT CUTS OF MEAT
Located in Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites directly across from Fallsview Casino Resort 6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3V9 brasaniagara.com | +1 905 353 7187 | Complimentary parking for our dining guests.
Open for Lunch, Dinner and Take-out now available.
Best View of the Falls Illumination Every Evening
CUSTOMIZE YOUR FALLSVIEW DINING EXPERIENCE Three-Course Dinner
BUFFET BREAKFAST | SEASONAL HOURS Located in Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites directly across from Fallsview Casino Resort 6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3V9
+1 905 353 7138 watermarkrestaurant.com |
Complimentary parking for our dining guests. * Prices subject to change. Prices do not include taxes and fees
GET RECOGNIZED Reach tourists and locals all in one place.
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Rev Publishing Inc. Daniel A. Pasco Alexandra Mills, John Fillion David Mace
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CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER TO ADVERTISE PLEASE CALL WEBSITE
Emma Cavanagh, Katie Miller Lauren Charley, Victoria Gilbert, Andrew Hind, Martine Mackenzie, Jill Tham, Gabrielle Tieman-Lee, Sherman Zavitz
David Haskell 905.356.7283 or 1.877.888.2825 todaymagazine.ca
TWO MINUTES IN THE BOX
COUPLES TIME IN NIAGARA
SPEND SOME TIME WITH LOCAL HOCKEY LEGENDS
O N T H E C OV E R …
CAMERA READY: 2018/2019
AN INTERVIEW WITH ISABELLA PASCO, HOST OF FLAVOUR PASSPORT: JOURNEY
TODAY M AGAZIN E .CA
On The Boulevard is published by Rev Publishing Inc. All opinions expressed in On The Boulevard are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rev Publishing, its 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 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. 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 are submitted at the author’s risk. Manuscripts and or photographs intended to be returned must be accompanied by sufficient postage. On The Boulevard does not assume any responsibility for any claims of our advertisers and reserves the right to refuse any advertising.
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ON THE BOULEVARD IS PUBLISHED BIANNUALLY.
Cover photo courtesy of Haskell Photography.
LOCATED IN THE FALLSVIEW CASINO - CONCOURSE LEVEL 6380 FALLSVIEW BLVD, NIAGARA FALLS, ON
(905) 358-2672 â€¢ VITTORIOSNIAGARAFALLS.COM
LAUREN CHARLEY Lauren is a Copywriter and Journalist with a passion for travel and sharing stories. Born a tropical baby at heart, Lauren spent a year working for a magazine in the British Virgin Islands after graduating from The University of Western Ontario. Niagara-on-the-Lake will always be her home base, as she continues to allow her vocation to take her on adventures and discover the world.
Victoria is a print journalist, a documentary filmmaker, a writer of fiction and a lover of adventure. Based in Niagara-on-the-Lake, she spends much of her time wandering the world as a scuba diver, cyclist, skier, thrill seeker and wanderer.
Jillâ€™s passion for writing came after seeing the movie Stand by Me. She prefers listening to Niagara bands to practising her guitar and running the track better than shopping. When Jill is not moonlighting as a freelance writer, she is an Elementary teacher juggling her three children.
Andrew is a freelance writer specializing in travel, history and lifestyle. He has a passion for new adventure and experiences, and also for exploring little known stories. Andrew is never without a book or three in hand and some obscure historical fact at the tip of his tongue. You should follow him @discoveriesAM
A writer for REV publishing for over three years, Gabrielle has written for numerous REV publications including Taste, Shopping & Travel. She is a graduate of the University of Ottawaâ€™s Journalism program and has written for a variety of newspapers including the National Post, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette.
After retiring from a successful teaching career, Martine is finally realizing her dream of becoming a writer! Her features revolve around lifestyle, food and fashion. She loves to shop and never pays retail for anything. This born New Yorker is a bargain-hunter and thrift store-sourcing expert. Martine loves to cook, and spend time with her husband and two sons.
A retired teacher, Sherman Zavitz has had a fascination with the history of Niagara Falls and area for many years. 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.
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//INSIDE FOOD & DRINK
WEDDINGS & ROMANCE
LIFESTYLE & CULTURE
HERE. SEE. DO.
Fun facts and trivia about one of the great wonders of the world.
Check out what’s happening in Niagara this winter!
Get to know Niagara’s newest teen sensation! Isabella (Bella) Pasco is the face of Flavour Passport: Journey, our newest video series featuring local restaurants. Follow this “IT” girl all around the region and get a guided tour to tantalize your taste buds.
ON THE TABLE
Executive Chef, Andy Di Pietro of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse shares his story and what makes him so passionate about food.
‘Tis the season! Take a look at all of these festive cocktails offered throughout the Niagara Region. Featured in this story are: Hopped-Up Hot Chocolate; The Great One; Gins N’ Roses, and Biere de Noel. There’s something for everyone! What better time of year to round up friends and family and head out to these local establishments and raise a glass of holiday cheer.
SPYCE UP YOUR WINTER
Conveniently located within walking distance to the Fallsview Casino, Dragonfly Nightclub, and numerous restaurants, Spyce Lounge offers a sophisticated and intimate lounge environment to enjoy delicious seasonal cocktails.
ROMANTIC WINTER PHOTOSHOOT SPOTS IN NIAGARA Niagara’s clean, crisp weather, and white snow offer a hidden gem for winter wedding photos.
MORE THAN A BIG WHITE WEDDING
Steering away from the traditional wedding reception is one way for the bride and groom to put that stamp of originality on their special day.
ROMANCE AT NIAGARA FALLS
The biggest wedding party ever organized in Canada took place at Oakes Garden Theatre and was billed as the Wedding of the Millennium.
Canada is known for its winters. With nights being so much longer, the sexiness of star-studded skies makes way for couple time.
NIAGARA FUN FACTS
THE DAY THE HONEYMOON BRIDGE COLLAPSED The massive Honeymoon Bridge threatened to collapse into the Niagara Gorge below. Metal girders supporting the span were heaving and would soon break apart, like river ice at the spring thaw. What happened next is one of the most dramatic scenes the region has ever seen.
SECRETS OF BUTLERS BURIAL GROUNDS
It isn’t scenic, but there’s a distinct sense of history there. Indeed, it’s one of the most historically significant locations in all of Niagara. This significance begins with the man after whom it was named: Lieutenant-Colonel John Butler.
NIAGARA’S WINTER PLAYBOOK
Niagara offers tourists no shortage of wonders to behold, and fun to be had.
TOBOGGANING HILLS IN NIAGARA A guide to the best toboggan hills and ice rinks in Niagara.
LIVE LIKE THE LOCALS
Winter edition of amazing places that offer food, beverage, and entertainment.
DE SIMONE WINERY
Enter the world of De Simone Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake and get an idea of what this place has to offer.
TWO MINUTES IN THE BOX
Spend “Two Minutes in the Box” with these local hockey legends. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 9
Camera Ready: An interview with
Isabella Pasco, the host of Flavour Passport: Journey By Brittney Hall
If you are a foodie in Niagara, you are likely familiar with Flavour Passport, the ultimate guide to all the restaurants in the area. Featuring hundreds of restaurants, Flavour Passport is boosting their user experience with Flavour Passport: Journey. This new video series will feature restaurants across Niagara, giving audiences the opportunity to experience the ambiance of these establishments through their screens! I caught up with Isabella “Bella” Pasco, the host of Flavour Passport: Journey. She is probably the hardestworking high school senior you’ll ever meet, juggling dance, work, family and friends, all while taking on this massive project. With everything going on in her life she is not slowing down anytime soon.
Can you tell me a bit about Flavour Passport and what inspired it? Flavour Passport is a unique online media site that advocates for the unique dining options available in the Niagara region. It was inspired from the exploration of what the Niagara region has to offer. What excites you most about filming the Flavour Passport: Journey videos? Trying the food, and meeting new people! The conversations take off and it’s exciting to hear and see what their opinions are […] It’s really exciting to dive into an entirely new environment and see people’s passion shine through as I interview them! What do you want your audience to take away from these segments? I want the audience to take away the genuine excitement both the restaurant and I share for what they have to offer. Each restaurant has a unique aspect to offer and I want the audience to see the genuine positivity and enthusiasm depicted in each segment. What’s your all-time favourite food? I would have to say that pasta is one of my favourite foods. There are so many ways in which one can make a pasta dish entirely innovative. It’s like a different meal every time! What’s your routine to making sure you’re camera ready? A good night’s sleep is the best thing prior to camera time as it allows for you to be energized and ready to adapt to whatever it is the director needs you to do. I loved your outfit in the first segment. What are your favourite shopping hotspots? Thank you! I love getting little pieces from small boutiques. I find that they offer unique pieces that one wouldn’t necessarily find with a larger retailer.
What pieces do you think every young woman should have in her closet and why? I think every young woman should have her basics! A white turtleneck can go a long way. It’s easier to accessorize and add points of interest to a basic piece of clothing than it is to create an entirely innovative outfit. The holidays are right around the corner. What are some holiday traditions in your family? Holidays, for me, are always spent with family as much as possible. Our annual gift exchange and large Christmas dinner is one of our favourite traditions. What do you look forward to most about the holidays? During the holidays I mostly look forward to spending time with family that I don’t get to see on a daily basis. To me, there is nothing better than creating quality memories with the people I love. If you could give someone looking to get into hosting three tips, what would they be? Three tips I would give to someone looking into hosting would be one, to always go with the flow. If you feel as though the question you have allocated for this part of the segment will sound choppy or won’t highlight the right point of interest, jump to another question. Two, be genuine. The more genuine you are the more the positivity of the segment will be illustrated to the audience, making the restaurant look good and you will avoid making yourself look frantic. Three, have fun with it! The more fun you have the easier the conversations will develop and the better the entire segment will look. Afterall, it is a very fun gig! What does the future hold for Isabella Pasco? As time progresses, I will be furthering my studies in international business and working further with Flavour Passport to find new ways to enhance the unique dining options offered here in Niagara.
// F O O D & D R I N K
It’s really exciting to dive into an entirely new environment and see people’s passion shine through as I interview them!
Photo courtesy of Haskell Photography
6455 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls, ON
TWO GREAT LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU outbacksteakhouseniagarafalls.com
ACROSS THE STREET 6733 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON ∙ 905.357.6661 NEXT TO CLIFTON HILL 5930 Victoria Ave, Niagara Falls, ON ∙ 289.296.2201
// O N T H E T A B L E
A CHAT WITH CHEF
of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse by Martine Mackenzie
Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and interview Andy Di Pietro, executive chef at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. I was greeted very warmly by this friendly, gregarious and charming man who is not only a master in the kitchen with a passion for cooking, but also a man with a great sense of humour who just loves to share his stories. Tell me a bit about your background and why you became a chef? I was 10 or 11 and was always interested in being in the kitchen with my mother. When I was 13, my father asked me what I wanted to do and I said, “maybe cooking”. That’s when I started making pizzas at Trevi’s Pizza in Stoney Creek. My first job. What’s your favourite thing about being a chef? Making people happy. It’s all about the food. Bringing people in, getting them together and making them happy. If you could give people three cooking tips, what would they be? What makes a great chef…Salt! Know how to use salt. That’s one of the biggest things. Use great ingredients and keep it simple. Make the food speak for itself. Photos courtesy of Stephanie Dychtiar and Modern Vision Photography Inc.
Do you have a favourite ingredient to work with? I like to play with a lot of ingredients. But my favourite thing to work with has to be pasta. Pasta of any kind. With a simple tomato sauce. But it’s got to be good pasta. What would you say is one of the most challenging ingredients to work with? Any ingredient can be challenging. It’s how you find your way to work with them and put them together. When it’s your day off, and you go out to eat, where do you like to go? Korean. It’s my favourite. I love the balance of flavours. It’s not over the top. It’s very simple with the saltiness and sweetness and the spice. It’s unbelievable! It’s so fresh. What city in the world would you say has the best food? I love Montreal! It’s my favourite city. It has everything. It has that European feel. If you weren’t a chef, what would you do for a living? I’d be a chartered accountant. I love numbers. I’m great with numbers but I don’t really use numbers when I cook. I free hand, except for when it comes to baking because it’s more of an exact science. But I always freehand when I cook. Like when I make a sauce…a little pinch of this, a little pinch of that. I season at the end because you don’t know what the cooking process will do to that sauce. Do you have an embarrassing cooking moment? When I used to work at Pazzo Mato, my front of the house manager used to purposely stack the plates too high so I couldn’t reach them. It was more annoying than embarrassing. (laughingly) I ended up marrying that woman, my front of the house manager. Something good came from her pranks.
What excites you in the world of food these days? The diversity. Farm to table, the fusion with Asian, Italian. The diversity of combining cultures and then the freshness and simplicity of farm to table. Chefs today are so unbelievably talented and cutting edge. Do you have a cooking pet peeve? A kitchen that is not clean. Everything needs to be completely sanitary. 100 per cent my biggest pet peeve. W hat would you say is your favourite thing about being a chef in Niagara? I think it’s all the different people that I get to meet from around the world. I love it! It’s about making that connection. Social media helps me keep those connections. How do you stay relevant in the culinary world? I eat out a lot. I try a lot of places to see what other people are doing. I train my palette that way. Instagram is fantastic because I can see trends. I use cookbooks but one of my favourite things is a magazine I subscribe to called Art Culinaire which truly keeps me up to date on everything from different foods, to plating techniques and trends. How would you describe a day working in your kitchen? Busy! Always busy! It’s like an organized chaos. That’s what we love. It’s that rush. When we’re doing à la carte for Ruth’s Chris, then doing Fallsview events, it’s that rush. My team is fantastic! What are your guilty pleasures food-wise? Where do I start? (laughingly) Chocolate! Snacks! I’m big on snacks. I love chips. Savoury and sweet, but I go in spurts. I’ll go from a chocolate binge to salty nuts. I just love snacks. What would you request for your last supper ever? It’s gotta be pizza. Any kind of pizza. Nice thin-crust. It would have to be pizza. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 15
Festive Drinks By Jill Tham
Hopped Up Hot Chocolate The Olde Angel Inn, NOTL
What goes with a historic ghost walk on a brisk night? A winter warm up in a haunted restaurant. “The Angel was built in 1789, burnt down during the war of 1812, and then was rebuilt in 1815,” explains Stephane Penman, Restaurant Manager at The Olde Angel Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake. “We are the home of none other than the famous “Captain Swayze” ghost, who enjoys frequently visiting our guests who are sleeping at the Inn during the night,” says Penman. Inspired by the winter blues, Hopped Up Hot Chocolate combines a little of this and a little of that to create the perfect winter treat. “Customers will enjoy the Baileys, Peppermint Schnapps, and giant heap of whipped cream,” says Penman. “It’s a warm drink on a cold winter day, and everyone could use a little kick in their cup with the stress of the holidays.” The Olde Angel Inn also has a lunch and dinner menu. “We are open every day except Christmas, all with smiling faces to show our guests a good time!” says Penman.
The Great One Play Bar and Grill, NOTL
Inspired by Lexi Knox’s hatred of the cold and love of cream liqueurs, The Great One has become a new menu item at Play Bar and Grill located in White Oaks Resort. “I love the way the snow looks sitting perched on tree limbs, or untouched on a yard with holiday decorations...but why does it have to be cold!?” says Knox, Food and Beverage Outlets Assistant Manager. “After tasting the Wayne Gretzky Cream Whisky, with its velvet texture and almond flavours, I knew it would pair beautifully with the Ciroc French Vanilla vodka,” says Knox. “I believe the customers will really love the smooth taste of this after dinner cocktail! Whether enjoying it at the end of a meal or as a night cap watching our live entertainment on weekends, this drink is sure to please everyone,” says Knox. Play has a menu that Knox guarantees will deliver, “new takes on old pub faves.” “LIV, the second restaurant in the resort, is our four-diamond, fivestar fine dining experience with a muted and chic ambiance and a menu, created by Chef Michael Price, that focuses on locally grown produce,” says Knox. If you despise the cold, head to Play Bar and Grill for some much needed sympathy from the staff. “This drink is perfect on cold wintry days!,” says Knox. “There is nothing more relaxing than a hot boozy cocktail to warm up with.”
Gins N’ Roses
Odd Bird, St Catharines Odd Bird opened its doors in downtown St. Catharines roughly one year ago to rave reviews for their offbeat chalkboard menu that includes oysters, craft beer, and original cocktails. Behind the bar is Maestro Jesse Galati. “Customers return for my cocktails because they are unique and I take into account the customers' tastes in making them individual and making the person feel special,” says Galati. “Gins N’ Roses was a drink based from a gin and pine cocktail called Pins and Needles but it shares very little in flavour profile,” says Galati. This version has a touch more sweetness and a lot more of a floral element,” adds Galati. What makes this cocktail one of a kind is the secret ingredient: two jiggers of Christmas tree bitters made from Manager Dana Roper’s 2017 Christmas tree. “This is a unique flavour combination of rose, pine, and orange and draws attention,” says Galati. “Gins N’ Roses is perfect for the holidays because it’s like a good holiday: short, perfectly sweet, and has a lot of alcohol.” “OddBird is people doing their craft well, very well,” says Galati. “Everything changes all the time, so it’s a new restaurant every week,” says Galati. Be sure to stop into Odd Bird this winter season. Although they don’t take reservations, with bartenders like Galati, it will be worth the wait. “We will always do our best to make any waiting as pain-free as possible,” says Galati.
Biere de Noel
Niagara Oast House Brewers, NOTL With their undying love of hops and barley, each year Niagara Oast House Brewers creates seasonally inspired beers that not only compliment their regular taps, but are guaranteed to please even the pickiest of beer drinkers. “It tastes like Christmas in a bottle,” describes Stephanie Schipper, Retail and Marketing. “Our Biere de Noel has heavy Christmas flavours that give it a warm spicy finish,” says Schipper. “You will enjoy the rich and full-bodied brew that showcases a dark malt.” Oast House spends a great deal of time throughout the year preparing for the release of Biere de Noel. “It is not something we brew in seven to ten days like our Barnraiser,” says Schipper. “It ages for eight to nine months. “Our beer is aged in bourbon barrels from Woodford Distillery in Kentucky, USA,” says Schipper. “You get the flavour of the bourbon without the big liquor punch.” Biere de Noel will definitely be on tap for the 5th annual Christmas Ho Down, on December 23, 2018. “This year will be our first with our new restaurant,” says Schipper. Don’t miss the biggest Christmas party in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Pop by Oast House and sample one of their three seasonal brews: Biere de Noel, Gingerbread Porter, and Roasted Chestnut Beer. Design and Illustration by Insite Design
ig h tl y L ive E n te rt a in m e n t N N ia g a ra â€™s L a rg e st T V on O p e n D a il y Fro m N o
Located in Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites directly across from Fallsview Casino Resort 6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3V9 Complimentary parking for our dining guests.
BY LAUREN CHARLEY
magine witnessing the breathtaking view of fresh-fallen snow as it settles on top of the Fallsview Casino’s iconic dome, and is illuminated by the multicoloured lights which decorate the property, while curled up with your favourite drink. Warm up this winter at Spyce Lounge- an upscale, urban cocktail bar, which provides a relaxing yet lively atmosphere to enjoy the beautiful tourist destination of Niagara Falls. Conveniently located inside The Hilton Hotel, across the street from the casino, and within walking distance to numerous restaurants, Spyce is a sophisticated and intimate lounge environment to enjoy fine cocktails. Catering to a mature crowd of all ages, the lounge is a trendy space to hang out, socialize and listen to live entertainment, seven nights a week. What started as a lobby bar for guests inside The Hilton has transformed into one the hottest social spots in Niagara Falls’ entertainment district. Guests of the hotel, visitors, locals, and businesspeople come together to form an eclectic mix of clientele in a unique ambiance away from the touristic chaos. Inside the lounge, deep purple and grey are accentuated by sparkling silver decor, setting Spyce apart from other venues in the city. From the shimmering gold bar top, to the leather furniture, to
the grand chandelier, you’ll be immersed in a classy yet casual setting to drink and dine alone, or in the company of others. Management selects the best and most passionate performers to entertain customers, with a mix of genres from Rock n’ Roll, to R & B, to Hip Hop. Always maintaining a lively atmosphere, Spyce has earned its reputation as one of the area’s best music venues. This fall and winter in the evenings from Sunday-Tuesday, you’re likely to hear acoustic covers and originals by Canadian Singer and Songwriter, Mike Sarcino. During the evenings Wednesday-Friday, you’ll enjoy a changing mix of live music, and Saturday you’ll hear three shows by performers daily from 1pm-1am. Playing regularly, you may see the Bryan Sorensen Trio. These talented three play everything from Snoop Dog to Justin Timberlake, and amaze spectators with Sorensen’s talents on the talkbox. Listen to XPRIME, one of the hottest local cover bands who have been playing at the lounge for over a year, never failing to get a crowd on the dance floor. XPRIME will be the featured band for Spyce Lounge’s 2018 New Year’s Eve party. When you seek out a place to watch a game in an environment far more upscale than a noisy sports bar, Spyce streams major sporting events including hockey, football, and soccer on televisions around the lounge. With two large screen TVs and a giant screen behind the bar, there’s plenty of options to watch your favourite match. When you’re looking for a delicious meal or tasty snack, the lounge serves an upscale spin on the classic bar favourites. On weekends their kitchen offers their full menu on Friday for 4pm -11pm from12pm11pm on Saturday. Sample tasty appetizers such as coconut shrimp, calamari, and antipasto platters. Hearty burgers and sandwiches are made with ingredients to please any foodie, accompanied by house cut, truffle, or sweet potato fries. There is something to please every appetite, including healthy options such as the Quinoa Protein Boost Salad, packed with nutritious ingredients and full of flavour. “Everyone loves the nachos, and they’ve earned a reputation as the
best in town. Iâ€™d say theyâ€™re enough to feed a family of twelve,â€? boasts Brad Hunter, Assistant Manager. Heâ€™s right- they are piled high with toppings and perfect to suffice the late night munchies. During the week, Sunday through Thursday 12pm-11pm and Friday 12pm-4pm, The Bistro Menu offers a selection of lighter fare including wraps, paninis, quesadillas, and 12â€? Artisan pizzas. Illuminated presentably behind the bar, youâ€™ll find an extensive selection of alcohol, including top shelf bottles such as Don Julio and Patron. Spyce is known for their delicious and innovative cocktails and martinis, with an array of premium spirits and liqueurs to make almost any creation possible. Unique to Spyce are their mixologists who share a synonymous sense of passion for the drinks they prepare. From the blend of ingredients to the presentation, the bartenders provide the ultimate beverage, and will tailor your drink to suit your preferences upon request. Like a pastry chef who prepares their desserts as a work of art, every cocktail is decorated and served to visual perfection. This fall and winter, look for featured seasonal beverages such as the Spiced Sangria and winter-themed cocktails and martinis. Using ingredients like Candy Canes, marshmallows, and signature holiday treats, the mixologists love coming up with one-of-a kind drinks in the spirit of winter celebrations. Always offering a selection of draught beers, the options on tap change every few months to feature various craft breweries in the Niagara Region. Vino enthusiasts will love the array of both local and international wines, ice wines, and sparkling wines available by the glass or bottle. Spyce Lounge is the perfect place to warm up when you venture out into the cold this winter. The unbeatable proximity to amenities, accommodations, entertainment, and places to dine, are all within enclosed walking distance. Thereâ€™s no need to bundle up and dread the snow and ice when the elegant gaming facility, the Fallsview Casino Resort, is only steps away under a covered walkway. Enjoy the magic of the winter wonderland and the picturesque view from the comfort of your table inside Niagaraâ€™s hot spot- Spyce Lounge.
For a Chocolate Craving: Chocolate Cream Pie Cocktail RumChata, vanilla vodka, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, served on ice. A Sweet Celebration: Oatmeal Cookie Shooter Butterscotch ripple, Baileys, JĂ¤germeister, cinnamon Indulgence to Share: Spyce Nacho Platter Crispy nachos smothered with Cheddar cheese, black olives, tomatoes, red and yellow pepper, jalapeĂąos, and scallions served with salsa and sour cream Delicious & Filling: BBQ Sliders BBQ pulled pork, coleslaw and house BBQ sauce Healthy & Fresh: Quinoa Protein Boost Tri-coloured quinoa with chickpeas, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese $5 DRINK SPECIALS Well shots 16 oz Pints 5 oz Peller Chardonnay 5 oz Cab-Merlot 1/2 OFF APPETIZERS Spyce Nacho Platter Spinach Artichoke Dip Antipasto Platter Mediterranean Trio Poutine for two
A view to thrill
Niagara Helicopters Flightseeing Tours
Niagara Helicopters 3731 Victoria Avenue Niagara Falls, ON
905 357 5672 niagarahelicopters.com
Authentic WOOD FIRE PIZZA & GRILL – from start to finish –
COCO’S STEAKHOUSE @ HOLIDAY I NN BY THE FALLS 5339 Murray St • Across from Fallsview Casino • 905.356.1333
special advertising feature
YOUR FLAVOUR PASSPORT In Good Taste showcases a variety of Niagara’s most melt in your mouth, showstopping, foot stomping, lick your lips, delectable dishes. Whether these items are unique to a restaurant or a familiar food that is prepared in a way you’ve never tasted before, it’s evident that Niagara is home to a food culture that is growing every day, and while it can be hard to choose where to engage your taste buds first, we hope this guide gives you a good head start.
BRASA BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE
EAST SIDE MARIO’S ITALIAN EATERY & BAR
6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.353.7187 brasaniagara.com
5339 Murray Street, Niagara Falls 905.356.1333 ext. 171 cocosniagarafalls.com
6455 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.357.4440 eastsidemariosniagarafalls.com
Nestled inside the Hilton Niagara Falls/ Fallsview Hotel and Suites, Brasa showcases the flavours and cultural flair of Brazil. Following a centuries-old tradition of cooking on an open fire, diners can experience endless cuts of succulent beef, pork, lamb, and chicken carved tableside in the style of authentic Brazilian gauchos.
Guests of Coco’s rave about our famous wood-fired steaks and gourmet pizzas. Enjoy the awesome ambiance under the starlit Niagara skies as we offer nightly entertainment on the Terrace from 7pm onwards (in season only). We also offer ample free parking for all our guests! Next time you’re in Niagara Falls, visit Coco’s and enjoy good times and great food.
Known for great American style Italian food and great value, East Side Mario’s is located at the Four Points Sheridan on Fallsview Blvd. The decor is a mix of Old Italy and North American Little Italy styles, creating a comfortable relaxed family style atmosphere. Bring the family and get ready for a good time created by a good meal.
FRONTIER BBQ & SMOKEHOUSE
THE KEG STEAKHOUSE & BAR
TWO GREAT NIAGARA FALLS LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU
6519 Stanley Avenue, Niagara Falls 289.296.6367 frontierniagara.com
6700 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.374.5170 fallsviewrestaurant.com
6733 Fallsview Blvd 5930 Victoria Ave 905.357.6661 289.296.2201 outbacksteakhouseniagarafalls.com
There’s something for everyone at Niagara’s only all-you-can-eat Southern style BBQ buffet. Enjoy house-seasoned smoked meats and signature brisket direct from the grill; plus over 50 hot and cold seasonal items including the ultimate potato bar with five types of potatoes and over 20 topping choices.
Dine overlooking Niagara Falls in The Keg Steakhouse + Bar, located on the 9th floor of the Embassy Suites Niagara Falls. This landmark location offers guests floor-to-ceiling panoramic views of the famous Falls and the highest quality steaks and seafood for a dining experience to remember.
Outback Steakhouse restaurant specializes in great steaks and seafood within the casual atmosphere of the Australian Outback. Come in and try our delicious Aussie-Tizers and, of course, our large variety of great hand-selected, seasoned-to-perfection steaks cooked to order just the way you like it. Offering consistent, high-quality food and service with generous portions in the heart of Niagara Falls, Canada.
//IN GOOD TASTE
PRANZO RISTORANTE ITALIANO
RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE
6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.353.7174 pranzoniagara.com
6455 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.357.1199 ruthschrisniagara.com
6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.354.7887 spycelounge.ca
Located in the Hilton Niagara Falls/ Fallsview Hotel & Suites and in the center of the Niagara Falls’ Entertainment District, Pranzo Ristorante Italiano offers flavourful, hand-crafted favourites prepared to order in a lively open display kitchen. Be sure to try our signature brick oven pizzas and authentic Italian cuisine in a warm, inviting atmosphere. Children eat free with the purchase of any adult meal.
The memory of a great meal stays with you long after the table has been cleared. This is why at Ruth’s Chris we thrive on our great food and service. Our menu offers a variety of dining options that will please all of our guests. Inside Ruth’s Chris Steak House you’ll also find Niagara’s hottest bar and lounge. Treat yourself at this high-end lounge with your own private booth surrounding the bar and dance floor and a personal host to cater to your every need.
Street level and in the heart of Niagara Falls’ entertainment district, you will be in the center of the action. Spyce Lounge offers a sophisticated and lavish escape from life’s hustle and bustle with nightly entertainment and a full lounge menu.
VITTORIO’S ITALIAN EATERY
6700 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.356.8523 tgifniagarafalls.com
6380 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.358.2672 vittoriosniagarafalls.com
6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.353.7138 watermarkrestaurant.com
You’ll come for the food but you’ll stay for the fun! Whether you’re looking to spice up your lunch or seeking big, bold flavours for dinner or late night, your search is over! Come and experience GREAT food with an attitude, from handcrafted appetizers, salads and burgers, to pastas and desserts. Located inside the Embassy Suites Hotel.
The flavourful aromas of Italian cuisine waft from the open kitchen located at the core of the restaurant. Vittorio’s chefs cook Italian dishes such as breaded veal topped with tomato sauce and char-grilled, New-York style Black Angus striploin steak with potatoes and vegetables. Choose from a wide selection of wines from Europe, Australia, South Africa, and North America. Located in the Fallsview Casino Concourse Level.
As the signature restaurant at the Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel and Suites, The Watermark elevates guests’ dining experiences to new heights with gracious service, inventive cuisine, an extensive wine collection and stylish design that is only surpassed by the stunning floor-to-ceiling views of both the American and Horseshoe Falls. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 27
Botanical Gardens Photo Credit Niagara Parks
// W E D D I N G S & R O M A N C E
Photoshoot Spots ROMANTIC WINTER IN NIAGARA By Lauren Charley
Floral displays, botanical gardens, and the picturesque scenery of the Niagara River surrounded by wine country provide infinite spots for photoshoots during the spring and summer. With the rise of social media, photography has become a necessity to capture the moments of important milestones in our lives. Wedding photos are traditional, but now, couples like to share every moment of their matrimony with family and friends. Engagement photoshoots, proposals, anniversary and couples photography are very common, and the Niagara region is a great place to capture these moments on camera in every season, especially in winter.
Oakes Garden Theatre
With free entry year-round, Oakes Garden Theatre provides magnificent views of Niagara Falls. A central amphitheatre surrounded by shrub gardens, fountains, ponds, and colourful floral displays provides a beautiful setting to commemorate special occasions. It is far less busy in the winter time, yet still a romantic place to take pictures. When covered in snow, the site becomes a true Winter Wonderland, as the sparkle of the sun-kissed white garden creates a beautiful backdrop.
Horse and Carriage Rides
Bundle up under blankets and enjoy a romantic ride around the quaint town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, or by the breathtaking views of Niagara Falls. Some companies provide an option for professional photoshoots, where you select the colour of the carriage, horse and decorations. These will make beautiful shots for your first holiday greeting cards together as a couple.
Open year-round, the Botanical Gardens features 99 acres of European-style gardens with herb and vegetable plantings, perennials, rhododendrons, azaleas, and a world famous rose-garden with over 2400 roses. Though most of this vegetation blooms in the warmer months, the Botanical Gardens offer a wonderful spot for winter photos. Featuring walkways, bridges, ponds, and gardens, when there is light snow, the property is great for unobstructed photos. The gardens are next to the Butterfly Conservatory, where you can warm-up inside the glass-enclosed observatory.
Down by the water in the historic old town of the Niagaraon-the-Lake, youâ€™ll find the iconic white gazebo at Queens Royal Park. Offering views out to the peaceful lake and over to the United States, the spot can be reserved for private weddings, and is also an attractive spot for romantic photography. In winter, the area is surrounded by snow with a backdrop looking out to the frosty lake, where on clear days you can get a great view of the Toronto skyline.
Left Page: Oakes Garden Theatre photo courtesy Niagara Parks Right page: Niagara Falls photo courtesy Niagara Parks
Winter Festival of Lights
This year from November 3rd to January 31st, the annual Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights offers a perfect setting for couples to get beautiful outdoor photos at night. The 8km stretch of magnificent light presentations begins at Queen Victoria Park- a great spot to get a shot with the iconic Skylon Tower in the background. The display stretches through landscapes of the Niagara Parks and Dufferin Islands, which also provide beautiful winter scenery for photos during the day time.
Queenston Heights Park
One of Niagaraâ€™s historical sites, Queenston Heights is a landscaped park which attracts visitors and locals year-round. Nestled at the top of the Niagara Escarpment, the park houses the Brock and Laura Secord Monuments, the Six Nations and Native Allies Commemorative Memorial, picnic pavilions, trees, wildlife, and an upscale restaurant featuring seasonal fine dining. As the trees turn vivid shades of red, yellow, and orange in the autumn, the park is a beautiful location for brides with fall weddings. In the winter, when covered by snow, the park is open, offering a traditional winter setting for special photography.
In the middle of winter when the temperatures fall far below freezing, witness the magic of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls when they become frozen. A one of a kind spectacle, this natural phenomenon creates a beautiful backdrop for romantic photography. At night, the falls are illuminated by a multicoloured light display and make for outstanding photographs if captured by the right camera. With so many locations to choose from for winter photography, you can capture romantic moments for all special occasions. Remember, that although photography is welcomed at many public parks and locations, inquire about permits ahead of time and be respectful of other events taking place before arranging professional photography.
More than a
Big White Wedding
Ideas for a Memorable Wedding Reception By Lauren Charley
hite doves, horse-drawn carriages, designer dresses with long trains and flowers scattered behind us; for modern brides, it’s not enough to do a traditional “Big White Wedding”. With wedding ideas trending on social media, and after attending enough to know our options, it’s no wonder that receptions are now the most important part of the bride and groom’s special day. Some ideas may be simple and inexpensive, where as others may only be an option for comfortable budgets. Whatever it may be, your wedding day is one of the most important milestones in your life, so you want to be sure that not only you, but that your guests remember it. Here are some trends in modern weddings, which may give you ideas for a memorable, dream day.
Photo Booth When caught up in the ‘awe’ of a wedding, guests often forget one of the most important parts of the day — to take pictures! Although almost every wedding has a photographer, the trend is now for couples to hire professional photo booth services to set up at their reception. On a drop background, your guests can gather and pose using props such as hats, wigs, signs, and masks provided by the photographer, and take home a print out picture. Hire a company, or supply your own props and get a volunteer from your wedding party to take photos and post them after the event.
DIY Flower Stations Allow your guests to make their own bouquets and corsages to wear for the evening, afterwards encouraging them to turn the dry flowers into potpourri as a remembrance of your wedding. Ask your florist about DIY flower stations. They set up make-your-own-flower stations, providing ribbons with ‘bling’ and tags with the couple’s names and date on them.
Choreographed Wedding Party Dance Turn your wedding into a musicalâ€Śhave your wedding party perform a surprise choreographed dance. Some couples have their bridesmaids and groomsmen dance down the aisles, and others save the performance for the reception.
Brunch Weddings Host your ceremony in the morning, and proceed with a reception which occurs over the brunch hour. Serve breakfast-buffet favourites like waffles, egg and bacon casserole and omelette stations. Offer a lighter selection of alcohol such as wine, beer, and the Bloody Mary!
Bubbly Bars A Champagne toast to the bride and groom is a wedding tradition. Rather than simply pass out a flight of sparkling wine, consider setting up a bar where guests can add syrups, fruits, and flavoured ice cubes to make a champagne cocktail. If your budget is flexible, you can supply the bar with take-home wine flutes engraved with the coupleâ€™s name.
Late Night Snack Bar After the cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres, and three-course dinner with wedding cake, your guests will likely still have the late night munchies. “Build Your Own Poutine Stations” are among one the most unique choices for Canadian brides. Fresh cut fries with toppings including gravy, pulled pork, cheese curds, short rib and sautéed mushrooms will be a hit amongst your friends.
Social Media Hashtags
Personalised Drink Coasters
Custom Take Out Boxes
Since social media has become integral in the lives of this generation’s newlyweds, it’s no wonder someone started the trend of assigning the wedding with a specific hashtag for social media. It’s a fun way for guests to post their photos and have everything in one place for other guests and the couple to see. Stick with something simple and traditional like “#StacyBenSmithWedding2018” or come up with something fun like “Blucytiestheknot18” (Ben/Lucy) and post signs for your guests around the venue.
If your guests are having fun at your wedding, chances are they’ll be mingling, dancing, and enjoying the venue, and not always with their drink in their hands. Drink coasters with a bespoke message such as “On the Dance Floor - Please Don’t Take My Drink”, ensure drinks aren’t accidentally cleared by the banquet staff. Order custom coasters with the bride’s and groom’s names and wedding date, and these will be souvenirs for your guests to take home.
Don’t let your catering go to waste. Ask the catering company to set aside left over food from your cocktail hour, main course, late night snacks and of course, the cake, and give guests the option to take food to go, in a personal take out container. Search “Wedding Favour Boxes” online and you can find many options for fancy yet affordable takeout containers, some even with the option to customize. If you choose a durable style, your guests can even keep the container as a souvenir.
Located inside the Embassy Suites Hotel 6700 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls, ON
905.356.8523 â€˘ tgifniagarafalls.com
The Kasbah Mediterranean is a local restaurant featuring homemade, farm-to-table Mediterranean delights from Greece, Lebanon, Armenia and Italy. All menus offer many vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Come try some of our specialties such as Armenian sausage, Souvlaki, Sizzling Shrimp and Gnocchi. Perfect for families, couples, and private dining/banquets (groups).
6130 Dunn Street, Niagara Falls, Canada 905-357-1000 â€˘ thekasbah.ca
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Marriages & Honeymoons:
Romance at Niagara Falls By Sherman Zavitz
Writing about honeymooners at Niagara Falls for the May, 1947 issue of Chatelaine Magazine, well-known Canadian journalist Lotta Dempsey noted that most couples at the falls held hands and wandered around in a “dazed and daffy coma” – not a particularly romantic picture. Nevertheless, as a honeymoon destination, no place is more famous in North American culture than Niagara Falls. Americans Joseph and Theodosia Alston are often referred to as Niagara’s very first honeymooners, although that is a term they would not have been familiar with. Both were from wealthy, prominent families – Theodosia’s father, Aaron Burr, was the third vice president of the United States. Arriving here during the summer of 1801 on what they called their “northern journey,” their trip to Niagara did not take place just after their wedding. In fact, it was five months after the ceremony before they gazed in amazement at the mighty cataracts – a scene Theodosia called “magnificent.” Nor were they alone since a number of servants were with them. Not until the mid-1830s are there references about wedding journeys, (as they were once called), to Niagara Falls that took place soon after the marriage. Among the earliest are these: an
author visiting Niagara Falls in 1836 noted meeting “a young married couple who had come to pay true homage to nature by consecrating their new happiness at this shrine.” Three years later an article entitled “A letter from the Falls of Niagara” appeared in a well-known magazine of the time. It reported, “At the present genial season, this beautiful spot is a favourite resort of lately married pairs. I have counted several cooing couples, both Canadian and American, fulfilling the fleeting period of their honey lunacy” – a hint that the term ‘honeymoon” was starting to be used in popular vocabulary. So it would seem we can date the beginning of the private, romantic journey to Niagara Falls to the late 1830s. Still, it wasn’t until affordable, convenient, safe transportation became available that trips to Niagara Falls, honeymoon or otherwise, became common. Therefore, not until the railways arrived here in the 1840s and 1850s did Niagara Falls become accessible to most people. Only then did honeymoon trips to Niagara start to become a widely accepted custom. But why did Niagara Falls become such a major magnet for honeymooners? During the last half of the 19th century in particular, a visit to see the extraordinary spectacle that is
Photo Credit: Niagara Falls Tourism / Winter Festival of Lights
Niagara was, for many people, the trip of a lifetime. Understandably, there was no more appropriate occasion for the trip of a lifetime than a wedding journey or honeymoon. Expanding on this idea, one commentator has suggested that Niagara Falls is seen as set apart from the ordinary structured world, making it an appropriate place for the transition from a single life to marriage. Is there something to this point as well? A souvenir book of 1893 suggests that the thundering falls was suitable for newlyweds because “it distracts their attention gently from one another which is a kindness and when they speak together it prevents alien ears from overhearing what they say.” While Niagara Falls is renowned as the “Honeymoon Capital,” many couples have found it to be an equally great place to be married. One of the most famous examples of Niagara’s popularity as a marriage location took place on Valentine’s Day, 2000, when some 200 couples were married in one mass wedding. Hailed as the biggest wedding party ever organized in Canada, it took place in Oakes Garden Theatre, the beautiful outdoor amphitheatre at the foot of Clifton Hill, overlooking Niagara Falls. Arranged to coincide with the opening months of the 21st century, the event was billed as the Wedding of the Millennium, The concept came from Ontario 2000, a government-sponsored committee that helped to promote millennial programs throughout the province. While it would provide a welcome boost to the local tourism industry during what was usually a down-time period, tourism officials here were committed to keeping the focus firmly on the weddings rather than the economic impact. As Niagara Falls Tourism (the agency that organized the
complex event) explained, “We are doing our best to ensure that the magic and romance of Valentine’s Day in Niagara Falls and being married here, comes true for every couple in the way they want it to come true.” There was a $100 registration fee for each couple taking part. That covered such costs as honorariums for the 21 ministers involved, administration expenses and transportation to the wedding site. Each bride received a bouquet of flowers while grooms got a boutonniere. Every couple was given a commemorative certificate and a gift bag as well as an invitation to a post-ceremony wine and cheese reception at what is now the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Widely publicized, couples from such distant points as England, Alberta and Colorado registered for the Wedding of the Millennium which promised to be a unique, exciting and memorable event. Unfortunately, on February 14, 2000, the weatherman treated Niagara Falls to a snowstorm and very cold temperatures. Nevertheless, when the starting time of 4:30 p.m. arrived, the “marital spectacle,” as one reporter styled it, proceeded as planned and was a great success. Although, as the Niagara Falls Review’s coverage of the ceremony noted, “Over white gowns, many brides wore fur coats to stay warm.” The Review’s report concluded this way: “At the ceremony’s climax, just before the heart-shaped fireworks were set off over the Horseshoe Falls, the lead minister read a poem by Elizabeth Browning entitled: How do I Love thee? Let me Count the Ways. “The answer to that question is simple: 200.”
By Victoria Gilbert
The winters in Canada bring people inside — inside intimate restaurants, inside lounges with live music, inside firelit rooms and inside steamy baths. The outdoors in wintery Ontario become a little much to take – the average temperature in Niagara in winter hangs at a chilly -1 to -4 degrees Celsius - that’s before the wind-chill factor. Brrrr. Even if you consider Valentine’s Day a massive commercial business, there is something to be said for using a day or two in the long winter months to take some extra care of oneself. If the forecast is frigid for the next while, consider taking time for a sensual experience. Niagara Falls is still considered worldwide as the Honeymoon Capital of the world with reason. Let yourself succumb to it and find out why; enjoy as a couple, or with a couple of friends, or even alone. This could be just the experience you need to warm up and chill out on those chilly nights. The winding road into Niagara-on-the-Lake follows the wide blue Niagara River. A young Marilyn Monroe once looked at that same river in the early fifties when she was starring in a film called “Niagara.” She must have thought it was beautiful because well, it is beautiful and a perfect backdrop for the beginning of your day treating yourself to some well-earned pleasure.
Left to right: The Spa, Treadwell and Il Gelato Di Carlotta
The Niagara Parkway leads you to your first destination; a lovely little spa in the centre of Historic Niagara-on the Lake. The Spa at 124 Queen on Queen Street is quiet and elegant. The massage treatments take place down the stairs which you descend with all the stress of your life lessening as you go down each step. The website of the spa boasts you will, “emerge transformed” and it is possible because their Orchard Indulgence treatment ($140/75min) is a body scrub, wrap and facial which will make you smell as divine as you feel when you’re walking up the steps, feeling as if you are levitating. Float over to the intimate restaurant, Treadwell’s (114 Queen St., Niagara-on-the-Lake), which is the best place in old town to delight your culinary senses. The menu features “farm to table cuisine” which means Chef Treadwell and his staff select locally sourced meats and vegetables for their guests. Try the Pingue Prosciutto from Niagara locals Fernando Pingue and brother Mario Jr. and pair it with a glass of crisp chardonnay from Flat Rock Cellars to celebrate this day of sheer indulgence.
Clockwise: Spyce Lounge, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Dychtiar and Modern Vision Photography Inc.), Sterling Inn & Spa and Outlet Collection Niagara
As you leave Niagara-on-the-Lake, make a stop at the new shopping centre, Outlet Collection Niagara, (300 Taylor Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake) where some lovely fashions and deals can be found at Saks OFF 5th. Big designers the likes of Stella McCartney and Versace are featured along their discount racks, with prices to make your pampered heart swoon. La Vie En Rose Entrepôt, a short walk from Saks, has lingerie for both men and women. Go ahead and splurge on some silk! It feels fantastic against the skin after that body scrub. The boutique hotel, Sterling Inn & Spa (5195 Magdalen St, Niagara Falls) has four-poster beds, in-room jacuzzies and fireplaces in most rooms, which is likely why it has been ranked Number 1 out of 127 hotels in the Niagara Falls on Trip Advisor at the time of writing. Peel off all those layers of clothing, draw yourself a bath and unwind before the night falls and it’s time to slip out into the dark for the evening portion of pampering. From the moment you enter Ruth’s Chris Steak House (6455 Fallsview Blvd., Niagara Falls), you get the feeling you’re doing something naughty. The sensual dark lighting, the booths with the thick curtain you can pull across to hide behind and the towers of seafood to share served by the very attentive and attractive wait staff, make this restaurant the choice destination for a romantic dinner in the Falls. If you’re on your own, no problem. The lounge is an ideal spot to relax and people watch.
Take a short walk from the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel and enjoy some excellent live music at Spyce Lounge (6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls). Spyce is hopping every evening with local talent and if you happen to find yourself there when the cover band Xprime is playing, you’re going to dance. A small stage is all these three handsome Niagara boys of the band require. Neil Carson on bass, Steph Mercier on guitar and Phil Taylor on drums, rock the room with great vocals and fun twists on famous Canadian bands and popular classics. The high chairs at Spyce are comfortable and easy to sit in but by the end of the night, you’ll likely find yourself on the small dance floor before the band, enlivened by their infectious energy. Before heading back to your room, walk up to the Resort Mall promenade which is connected to Spyce Lounge so you don’t even have to exit the building. All that swaying to the music has made you peckish and nothing satisfies better than a rich, decadent gelato from Il Gelato Di Carlotta’s (6380 Fallsview Boulevard, Unit #212). The sugar-free hazelnut gelato is creamy and reminiscent of the centre of a Ferrero Rocher without the calories. The sky above the Falls is clear and black; time for the best part, falling into your bed as the energy of the Honeymoon Capital of the world pulses beyond your window. What you do now is entirely up to you. Sweet dreams.
YOU’RE JUST A SHORT DRIVE AWAY FROM
Niagara-on-the-Lake Wine Country While you’re in town, plan a visit and experience the life of a winery. Nestled below the Niagara Escarpment, we’re a close-knit neighbourhood of wineries each with a unique personality. With over 20 distinctive locations to choose from and a series of Signature Events and Experiences throughout the year, it’s a good thing we’re just around the corner!
Purchase passes to our Signature Events and Experiences and gain access to over 20 unforgettable wineries
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// L I F E S T Y L E & C U L T U R E
For facts sake:
Niagara Falls trivia for inquiring minds. • Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that overlap the international borders of Canada and United States. • You are almost always guaranteed to see a rainbow if you’re on the Canadian side of the Falls. To capture this beautiful phenomenon be sure to grab your camera and visit from about noon until the sun sets. • Scientists believe that the Niagara Falls will be gone in 50,000 years due to the current rate of erosion. • The first person to see and describe Niagara Falls in depth was Father Louis Hennepin, a French priest who accompanied LaSalle on his expedition to the Niagara Region in 1678.
• Hundreds of years ago, the Niagara Escarpment split. The sediment from a vanished Lake Tonawanda formed Goat Island (after John Stedman whose goat herds froze to death in the winter of 1780). The water flow on the American Falls is much less forceful because of Goat Island. The Canadian Falls has no such obstacle. • After the water flows over the Falls into Lake Ontario, it travels to the St. Lawrence River, then out to the Atlantic Ocean. • The deepest part of Niagara River is 170ft, and it is located at the base of the Falls. • The speed of the Whirlpool Rapids can travel as fast as 30 feet per second.
• Niagara Falls is over 12,000 years old. The Falls were formed at the end of the last Ice Age, when the melting glaciers formed the Great Lakes, one of which (Erie), ran downhill towards another (Ontario). While the water rushed from one Lake to another, the Niagara River was carved out, and at one point had to rush over a large cliff (the Niagara Escarpment). As the falls eroded over time, the Niagara Gorge was formed. • The water that flows over Niagara Falls is greenish-blue, because of a combination of algae and crushed slate and shale sediment. Sometimes, after storms, which stir up dirt at the bottom of the river and the Great Lakes, the water briefly turns brown.
HOW HIGH ARE THE FALLS? HOW FAST IS THE WATER? • The Niagara River is about 58 km (36 mi) in length and is the natural outlet from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. • The elevation between the two lakes is about 99 m (326 ft), half occurring at the Falls themselves. • The total area drained by the Niagara River is approximately 684,000 sq km (264,000 sq mi). • The average fall from Lake Erie to the beginning of the upper Niagara Rapids is only 2.7 m (9 ft). • Below the Chippawa-Grass Island Pool control structure, the river falls 15 m (50 ft) to the brink of the Falls. • The Chippawa Channel is approximately 17.7 km (11 mi) in length and varies from 610 to 1220 m (2,000 to 4,000 ft) in width. Water speed ranges from 0.6 to 0.9 metres per second (mps) [2 to 3 ft per second (fps)]. This channel carries approximately 60% of the total river flow. • The Tonawanda Channel is 24 km (15 mi) long and varies from 460 to 610 m (1,500 to 2,000 ft) in width above Tonawanda Island. Downstream, the channel varies from 460 to 1220 m (1,500 to 4,000 ft) in width. Speed ranges from 0.6 to 0.9 mps (2 to 3 fps). • The Niagara Gorge extends from the Falls for 11 km (7 mi) downstream to the foot of the escarpment at Queenston.
HOW WAS THE WHIRLPOOL CREATED? • The huge volume of water rushing from the Falls is crushed into the narrow Great Gorge, creating the Whirlpool Rapids that stretch for 1.6 km (1 mi). The water surface here drops 15 m (50 ft) and the rushing waters can reach speeds as high as 9 mps (30 fps). • The Whirlpool is a basin 518 m (1,700 ft) long by 365 m (1,200 ft) wide with depths up to 38 m (125 ft). This is the elbow, where the river makes a sharp right-angled turn. • In the Whirlpool, you can see the “reversal phenomenon”. When the Niagara River is at full flow, the waters travel over the rapids and enter the pool, then travel counterclockwise around the pool past the natural outlet. Pressure builds up when the water tries to cut across itself to reach the outlet and this pressure forces the water under the incoming stream. • The swirling waters create a vortex, or whirlpool. Then the waters continue their journey to Lake Ontario. If the water flow is low (water is diverted for hydroelectric purposes after 10pm each night) the reversal does not take place; the water merely moves clockwise through the pool and passes to the outlet. Below the Whirlpool is another set of rapids, which drops approximately 12 m (40 ft).
ICE JAMS Lake Erie is the major producer of ice that flows down the Niagara River and is capable of producing 16,093 square kilometers (10,000 square miles) of ice. The ice is blown down the river and over the Falls, where it becomes caught as the river narrows near the Hornblower landing. Some of the ice is pushed back up river, which can build up to form an ice jam. Ice jams can be very erosive; ice grinds on the river bed, moves large boulders and alters the shoreline. When wind stops forcing water out of Lake Erie into the river, the water level drops leaving the ice jam aloft like a bridge.
THE ICE BRIDGE The phenomenon of the ice bridge is a familiar occurence each winter. Usually in January, a mild spell followed by a strong southwest wind breaks up the ice on Lake Erie and sends it down the Niagara River and over the Falls. The wet ice forced up out of the water below the Falls freezes into a huge mass, growing into a structure of considerable size and strength, not unlike a glacier. As shown in this photo of photographers on the ice in the 1890s, visitors to the Falls would often venture out on the ice bridge - vendors would even set up stalls to sell refreshments. Tragedy occurred in 1912, when the ice suddenly broke up and three tourists were killed. Since then going out on the ice bridge has been strictly prohibited.
WHEN THE FALLS STOPPED! When you look at the mighty Horseshoe Falls, itâ€™s difficult to imagine any force strong enough to stop this gigantic rush of water - yet it is on record that Mother Nature did stop the flow, back in 1848. In March of that year, local inhabitants, accustomed to the sound of the river, were greeted by a strange, eerie silence. Niagara had stopped! For thirty long, silent hours, the river dried up and those who were brave enough walked or rode horses over the rock floor of the channel. Then, with a roar that shook the foundations of the earth, a solid wall of water, cresting to a great height, curled down the channel and crashed over the brink of the precipice. Niagara was back in business to the immense relief of everyone. News traveled slowly in those days but the explanation finally came. High winds set the ice fields of Lake Erie in motion and millions of tons of ice became lodged at the source of the river, blocking the channel completely until finally a shift in the forces of nature released it and the pent up weight of water broke through.
THE DAY THE HONEYMOON BRIDGE COLLA P SE D By Andrew Hind
Photos from the private collection of Sherman Zavitz
The massive Honeymoon Bridge threatened to collapse into the Niagara Gorge below. Metal girders supporting the span were heaving and would soon break apart, like river ice at the spring thaw. Moments before, creeping onto the crippled structure had seemed like a harmless adventure for Douglas and Wesley Styles, aged 12 and 13. But as the bridge swayed underfoot and the metal groaned threatening, the two looked at one another aghast, eyes wide in terror. What had begun as mischievous fun now seemed like a terrible, and perhaps fatal, mistake The metal beneath them shivered and writhed again. Douglas and Wesley ran for the safety of shore. They reached the shore just as the metal bowed and buckled and then, with a thundering groan, the Honeymoon Bridge collapsed into the river below. Douglas and Wesley collapsed. They were silent, the nearness of their death bearing down on them like a crushing weight. When Douglas finally broke the awful silence, only one thing
emerged from his quivering lips: “I hope Mom doesn’t find out about this.” Mom did find out. Indeed, all of North America found out. The collapse of the Honeymoon Bridge on January 27, 1938, captured the attention of millions on both sides of the border and newspapermen, anxious for additional drama to sell the story, focused on the experiences of the Styles boys as a thrilling sidebar to what was already a thoroughly captivating story. The Honeymoon Bridge, so-called because so many newlyweds crossed from the United States on their way to romantic honeymoons in Niagara Falls, Ontario had been built forty years earlier, in 1898. It represented an engineering marvel for its day. For exactly four decades the Honeymoon Bridge dominated the profile of the Niagara River gorge looking downstream from the falls. Then, in late January, 1938, this proud pinnacle of engineering was suddenly brought crashing down by the forces of nature.
MAINTENANCE CREWS HAD BEEN HURRIEDLY SUMMONED TO THE SCENE IN A DESPERATE ATTEMPT TO SAVE THE STRUCTURE. Starting on January 25, an enormous ice jam began to develop in the Niagara River gorge immediately below the Falls. The volume of ice was exceptional, but not immediately worrying—most winters would see ice from Lake Erie gather below the Falls. But by the early hours of the 26th, people started to grow alarmed as the ice began to pile up around the pillars of the Honeymoon Bridge in quantities never seen before, putting immense strain on the steel supports. Maintenance crews had been hurriedly summoned to the scene in a desperate attempt to save the structure. They climbed down into the gorge and frantically began to clear ice away from the supports, but within a few hours it became apparent that they were fighting a losing battle; the ice was simply accumulating faster than they could remove it. Meanwhile, engineers inspecting the structure made a startling discovery: several of the support girders were already beginning to buckle under the immense stain. At 9:15 am, the decision was made to close the bridge and suspend ice-clearing efforts. The Honeymoon Bridge was left to her fate. By the next morning, the ice jam reached a height of 150 feet (45m), creating a virtual dam. Popping rivets could be heard as the bridge groaned under the strain, and everyone on shore knew that it was just a matter of time before the doomed bridge gave up the struggle and collapsed. As word of her imminent demise spread, thousands of curious spectators were drawn to the scene, braving the cold to watch the death of a landmark. Police had set up a barrier on both sides of the bridge, preventing people from getting too close. But security wasn’t tight enough to stop two adventurous boys from slipping past and onto the bridge. When asked later why they did it, Douglas and Wesley Styles answered that they had simply wanted to get a better point of view from which to take pictures of the spectacular ice formations in the gorge below. The best spot, they decided, was from the bridge itself. The structure still seemed safe enough. What was the harm? So they snuck past the guards and brazenly ventured out onto the dying structure. Then rivets popped like gunshots, metal groaned, and the ground shifted underfoot. The bridge trembled as the ice literally pushed it off its footings on the American side. They had just reached shore when the bridge behind them, starting from the centre, began to collapse. From the time the bridge was pushed off its footings to the moment of its collapse took no more than ten seconds. The time was 4:20.
Hearts pounding, oblivious to the mayhem of excited onlookers around them, the boys peered over the edge of the gorge. The bridge lay in a crumpled heap in the frozen river, awkwardly twisted, broken in four main sections. What just days before was an engineering marvel was now little more than a mass of twisted steel and wood. Newspapers across Canada and the United States flashed the story of the bridge’s demise on front pages. One of the papers with a correspondent on hand was the Niagara Falls Review. It recorded the death of the bridge in dramatic fashion: “With startling suddenness, and what sounded like a weary groan, the mighty structure sagged and fell into the gorge. There was not a great deal of noise as the 2600 tons of steel and 300 tons of wood, which comprised the framework and floor of the bridge, sank to rest, and onlookers scarcely believed their eyes as they saw the destruction of the once proud span which now lies in the shape of a great twisted W on the ice bridge.” The following Sunday, Niagara Falls experienced one of the busiest days in its history up to that point as thousands came from as far away as New York City to view the remains of the bridge lying shattered and broken below. Some simply couldn’t believe this landmark was gone.
Engineers were worried that the mass would cause an obstruction in the river, and it was deemed prudent to break it up into smaller pieces. Rather than the painstaking process of cutting it up, dynamite was used to break the wreckage into six pieces. The plan was practical, but not well thought through; the concussion from the blast shattered windows throughout Niagara Falls, causing around $10,000 worth of damage. The remains of the Honeymoon Bridge lay on the ice until the April thaw. On the 12th, the ice bridge began to break up and the debris slipped from sight under the water where it had fallen. Planning began almost immediately after for a new bridge to link Niagara Falls, Ontario, with Niagara Falls, New York, though it was
decided to move it five hundred feet further downriver. On June 7, 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the parents of the current ruling monarch, Elizabeth II, cut the ribbon on this site during a brief ceremony. Ground was officially broken for the construction of what became the Rainbow Bridge on May 4, 1940. Thousands of tourists, honeymooners among them, continue to come to Niagara Falls via this new bridge every year. Most are blissfully unaware of the drama that accompanied the previous bridgeâ€™s final dying moments. The collapse of the Honeymoon Bridge remains one of the most spectacular demonstrations of the destructive power of the Falls, reminding us of the fragility of even the best human engineering in the face of natureâ€™s fury.
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BY ANDREW HIND
BURIED HISTORY N
iagara-on-the-Lake is rich in history. It lies in every building, down every street, and at the end of every country lane. While much of this history is on full display for tourists to see, some of it is almost hidden from view, requiring some effort to unearth. Such is the case with Butler’s Burial Ground, a rarely visited cemetery in an area of Niagara-on-the-Lake that tourists don’t often frequent. Butler’s Burial Ground isn’t scenic, but there’s a distinct sense of history there. Indeed, it’s one of the most historically significant locations in all of Niagara. This significance begins with the man after whom it was named: Lieutenant-Colonel John Butler. >>
Editorial credit: Prusova Aleksandra / Shutterstock.com
SADLY, HE LOST IT ALL—HIS HOME, HIS LANDS, AND HIS WEALTH—AS A RESULT OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AND HIS DECISION TO REMAIN LOYAL TO KING AND COUNTRY. John Butler, the man credited with founding Niagara-on-the-Lake, was a man of contradictions. Rarely has there been a soldier as loved and hated at the same time. To Canadians he was a hero, a patriot who fought bravely and with notable success on behalf of the British Crown during the American Revolution. To people south of the border he was a traitor, a man who turned his back on his country and as the head of his Rangers sought to suppress the rebellion. The real John Butler is probably somewhere in between. Butler was born in New London, Connecticut in 1728, the son of Lieutenant Walter Butler and Deborah Dennis. While still a young child, his family moved to the Mohawk River Valley of New York State, which was then the frontier of colonial America. John was raised during the turbulent years of the French and Indian Wars, and entered into service with the British Indian Department with which he saw action in several battles. Eventually, Butler amassed an estate of 26,600 acres, making him one of the wealthiest men in the Mohawk Valley. Sadly, he lost it
all—his home, his lands, and his wealth—as a result of the American Revolution and his decision to remain loyal to King and Country. He once again volunteered his services to the Indian Department and led a force of Natives to victory at the Battle of Oriskany in New York on August 6, 1777. This success led British commanders to urge Butler to raise an elite corps of Rangers to serve alongside the Natives and fight in their style. This unit came to be known as Butler’s Rangers. A pattern of bloody campaigns along the frontier followed, with the Rangers emerging from the darkened depths of the forest to put villages to the torch, destroy crops, defeat rebel forces, and instill in the enemy populace a crippling terror. Butler’s Rangers became so notorious for their ruthlessness that when the conflict ended with an American victory there was little hope of reconciliation between former enemies. The Rangers could never return home. So, they packed up their families and headed for British protection in Niagara to establish new lives. Butler was a towering figure in the refugee community. He served as Justice of the Peace, member of the Land Board of Niagara,
commander of the Nassau and Lincoln county militia, leader of the Church of England, and a member of the local Masonic Lodge. He was so prominent and highly regarded that the young village of Niagara-on-the-Lake was originally named Butlersburg in his honour. Butler died on May 12, 1796, after a long illness. He was buried on a family cemetery on the corner of his farm, known today as Butler’s Burial Ground, alongside family and at least four other Rangers. After Butler, Rolfe Clench is perhaps the most noteworthy figure. Born in Pennsylvania in 1762, he served as a lieutenant in the Rangers under John Butler. After the war, he settled in Niagara-on-the-Lake where he served in a number of prominent positions, including town clerk, judge of the Surrogate Court, and member of Provincial Legislation. Upon his death in 1828 he was initially buried at Butler’s Burial Ground. Later, however, his will was uncovered and clearly specified that he wished to be buried beside his daughter, Eweratta, who died in 1797 and was buried at St. Mark’s Cemetery. As per his wishes, Clench’s body was disinterred and removed to St. Marks to rest forever alongside his beloved little girl.
And then there was William Claus, who in the 1790s had a stone crypt built to hold his remains and those of his family and who may have been a Ranger as well. Claus spent his career in the Indian Department, rising to the rank of deputy superintendent during the War of 1812. Though he was a prominent and respected citizen of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Claus abused his position of authority among the natives to line his pockets with gold. At the time, members of the First Nations of Upper Canada were forbidden to sell their property without first consulting his department. Claus was known to have profited largely on bribes from prospective owners, since he had the final say in any proposed sale. He died in 1826 and was buried in the vault. His home, The Wilderness, still stands at 407 King Street. Butler’s Burial Ground isn’t just a place where former soldiers are laid to rest: it was also a battlefield. During the War of 1812 a skirmish took place on the Butler Farm—land that today encompasses the cemetery and the subdivision that backs onto it. The Action at Butler’s Farm, as the skirmish is generally known, took place on July 8, 1813. On that day, an outpost of the American army encamped near Fort George was ambushed and defeated here by a band of Six Nations and Western Natives led by Chiefs John Norton and Blackbird, and Indian Department interpreters Michel Brisebois, Louis Longlade, and Barnet Lyons. Lieutenant Samuel Eldridge and 22 soldiers of the 13th United States Infantry were killed during the engagement and another dozen taken prisoner. A century later, the cemetery was abandoned, neglected and almost forgotten. The fences around the burial ground had rotted away, the plots were overgrown, and cattle were allowed to roam between the graves. Most headstones were broken or lost. Even John Butler’s headstone could no longer be found. The crypt belonging to the Claus family had been partially destroyed by a large tree that had fallen onto it, leaving the interior open to the elements. Vandals would break into the crypt and scatter bones. While the cemetery was never truly restored, efforts were made to prevent further vandalism. The crypt was initially sealed with an iron grilled gate, but vandals kept breaking in despite this precaution so a steel plate was welded in place over the entrance. Eventually, the entire crypt was buried in sand. More than the vault is buried beneath the knoll at Butler’s Burial Ground. Dig deep and you’ll strike any number of secrets and historical stories, each one reflecting the early years of Niagara and indeed our nation. There are no grave markers today, but with a bit of historical knowledge it’s easy to imagine the early decades of Niagara-on-the-Lake when Lieutenant-Colonel John Butler and his Rangers settled the region. TM Butler’s Burial Ground lies at the end of Butler Street (southwest of Butler Street and John Street intersection)
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OUT & ABOUT
Events happening this winter throughout Niagara
Winter Festival of Lights
Niagara Falls Winter Fireworks
The Show Must Go On
Experience some of the magic that the holiday season brings when you visit this beautiful festival. The eight-kilometre route travels through beautiful landscapes across Niagara, including Dufferin Islands and Niagara Parks. Observe as the lights turn iconic landmarks into beautiful winter wonderlands of snow and 3-Dimensinal displays! Along with the beautiful light displays, the festival features several events for the whole family to enjoy.
As you enjoy the Winter Festival of Lights, keep in mind there’s more to the festival than the light displays! Look into the sky for beautiful firework displays nightly December 22 to Dec 30 and each Friday starting at 9 pm. Bring the family out or snuggle up with a loved one and watch as the fireworks light up the sky.
Back by popular demand, take a trip back in time to the good old carnival days with this amazing show! Enjoy a delicious family style meal, as you take in this musical featuring iconic pieces from Queen, The Jackson 5, Aretha franklin and more! You don’t want to miss this high-energy, toe-tapping experience packed with love, lust and, of course, music!
November 3 – January 31 Queen Victoria Park
For more information visit www.wfol.com
November 3 – January 5 Niagara Parks Queen Victoria Park
For more information visit www.wfol.com/niagara-falls-fireworks/
December 28 – January 26 Oh Canada Eh
For more information visit www.ohcanadaeh.com/shows/
New Year’s Gala & Comedy Show
New Year’s Eve Dinner and Dance
Niagara Icewine Gala
If you’re looking for something fun, then this gala and comedy show is it! Enjoy a delicious five-course dinner, drinks, and time with some amazing people when you check out this fun New Year’s Eve event. Once you’ve enjoyed your food, the comedy show, headlined by Frank Spadone, will have you laughing until your side hurts. Tickets are $225 each and include dinner, drinks and the comedy show.
The annual Hilton New Year’s Eve Dinner and Dance is the place to be if you’re looking to have fun with your friends and meet other amazing people in the Niagara area as you ring in 2019! Enjoy a four-course meal, champagne, a late night buffet and live music from Blush as you party your way into the New Year.
Celebrate the deliciousness that is wine with Niagara’s 24th Annual Icewine Gala. Over 35 wineries will invite you to experience their award-winning icewines, late harvest, sparkling, premium red and refreshing white whines. Niagara Casinos’ top chefs will also be there to pair each delicious beverage with a beautiful dish. Enjoy a night of dancing, dinner and wine when you attend this all-inclusive black tie affair!
December 31 Ruth’s Chris Steak House
For tickets and more information visit www.ruthsevents.com/products/ new-years-eve-gala-comedy-show
January 31 – February 28 Cairns Recital Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Being a recent grad is difficult, no matter what field you’re graduating from. The Permanent Vacation exhibit was formed by an art collective of the same name to help deal with the hardships of being a recent grad plunged into a world saturated by art, and to inspire them to continue on their creative paths. Brock Music alumni Grace Notes Quartet and Kurt Dunn will be performing throughout the events. For more information visit www.experiencebu.brocku.ca/event/65850
December 31 Hilton Hotel and Suites
For tickets and more information visit www.niagarafallstourism.com/events/hilton-nye/
January 11 Fallsview Casino Resort
For more information visit www.niagarawinefestival.com/icewine-gala
Family Fun Day at the Museum
Best known for his upbeat jazz numbers, singer and songwriter Kurt Elling will be performing at the Fallsview Casino. Enjoy this Valentine’s Day with your spouse or group of friends, listening to his unique musical pieces, while humming along to his biggest hits. To purchase tickets or attend this event you must be 19 or older with a valid government ID.
Enjoy Family Day exploring biodiversity and habitat conservation at the Museum. The Earth Rangers will have shows at 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm, displaying a unique encounter with their animal ambassadors that will leave you wanting to help animals in their natural habitats. They will also have scavenger hunts and crafts. You can also stroll through the artefact galleries exploring Niagara’s history and get free family portraits!
February 14 Fallsview Casino Resort
For tickets and more information visit www.niagarafallstourism.com/events/ kurt-elling/
February 18 Niagara Falls History Museum
For more information visit www.niagarafallsmuseums.ca/events/calendar
I Tenori Niagara Falls
March Break at The Museum
Cuvee Grand Tasting 2019
I Tenori brings new meaning to tenor vocals! This group of three unique tenor vocalists has received standing ovations in hundreds of theatres across the globe. Returning exclusively to Fallsview Casino for these performances, they’ll be sure to leave you with chills as you take in their magical renditions of It’s a Man’s World, Amazing Grace, Unchained Melody and more!
Spend March break getting to know our scaly friends across the globe through our Amazing Rainforest Reptiles, Giant Creatures Reptiles, Australian Outback Reptiles and the Hungry Reptiles Feeding Frenzy Shows! Everyday, Reptile Kingdom will bring new and exciting reptiles in for the March Break party. Show times are at 11 am and 1 pm from March 12–15. Afterwards, journey through the museum, embark on a scavenger hunt and end the day off with a movie at 3pm.
Celebrate the slice of perfection that is Ontario Wine Making with the Cuvee Grand Tasting. Hosted by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), guests will gave the opportunity to taste wines specially selected by each winemaker. Don’t forget to pair your wine selection with a delicious sample from the guest chefs throughout the event.
February 20 – 24 Fallsview Casino
For tickets and more information visit www.cliftonhill.com/events/ fallsview-casino-itenori
March 12 – 15 Niagara Falls History Museum
For more information visit www.niagarafallsmuseums.ca/events/calendarri
March 22 Scotiabank Convention Centre
For tickets and more information visit www.niagarafallstourism.com/events/ cuvee-grand-tasting-2019/ TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 55
FOR THINKERS, EXPLORERS AND THRILL SEEKERS.
N I A G A R A’ S
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 offers tourists no shortage of wonders to behold, and fun to be had. From our plentiful nature trails to the crazy Clifton Hill, here we’ve compiled a short list of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, for you to cross off and make Niagara your playground.
JOURNEY B E H I N D T H E FA L L S Travel through the tunnels behind Niagara Falls for a unique perspective. Located at 6650 Niagara Parkway. More info at niagaraparks.com >>
Editorial Credit: oneinchpunch / Shutterstock.com
N I AGA R A HELICOPTERS Take a thrilling ride over the Falls! Located at 3731 Victoria Ave. More info at niagarahelicopters.com.
N I AGA R A S KY W H E E L Youâ€™ll get a most unique view of Niagara Falls from this giant ferris wheel. Located on Clifton Hill. More info at cliftonhill.com
M YST E RY M A Z E Have a fun adventure in the Mystery Maze and see how long it takes you to find your way out! More info at falls. com Located at 4943 Clifton Hill. >>
INDOOR FUN G R E G F R E W I N T H E AT R E Check out a show by the best magician in the world! Enjoy dinner while you watch the show. Located at 5781 Ellen Ave. More info at gregfrewintheatre.com
S KY LO N TOW E R
Editorial Credit: Kotsovolos Panagiotis / Shutterstock.com
Enjoy the ride to the top and the indoor and outdoor observation decks. Also view the 3D/4D movie, The Falls. More info at skylon.com Located at 5200 Robinson Street.
Photo by: Mike Farkas
B U T T E R F LY C O N S E RVATO RY Thousands of colourful butterflies float around in this rainforest setting. Located right on the Niagara Parkway. More info at niagaraparks.com
T H E C RYSTA L CAV E : A MIRROR MAZE A DV E N T U R E Get lost in a maze of mirrors, but make sure you don’t end up lost… forever! Located at 4967 Clifton Hill. More info at crystalcaves.ca >> TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 59
WAV E S I N D O O R WAT E R PA R K Enjoy a wave pool, slides, hot tubs and more. Located at 8444 Lundy’s Lane. More info at americananiagara.com
RIPLEY’S B E L I E V E I T O R N OT ! This museum of the absurd has over 700 exhibits of various oddities, curiosities and illusions. Located at 4960 Clifton Hill. More info at ripleysniagara.com
LO U I S T U S SAU D’ S WA X WO R K S You will get to view an impressive collection of famous faces with some new addition for 2013. Located at 5709 Victoria Ave. More info at ripleysniagara.com
R I P L E Y ’ S M OV I N G T H E AT R E This state of the art simulator ride will take you on the ultimate adventure. Located at 4960 Clifton Hill. More info at ripleysniagara.com >>
BIRD KINGDOM You’ll see tons of different birds during a visit to this free flying aviary. Located at 5651 River Road. More info at birdkingdom.com
Filled with abominations that move and scare at every chance they get. Have a good scare from monsters lurk in the House of Frankenstein. Located at 4967 Clifton Hill. More info at houseofrankenstein.ca
Editorial Credit: GagliardiImages /Shutterstock.com
THE HOUSE OF F R A N K E N ST E I N
HAUNTED HOUSES T H E H AU N T E D H O U S E
Test your bravery, challenge your nerves, and try to take a walk along the darker side of Clifton Hill. Located at 4943 Clifton Hill. More info at falls.com N I G H T M A R E S F E A R FAC TO RY
One of the scariest haunted houses in the area, boasting over 140,000 people who’ve chickened out so far…will you be one of them? Located at 5631 Victoria Ave. More info at nightmaresfearfactory.com
S C R E A M I N G T U N N E L S H AU N T E D P L AYG R O U N D S & H AU N T E D ASY LU M
Named after Niagara Region’s own real-life Screaming Tunnels, this haunted house features many deadly monsters, killer clowns and some of Hollywood’s most notorious slashers. Located at 5930 Victoria Ave.
N I AGA R A’ S H AU N T E D H A L LWAYS
One of Niagara’s newest and spookiest haunted houses. See if you have the stomach to make it through. Located at 6455 Fallsview Blvd. More info at niagarafallsfunzone.com >>
D R AC U L A’ S H AU N T E D CAST L E
Recent winner of “Haunted Attraction of the Year”, there are 3 levels of fear for you to explore. Located at 4933 Clifton Hill. More info at darkinthepark.com
THE ACTIVE TRAVELLER
C R O S S C O U N T RY S K I I N G / S N OW S H O E I N G 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.
WHERE TO GO:
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING & SNOWSHOEING
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 predetermined 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.
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.
SHORT HILLS PROVINCIAL PARK 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.
GREATER NIAGARA CIRCLE ROUTE 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. >>
BALL’S FALLS SNOWSHOEING 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.
NIAGARA RIVER PARKWAY TRAIL CROSS COUNTRY SKIING & SNOWSHOEING This is a beautiful 56-kilometre bike path that links Niagara-on-theLake 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 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. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 63
U P S I D E D OW N H O U S E Defy gravity and explore the topsy turvy upside down house! Fun for the whole family. upsidedownhouseniagarafalls.ca
CA P TA I N JAC K ’ S P I R AT E C OV E
Enjoy 40,000 square feet of fun! Arcades, rides, mini golf and more. Located at 4955 Clifton Hill. More info at piratescoveniagarafalls.com
W E L L A N D CA N A L C E N T R E Learn all about the region’s marine history and watch as ships make their way through the canal. Located at 1932 Welland Canal Parkway, St. Catharines. More info at stcatharines.ca
L AS E R TAG
N I AGA R A I M A X
If you want to feel like a kid again (or if you have kids you need to entertain), why not sign up for an 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 is to: be the last man or team standing.
Take in the movie Niagara: Miracles, Myths & Magic and also check out the daredevil museum. Located at 6170 Fallsview Blvd. More info at imaxniagara.com
B R O N TO’ S A DV E N T U R E P L AY L A N D Clifton Hill’s newest and biggest outdoor/indoor attraction. Ballcity, jungle gym and more. Located at 4943 Clifton Hill. More info at falls.com
Z A P ZO N E N I AGA R A This place is located in downtown Niagara Falls, and the game 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
N I AGA R A FA L L S F U N ZO N E 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
C L I F TO N H I L L 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.
G U I N N E S S WO R L D RECORDS MUSEUM Meet the world’s record setters for everything you can imagine! Located at 4943 Clifton Hill. More info at falls.com
THE FUN HOUSE This is Niagara’s only fun house! You’ll be climbing, crawling and more! More info at falls.com Located at 4943 Clifton Hill.
O H CA N A DA E H Enjoy some dinner theatre and sing along with a huge cast of Canadian characters. Located on Lundy’s Lane. More info at ohcanadaeh.com
FA L L S V I E W I N D O O R WAT E R PA R K Canada’s largest entertainment resort with 16 slides, hot tubs, wave pool and more. Located at 5685 Falls Avenue. More info at fallsviewwaterpark.com
ROCK LEGENDS Enjoy wax figures of the best in the music industry. Located at 5020 Centre Street. More info at rocklegendswaxmuseum.com
N I AGA R A F R E E FA L L I N D O O R S KY D I V I N G Defy gravity! Try a high-flying indoor skydiving adventure. Located at 6357 Stanley Ave. More info at niagarafreefall.com >> TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 65
Fear less. Experience flight without feathers
I-800-263-7073 SEARCH: WILDPLAY NIAGARA FALLS
By Gabrielle Tieman-Lee
That telltale frosty air and crisp smell of snow have returned as fast as summer departed. Winter is not just coming; it has arrived. And though the cold winter months beg for us to cozy up with a book and stay indoors, winter is, undo to popular belief, a beautiful time of year to be outside. The Niagara Region is overflowing with tobogganing hills, skating rinks and beautiful outdoor trails that are calling to be filled with sled tracks, boot prints, snowmen and forts. Skating and tobogganing are fun for both kids and nostalgia-seeking adults. They are also both a great way to sneak in some cardio during hibernation season. So, unpack those thermal pants, wrap your faces in scarves and bundle up your kids in layers [for warmth and extra padding] and venture out to rediscover your love for winter within your own backyard.
Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery | Niagara-on-the-Lake A tribute to the winery and distillery’s namesake, the Niagara-on-theLake hot spot has opened a seasonal skating rink amongst the winery’s acres of grapes. The Great One’s rink spans five thousand square feet and doubles as a reflecting pond during the summer months. After a skate, you can warm up on the heated Whiskey Bar Patio with a whiskey-inspired hot beverage, a cocktail, or a glass of wine. Skating admission is $5 dollars per person. Guests can bring their own skates or rent a pair for $10 dollars, plus taxes.
Fort George National Historic Site | Niagara-on-the-Lake In partnership with Vintage Hotels, Parks Canada’s newest outdoor skating rink, located in the grounds of the Fort George National Historic Site, is the only one of its kind in all of Parks Canada. This free skating rink was constructed to encourage Canadians to get outside and experience the great outdoors in the winter, whether it is on the ice or enjoying hot chocolate around the supplied fire pits. Skates are available for rent and snacks and beverages for purchase. Civic Square Skating Rink | Welland This free skating rink is open to the public from December to March [weather pending]. Located on Main Street in Welland, this rink is family friendly and all ages are encouraged to come and enjoy the ice. Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery | St. Davids The family owned and operated winery and restaurant converts its beautiful back yard into a public skating rink each year for kids and adults of all ages. This free rink is the perfect weekend activity for those who wish to leisurely skate or take part in a game of pick up hockey, which is known to take over the rink on weekends and welcomes all levels of player. Indoor Public Skating | Various Locations Public skating nights are a great active option for those blistery winter days where you just can’t brave the cold air to make it to the outdoor rink. Arenas throughout the region offer public skating nights on a variety of evenings for all ages to enjoy the ice. Pay as you skate options are available upon entry. Skating pass booklets, clip cards and group passes can also be purchased at a number of arenas and at city halls throughout the region for a lump sum, an inexpensive onetime fee for those who wish to take advantage of the public skating hours more than once throughout the season. Chippawa Park | 128 Fitch Street, Welland This all-seasons park is a favourite amongst the locals for tobogganing and outdoor skating. The carefully manicured space with plenty of openair features gentle hills perfect for all ages, as well as a steep hill for the daredevils. In the winter months, the Chippawa Park Pond and water feature adjacent to the public parking lot is also converted into a free ice rink. Stamford Collegiate High School | 5775 Drummond Road, Niagara Falls Located adjacent to the High School, this steep hill is ideal for high-speed tobogganer. The hill allows sliders to race directly down into the football field, away from any traffic or vehicles. Parking is also available on the school property.
FH Leslie Park | 5250 Valley Way, Niagara Falls This petite hill is ideal for smaller children and adults who want to introduce their kids to the winter activity. Located inside a residential neighbourhood of Niagara Falls, this community park’s hill offers a very low incline and slow speeds for smaller children. The park also features free parking, restrooms and a seasonal playground. Burgoyne Woods Park | 30 Edgedale Road, St. Catharines Burgoyne Woods Park is one of the most popular areas for winter tobogganing in the St. Catharines area. With a variety of hills which range in height and slope, this park can cater to every daredevil. Located in the neighbourhood of Old Glenridge in south St. Catharines, the 122-acre municipal park also features parking in select areas and both paved and maintained seasonal trails, available for snow-shoeing in the right weather conditions. Welland Canal Lock 7 Hill | Thorold This lesser known hill located adjacent to the Welland Canal’s Lock 7, found near the intersection of Glendale Avenue and the Welland Canal Parkway, is the best kept secret amongst tobogganers in the region. This very steep hill creates the perfect conditions for high speed racing to the bottom. The walk back up to the top is no small task, but the slide to the bottom definitely makes it worthwhile. Jaycee Gardens Park | 543 Ontario Street, St. Catharines This beautiful water adjacent park offers a number of sloping hills which cater to all levels. Parking is available, but at a short walking distance away. HH Knoll Lakeview Park | Port Colborne Located downtown Port Colborne on Sugarloaf Street at Elm Street, H.H. Knoll Lakeview Park is one of Port Colborne’s most beautiful waterfront parks. The park offers two modest sledding hills which cater to younger tobogganers. Marlene Stewart Streit Park | 55 Park Lane, Fonthill Located by the corner of Pelham Street and Highway 20 in Fonthill, this park is a favourite amongst sledders. Though the park advises to sled at your own risk, the numerous hills cater to all ages. The park also features a number of trails that cater to snow-shoers with the right amount of snowfall.
Photo courtesy: LesPalenik / Shutterstock.com
YOU CAN’T HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER:
By Jill Tham
Sentineal Carriages has been providing romantic carriage rides around the old town of Niagara-on-the-Lake for almost 30 years. And as the Frank Sinatra song goes, “Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage,” Sentineal Carriages is accredited and has been a part of thousands of romantic moments. “We cater to 80 weddings a year and we assist with a lot of wedding proposals and anniversaires,” says Laura Sentineal, co-owner of Sentineal Carriages. “The proposals are always exciting,” says Sentineal. “The men want their proposal to be perfect. I tell them all they have to do is get the ring and pop the question.” Catering to requests is something that Sentineal and her team of handlers excel at. “I always joke we will do anything as long as it is safe and not illegal,” says Sentineal. “We had a groom who wanted to give his bride a fairytale proposal. He rode up the stairs at Oakes Garden Theatre wearing a suit of armour on one of our white horses, flipped up his visor and proposed,” says Sentineal. “That is one I won’t forget.” Laura Sentineal grew up in a condominium with little space to run and play. “Being on the farm was so novel and I loved the horses,” she said, adding that providing horse-drawn carriage rides is something the family just fell into. “My husband, Fred, was born and raised on a horse farm in Niagara-on-the-Lake and he has always had a natural ability for working with horses. When he was in high school, the family purchased a carriage and he started providing transportation to weddings for friends and family,” explains Sentineal. “This went on for several years and then we started getting calls from the Pillar and Post Inn, who was trying to get brides interested in weddings in Niagara-on-the-Lake,” says Sentineal. Enjoying the carriages made it an easy decision for the couple to leave their day jobs and focus on raising their three children and taking on a business with 20 horses. “We receive so much positive feedback,” says Sentineal. “Regardless of the occasion we are with them at their best,” says Sentineal. “As a business model, it is a great place to start. They are already celebrating and happy,” says Sentineal. Sentineal and her team work around the clock to ensure top care of their horses. “You don’t lock the door at night. The horses’ care comes before everything,” says Sentineal. “We have been on vacation and had to come back: they are the number one priority.” Horses are acquired by many sources including some that otherwise would have been sold for meat.“It is nice to find a horse and give him his life back and provide a home and a
job,” says Sentineal. “Heavy horses are bred for work and studies show that if they are not working it affects them physically and mentally,” says Sentineal who carefully pairs the horses with a handler. “Our horses and their drivers become a team and rely on each other,” says Sentineal. “People would understand that it is a mutually beneficial relationship.” Sentineal thoroughly enjoys creating special moments for clients. There are more than just weddings and tours on the carriages. “We have had little girls who want to be Cinderella and centurions that still remember a time when they went to church in a horse and buggy,” says Sentineal who provides complimentary rides to local senior’s homes. Over the years, the business has expanded beyond weddings to include a wide variety of services including: weddings, historical tours, sightseeing, parties, anniversaries, first dates, Shaw Theatre packages, parades, corporate events, bus tours, special events, and funerals. At times, Sentineal Carriages receives calls for movies. Most recently the retired horses have appeared in television shows and movies such as Pompeii, Murdoch Mysteries, and American Gods. The Sentineal family recently had their own romantic and memorable moment. “In the fall, our oldest daughter was married. The carriages took us to the ceremony. The bridesmaids were in front of us and it was a special time for my husband and I to share with her,” explains Sentineal. “On the way back from the ceremony the ten members of the bridal party rode in the wagonette through the town. People were waving and cheering. it was really fun because it was my first time on the other side of the equation.” Sentineal Carriages has been a crowd favourite among all ages in the historical town of Niagara-on-the-Lake since 1989. The smiles and memories the horses bring to visitors and local residents are invaluable. As Ol’ Blue Eyes sang, “you can’t have one without the other.” TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 69
LiveWinter Like theEdition Locals By Victoria Gilbert Canadians are polite, kind and sweet. This lovely stereotype pleases most of us Canadians because well, we are nice aren’t we, eh? Another handle we Canadians should have on the world stage is our HEARTINESS. Our winters are cold. There are days in January and February where going outside is a mental battle with the elements for even the toughest among us. We pull down our tuques and layer our clothing and make the most out of the five cold months of winter. Our fun and friendly natures don’t freeze on the coldest nights. In fact, the colder it gets, the greater the excuse to snuggle up closer at a cozy local pub or pump your legs faster on an outdoor rink under the stars. The locals have mastered the art of enjoying winter and so can you.
“Baby, it’s cold outside,” but Niagara’s got you covered. So pull down that hat, pull up those long johns and explore all this region has to offer.
The Olde Angel Inn 224 Regent Street, Niagara-On-The-Lake | angel-inn.com This traditional English pub right in the centre of old town is a perennial favourite among locals and tourists alike. The Angel Inn’s website boasts “great food, historic accommodations and good friends await you here at Ontario’s oldest operating inn.” A Union Jack waves in the breeze above the entrance to the Angel and beckons visitors with a style of Niagara’s past. The pub was established in 1789 and rebuilt in 1815 after the War of 1812. Sit up at the bar, like the locals do and ask people about the place with no hesitation — Niagara-on-theLake has recently been ranked “Canada’s friendliest town” by Expedia.ca’s annual list of the Friendliest Communities and Towns in Canada. So, while you drink your beer (try a local one: Oast House or Silversmith) and munch down on a huge portion of Bangers and Mash, while you chat about the ghost who lives there (his name is Captain Colin Swayze) or about the War of 1812, which some people still argue about to this day: was it a war or a battle? Most locals are very proud and very knowledgeable about their town and will be happy to talk battles and ghosts with visitors who are interested. The Angel boasts an all-local wine list and a number of local beers, including their own IPA brew, “Angel Inn Lager” which you can sip over live music on Fridays & Saturdays, 9:30pm – 12:30am year round.
The Butterfly Conservatory 2565 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls | Open Mon-Fri: 10am-5pm niagaraparks.com/butterfly-conservatory When it’s -20 outside, there’s no better place to escape the cold than where the butterflies live, as I was told by a local, many years ago. This remains true to this day. Trick the winter and check your coat and that extra sweater at the entrance to the home of the butterflies because it’s always warm and tropical inside. Iridescent blue, yellow and orange wings mingle with 45 species in this tropical, bright space of meditative waterfalls and dreamy fluttering beings. An ideal spot for a romantic date, or for families with kids, who are all thrilled when a winged creature lands delicately on their shoulder or hand. Managed by Niagara Parks Commission, The Butterfly Conservatory participates in the Adventure Pass program which includes many other Niagara attractions and can be purchased for $65 on their website: www.niagaraparks.com. An annual pass for the conservatory is also available and is ideal for residents for unlimited visits over the course of a year. Or to simply enter, the price is reasonable for the experience which lasts about two hours: $15/adults, $9.75/kids 6 and over. Kids under 6 are free. Photos courtesy of Niagara Parks.
Skating Rink at Fort George National Historic Site 51 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake visitniagaracanada.com/do/skating-rink-at-fort-george-national-historic-site/ The 120-foot-by-60-foot rink next to Historic Fort George harkens back to a time of simplicity and innocence. Parks Canada partnered with local hotel giant, Vintage Hotels, to bring this magical outdoor skating rink to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Strung lights, music, hay bales to sit on to tie up skate laces, and hot chocolate under the stars is what this gem of a skating rink offers visitors. The rink is rarely busy and the parking lot next door is convenient and free. Could skating this rink next to Fort George be one of the most “Canadian” experiences a visitor could have? Yes, it most certainly could be. Make sure to check the website to see when the rink is open and be sure to catch some night skating for a wonderful way to enjoy cold winter nights in the region. Cost to skate: free. Skates: rentals available at the “Agora” or the beautifully-designed modern building adjacent to the rink. Copyright, Parks Canada Agency.
The Bench Brewing Company 3991 King Street, Beamsville | Open daily 11am-9pm | benchbrewing.com This large, new brewery opened in 2018 and has already attracted locals and visitors who are increasingly curious about craft beers and what this region can offer. Built within an old school house dating from 1944, the founder Matt Giffen, managed a fantastic retrofit which gives this brewery a modern and sexy vibe and maintains the history of the building. If you are a fan of interesting and new styles of beer, you will delight in the tasting menu The Bench provides and if you are a newbie to IPAs, Farmhouse Ales, Dry Hopped Sours, don’t fret. The flights of beer divided by styles are a phenomenal way to try something new. Even if the famous fruit trees of the Niagara region are dormant in the winter, taste them anyway in The Bench beers fermented from local fruits such as the “Cherry, Plum and Peach Grove Mixed Fermentation Ales on Fruit.” The Kitchen at the Brewery has sublime tasting portions that are well presented and delicious. Creamy smoked baked beans, steamed pork and ginger dumplings, or baked Moroccan style chicken wings pair with the types of beers which appeal to you most: Community Range, Grover Series or Funk Beer. Photos courtesy of Bench Brewing Company.
Humble, Bold,Hands-On De Simone Winery
By Victoria Gilbert
865 Niagara Stone Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake | 905-684-1547 | desimonevineyards.com
Winemaker and Owner: Vincenzo Robert De Simone
“It all started with a dream and a shovel”. Blue flames and illuminated barrels flanking golden initials, DV, are the first things you see upon entering the stylish retail store at De Simone Vineyards in Niagara-on-The-Lake. Vincenzo Robert De Simone, the Owner, Winemaker, Vineyard Manager and decorator of Niagara’s newest winery, will greet you warmly and offer to pour one of his excellent reserve and estate wines. “My father and I planted it all by hand, with a shovel,” Vincenzo says of the eight acres of vineyard. Working with his hands comes naturally to Vincenzo, who grew up on his family’s fruit farm, now the site of the De Simone Vineyards Winery. His intimate knowledge of the land and his training at Niagara College, as well as work experience at wineries in the region for over a decade, prepared him for his destiny: opening a winery where all the grapes were grown by Vincenzo himself. “I have complete control from the vineyard to that bottle of wine. Everything is hand picked, and hand-sorted. We are very keen on quality. All of our wines are VQA, which guarantees our customers we are producing quality wine.” Having such control over every detail is part of what is special about this intimate boutique winery. “The grapes we use are from our vineyard only. It classifies all of our wines as reserve and estate wine, which are higher end wines,” says Vincenzo proudly. At 27 years of age, Vincenzo is part of a generation that is more vocal and knowledgeable than ever about chemicals in what we eat and drink. Instead of spraying herbicides to kill the weeds, he covers them with dirt in a process he calls “Hilling up and hilling down,” where a tractor, suited with a special tool, constantly works the soil and suffocates the weeds. “It’s really a natural method and I honestly wish more farmers would do that here,” says Vincenzo. “The reason we only use our own grapes is because we do NOT use herbicides in our vineyard. We know herbicides are cancerous and actually end up in the wine. The older you get, the wiser you get and me being a younger person, I feel that is where the younger generation
is learning. We don’t want chemicals in our foods and wines. I want people to feel safe drinking my wine and you can honestly taste a difference in the product.” The attention to detail he gives his vineyard shows in his wines. The white wines are fruit forward, well-balanced and fresh on the palate. The reds are bold and rich yet humble and easy to drink, as if the personality of the winemaker himself is transferred into your glass. The Cabernet Franc vines were the first vines planted in 2010 and seem to be achieving the greatest success to date. Within only months of the winery being opened, the 2015 Cabernet Franc won 3rd place in Ontario at the Royal Winter Fair. Shortly after, both the 2015 and the 2016 Cabernet Franc won bronze at the 2018 National Wine Awards of Canada. A great start for De Simone Vineyards! The awards don’t stop there. Their 2016 Cabernet Franc also came home with a silver medal at the 2018 InterVin Competition. Awards aside, if you ask Vincenzo what his favorite wine is that he makes, it would be his limited edition 2016 Merlot. “It is unlike any Merlot in the Niagara Region.’’ For now, the available wines are: Whites: Chardonnay, Vidal (table-wine and ice wine) and Riesling. For reds: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and Rosé. (Where to buy: at the De Simone retail store 865 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-On-The-Lake). De Simone Vineyards only produces 1000 cases of wine per year and Vincenzo has plans to triple that number in the coming years. The elegant De Simone label features a golden horse, which Vincenzo selected for what the animal represents. “I’m very determined and passionate about what I’m doing her. When I came across the meaning of a horse I had to put it on the label. The horse represents strength, freedom, determination and passion; it’s a symbol of strong motivation that carries one through life.” After Vincenzo opened the winery he discovered he was born during the year of the horse and specifically the year of the golden horse. “It was just meant to be.” Watch for the colourful vineyard paintings that decorate the tasting room; in a moment of inspiration Vincenzo put his hand to a canvass for the first time and painted a landscape just before opening his winery. “I didn’t even know I could paint. I pay a lot of attention to detail in everything I do and that is also why I believe the wines are good.” In addition to wine, honey from the De Simone farm, jellies infused with wine from the property as well as tomato sauce made by Vincenzo’s mother, are sold at their retail store. With six awards for Vincenzo’s first season and more to come, De Simone may be the new kid on the block but he is starting off with all the makings of a fine winemaker. We will certainly hear more and more about De Simone Vineyards in the future. Look for the big DV letters when driving through Niagara-on-the-Lake, and be sure to stop in and try the wines.
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Two Minutes in the box Sit down with ex-NHL players to discuss life after hockey, living in Niagara and what they think of the game today.
DGOALOIE • U1967-1G979 FACOVLORAEDOL RONTO, PHILADELPHIA, TO
STEVE LUDZIK CENTRE • 1981-1990 CHICAGO, BUFFALO
FRANK PIETRANGE LO
GOALIE • 1987-1994 PITTSBURGH, HARTF ORD
Two Minutes in the box
WITH EX-NHL GOALTENDER
DOUG FAVELL By: Gabrielle Tieman-Lee
Which teams did you play for in the NHL?
I played six years with the Philadelphia Flyers, three years with the Toronto Maple Leafs and three years with the Colorado Rockies. Back then there were only six teams in the NHL. They sponsored junior teams all over Canada and because I was born and raised in St. Catharines, I automatically belonged to the Chicago Blackhawks. During that time, I ended up playing Junior B in St. Catharines, and when it came time to try out for the juniors, I was in competition with four other goaltenders… there was another team in Niagara Falls at the time, the Niagara Falls Flyers, which was Boston’s team. I spent three years in Niagara Falls with the Flyers and in 1965, we won the Memorial Cup. Then I turned pro and belonged to Boston and ended up in Oklahoma City with Boston’s farm team. Played two years with Boston’s farm team and then in 1967, they had the first expansion draft - where they went from six to twelve teams. And I was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers - along with Bernie Parent. Then I was traded in 1973 to the Leafs.
What was it like playing in the NHL and with the Toronto Maple Leafs?
It was great – I lived in great cities and met great people. It was disappointing to leave Philadelphia because we were right on the verge of winning the cup. But if I had to go anywhere, it was great to come back close to home and play for the Leafs. I grew up watching the Leafs so it was great to play with them for three years. They traded me to Colorado and I spent three years there with the Rockies.
After retirement, did you leave hockey?
Not at first. I ended up staying in Colorado for nine years after the Rockies; I ended up coaching at Denver University for two years. In 1986, we decided to move back home [to Niagara]. I started coaching and managing the Thorold Junior B team. At the same time I was coaching the Brock University team ... I coached two years. In 1987 when I came back, I was offered the goaltending coaching position in Buffalo with the Sabres. So I ended up four years with the Sabres. Then in 1991, I left hockey.
Why retire in Niagara?
I am an only child, so to my parents, my two children were their only grandchildren. So we decided to move back. My wife’s family
was also here. I was happy to be back - we were all back where we belonged. It was time to play old-timers hockey and have fun.
The NHL has changed so much over the years; are you still interested in hockey? I watch a little bit ... I am interested, but I’m not a diehard. The game has changed a lot. But I enjoy it with my grandkids and my son.
What do you think of goaltending today?
It’s an entirely different game. It’s faster... It’s the speed of the game. I’m not a fan of it. The equipment is all too big and you’re just filling the net. These goaltenders, they are a lot more skilled than we were, because they are playing a different style. Their flexibility – the working out – that has all changed. And not only the big equipment, but the size of the guys. Back in the sixties and seventies, when we finished playing, we had to come home and work, because we didn’t make enough money playing. You didn’t spend your time working out, you actually had to work. I was a bigger than average guy and I’m 5’ 11” and was 170 lbs. These guys, now they’re 6’ 5”.
What was your biggest accomplishment during your time in the NHL?
Team-wise, probably winning the first series for the Flyers in 1972-1973. We beat Minnesota in the first round of the first series; the Flyers beat everyone in the playoffs. But there were a lot of personal highlights as well: my first game with the Leafs, winning games with the expansion teams. I didn’t quite get to the end, but I made a lot of friends and met a lot of great people along the way. I also ended up playing professional lacrosse as well as playing in the NHL — I was a forward. One of my highlights is I am the only man to ever win the Memorial Cup and the Minto Cup [Canadian Junior Lacrosse] in the same year in 1965. I am very proud of that fact. I also hold the record for the fastest three goals in the Minto Cup – three goals in 11 seconds. It’s never been broken.
What is one of your favourite memories of your time in the NHL?
I was the first goalie to paint my mask. Other goalies had painted details, like stitches, on theirs before, but I was the first to fully paint it. Today everybody does it.
i was the first goalie to paint my mask.
TODAY EVERYBODY DOES IT.
Two Minutes in the box
WITH EX-NHL FORWARD
STEVE LUDZIK By: Martine Mackenzie
Which teams did you play for in the NHL?
I played in Chicago for 8 years and then Buffalo for a bit, but I consider myself a Blackhawk.
What was it like playing in the NHL?
There were a lot better players than me, but I don’t think anyone enjoyed playing the game as much as I did or felt as privileged as I did. [...] Some nights, I got caught with two left skates on my feet, but I gave it everything I had.
What was your most memorable moment?
My first game and my first goal which happened in my first game. We were playing against the Quebec Nordiques and we were losing 8-0. It was the 3rd period and I was put in and I scored on a slap shot from the blue line against Danny Bouchard. (Laughing) I must have caught him sleeping.
The NHL has changed so much over the years. What do you think of the game today?
It’s better! But when I played, we played against the best. Those were the best guys then. Today’s players are bigger and stronger. They train better. Skates are better, sticks are better, conditioning is better. Goalies are better because they can’t get hurt. The equipment makes them immune to pain.
Do you still watch hockey today?
Rarely. When I retired from coaching, because of the Parkinson’s, I did a TV show called “The Score,” and I got my fill there. I watch it once in a while but I don’t really follow as closely as I should. I do have great admiration for the players.
After your retirement from the NHL, you turned to coaching, eventually spending two years as Head Coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning. What was it like to be on the other side of the bench?
I always wanted to coach. I was 39 years old and I was put in the position to rebuild. It was a young team and a young organization. But to answer your question, it wasn’t good, and I don’t know if I handled it well. It’s not that I like to win – it’s that I hate to lose. There’s a big difference between the two. I hated the taste of losing and I just couldn’t stomach it.
You’re also a published author with your book, “Been There Done That”. What inspired you to write it? I love when people tell me they loved my book. […] My life in hockey inspired me to write it. It was a tribute to the game I loved so much.
Now, you went public with your Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2012, but as you said, you kept it quiet for such a long time. What made you come out with it?
You probably won’t believe this, but I had a dream about my Dad. My Dad died very young. He was only 50. I had just made the NHL. I was raised by my Dad to not back down. Push back. When push comes to shove, shove back harder. You’ve got no option. You can’t be bullied. In my dream, my Dad came to me and told me to stop hiding and to go after this thing, this Parkinson’s. And that’s what I did. I went after it like the bully it is. It’s about bashing the bully.
You established the Steve Ludzik Parkinson’s Rehab Centre at the Hotel Dieu/Shaver in St. Catharines. Can you tell me about it? It’s the #1 rated clinic in Canada. No one is even close to us. Because nobody else does this. It’s funded completely by donations. We have events that raise money – the Ball Drop done at Eagle Valley Golf Course and we have our annual NHL celebrity golf tournament. This year we are roasting Derek Sanderson in our celebrity roast. It’s sold out! I’m really excited about that.
You’re a hero, Steve, yet you’re so humble.
I used to say I was going to be the best hockey player. I was a good player but I wasn’t the best. I had my shot. Then when I was a coach, I said I was going to be the greatest coach that ever lived. Then I got Parkinson’s. When I went into broadcasting, I wanted to be the most colourful guy, behind Don Cherry of course. (laughs) I’ve helped a lot of people with Parkinson’s. I didn’t shy away from the cause. I stood up and was counted and have made a lot of money for Parkinson’s research and that’s good enough for me.
How do you remain so positive in the face of adversity?
I have no option. I refuse to back down and from this I’ve become a pretty solid role-model. I’m a go-getter and when push comes to shove, I shove back harder.
IN MY DREAM, MY DAD CAME TO ME AND TOLD ME TO
stop hiding and go after this thing, this Parkinson’s.
AND THAT’S WHAT I DID. I WENT AFTER IT LIKE THE BULLY IT IS.
Two Minutes in the box
WITH EX-NHL GOALTENDER
FRANK PIETRANGELO By: Martine Mackenzie
Which teams did you play for in the NHL?
I was drafted in 1983 by the Pittsburgh Penguins and played for them for most of my career and then I finished up with the Hartford Whalers.
What was it like playing in the NHL?
Playing in the NHL was the ultimate! I was playing with the best players in the world, being treated first-class all the way. It was a great experience.
The NHL has changed so much over the years. What do you think of the game today?
I like the game today. They’ve taken away the obstruction. It’s a speedy and skillful game. It used to be tough for the little guy but now, as long as you can skate, you can play.
What do you think of goaltending today?
Goaltending has really evolved. Everyone is bigger! The average size of a goaltender these days is well over six feet. The equipment has really changed too. Back when I played, we were using the old leather stuff.
Do you still watch hockey?
I watch hockey every night. I’m a big Pittsburgh Penguins fan.
You own the Niagara Falls Canucks Junior B Team. Tell me what that’s like.
I’m at the rink every day. Hockey is my passion. I’ve never done anything but hockey-related stuff. Playing is the ultimate thrill but now I have the opportunity to give back to Niagara Falls. I’m born and raised here. I played for the Niagara Falls Canucks myself. I get to stay involved with the game and by coaching, you can get the same feel as when you play, like the camaraderie in the dressing room or the butterflies before the game. It’s the closest thing to playing.
It’s obvious that you have very close ties to Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls is home! Always has been, always will be. My wife Kim and I always said there was no question that we would settle down here. Our families are here.
Your most famous moment came in Game 6, opening round against the New Jersey Devils…”The Save”…You made a glove save against Peter Stastny, who was coming at you at point blank range. Can you describe that moment?
(Laughingly) I can’t really say anything about that split moment because it was just reactionary. I made the first save. It was a deflection and I just reached back and tried to stop the next puck. That’s what goaltenders do. Looking back on it now, it’s pretty incredible! In Pittsburgh in particular, “The Save” has taken on a life of its own. It was part of the first Stanley Cup win. The chips were down. We were down 3 games to 2 going into New Jersey having lost Game 5 at home. Most people had written us off. Tom Barrasso was our #1 goalie and he didn’t play, which gave me the opportunity. For the most part, everyone thought Jersey was going to win the round with that game. With “The Save” came the win, and everything took off from there.
“The Save” helped the Penguins win the game and the series, which led to the Stanley Cup win. What was it like being part of a Stanley Cup championship? Winning is everything in sports. You’re measured by winning. As kids, we walk around pretending to lift the Stanley Cup in our backyards. For it to become my reality was just fantastic. With Pittsburgh being close to Niagara Falls, my family and friends came to every one of the games during the playoffs. It was great to be able to share in the experience. To actually hold that Stanley Cup above my head; well that was a dream come true.
Would you say that was the greatest moment of your career? No doubt about it!
What was the best part of playing in the NHL?
It has to be the friendships I made. A lot of people have said that the team was really good and that’s why we were close. I think it’s the other way around. We were all close and that’s why we were good. It’s the chemistry that we had together. Even after all these years, when we see each other again, it’s like seeing family. The memories that we made last a lifetime. The friendships you make along the way to winning a championship are hard to describe.
to actually hold that stanley cup above my head;
WELL THAT WAS A DREAM COME TRUE.
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