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Wine aficionado, Victoria Gilbert, takes us on a trip through Niagara to find the best of the best!

A handful of those who’ve braved the Falls.

on the cover…


Niagara Helicopters has a long history of providing visitors with this once in a lifetime experience.



Best View of the Fireworks Over the Falls and Illumination Visit Watermark website for schedule


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

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AdFuel Media Inc. Daniel A. Pasco Rebecca Farthing, Tracey Parkes David Mace Martine Mackenzie Darryl Grossi


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Emma Cavanagh, Roxana Larrondo, Moyo Soji Emma Cavanagh, Victoria Gilbert, Martine Mackenzie, Jill Tham, Gabrielle Tieman-Lee, Sherman Zavitz

David Haskell 905.356.7283 or 1.877.888.2825 todaymagazine.ca



Today Magazine








Today Magazine’s very own wine aficionado, Victoria Gilbert, takes us on a trip through Niagara to find the best of the best!

A handful of those who’ve braved the Falls.

on the cover…


Niagara Helicopters has a long history of providing visitors with this once in a lifetime experience.



On The Boulevard is published by AdFuel Media Inc. All opinions expressed in On The Boulevard are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of AdFuel Media Inc., 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.

LET US HELP PUT YOUR BEST FACE FORWARD To advertise in our next issue or for more information call one of our account executives @ 905.356.7283 or 1.877.888.2825.





Emma is a strategy driven communications graduate from Brock University with a strong devotion to: brand development, content creation, and online community engagement. Previously working with ELLE Canada, her love for fashion and beauty resonates into her blog and photography, which are her most accomplished hobbies. Emma loves to discover new places, and has lived in both Toronto and Sweden.

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.



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 bargainhunter and thrift store-sourcing expert. Martine loves to cook, and spend time with her husband and two sons.

Jill’s passion for writing came after seeing the movie Stand by Me. She prefers listening to Niagara bands to practicing 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.



A writer for AdFuel Media Inc. for over four years, Gabrielle has written for numerous AdFuel publications including Taste, Shopping & Travel. She is a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s Journalism program and has written for a variety of newspapers including the National Post, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette.

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.










Who doesn’t love a beautiful glass of bubbly? In Niagara, there is no shortage of it, as many of our vintners have branched into making this oh so popular beverage. Wine aficionado, Victoria Gilbert, takes us on a trip to find the best of the best! 16 ON THE TABLE

As the exclusive caterer at Willowbank, Niagara-on-the Lake’s newest event and wedding venue, Executive Chef Robin Howe marries gourmet food and one of the most stunning and historic settings ever. He shares stories of his colourful 25-year career and what makes him so passionate. 20 TALES FROM THE ALE TRAIL- NOT YOUR AVERAGE BEER SHOW

Join Emma Cavanagh, as she meets with Nick Mirka and Chris Treschak, the brains and beauty behind the successful show, Tales from the Ale Trail, at Niagara’s newest local watering hole, Counterpart Brewery. There was no shortage of laughs and tales as Nick and Chris shared what inspired these lifelong friends to travel to different breweries all over the region.

Welcome to our newest, on-going feature! We will be going shopping every season and picking the most fab fashion finds. No matter who you are, we will find something to peak your interest and help keep your fashion choices on point and on budget. In this issue, it’s all about Summer! 34 VISION QUEST

The downtown core of Niagara Falls was once a booming space full of activity. In recent years, it has been neglected and much of it has fallen to ruin, including the homes, which at one time, majestically graced the streets. Follow local physician, Dr. Kamal Mattar’s vision as he attempts, through his development dream, to once more bring the downtown core back to life with fabulous, affordable, luxurious housing. 38 THE DARING & DAUNTLESS DAREDEVILS OF NIAGARA FALLS

Many have tried, and many have succeeded. However, this is not something you want to try. Read the harrowing adventures of daredevils who went toe to toe with the mighty Niagara over the course of almost 120 years.

Check out what's happening this summer and fall in Niagara! 48 HIGH FLYING BIRD — NIAGARA HELICOPTERS

You see them soaring and banking, giving visitors to Niagara a bird’s eye view of the American Falls and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Niagara Helicopters has a long history of providing visitors with this once in a lifetime experience. But, what many people don’t know, is that Niagara Helicopters also provides a very valuable service — search and rescue. 52 LIVE LIKE THE LOCALS SUMMER EDITION

Niagara locals like to enjoy everything that the region has to offer just as much as tourists do. This where-to and how-to feature will take you all over the Niagara region so that you too can ‘live like the locals’. 56 BEYOND THE RAINBOW: ICONIC ARCHITECTURE OF NIAGARA

Noted Niagara historian, Sherman Zavitz tells the stories of three fabulous pieces of Niagara Falls architecture. Learn the history behind these notable landmarks. 62 IT'S A SILVER JUBILEE AT OH CANADA EH?

Oh Canada Eh? is celebrating its Silver Jubilee! Find out just what has made this hidden gem of Niagara so successful and get a peek into this fabulous two-hour all Canadian musical dinner theatre.


Frank Croisdale, the 17-year veteran Concierge at the Hilton Niagara Falls offers us a unique view into just what he does day to day, and how his past career has helped form his present. 70 A TRULY UNBELIEVABLE STORY

Find out just what makes the name Ripley synonymous with the words “Believe it or Not”, as you are taken through the history of the man behind the name and the legacy that was born with his ideas. 72 MAPLE LEAF PLACE

Visit Maple Leaf Place, the premium outlet for all of your Niagara Falls souvenir needs. This huge retail space is also home to everything imaginable in maple products and First Nations arts and crafts. 78 FALLING AT THE FALLS

Live out all of your superhero dreams by being able to fly at one of the only indoor skydiving wind tunnels of its kind in Canada, Niagara Free Fall. 80 WILDPLAY NIAGARA FALLS

Wildplay Niagara brings to you two amazing perspectives of the mighty cataracts and the extraordinary gorge. Fly without feathers on Zipline to the Falls, or take on the thrilling suspended obstacle course at Whirlpool Adventure Course.


// F O O D & D R I N K


parkling Niagara!

A journey through our best bubbles By Victoria Gilbert

Popping a bottle of bubbles is one of the great delights of life, is it not? From Napoleon to Scarlett Johansson, if it isn’t a famed person raving about Sparkling Wine, it’s you and your favourite people, smacking their lips after a delicious sip together. In Niagara, Canada, grapes for Sparkling Wines are grown all over and because of the cooler climate these grapes have the opportunity to become fantastic Sparkling Wines. The original superstar was born in Champagne in northern France and it is the only place where Sparkling Wines are allowed to be called “Champagne.” There are many choices when it comes to selecting your bubbles - the most popular being of course, the granddaddy, Champagne from France, then Prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain, and Sparkling Wine from Canada, Australia, the USA and other wine producing countries in the world. A typical Sparkling Wine from Canada is most often made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. The terroir and the climate of the Niagara region lend themselves beautifully to growing the grapes necessary to produce the quality of effervescence, which in many ways, captures the spirit of Champagne.

BEST SPARKLING WINES OF NIAGARA REGION: Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Brut & Rosé: $32.95, find it at the LCBO or at Henry of Pelham Winery: 1469 Pelham Rd, St. Catharines, Ontario Ravine Brut: $38.00, available at Ravine Winery: 1366 York Road, St. David’s, Ontario “Sparkling wine is all about elegance and style and good acidity,” says Paul Speck who has been producing Sparkling Wines for decades, as President of Henry of Pelham Winery in St. Catharines. “I think first of all it makes perfect viticulture sense to grow grapes for Sparkling Wines in Ontario,” says Speck. “It’s a cool area. In Champagne, France, it is colder than it is here season wise. It makes sense to make these wines here. It’s consistent. We get classic Chardonnay and Pinot Noir flavours, yet they have a Niagara spin to it – the crisp, clean freshness is our style, especially in the Brut.” There are a few ways to make wine bubbly. The most common and the method used most frequently in the Niagara region is called the “traditional method.” Speck, the quintessential down-to-earth Canadian vintner, explains the process in his easy manner; “When you are looking at traditional method, it’s done naturally in the bottle and that’s how the bubbles are created. The bubbles are important in Sparkling

SPARKLING 101 Champagne can only be called “Champagne” when it is from the region of Champagne in Northern France. All other Sparkling Wines have names based on where they are from (e.g. Prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain, or Sparkling Wine from Canada and other countries) There are a few ways to make Sparkling Wines sparkling but the most popular are: Champagne or Traditional or Classic Method: These are all the same and involve a second fermentation which occurs in the bottle. Charmat Method: The fermentation of the wine occurs in a large sealed pressure tank. If you see a Champagne or sparkling wine with Blanc de Blancs on the label, the wine is made from all Chardonnay grapes and if you spot a Blanc de Noirs, the delicate grape, Pinot Noir, lies exclusively within. When to drink: Now! Sparkling Wines are great to drink right away. While they can be aged, they are at their peak when they are young. Photo courtesy of Victoria Gilbert

Trius Brut Rosé: $32.95 & Trius Showcase Blanc de Blancs: $55.20 found at LCBO or at Trius Winery: 1249 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-On-The-Lake Wines. They are elegant, there’s more of them, they carry the flavours up the flute. It’s overall just a nicer experience,” says Speck over a glass of his Cuvée Catharine Brut. Sparkling Wines pick up their flavours and complexities from being in contact with yeast particles called lees. Wineries keep their Sparkling Wine bottles sealed with a metal cap to hold the wine as it ferments for up to four years until the yeast is removed or disgorged. “We gently remove it through ‘riddling’ which means we have a machine going 24 hours a day, slightly moving the bottle so the yeast ends up sitting at the neck of the bottle,” says Speck. “While the yeast is all gathered there, we freeze that part of the wine, just a ¼ inch of the bottle, that’s called the plug. Then we pop the beer cap off and that goes shooting out and we stop it and add the dosage in to put back the volume.” The dosage is about an ounce of wine to top up the bottle and it’s the last chance winemakers have to tweak the blend. Traditionally, barrel aged Chardonnay is used from previous years. “What you are looking for here is that green apple on the nose, that crisp apple, maybe a granny smith apple which is very typical of Sparkling Wine done in this style. A little bit of toastiness from the yeast. That’s classical Brut,” says Speck. Rosé is becoming increasingly popular around the world and a Sparkling Rosé is a special treat. “Everybody loves Rosé!” says Linda Ridgway, Retail and Experience Manager at Trius Winery in Niagara-On-The-Lake. With the largest Sparkling Wine cellar in Canada (1/2 million bottles), Ridgway says Trius’s winemaker, Craig McDonald, has a strong focus on bubbles. The tasting room is bustling as Ridgway presents a Brut, a Blanc de Blancs and a beautiful pink Sparkling Rosé. She points out a panel of white light built into the tasting bar. “You can compare the colour, the clarity, the depth of colour. Our customers really enjoy it because it is all about the education when it comes to understanding wine. You want to see the clarity, you want to see it’s clear first and foremost. Whether it’s been fermented in stainless or wood, it really represents differently in the colour,” she half yells as a gaggle of girls laugh and chatter over their flutes. After all, bubbles mean you are celebrating something, in this case a bride-to-be. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 11

Which Sparkling Wine you select, a fruity Rosé, a crisp Brut or a complex and rich Blanc de Blancs, depends on what you are celebrating or what you are eating. Pairing Sparkling Wine with food is a trend which is picking up speed. Most wine-people will tell you oysters and other shell-fish pair best with Sparkling, but Martin Werner, former winemaker and current General Manager of Ravine Vineyard and Estate Winery in St. David’s, Ontario, has some modern notions on how to enjoy bubbles. “There are two things that I really enjoy with Sparkling Wine which some people might think are outlandish, but I actually like things that are deep fried, like fish and chips, because the acidity in the Sparkling really cuts the grease. The other one I enjoy is a cigar because it cleans your mouth out completely and Sparkling really does that,” says Werner. How you drink your bubbles is also something of importance to wine lovers and the traditional Champagne flute which is narrow and deep to allow for more bubbles to add texture, aroma and taste is most often presented when a bottle of bubbly is popped, although a resurgence to the champagne “coupe” or wider glass is happening. The romantic story of the shape of the coupe modelled after the breast of Queen Marie Antoinette, wife of King Louis XVI (16th) of France might make you blush, but having a wider glass may very

well elevate your tasting experience. “For me drinking Sparkling Wine out of a regular white wine glass allows the bouquet to open up more. Visually it looks better in a flute because the length for the bubbles is longer but it’s difficult when you try to get your nose in there to smell the wine,” says Werner as we sip on Ravine’s Brut. “The old saying is drinking out of a champagne flute is like going to a rock concert and putting in ear plugs. You don’t get to enjoy it fully, so putting Sparkling in a normal glass allows you to experience the fruit better.” You’ll want to experience the fruit of these fine Ontario Sparkling Wines – they are hand-picked a little earlier than the normal harvest to ensure higher acidity which makes Sparkling Wine so fresh, crisp and exciting on the tongue. “You pick the Sparkling grapes very early so it’s very clean and linear and has lots of citrus fruit and you fatten it out while it’s aging for five years,” says Werner. Using the best grapes and the best part of the grape is also why Sparkling Wines in Ontario carry a higher price-tag than regular wines. “It’s an expensive process, but nothing can replicate it so it’s all worth it,” says Speck from Henry of Pelham’s quiet tasting room. “You press it a little bit, so you get the juice closest to the skin. We separate that it’s called the heads. Then we press it a little

more and you get the juice from the middle of the grape. That’s the best juice, and that’s what we make this Sparkling Wine from. Then you press it again and it’s called the tails and that’s the juice closest to the seeds. So the heads and the tails we discard and we only use the middle part of the grape,” Speck explains. Sparkling wine also carries a history of romance and culture which adds to its beauty and enjoyment. At Trius, whisking off the top of a bottle of Sparkling with a curved sword called a saber is practiced daily. “There is a tradition of sabering Sparkling Wines which goes back to Napoleonic days in France,” says Ridgway, who wields one of the many sabers at Trius.“There was always a need for Sparkling Wine. When you’re up on your horse and you don’t have your hands free, you have your sword and you have your bottle and your saber, and you drink from the bottle as a celebration or it’s there for you if you faced defeat. So we saber it still here because it’s a beautiful way to celebrate this wine.” Even if you don’t have a saber handy, go ahead and peel the cap, twist the metal wire and pop free the sparkling pleasure which lies within your next bottle of Ontario Sparkling – it was surely made with attention, time and delicacy – all you can ask for in a bottle of fine wine. Santé! TM TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 13

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Photo courtesy of Emma Cavanagh.


Robin Howe Catering at Willowbank By Emma Cavanagh When we pulled onto the property it was as if we had gone back in time. Off the beaten path, but just minutes from the Canadian/American boarder, Willowbank National Historic Site is breathtakingly beautiful. Reminiscent of 19th-century Antebellum architecture found in the deep South of America, the building is now an institution for heritage conservation and renewal. You can also rent the space for weddings and other events. Standing front and center outside between two opposing staircases was Robin Howe, Chef and Proprietor of Robin Howe Catering, who just so happens to be the primary caterer for Willowbank. This is a match made in heaven, as Howe grew up in old town Niagara-on-the-Lake and knows just how special this region is, especially for the culinary industry. Howe greeted us with a smile, and an enthusiasm only shown by someone who truly loves what they do, and where they are doing it. Following a tour of the building and the grounds, we sat down in one of the classrooms and got to know more about Robin Howe, and Robin Howe Catering.

// O N T H E T A B L E

Photo courtesy of Young Glass Photography.

While attending University for Biology, Howe realized his passion for hands-on work, quickly determining academia wasn’t for him. Instead, he dove deep into the culinary industry and never looked back. Starting his career at The Windsor Arms in Toronto, Howe was thrown into the fire with chefs from all around the world; the energy and speed he experienced there had him hooked. While working at Scaramouche in Toronto, the wine industry in Niagara was just taking off. Howe decided to move back and land a position at one of the hotels in the region. He then started catering out of his mother’s kitchen, moving onto a B&B in Niagara-onthe-Lake, before finally launching his own catering company. What excites you in the world of food today?

“What excites me today is the same thing that excited me 25 years ago when I started, and that’s local and seasonal produce coming in and trying to figure out new ways of cooking them, and presenting them. In the summer it’s the heirloom tomatoes, peaches in the late summer, apples in the fall. Especially in Niagara, there’s nothing better than Niagara produce.”

Favourite part of being a chef in Niagara?

“There’s an excitement about being in Niagara now that wasn’t there years and years ago. Being able to go down to the local farmers’ market and shop is my favourite part. I do all of the shopping for fruits and vegetables myself.” Describe a day in your kitchen

“Get up early, work a long day, start cooking and don’t stop. It's crazy work and it still is after 25 years. I’m still working the crazy hours. There aren’t enough hours in the day. I do food prep all week. I don’t eat when I get up, I go straight to the kitchen and start cooking. I'll cook for 2-3 hours and get stuff done that my staff can't and then I shop for 2-3 hours. Then the staff does their prep work. I come back and I'll do admin work, and then when my staff is gone for the day that’s my quiet time to go back into my kitchen and I'll cook until about 11:00-12:00 at night.” Favourite ingredients to cook with?

“Firstly, fresh herbs from my garden, combinations like béarnaise sauce with fresh tarragon, fresh thyme with fish. Secondly, local wine and spirits.” Although Howe spends a lot of time in the kitchen, one of his favourite activities is foraging for wild, edible mushrooms and plants in the woods. Being active is an important part of his life and on his nights off, which are few and far between, Howe likes a good pub meal with local beer. You may even see him enjoying a big diner breakfast with a newspaper the morning after catering a big event or wedding. It's clear that there’s a connection between food and being in the moment for Howe. It is also important to note that Howe does not follow food trends; instead he uses seasonal, local ingredients. Cooking them respectfully, bringing out the best taste and quality possible. Robin Howe Catering works together with clients to design a unique and delicious menu that brings together special moments, and local food for a truly beautiful experience. TM TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 17

5930 Victoria Avenue, Niagara Falls, ON Hours: 10am - 3am | 7 days a week | Open Year-Round

905.371.1605 | casaniagara.com

Tales from the Ale Trail- Not Your Average

Beer Show This is not your average reality TV show. Tales from the Ale Trail combines wit and humour with beer. What’s better than that? We sat down with Tales hosts Nick Mirka, and Chris Treschak to find out more about the show, what inspired them to create it, and what hilarious undertakings have happened behind the scenes because, well, we know there’s lots. How did you come up with the concept for the show? Nick: We were thinking our love for craft beer was getting out of hand. (Everyone laughs) Chris: We’ve known each other for a long time. Nick and Mark own a video production company and we all love craft beer, so we

By Emma Cavanagh

thought why don’t we meld those things together and do a beer TV show. And we actually did our very first production meeting two years before we ever green lit the show. Nick: We happened to have craft beer in our hands at the time, which was a necessary step. Chris: We sat down and fleshed out the creative thoughts of the show and Nick influenced that quite heavily. Where you would get those snooty documentary style shows, Nick really pushed being more creative than that. The initial thought that we had was a semi-scripted reality TV filmed in a documentary style: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives meets The Office. We did one episode out of pocket just as a pilot and Nick was able to find a way to get us into a pitch.” Nick: “Paul Gardner from Bell reached out to us. He said, ‘We do community programming. We want to showcase community

Emma Cavanagh with Ale Trail hosts, Chris Treschak and Nick Mirka at Counterpart Brewing in Niagara Falls. Photo courtesy of Haskell Photography.

work.’ He introduced us to Fibe TV. They said, ‘We have funding to do a show. Do you have any ideas?’ This one was the last idea I pitched because it was the one I was most excited about. But I said, ‘I don’t know if you’re going to be interested in this idea,’ because I thought they wanted something more professional. I said, ‘What we want to do is show off these breweries and these communities in a comedic, lighthearted way. We want to do a beer show for the beer drinker, not the beer connoisseur. We want the brewers and the breweries to represent their beer well because a lot of the breweries we go to put a lot of thought and care and love into what they do’.” Nick: “When we were first talking about the concept, one of the first things we wanted to prioritize was we wanted to make a show we would love. So we wanted to go to the breweries we love. We wanted to show off the places we love (our home) and we also wanted to have fun. Breweries are all about unwinding with the people you’re with, and also getting to know the community through the food and beverage that these people are creating for you.” Chris: “And with these craft breweries, it’s the people behind them that make them so special. And a lot of the time they’re family run, or run by friends, which we wanted to showcase. We make light of it because the whole point is that the show should be approachable. If you are a beer snob, that’s great! We want the show to be for you too, but we also want the person who’s never tried craft beer before to watch this and go, ‘Wow! There’s beers that I might like, that might be approachable to me. Maybe I should go and try them.’ And that was the intent.” Nick: “What else is around this area? Come to these places and experience them, how can you make a day of it? This is a travel show, a food show, but the consistent theme is beer. We want it to be more than that. There are other things that are involved in it. I like looking at each episode like a day date. A day trip idea, if you watch 6 of our episodes you have plans for your next 6 Saturdays.” Can you give us a walk through of how you plan each episode? Nick: “The planning process is really boring. (laughs) We’re very thorough in communicating to the breweries. We get to understand

the brewery’s brand, what their values are, what they’re all about. That’s where we usually start. We sit down with them because we don’t ever want to portray a brewery in a way they don’t want to be portrayed. It’s important to us that they’re involved in that creative process. We know how we’re starting an episode and how we’re ending it, but we also leave room to fly by the seat of our pants.” Future plans for the show? Nick: “Our focus is to make an awesome and stellar Season 2. So, we just did Breakwall Brewing Company and had a rip-roaring time. We’ll be spending some time in Hamilton with Shed, and we’re doing a crawl there with Fairweather, Grain and Grit, and Clifford Brewing. We’re doing Niagara College too. They’re the reason this craft beer boom happened in Ontario.” Chris: “Its amazing to see how much the College has influenced the beer scene in Ontario. Such a huge influence! We’re really excited to work with them. It’s a dream!” Nick: “Our hope is that people can see what our little corner of the world has to offer. What we want to do is put Niagara to Hamilton on the map. What we would love to do is continue telling that story. We have an idea to branch off into ciders, and even do an episode at Dillons, deviating away from just beer. It is about the beer but it is about the craft. We would love to go further.” The passion for the show, and craft beer in Niagara really showed while talking to the guys. While community, and home remain at the forefront of Tales from the Ale Trail, we may see some travel in the future to other parts of Canada. But for now, you can probably catch Nick and Chris sipping their favourite brews around the Niagara Region. When asked what their favourite seasonal is, Nick promptly said, “Dark Side of the Merch from Merchant Ale House”, while Chris proclaimed, “The Strawberry Rhubarb from Oast House. The beauty is that every year it’s different because every year the crops they are using are different. So every year you’re getting a different variation which makes it interesting and fun.” If you see the guys around this summer, make sure to toast them, and who knows? You might make a cameo in one of their hilarious, hop-filled episodes. TM TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 21

Meet the Chef JIM ABBS Jim Abbs is a Red Seal Chef, who has enjoyed the restaurant business since he was 15 years old. First apprenticing under Swiss Chef Werner Buehler, Jim joined The Keg in 2008 and has had the distinct pleasure of being part of the busiest Keg Steakhouse & Bar in the history of the franchise. Chef Jim prides himself on giving people the best dining experience of their lives. THE KEG STEAKHOUSE & BAR 6700 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.374.5170 | fallsviewrestaurant.com

CELIMAR ALVES Born and raised in Brazil, Grill Master Celimar Alves brings true Brazilian flair to the art of grilling meat, having received his training at Montana Grill in San Paulo, Brazil. He has been with Brasa since its opening, and has worked as Grill Master since 2014. Celimar is proud to call Canada his home and is very happy to call himself a Canadian citizen. BRASA BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE 6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.353.7187 | brasaniagara.com

JONATHAN ASKLAND Jonathan is a local to Niagara Falls. He got an early start in the food industry working at his uncle’s butcher shop and meatpacking plant. He was fortunate, as a young dishwasher at John Michael’s, when Chef Carl Leidere, offered him a cooking apprenticeship. Jonathan is a graduate of Niagara College’s Hospitality Management program, and is the Sous Chef at Brasa. BRASA BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE 6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.353.7187 | brasaniagara.com


ANDREA DE MATTEIS With more than 15 years as an Executive Chef and 7 as a Corporate Executive Chef, Andrea De Matteis loves menu planning and has a passion for Italian and International cuisines. As the leader of the opening team at Corso, Andrea brings his experience and talent to the newest and most innovative restaurant in Niagara Falls. CORSO – A CULINARY TOUR OF ITALY 6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls corsoniagara.com

JEFF JACKSON Jeff Jackson was born in Wheatley, Ontario and moved to Niagara Falls to take the Hotel and Restaurant Management program at Niagara College. After completing the Cook’s Apprenticeship Program at the college and gaining his Red Seal Certification, Jeff brought his talents to the Hilton in 2009 and opened Romano’s Macaroni Grill. Jeff joined the Frontier BBQ and Smokehouse team as Sous Chef in 2017 FRONTIER BBQ & SMOKEHOUSE 6519 Stanley Avenue, Niagara Falls 289.296.6367 | frontierniagara.com

TIM O’DONNELL Tim O’Donnell’s culinary resume is a very impressive one. A graduate of the Culinary Management Program at George Brown College in Toronto, Tim, a Red Seal Chef, has had the honour of being part of the opening team of several nationally recognized restaurants. His pure passion for food is evident in the dishes he prepares as Executive Chef at Watermark, where he has been since 2000. WATERMARK RESTAURANT 6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.353.7138 | watermarkrestaurant.com TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 23

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In Good Taste showcases a variety of Niagara’s most melt in your mouth, showstopping, foot stomping, lick your lips, delectable dishes 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.




6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.353.7187 brasaniagara.com

5339 Murray Street, Niagara Falls 905.356.1333 ext. 171 cocosniagarafalls.com

6361 Fallsview Boulevard corsoniagara.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.

Imagine dining in the majestic cities of Italy - Venice, Florence, Rome… now combine that with the enchanting Italian countryside of Tuscany, Naples, Calabria or Palermo. Our Italian Chef, Andrea De Materis, will take you on a journey as he prepares regional specialties and signature family recipes. Dine with us, experience Italia, enjoy the CORSO.





6455 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.357.4440 eastsidemariosniagarafalls.com

6519 Stanley Avenue, Niagara Falls 289.296.6367 frontierniagara.com

6130 Dunn Street, Niagara Falls 905.357.1000 thekasbah.ca

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.

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.

The Kasbah Mediterranean features the incredible cuisine of Vaughan Bulganian. Farm to table Mediterranean delights from Greece, Lebanon, Armenia & more. All menus include vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options. The Kasbah is fully licensed with a total of 230 seats (patio, party room, dining, bar & lounge). Join us for an incredible evening with amazing food, service, wine and Mediterranean music.





6700 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.374.5170 fallsviewrestaurant.com

6733 Fallsview Blvd 5930 Victoria Ave 905.357.6661 289.296.2201 outbacksteakhouseniagarafalls.com

1366 York Road, St. Davids 905.262.8463 ravinevineyard.com

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.

At Ravine, our restaurant menus are an everchanging carousel of ingredients from our kitchen garden and farming friends, featuring creations from Chef Matt Payne and our culinary team. Ravine is conveniently located in St. Davids, at the gateway of the Niagara Wine Route just minutes from Niagara Falls. We highly recommend booking reservations before visiting our Winery Restaurant.






6455 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.357.1199 ruthschrisniagara.com

5200 Robinson Street, Niagara Falls 1.866.393.5612 skylon.com

6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.354.7887 spycelounge.ca

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.

See it all from high above Niagara Falls at Skylon Tower! The legendary Revolving Dining Room is the city’s only rotating restaurant offering breathtaking views of both the American and Horseshoe Falls. Enjoy the Falls Illumination and seasonal Fireworks display from our Summit Suite Buffet restaurant at 775 feet above the Niagara gorge.

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.




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.

Trends That Transcend: By Martine Mackenzie




elcome to our newest, on-going feature, ‘Trends That Transcend: Fab Fashion Finds with Martine & Emma.’ We will be going to our local malls and shops, and picking the most fab fashion finds trending each season. Regardless of your age, height, size, budget, etc… there is something for everyone out

there to keep your fashion toes on point! To say that it was absolutely freezing cold that last Saturday in April, is an understatement. As we both set out that morning to start our adventure, our wardrobe choices really left little to the imagination. We were identically decked out in coats and boots as we got




F tin b s ar Fa nd M a Fi ith m w Em &



e ready to brave the elements at The Outlet Collection at Niagara, 300 Taylor Rd. Niagara-on-the-Lake. Of course, every good shopping adventure requires a full stomach and a dose of caffeine. This made our first stop, a logical one: Aroma Espresso Bar. Faced with an abundance of choices, we went with the “Avocado

Sandwich” and the “Italian Cheese Sandwich”. Both were hand-crafted, hearty portions, delightfully tasty and filling. To complement this delightful brunch and to take the chill off, we chose the “Cortado”, and the “Espresso Machiatto”. Happy, sated and energized, we were ready to go! TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 31

Pebbled Leather Red Clutch and Navy Blue Red Wristlet from Pink Tartan. Photo: Emma Cavanagh.

Despite the chill in the air, we were ready to start picking the best fashion finds for the spring and summer seasons. Pink Tartan was our first stop. Founded in 2002 by Kimberley Newport-Mimran, President and Design Director, Pink Tartan is a women’s wear brand that has developed into a global label known for understated luxury and sophisticated sportswear. Pink Tartan has a reputation for a distinct aesthetic; day to dinner dressing that focuses on the intersection between fashion and function and caters to the modern women. We were immediately greeted with genuine enthusiasm by the stylish Pink Tartan team of Fashion Consultants. The warmth of their greeting didn’t have as much to do with the fact that they were expecting us, but rather because that is the guest experience at Pink Tartan. Equally as exceptional as the wearable fashionforward product is the personal and attentive customer experience. When you walk into the boutique, you know that you are about to get fabulous service from lovely, knowledgeable and of course, stylish individuals. Of course, our eyes were everywhere, surrounded by exquisite designs and fabrics. Where to start and what to choose? The Pink Tartan stylists seemed to know what we were thinking, as they pulled this fabulous coat Emma and I were both eyeing up. I slipped it on, love at first sight! The Jacquard Shell Opera Coat! This beautiful swing coat with pockets is a statement piece that transcends from season to season and from woman to woman. It can be worn with its matching skirt for a fun night out, or easily thrown over a black dress, jumpsuit, or black pants and black turtleneck for a sleek and chic look. You can wear it with your favorite pair of jeans and a white t-shirt, statement earrings, strappy sandals, grab a clutch and out you go for dinner. This coat is one of those pieces that will always be stylish no matter the time period. It’s truly an investment piece. Emma and I were also drawn to a really beautiful pant, that once again can be dressed up or down. Bring on the Ruffle Floral Jacquard Pant with its royal blue and white contrast pattern and adorable ankle ruffle. Ruffles seem to be the rage and this pant can take you from work to play by changing out your top, shoes, and accessories! With its fun and playful pattern, this pant is a season must-have.

If you’re looking for a soft, feminine dress, Pink Tartan has an abundance of choices. The shift dress is the go-to piece of the season. It’s easy because you can throw a jacket or cardigan over it on cooler days, or if you have a little bit of edge to your personality, a denim jacket looks great as well. We were both drawn to the Ribbon Fringe dress in pink, a Chanel-inspired soft tweed with the perfect cut and length – think summer wedding receptions, baby showers, bridal showers, or just a great little dress for work and play! The clutch purse is popular again this season – but with a twist – a hand strap! With red being one of this season’s pops of colour, Pink Tartan’s pebbled leather clutch is it. When it comes to the use of leather, Pink Tartan relies on ethical sources and deals with the Inuit population whose philosophy is “nose to tail”. No part of the animal is left unused. Pink Tartan stands by this mantra as well, as all of the clothing and accessories in the line are made in Canada under ethical business practices, something very important to Kimberley Newport-Mimran, whose design studio is in Toronto. Suzanne, General Sales Manager at Pink Tartan, sums it up best – “The beauty of the Pink Tartan line is its ability to take you from day to evening, elevated casual to formal. A single piece can be paired with a casual shoe or top and with a simple change of footwear, can be transformed for a more formal event. The Outlet Collection Pink Tartan is a timeless collection of Kimberley Newport-Mimran’s designer pieces from seasons past to current collections. All are relevant today.” Suzanne, we concur! In general, bathing suit shopping doesn’t make too many women feel good. Walking into La Vie En Rose quickly changed our negative mindset. The cornucopia of colours and beachy vibe were enough to make us want to try on and buy bathing suits, despite the cold day. The neons and florals and fruit motifs were everywhere! We were greeted by Heather, the Assistant Manager, and Paula, the District Manager whose smiles lit up the store like a day at the beach! This season it’s all about the mix and match of patterns and a variety of cuts to both tops and bottoms. The versatility of the mix and match pieces makes it easy to achieve multiple looks with few pieces. The one-piece has also made a huge comeback with the “Baywatch” tomato red suit a very popular choice, cut in a flattering way with back straps and full coverage. At La Vie En Rose, there is a bathing suit for every woman. The beauty and surprise of this season’s new collection is the reversible bikini. Many of the tops and bottoms are reversible allowing the wearer to really get maximum usage out of each piece. Any way you look at it, there is a swimsuit combination for you at La Vie En Rose. Stripes, florals, high neck, strappy, plunging necklines, high cut and full rear coverage – there are so many choices that we wanted to buy one of everything! Two elements are really trending this season, one is ruffles and the other is the embroidery and adornment on these swimsuits. District Manager, Paula explained: “The ruffles are everywhere! They add femininity and brightness. Ruffles positively accentuate any body type.” The embroidery and adornments are very delicate and bohemian-inspired. Paula and Heather assured us that these beautiful additions that add that little something extra to these swimsuits can withstand any amount of chlorine or any wave.

Assistant Manager Heather summed it up very well. “In every collection, we carry a push-up, a sporty version, a high-neck sport top, a tie side, a fold-over bottom, a high bottom. If you like a style, you can get it in every collection. You get to know yourself within the collection.” Of course, the swimsuit is just one part of the overall look. We want it all – that includes ALL of the accompanying beachwear and accessories! The cover-ups are so versatile and stylish that they can take you from water to cocktails and dinner. They are all designed to mix and match with the many swimsuit options available. No pool or beach outfit is complete without the appropriate accessories. You have one-stop shopping at La Vie En Rose for hats, bags, and sandals. The accessories collection is designed to complement the swimwear. Bags in various colours and patterns that are big enough to lug the necessities to the shore also double as purses to take the look from daytime beach to evening fun. For sun protection and to take the worry out of beach hair, La Vie En Rose offers a great selection of hats. Straw hats in a variety of shapes and colours, along with the tried and true baseball, will help ensure that your locks remain protected and that your style remains on point. Emma and I both agreed that one of the best things about summer is the flip-flop. In the many colours and styles offered, they are the perfect footwear. They slip on and slip off easily, offer maximum comfort, and are always at a great price point. La Vie En Rose has an adorable selection that complements all of the pieces in their collection. As we left La Vie En Rose, and stepped back outside into the cold, wet, grey day, Emma and I took with us visions of sun and sand in anticipation of the coming summer. Sunglasses serve a purpose – they protect our eyes from the glare of the sun. But only in the last 50 years or so, have they become fashion statements. Think Audrey Hepburn’s cat eye in Breakfast at

"We’re not just seeing browns and blacks anymore. There are so many pops of colour. And brand identity is showcased as well. Kim Kardashian and the Hadid sisters are eye fashion trailblazers." Natalie Fracchioni, Sales Supervisor, The Sunglass Hut.

Burberry Sunglasses from The Sunglass Hut. Photos: Emma Cavanagh.

Tropical Hues Crop Bikini Top, Side Band Thong Bikini Bottom and One-Piece Striped Swimsuit from La Vie En Rose. Photo: Emma Cavanagh.

Tiffany’s; or the classic Jackie O gigantic round and square frame glasses that epitomized the ‘70s. In the ‘80s cult classic, “Risky Business”, Tom Cruise resurrected the Ray Ban Wayfarer, made famous in the early ‘60s by President John F. Kennedy. Tom Cruise is also responsible for the trend of the Ray Ban Aviator, which made every young man out there want to be “Maverick” from “Top Gun.” And no summer outfit is complete without the proper pair of “shades”. High-end designers have jumped on the bandwagon and added this classic accessory to their collections. Final Stop: The Sunglass Hut. Here, Sales Supervisor, Natalie Fracchioni was awaiting our arrival and pulled some amazing styles from the new collection. Emma and I just dove into trying on all of these fabulous styles. When asked what was trending in the world of tinted eyewear for this season, Natalie shared, “It’s either going very big, or very small. There are a lot of different coloured frames as well. We’re not just seeing browns and blacks anymore. There are so many pops of colour. And brand identity is showcased as well. Kim Kardashian and the Hadid sisters are eye fashion trailblazers.” Lenses are showing a new dimension as well. A trend called “washed” lenses allows the eye to be seen through the lens, while still providing maximum UV protection – the myth of the darker the lens, the better the protection has been debunked. Natalie added, “These lenses are more see-through indoors but when you go outside, and expose the lenses to the heat, they get darker.” Today’s sunglasses combine brand identity, comfort, versatility and style and are definitely investment pieces, meant to be wellcared for and cherished. After having spent the entire afternoon shopping away, Emma and I were both exhausted. But it was a good tired. We left The Outlet Collection at Niagara feeling enlightened and accomplished. We learned many new things and met some great people. We are both looking forward to summer breezes and sunshine so that we can showcase some of our purchases! Stay tuned, as Emma and I will be back in the fall issue with more ‘Trends That Transcend’.TM TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 33


Dr. Mattar. Photo courtesy of Haskell Photography.

Healing the human body is Dr. Kamal Mattar’s calling. As a urologist with a bustling and successful practice in Niagara, he devotes most of his time in his chosen field. But there is another aspect of humanity that Dr. Mattar is passionate about healing, and that is the human spirit. “I want to help combat the epidemic of human loneliness that is now prevalent in modern Western societies.” Dr. Mattar goes on to add, “We are increasingly wired to networks, and less connected to people. We are motivated by personal aspirations, driven by conservative social values and excel in structured work environments, foregoing our social responsibility.” He’s right! In this day and age, where people will sit across from each other in a restaurant and share a meal, where not a word is exchanged because they are too busy connected to their cell phones, it’s evident that our society has lost that human connection which was once paramount to our happiness. Combatting human loneliness concerns Dr. Mattar greatly enough that it is one of the major principles guiding this new and tremendous business endeavour of his. Well, it’s not really new per se, as his phenomenal concept and brainchild has been in the works for over 7 years and is now just beginning to come to fruition. “My vision is a real estate development that reflects the modern era with 21st century amenities for new homebuyers, whilst offering the social benefits of communal living – a place that encourages neighbours to connect and communicate freely, to share resources and foster a shared sense of community. I called this place ‘MAKAN’, a literal translation from Arabic.” It all began 10 years ago, when Dr. Mattar brought his medical practice to Niagara. As a young professional, he was seeking a home in the region, but wasn’t satisfied with the available housing options. He was looking for something unique in the downtown

core, drawing from his personal preference for cosmopolitan cities, having lived in Dubai, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Toronto. Accustomed to prime real estate located centrally close to many of the cities’ amenities, Dr. Mattar was surprised by the limited housing options in the downtown core of Niagara. “Coming from downtown Toronto, I was apprehensive about living in suburbia. I preferred to be surrounded by people in a downtown setting close to markets, cafes, restaurants, entertainment, etc.,” he says. However, here in Niagara, people have already migrated from the downtown core and towards the suburbs. As a local, I can attest to this, with the main reason being that downtown Niagara Falls, is, for the most part, neglected and run-down which is something that Dr. Mattar soon discovered when he moved into an apartment on Queen Street. “I renovated a two-bedroom, 1,100 square foot open concept apartment, with 12-foot ceilings and wall-to-wall south facing windows, overlooking City Hall. It was spacious and beautiful, close to nature and the highway. I didn’t have to shovel snow or mow the lawn. Businesses and artists moved in the neighbourhood, and invigorated it with lively energy. It was a successful proposition by all measures, but it ultimately failed when the foreign investors pulled out their money and left for New York City. This is not a city for visitors to turn a quick profit. Nestled amongst ‘natural wonders of the world’, there is tremendous value in living here.” The lack of a modern lifestyle in a downtown setting provided the impetus for Dr. Mattar to propose the concept of a contemporary home, with luxurious amenities yet easy on the environment, where the middle-class will want to live again. Dr. Mattar is not an engineer nor is he a builder. He is just someone looking for a home to meet his needs – one that doesn’t require time to maintain, yet that offers all of the same amenities of a house – lawn, garden, pool, etc. To realize his vision, he is developing a 3-storey condominium with 8 units. “The units are not crammed in the traditional style of an apartment building.” Dr. Mattar goes on to explain, “They are all spacious, have high ceilings, unobstructed views and are appointed with all the luxurious comforts of a house.” In essence, he wants to bring us the best of both worlds. “Short-storey condominiums are ubiquitous in cosmopolitan cities like Toronto and Montreal. Dr. Mattar goes on to say, “The location on River Road, overlooking the Niagara Gorge and with a view of the Falls, is truly world class. The City of Niagara Falls Official Plan encourages the centralization of developments, because infrastructure, such as public transit, and resources are already established in the area.” With the Ontario government’s growth plan to increase the density in cities, it seems only logical that this development would get the green light to proceed. Instead, the approval process has been grinding against red tape from the City, the Niagara Region, and the Niagara Parks Commission. As in any labour of love, it has taken Dr. Mattar 3 years just to change the zoning on River Road from R2 Residential to R5 Condominium. In fact, Dr. Mattar was well aware that he was walking on thin ice in dealing with a city accustomed to its heritage neighbourhoods and the people’s traditional concepts of a family home. After multiple consultations with the neighbours and city planners, all the concerns raised were addressed, and the zoning approval was granted. For the last 2 TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 35

years, Dr. Mattar has been working closely with all of the parties to obtain site plan approvals. He tells me that it’s been a grueling, uphill battle, but his determination appears to be unrelenting. Dr. Mattar’s passion for healing the human body and spirit extends to his other passion: helping to heal the environment. This luxury complex will house a strong, geothermal system to heat and cool the units. There will be solar panels to provide all of the electrical needs of the building. Essentially, this will be a net zero building where the amount of energy produced equals the amount of energy consumed. Because of these passive code standards, and the use of durable steel and concrete in the construction, the cost maintenance will be very low but the performance yielded from the building will be very high. Imagine living in this huge, open space, with wall to wall, floor to ceiling, triple pane windows and sliding doors that open up completely to the outside. The modern and contemporary designs will feature 3 and 4 bedroom options and living spaces that are beyond luxurious – marble and granite countertops in the kitchen, along with professional appliances and in-floor concrete heating are all included. Not only will this project be luxurious and aesthetically pleasing to the eye, capturing all of the environmental and sustainable initiatives, it will also have an impact on the sewer infrastructure in that older area of town. “We had a civil engineering survey of the site and we will be able to collect 100% of rain water and filter it as gray water. This will mean less water in sewers therefore less sewer usage.” Where most luxury condominiums will saddle their owners with astronomical maintenance fees, this space differs, as it will be

entirely owned and operated by the owners of the units, once more lending to that sense of community that Dr. Mattar finds to be so integral to combatting human loneliness. Should you choose to leave the privacy of your home, and join into a community setting, all you have to do is make your way to the 5,000 square foot roof-top terrace of shared space, which will house a large pool, luxurious outdoor furniture and state-of-the-art barbecues. “This shared space opens things up for the opportunity to socialize and encourage community”, he says, adding, “You can have coffee in the morning, or a drink at night on the terrace, and be alone, or with your neighbours.” Because of the site’s close proximity to the amenities that Niagara Falls has to offer, Dr. Mattar also has hopes that its residents will become intricately involved with the neighbourhood. Dr. Mattar’s passion for this project is very easy to understand as he explains that he himself is waiting to move into the complex once it’s built and has plans to retire to this area. This project is purely a labour of love, and an aside to his busy medical practice. With most of the site planning and necessary studies complete, dealing with all levels of government, Dr. Mattar feels confident that ground-breaking for this project is coming very soon. “Approval is pending! Proof of concept – there will be a Phase 2 if I’m successful,” Dr. Mattar says happily. Whether you are a millennial, interested in modern, luxurious, green housing, or a commuter looking for a great space to return to every day – or a retiree, settling into your glory years, Dr. Mattar shares your vision. This project is the ideal in housing as it encompasses a three-tiered delivery: luxury living, environmental sustainability, and above all, a true sense of community. TM












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The daring & dauntless



takes guts, but there isn’t always glory. Those who survived were faced with jail time and a hefty fine. Since 1901, sixteen people have attempted to conquer the mighty Niagara. Here are some of their stories...

Bobby Leach posing for a promotional photo, July 25, 1911.

Bobby Leach (Survived) Bobby Leach, an Englishman, successfully made a trip in an allsteel barrel on July 25, 1911, and then spent 23 weeks in hospital recuperating from numerous fractures and other injuries. Fifteen years later, on a lecture tour in New Zealand, he slipped on an orange peel, broke his leg and died of complications from the injury. Joseph Albert "Jean" Lussier (Survived) Jean Lussier, a native of Quebec, designed a six-foot rubber ball composed of 32 inner tubes and a double-wall steel frame. One of the biggest crowds on record saw the stunt on July 4, 1928. The ball took some hard knocks in the rapids but the skip over the Falls was perfect. About one hour after entering his ball, Lussier stepped ashore none the worse for wear. For many years he displayed his ball at Niagara Falls and sold small pieces of the inner tubes for souvenirs at 50 cents a piece.

Annie Taylor (Survived) Mrs. Annie Taylor, a 63-year-old schoolteacher, decided that a trip over Niagara Falls was her way to fame and fortune. On October 24, 1901, assistants trapped her (along with her cat, as seen in this photo) into a special harness in a barrel. A small boat towed the barrel out into the main stream of the Niagara River and the barrel was cast loose. The rapids first slammed it one way, then the other. Then came the drop and a bone-wrenching jar so violent that Mrs. Taylor was sure she hit rocks. Seventeen minutes after the plunge, the barrel had been tossed close enough to the Canadian shore to be hooked and dragged onto the rocks. Mrs. Taylor was dazed but triumphant, and being the first person to conquer the mighty Falls of Niagara, she found the fame she sought so desperately. But fortune was a bit more elusive. Twenty years after her brush with death at Niagara, she died destitute.

Red Hill Jr. (Died) In the summer of 1951, Red Hill Jr. planned to go over the Falls in a flimsy contrivance he called the “Thing” which consisted of 13 inner tubes held together with fish net and canvas straps. On August 6, the “Thing” headed into the rapids with Hill in it. It was tossed into the air, upended, thrown from side to side and bounced off rocks. It was starting to disintegrate even before it reached the Falls. When the drop came, the “Thing” disappeared into churning water at the base of the Falls. Seconds later what was left floated into view. The following day, Hill’s battered body was taken from the river. William “Red” Hill Jr and the “Thing” in which he went over the Horseshoe Falls to his death.


Karel Soucek (Survived) On July 2nd 1984, Karel Soucek challenged the great Horseshoe Falls in a homemade barrel. The specially designed barrel was made of lightweight metal and plastic. It was also equipped with enough counterweight in one end to ensure a feet-first plunge. Soucek spent $15,000 to prepare for his journey. He would become the first person to attempt the dangerous journey over the Falls in 23 years. He called himself the “Last of the Niagara Daredevils”.

Peter DeBernardi and Jeff Petkovich (Both Survived) On September 28th 1989, Niagara locals, Peter DeBernardi and Jeff Petkovich made their journey. The barrel was launched two hundred feet from the brink of the Horseshoe Falls and only 25 seconds later, the bright yellow barrel with the inscription "Don’t Put Yourself on the Edge – Drugs Kill" went over the brink of the Falls. When recovered by the Maid of the Mist dock, both DeBernardi and Petkovich were uninjured. DeBernardi and Petkovich became the first two persons in a barrel to go over the Falls and the eleventh and twelfth persons to take the plunge.

Steven Trotter (Survived – Twice) On August 18, 1985, Trotter began his attempt from a location just upstream from the Horseshoe Falls. He survived the plunge uninjured. He became the youngest person to ever survive the stunt (age 22) and the first American in 25 years to go over the Falls in a barrel. He used two pickle barrels placed end-to end. The exterior was reinforced with layers of fiberglass, balsa wood for flotation, and covered with truck tire inner tubes for shock absorption. At 8:30 a.m., Trotter's 11-man crew launched his barrel into the Niagara River rapids, a quarter-mile from the brink of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Trotter went over the Falls and survived with minor scrapes. Trotter came back to Niagara on June 18, 1995 and became the first person to survive the stunt twice. This time he was accompanied by Lori Martin.

Dave Munday (Foiled and Survived) On July 28th 1985, a truck carrying Munday’s barrel pulled up to the Canadian shoreline site approximately 4 km before the brink of the Falls. An aluminum and unbreakable plastic barrel measuring two metres wide by one metre long, with “To Challenge Niagara July 1985" inscribed on the side, was launched. Unfortunately, this launch was foiled by a police officer who witnessed the event. Undeterred, Munday returned on October 5th 1985, and attempted his second trip over Niagara Falls. The barrel went over the Horseshoe Falls within seconds. At the base, the barrel became trapped for 90 minutes before Munday was rescued. Dave Munday became the ninth person to survive the trip over the Falls. Munday received only minor abrasions. Munday was the first to have a video of himself as he used a video camera through a porthole. On July 16, 1990, Dave Munday had another foiled barrel ride over the Horseshoe Falls. On September 26th 1993, Dave Munday survived his second successful trip over the Horseshoe Falls. Munday was riding in a 660 pound altered diving bell that he had purchased from the Canadian Coast Guard. During his journey, Munday was knocked unconscious but only suffered minor bruises and cuts. The vehicle was recovered at the base of the Falls by the Maid of the Mist.

Out & About Events happening this summer and fall throughout Niagara

Fireworks Over the Falls Now until October 14. All shows begin promptly at 10pm.

There's nothing quite like the sight of exploding fireworks over the brink of Niagara Falls to make your trip a memorable one. The Falls Fireworks Series returns to Niagara Parks for its 26th year! With 110+ displays, including daily fireworks throughout the summer, there’s no better time to plan a night out in Niagara Falls. See the full schedule at: niagarafallstourism.com/fireworks

Reiger Begonia Display

September 1 – October 21 Remarkable Reiger Begonias and a wonderful mix of fall colours combining displays of coleus, tropical foliage plants are featured in this annual display at the Floral Showhouse. niagarafallstourism.com/events/annual-reiger-begonia-display

Fall Handmade Market

September 13 & 14 The 9th Annual Fall Handmade Market at 13th Street Winery, will present 140 curated artisans from across Ontario, Québec and Canada’s East Coast offering hand-crafted Jewellery, Bags, Fashion Accessories, Home Décor, Canning & Preserves, Natural Bath & Body Products, Original Art, Designer & Children’s Clothing, Textiles, Wood and Leather, Hand Bound Books, Ceramics, Candles, Food and so much more! 13thstreetwinery.com/event/fall-handmade-market/

Beauty and the Beast

July 3 – September 1 Linus Hand Productions is proud to present Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the Greg Frewin Theatre. This spectacular musical is the story of an arrogant young prince and his servants who are cast under a spell of a wicked enchantress. The production features a magnificent score including the songs “Be Our Guest” and “Beauty and the Beast”. gregfrewintheatre.com/beauty-and-the-beast.html

Namaste Niagara | Journey Behind the Falls

July 6 – September 1 Namaste Niagara opens up the lower platform of Journey Behind the Falls for an unrivaled experience that marries the mindfulness of a restorative early morning yoga session with the breathtaking power of the Horseshoe Falls. niagaraparks.com/events/event/namaste-niagara-yoga-atjourney-behind-the-falls/?occurrence=5951

Mamma Mia!

October 1 – November 29 The Greg Frewin Theatre in partnership with Linus Hand Productions is thrilled to bring to its stage the world's sunniest Jukebox Musical smash hit "Mamma Mia!" A tale of love, laughter, friendship, and identity set in the Islands of Greece told through the fun and timeless music of ABBA! A mother, a daughter, and 3 possible fathers will make this trip down the aisle one you will never forget! gregfrewintheatre.com/mamma-mia.html


Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival

October 11 – 14 In its 45th year, the Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival is a Niagara Tradition that runs October 11th through October 14th 2019. With over 170 juried artisans, food vendors, demonstrators & entertainers participating in this four-day long annual tradition, there is always plenty to do, see, and explore at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority‘s most popular spot. thanksgivingfestival.ca

Taste the Season

November 1 – 3, 8 – 10, 15 – 17, and 22 – 24 Taste the Season is Niagara-on-the-Lake’s must-do event in November! Celebrate the season’s bounty with locally inspired VQA wine and food pairings at each participating winery. To discover which wineries are participating, what they will be offering, to purchase tickets or for any further details please visit the website. wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com/event/taste-the-season

Vineland ARTFEST

October 11 – 14 Vineland ARTFEST is a juried show with no more than 130 exhibitors. One third of the show consists of Fine Art, and the balance quality crafts. Thanksgiving ARTFEST does NOT charge admission and exhibitors display and exhibit on the perimeter of the property only. The grounds are an open and beautifully treed park-like setting. Hours are from 10 am to 5 pm daily. vineland.dsbn.org/artfest/vinelandartfest.html

Boo at the Zoo | Safari Niagara

October 12 – 14 Back by popular demand! Trick or Treat your way around the zoo brought to you by local businesses. This is a safe and unique Halloween party you do not want to miss! safariniagara.com/event/boo-at-the-zoo/2019-10-12/

Winter Festival of Lights

November 16, 2019 – January 12, 2020 Be sure you explore the amazing glowing light displays that make up the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls, Canada. Each winter, the festival captures the magic of the holiday season, so be sure to attend their brightest season yet! The Winter Festival of Lights has several events that take place each season including weekly fireworks shows, nightly Falls Illumination, the Sparkle Lighting Awards and Niagara Falls New Years Eve Concert. wfol.com

Holiday Handmade Market

November 22 – 24 Get a jump on your holiday gift giving at Niagara's LARGEST indoor holiday handmade market featuring 1000’s of one-of-akind handcrafted gifts and artisan made products all under one roof. niagarafallstourism.com/events/holiday-handmade-market/

Annual Chrysanthemum Display

October 26 – November 18 The diversity of the Chrysanthemum’s colour and form can be truly appreciated during a visit to this show, which features shades of pinks, yellows and bronzes. The displays are a combination of traditional bush varieties, cascading varieties in baskets, pillars and pyramids. Equally impressive are the single stem exhibition types, some with individual bloom diameters of over 8" across. The majority of these varieties are grown for exhibition purposes only and are traditionally not available in the commercial market. niagaraparks.com/events/event/annual-chrysanthemum-display/

TD Niagara Jazz Festival

Year-long Recently named ‘Best New Festival in Ontario’, the TD Niagara Jazz Festival is an exciting jazz festival dedicated to celebrating the art form of jazz in the Niagara Region. The Festival inspires, educates & develops future jazz audiences for generations to come while combining live jazz with a Niagara experience – food, wine, culture & natural wonders. Festival events occur throughout the calendar year with a focus on a summer festival the last two weekends of July in the Niagara Region. niagarafallstourism.com/events/td-niagara-jazz-festival/ TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 43


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Attractions Niagara Falls has so much to offer! There is much to be seen and done here. There are museums and shows to entertain and lots of shopping to make sure that you bring something back for everyone on your list. It’s all here for your picking!

BIRD KINGDOM NIAGARA FALLS 5651 River Road, Niagara Falls 905.356.8888 birdkingdom.ca

Discover tropical birds and animals as you explore the pathways throughout the rainforest. An adventure that is fun for all ages! Be amazed as you enter the World’s Largest Indoor Aviary, where exotic colourful birds fly freely in the multi-level rainforest. Wander on the pathway that begins at the aviary’s top level, taking you behind the magnificent waterfall and down to the jungle floor.

DRACULA’S HAUNTED CASTLE 4933 Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls 905.357.1282 facebook.com/pages/ Draculas-Haunted-Castle/383989021661887

This mysterious castle far away from “the country beyond the forest” is where you’ll find the spirit of the Translyvanian count at its best, luring in scare victims one at a time. Nestled amongst the best attractions in the heart of the Clifton Hill tourist district, come explore Niagara Falls and then come experience Dracula’s Haunted Castle. We’re always in for a good scare!

HORNBLOWER NIAGARA CRUISES 5920 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls niagaracruises.com

Make memories with Niagara Falls, Canada’s ‘must do’ signature experience – Hornblower Niagara Cruises. Get up close and personal with the Horseshoe Falls – and feel the thundering roar and amazing mist. Or ride after sunset for a light-mist experience (that’s still heavy on the magic) with stunning illuminations and, of course, fireworks that light up the sky.




4199 River Road, Niagara Falls 1.866.344.0985 souvenircity.ca

3731 Victoria Avenue, Niagara Falls 905.357.5672 niagarahelicopters.com

6170 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.358.3611 imaxniagara.com

Maple Leaf Place is open year round and has been proudly serving Niagara visitors for over 40 years. Now featuring Niagara’s newest attraction - The Maple Trail. We’ve brought the Maple Sugar Bush indoors with an exciting, engaging and educational experience. Includes FREE Tasting Bar, Maple Taffy experience and onsite automated bottling, capping and labeling demonstration. Admission is FREE!

A world-class attraction, for the thrill of a lifetime. Soar above the majestic Niagara River and take in the awe-inspiring Falls and Rapids from an angle like no other. For nearly 60 years, Niagara Helicopters has been a definitive area attraction, enthralling millions of visitors. Daily flights year-round, weather permitting.

The Niagara Falls IMAX® Theatre is where your adventure begins! Located in the heart of the Niagara Falls tourist and entertainment district, the theatre is home to the IMAX® film, Niagara: Miracles, Myths & Magic, the amazing Niagara Falls Daredevil Exhibit, and the best source of daredevil and Niagara Falls history. Get a full understanding of Niagara Falls and its human history through the power of IMAX®.




4960 Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls 905.358.4793 cliftonhill.com/attractions/niagara-skywheel

4960 Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls 905.358.3676 cliftonhill.com/attractions/niagara-speedway

5631 Victoria Avenue, Niagara Falls 905.357-3327 nightmaresfearfactory.com

Soar 175 feet above Niagara Falls for the most spectacular view you will ever experience. Climate controlled gondolas provide year round sightseeing comfort, day and night. From this vantage point you will be treated to memorable views of the Horseshoe and American Falls, the Niagara River, Niagara Parks, and other landmarks.

The Speedway is a world-class attraction that combines the adrenaline inducing thrill of kart racing with the remarkable experience of a roller coaster ride. The course is spread out over four acres with over 2000 linear feet of concrete racing surface, running through a four-story helical spiral followed by a two tiered coaster style ramp that runs into another spiral.

Located at the top of Clifton Hill close to the American and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. You can hear the screams coming from Nightmares Fear Factory Haunted house. Famous for the number of visitors that ‘chicken out’, they come in couples, entire families or groups of friends and yet nothing seems to help them feel safe when venturing through the most famous and scariest attraction in Niagara Falls.





4960 Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls 905.356.2238 ripleys.com/niagarafalls

5920 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls..1.800.263.7073 niagarafalls.wildplay.com/mistrider-zipline

6455 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 1.800.899.9136 ext. 0 yukyuks.com/niagarafalls

Celebrating 100 Years Of Making You Believe! Ripley’s offers interactive, family friendly fun for all ages at our three unique attractions: The Odditorium, The 4D Moving Movie Theater, and Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks. Don’t forget to visit our huge Wax Hand Station located inside the Odditorium for a unique souvenir!

Our flight without feathers is the coolest way for humans to soar across the sky! On four parallel ziplines that face the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls, riders dangle from a precarious 67 metre (220 foot) high vantage point. Our fully-guided experience adds thrill to the breathtaking panorama as gravity floats riders 670 metres (2,200 feet), at speeds of 70+ kph (40+ mph)


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Yuk Yuk’s Niagara Falls comedy club provides the best live comedy in the Niagara Region. Our Niagara comedy club gives live stand up comedy a new meaning in Niagara Falls attractions.

20 GREAT THINGS TO DO IN NIAGARA FALLS 6357 Stanley Avenue • Niagara Falls ON Canada (Steps from Fallsview Casino)

Hornblower Niagara Cruises

Niagara Freefall and Interactive Center

Feel the awesome power, thundering roar and amazing mist on a voyage into the heart of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls! Hold onto your heart and get ready for the thrill of a lifetime with our day and night cruises. 5920 Niagara Parkway

Fulfill your dream to fly! Experience the thrill of skydiving in a safe, environmentally controlled indoor vertical wind tunnel. Flight suits and safety equipment are provided. Great fun for the whole family! 6357 Stanley Avenue 905-356-9764

House of Frankenstein

Soar 175 feet above Niagara Falls for the most spectacular view you will ever experience! The Niagara SkyWheel is a world-class ride featuring fully enclosed gondolas, each equipped with heating and air-conditioning for year-round comfort and enjoyment. 4950 Clifton Hill

According to Mary Shelley, Doctor Frankenstein created a monster from the dead. Here in the House of Frankenstein, there are many “monsters”, creatures who lurk in the shadows, not living, and yet, not dead! Be warned, this is not for the faint of heart! 4967 Clifton Hill 905-357-9660

Niagara Speedway

Rock Legends Wax Museum

The Niagara Speedway is a world-class attraction that combines the adrenaline inducing thrill of kart racing with the remarkable experience of a roller coaster ride. Be sure to visit North America’s largest elevated go-kart facility. CONQUER A BEAST OF A COURSE 4960 Clifton Hill 905-358-3676

From the early pioneers of rock and roll to present day musicians, the realism and authentic detail of our more than 60 life-size wax figures will astound you. All of our one-of-a-kind originals are sculpted by local Niagara Falls artist, Pasquale Ramunno. 5020 Centre Street 905-354-6255





300+ GAMES IN 70,000 SQ FT OF PLAY

A/C 6051

Niagara SkyWheel

Receive $5 in free game tokens with a $20 token purchase. Limit 6 guests per coupon. Valid on $20 token purchase only. Must be presented at time of purchase. Available at Midway cashiers only.

The Bird Kingdom

The Great Canadian Midway

The Bird Kingdom is the World’s Largest Free-Flying Indoor Aviary. Discover hundreds of tropical birds as you explore the pathways throughout the multi-level rainforest. This world-class attraction is located a 5-minute walk from Niagara Falls and is open year-round. 5651 River Road 905-356-8888

Niagara Falls IMAX® Theatre


You can hear the screams coming from Nightmares Fear Factory cliftonhill.com Haunted House. We are famous for the number of visitors that chicken out and are the scariest attraction in Niagara Falls. Are you brave enough to make it till the end? 5631 Victoria Avenue 905-357-3327 A 5201

905.358.3676 •

C 5202

905.358.3676 • cliftonhill.com

Not valid with any other offer. Present this coupon at time of purchase.

Movieland Wax Museum of Stars

Dracula’s Haunted Castle Walk through dark passageways with windows looking into freaky scenes. Scary noises and footsteps will follow you. Dracula’s Haunted Castle is not for the faint of heart! 4933 Clifton Hill 905-357-1282


A walk through Movieland is like a walk through entertainment history. Snap a selfie next to your favourite stars! At Movieland Wax Museum you see top movie, television and music celebrities up close and personal. FREE 905-358-3061 4950 Clifton Hill WINNING


300+ GAMES IN 70,000 SQ FT OF PLAY


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4943 Clifton Hill. 905-356-2299 Coupon is valid for up to 6 guests. Not valid in combination with other offers. Redeemable only at time of ticket purchase. Offer expires 12/31/2019


Adult Admission

50¢ off Children and Students Guinness World Records Museum™

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$ .00

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The Niagara Falls IMAX® Theatre is where your adventure begins! Located in the heart of the Niagara Falls tourist and entertainment district, the theatre is home to the IMAX® film, Niagara: Miracles, Myths & Magic, and the amazing Niagara Falls Daredevil Exhibit. 6170 Fallsview Blvd. 905-358-3611



A/C 6051


Nightmares Fear Factory

70,000 square feet of fun located 1 block to the Falls in the heart of Clifton Hill. Featuring over 300 games, The Great Canadian Midway entertainment complex is always a family favourite. 4850 Clifton Hill 905-358-3676

Receive $5 in free game tokens with a $20 token purchase.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Dinosaur Adventure Golf

Since 1964, we have carried on Ripley’s tradition of scouring the globe for unbelievable exhibits. Experience our 10,000 square foot “Odditorium” with more than 15 themed rooms and over 400 incredible exhibits. 4960 Clifton Hill 905-356-2238

If being surrounded by gigantic pre-historic dinosaurs and lush vegetation is your thing, come and play miniature golf at Dinosaur Adventure Golf, Canada’s largest mini golf attraction! We have two 18-hole courses with a massive 70,000 square foot playing surface. 4952 Clifton Hill 905-358-3676

Limit 6 guests per coupon. Valid on $20 token purchase only. Must be presented at time of purchase. Available at Midway cashiers only.

WildPlay’s MistRider Zipline to the Falls Our flight without feathers is the coolest way for humans to soar across the sky with unparalleled views of the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls. MistRider’s fully-guided experience will take you along the edge of the vast Niagara river gorge to the Falls observation landing. 5920 Niagara Parkway 1-800-263-7073


Wizard’s Golf Mini Putt


A 5201

905.358.3676 • cliftonhill.com C 5202

Not valid with any other offer. Present this coupon at time of purchase.

This challenging “Glow in the Dark Miniature Golf” showcases brightly coloured exhibits of wizards, trolls, and dragons in a medieval land of fantasy and wonderment. With a climate-controlled 905.358.3676 • cliftonhill.com environment, you can putt away rain or shine! 4960 Clifton Hill 905-358-3676

Discover the lost art of monkeying around

WildPlay Niagara Falls Whirlpool Adventure Course

Experience the facts, feats and record setters first hand through incredible displays, interactive games, trivia, and action displays. www.guinnessniagarafalls.com or e-mail guinness@falls.com © 2018 Guinness World Records Limited.


Have a fun and thrilling experience with suspended obstacles and ziplines high above the world-famous whirlpool and Niagara gorge. Our cliff-side self-paced courses offer a totally new and unique way to have a Niagara River adventure. Discover the lost art of monkeying around! 3500 Niagara River Parkway 1-800-263-7073 OPEN SPRING 20I8 Presented with...

wildplay.com/niagarafalls | 1-800-263-7073

Guinness World of Records Discover a plethora of marvelous world records, from the tiny, the large, the tall and the just plain unbelievable. Come in an explore our large collection of world-famous Guinness record-holders. 4943 Clifton Hill 905-356-2299

Strike! Rock N’ Bowl If you’re looking for some great family entertainment, Strike! Rock N’ Bowl is the ultimate place to play. Here you’ll find 14 full size 10 pin bowling lanes on 25,000 square feet of high energy entertainment! 4960 Clifton Hill 905-358-4788

Maple Leaf Place Formerly known as Souvenir City, Maple Leaf Place is Niagara’s preferred one-stop attractions, retail and restaurant outlet and is conveniently located just 5 minutes from the Falls with loads of free on-site car parking and easily accessible by WeGo Bus Green Line. 4199 River Road 1-866-344-0985


High Flying Bird

NIAGARA HELICOPTERS Article: Martine Mackenzie | Photos: Haskell Photography

“Somewhere, over the rainbow, blue birds fly. Birds fly over the rainbow, why then, oh why can’t I?” YOU CAN! In fact, anyone can! Just come on down to Niagara Helicopters Flightseeing Tours and you too can fly over a rainbow AND over Niagara Falls, plus pretty much anywhere else in the Niagara/Toronto region. Since 1961, Niagara Helicopters has been providing visitors to the Falls, VIPs, and locals with the exciting experience of soaring above the turbulent rapids and cascading waterfalls. With over 50 years of service, experienced pilots and a courteous ground crew to ensure your comfort and safety, there is no doubt that you will be in for the ride of a lifetime. Anna Pierce, Vice President and General Manager, has been with the organization since she was in high school. Anna began selling tickets at the tender age of 16. Ruedi Hafen, who was a pilot at the time and also a family friend of Anna’s bought the business after the original owner passed away. When Anna finished university, Ruedi brought her on board as the Marketing and Operations Assistant, and along with his business partner, the three of them did everything they had to do to keep the business going. “When we first started, we had 8 buses that season. The following season, we were up to 80! And the business has grown exponentially since then,” Anna recounts. As the business continued to grow, so did Anna’s role, as she was soon named Marketing Director. In 2011, Ruedi sold the business to Helicopter Transport Services of Canada, a family-owned Photos courtesy of Haskell Photography.

corporation based out of Ottawa, and they named Anna to the position of Vice-President of Operations and General Manager, a role she continues to love and excel in to this day. Anna oversees a crew of 28 full-time staff which increases during the peak season, when Niagara Helicopters employs roughly 40 people who help run the four, 7-passenger customized Airbus H130 helicopters. When asked how many people climb aboard for the trip of a lifetime, Anna chuckles. “It’s funny, how when we first started, we saw those 8 buses and now, we see 80, 000 to 100, 000 visitors a season.” Niagara Falls continues to attract an array of celebrities every year, so it stands to reason that they would want to get the best view possible of the mighty cataracts. Funnily, most celebrities travel incognito and Anna says, “We usually have no idea that they are even coming. We’ve had Elton John come through and the Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno when he was here for the annual ComicCon a few years ago. Emma Watson flew with us and so did our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but that was before he was PM. We’ve taken Kelly Ripa up twice. We flew Kelly and her son, Michael, for his 20th birthday into Two Sisters Vineyards for a celebration. Russell Crowe wanted to surprise his wife for her birthday and we flew the two of them into one of our wineries as well.” If you think that chartering one of Niagara Helicopters is a privilege reserved for the rich and famous, think again. “Our biggest secondary market is the charter business, flying anyone from visitors, to corporate groups, to celebrities and VIPs. We take them all over the place, most often right into some of our TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 49

A view to thrill

Niagara Helicopters Flightseeing Tours 3731 Victoria Avenue, Niagara Falls, ON 905-357-5672 | niagarahelicopters.com

wonderful Niagara wineries. We fly them over the Falls first and then land at the winery. Even if you aren’t a rock star, you can feel like one,” adds Anna with a laugh. With over 50, 000 acres of grapes and over 90 wineries, it’s easy to see how visitors have their breath taken away by the beauty of the Niagara Fruit Belt. Niagara Helicopters offers a variety of special flights and Niagara and Toronto charter services, and offers exclusive pick-up and drop-off services at Toronto Island Airport and Toronto Polson Pier Airport in downtown Toronto, as well as Toronto Pearson International Airport. However, it’s not always fun and games at Niagara Helicopters. Anna takes a very serious note when she begins speaking of the many search and rescue missions that they participate in. When asked how many, she said, “Too many to count!” The Niagara Gorge is famous for its hiking trails. The rock formation from tens of thousands of years of erosion and the unique regional flora and fauna provide a fabulous backdrop for a great hike. Experts and amateurs alike take to the trails by the thousands every season. Regardless of experience and skill levels, what many don’t realize is that the gorge trails can become very slippery, very quickly and people sometimes go down not realizing that they have to get back up that very steep incline. “Sometimes, people with pre-existing conditions, like heart or blood pressure get down there and just can’t get back up. Then there are those who fall. They call 911 and if the police and fire department can get to them that’s great – but 90% of the time, by the time they get the rescue equipment down there…well it just takes too much time. Can you imagine trying to get a stretcher down that gorge, against the foliage and rocks, and then back up,” Anna asks. Enter Niagara Helicopters, who, with its trained pilots, provides an essential service working with both the police and fire departments to ensure successful rescues. In order to facilitate the job of the pilots, the Niagara Parks Commission poured a concrete pad at an open spot at the base of the gorge so that the choppers can

land. “It’s really a team effort and operation. We work with the jet boats as well, but sometimes they can’t get close enough because the currents of the rapids are just too strong. Because we help in so many rescues, our pilots train with police and fire on a regular basis. It’s quite an operation, but with the helicopters involved, it helps in not endangering rescuers where even trying to get equipment down there is hazardous,” says Anna. Rescues don’t just occur down river either. There are many times when individuals don’t realize that the water going over the Falls is controlled by a series of gates up river by 50% overnight for hydroelectric purposes. Anna adds, “People sometimes wander out into the upper river to fish early in the morning, and will end up on a series of rocks, casting their lines. Once the gates are opened by Ontario Hydro, and the water levels start to rise, they become stranded. And we get the call!” Fortunately, the majority of the rescues end on a positive note. Anywhere that you may find yourself close to the Falls or to the gorge, you will see only few other flying machines as the air space is restricted. Niagara Helicopters is very fortunate to share these phenomenal skies so close to such amazing natural wonders. There is no age limit to fly and their facilities are 100% wheelchair accessible. While you are enjoying a view that you can’t possibly get anywhere else on Earth, you will be provided with taped commentary in 12 different languages, including English, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin, and many more. Niagara Helicopters also provides aerial photography charters so that customers, such as real estate developers, hoteliers, television stations and film companies are able to get the most amazing footage and shots of the mighty Niagara. Breathtaking, spectacular, astounding, phenomenal, world-class… it doesn’t matter how many adjectives you use to describe the experience of taking a flight with Niagara Helicopters. None of them will do the experience justice. You have to JUST DO IT! TM TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 51

Live Like the Locals Summer By Victoria Gilbert

Most locals will tell you, summer is their favourite time of year. The Niagara region is rich with patio life, endless walking paths and cycling trails and of course fine dining with locally produced wines and beers to quench your thirst after a day of exploring.

Cycle or Walk The Paths Near Fort George Fort George | 51 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON | 905-468-6614 Fort George is a military post that defended Upper Canada against American attacks, but it also makes a great backdrop for a bike ride or a walk. Locals are commonly found walking their dogs or heading out for a bike ride along the well-maintained path which goes right by the Fort and leads to the Niagara River. Enjoy the blue waters of the Niagara River flowing from Niagara Falls as you spread out your picnic or roast a hot dog over on one of the many open grills, available to anyone who visits. If you want to explore Fort George, it’s a happening place in the summer, where the Fort staff cover a variety of topics of a bygone era from 10am-5pm, May 1 to October 31.

You can find this happening at the Fort all week long!

Weekends in July and August, the Fort has these great offerings! Flag raising and lowering ceremonies Hear the sounds of the 41st Fife and Drum Corps as the flag is raised to begin a new day. Watch it lowered at dusk to signal the end of day.

Musket Demonstrations Watch the flash of fire and hear the blast of a Brown Bess musket fired by a squad of the 41st Regiment.

Fife and Drum Demonstrations Decoratively uniformed 41st Regiment Fife and Drum Corps parade around Fort George performing 18th and early 19th century music. Hear the pre-dawn reveille bugle wake-up call, the opening notes of the corps’ daily job as the Fort’s clock and timekeeper for soldiers’ routines. Learn how they were also an essential low-tech walkie-talkie with the high-pitched fifes and low-pitched drums sending musical signals across great distances to direct artillery, cavalry and troops on a chaotic battlefield. (Parks Canada 2019)

From Wednesday to Sunday, these amazing displays are on at the Fort! Fire Power Demonstration An infantry and artillery display highlighting the skills and tactics of the British Army during the War of 1812. This demonstration shows how the British Army used the simple technology of the Brown Bess musket to the greatest effect with skirmishing, line firing, cavalry defense, and the bayonet charge - interspersed with the devastating fire of field artillery. Smell the smoke and feel the explosions that made an 1812 battlefield a very dangerous place to be. (Parks Canada 2019)

Musical Performances Hear the sounds within the barracks and officers’ quarters of historical compositions that would have been popular during the Napoleonic era. It’s a neat opportunity to hear classics played on reproductions of late 18th and early 19th century instruments.

Noon Day Gun Feel the blast of the noon day gun at this authentic canon firing demonstration.

Period Kitchen Visit kitchens from another time to look at and imagine another life. If you’re lucky, the chefs at the Fort will be baking cookies, breads, cakes, pies, or puddings from a historic recipe collection for you to try.

Explore the Fort Choose your own adventure through the Fort: explore the carefully restored buildings with costumed interpreters and listen to stories that will take you back 200 years. Photos courtesy of Jon Nicholls Photography / Shutterstock.com


Queenston Heights Restaurant

14184 Niagara Parkway, Queenston | Open for lunch daily and for Sunday brunch 905-262-4274 | niagaraparks.com/visit/culinary/queenston-heights-restaurant Simply the best view for lunch in the region. The servers wear black and white and walk with the ease of many years’ experience beneath the high wooden ceilings and chandeliers of the perfectly appointed historic restaurant. It is no wonder most of the people working at Queenston Heights restaurant stay for decades. The windows overlooking the wide blue Niagara River provide a breathtaking view! “This has been my office for 30 years,” says Christine, a friendly server who gestures to the river after placing a large platter of steaming polenta and greens on the table. Chef Bill Greenan has created a hearty menu filled with local fare, ideal for pleasing tummies on any Ontario day. The portion sizes are large and the prices reasonable, which is why Queenston Heights Restaurant continues to attract locals. Located 15 minutes north of the falls on the Niagara Parkway, at the foot of Brock’s Monument, Queenston Heights Restaurant is open seasonally to the public for its award-winning Sunday brunch along with light fare and beverages on the patio.

The Blind Pig

9989 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls | Open 11:30am-2am 7 days a week 905-358-9744 | blindpigniagara.com With local beers like Oast House and Silversmith on tap and daily specials which are arguably the best deal in the Falls, this popular lunch, and after work pub is where scores of locals go to relax and unwind. An exposed brick interior with comfortable booths and what you’d expect from Canadian servers – down to earth, friendly, and happy to chat to you about the food served or what you did that day, makes this cozy gastro-pub in the heart of Niagara Falls a solid option. For those with gluten allergies, The Blind Pig offers an exclusively gluten sensitive menu for your eating ease.

Eco-Wine Tours

3620 Moyer Road Vineland, Ontario | Tours start out of Vineland Estates Winery 289-407-5537 | bwhikes.com Local hiker and biologist, Owen Bjorgan, leads you on a tour of nature out of Vineland Estates Winery, where walkers can expect to sip wine and wander in nature with an exuberant local guide. Bjorgan has logged thousands of hours exploring the natural areas of the Niagara region and once spent 37 days hiking the Bruce Trail by himself, so you know you’re in experienced hands. “We spend part of the time walking in and on the perimeter of the vineyard and then we step in and out of the Niagara Escarpment and the old growth forest along the Bruce Trail.” The Eco-Wine tours include information about the “Niagara Escarpment’s relationship with the vineyard and how the wine is a product of that relationship,” says Bjorgan. “The idea is the soil beneath your feet is a product of not just the viticulture but also the environment; and with the forest and the Escarpment, you get the product you are tasting right now from this land.” Whatever you may choose to do during your summer visit to Niagara, you will no doubt be delighted! TM







RAINBOW: By Sherman Zavitz

Photo courtesy of Haskell Photography.

ne late December evening in the year 1900, a lavish dinner party took place at the Toronto home of George Beardmore who was Master of the Fox Hounds at the Toronto Hunt Club. The outcome from one of the topics of conversation that night was to have a profound effect on Niagara Falls. Among the guests was William Mackenzie who, at 51, had already built a business empire that was continuing to grow. A native of Kirkfield, Ontario, he was involved in street railways, coal mines, real estate, power projects, pulp and paper, railways and farming, just to name a few of his interests. While at the dinner party, Mackenzie and a number of other men began talking about whether it would ever be possible to bring hydroelectric power from Niagara Falls to Toronto. Although some of the group felt that the distance involved was too great for effective transmission, Mackenzie, who already had some experience in electrical generation, thought otherwise. As he left Beardmore’s home late that night, he was determined to develop a means of bringing electricity generated at Niagara Falls to Toronto. There was no doubt that the demand for electricity in Ontario’s capital was increasing dramatically, while at the same time the coalburning generators the city used had almost reached their capacity. In order to undertake this huge enterprise, Mackenzie formed a partnership with two other successful and knowledgeable businessmen who were also close friends, Henry Pellatt and Fred Nicholls. Pellatt was the head of one of the country’s biggest brokerage firms and had also been involved with the organization of the Canadian General Electric Company. He is best remembered today for his remarkable home, known as Casa Loma, which has been a popular Toronto tourist attraction for decades. Nicholls, an electrical engineer who came to Canada from England in 1874 was an early promotor of the uses of electrical energy in Ontario.

In early 1903, the three entrepreneurs were granted a franchise by what is now known as The Niagara Parks Commission that authorized them to generate up to 125,000 horse power of electricity using water from above the falls. The water rental fee was to be $80,000 annually. In February 1903, Mackenzie, Pellatt and Nicholls formed the Electrical Development Company of Ontario. It was to be the first Canadian company to generate electricity at Niagara Falls. Construction of the powerhouse began later that year. Located just above the Horseshoe Falls, it was built of Indiana limestone in an Italian Renaissance style. The centre section, along with the north wing, were built first and completed in early 1907. The south wing was constructed between 1911 and 1913. The building then had a total length of 452 feet which provided space for 11 generators. The powerhouse and the gathering weir were built on 11 acres of what had formally been the riverbed. When the area was dried off, hundreds of granite boulders were exposed. These were salvaged and used in the construction of what is now called Queen Victoria Place, across from the American Falls. Construction of the plant and the erection of the transmission lines had advanced enough that power began to be delivered on November 21, 1906, providing Toronto with its first hydroelectricity. Two years later the Electrical Development Company became the Toronto Power Company, with Mackenzie as president, along with Pellatt, Nichols and several other men as directors. The Niagara Falls Plant then became known as the Toronto Powerhouse, the name still used today. In 1922 the Toronto Power Company was purchased by what is now known as Ontario Power Generation. The Toronto Powerhouse was closed in 1974. It was felt that more efficient use


Top left: Crowne Plaza, present day. Top right: Hotel General Brock, circa 1940. Photos courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library.

of the same water could be made by the more modern Sir Adam Beck Generating Stations downriver at Queenston. Still standing, its massive size, classical appearance and considerable age clearly qualify the Toronto Powerhouse as a Niagara Falls landmark. A number of other genuine landmark structures can be found nearby, one of which is celebrating its 90th birthday this year. Now known as the Crowne Plaza Hotel, this building was opened July 1, 1929, as the Hotel General Brock. The name chosen for the new hotel honoured the British General, Sir Isaac Brock who fell, mortally wounded, during the opening stages of the Battle of Queenston Heights on October 13, 1812. (The site of the battle, now a huge park, is only a short distance downriver from Niagara Falls.) Heralding the hotel’s opening, the Niagara Falls Review described the building as “a mammoth edifice, gleaming white in the sunlight, classic in appearance, looming over the Niagara River.” The paper went on to note. “The big hotel is very complete with all the equipment of modern buildings of this kind, from the main floor with its Peacock Alley group of stores and marble staircase to the roof garden on the 10th storey. It is the last word in comfort and beauty”. The hotel featured 247 rooms, a ballroom, four private dining rooms and a cafeteria. On September 12, 1948, the Brock helped to make a bit of television history when it became the site of the first international telecast ever made in the Americas. WBEN-TV (now WIVB) of Buffalo produced the program which showed the falls on television for the first time. The cameras were mounted on one of the hotel’s upper balconies. Over the years, many famous people have been guests of the hotel. Some of these noted individuals include Walt Disney, Gene Autry, Jimmy Stewart, Pierre Trudeau, Marilyn Monroe, King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth just to name a few. The hotel’s impressive guest list has added to its fame.

Although the hotel has been refurbished at various times, as much as possible, care has been taken to preserve and enhance its original 1920’s elegance and ambience. At the same time, new amenities have been added, such as an indoor swimming pool. With 90 years of history now behind it, this landmark hotel continues to play an important role in the story of Niagara Falls. “Here at the crossroads of North American tourism stands a structure not only unique in its purpose but unusual and striking in design.” These were the words of William Pigott as he addressed some 800 people at the opening of Niagara Falls’ Skylon Tower on October 6, 1965. Pigott was both Chairman of the Board of the Niagara International Centre Ltd., owner of the Skylon, and president of the Pigott Construction Company of Hamilton which had erected the tower. He went on to predict that the Skylon would quickly “become identified around the world with this great area of tourism.” Pigott’s prophecy has certainly come true. The 525-foot-high Skylon has become a Niagara Falls icon, unquestionably one of the best-known man-made structures here or, for that matter, anywhere in Canada. At the time of its opening, the Skylon Tower was the tallest reinforced concrete structure of its kind in the world. Six hundred people had laboured on the 11 million-dollar project. Three elevators glide up and down the outside of the shaft – or, if you need to walk to the top, you’re facing a climb of 662 steps. The Skylon’s dome features Canada’s first revolving dining room. Seating 265 people, the dining room makes one rotation every hour, giving diners a 360-degree look at not only Niagara Falls but, on a clear day, well beyond. Now owned by the local Yerich family, the Skylon Tower, while not nearly as old as the Crowne Plaza (formerly General Brock) Hotel or the Toronto Powerhouse, can still be legitimately called a landmark. TM

SKYLON SKYLINE By Martine Mackenzie

Since its opening in 1965, the Skylon Tower continues to be the most recognizable piece of the Niagara Falls skyline. Standing at 520 feet/158.4 metres, the tower is iconic even though it no longer holds the title of tallest structure in Niagara. But what a history it has! Visitors to the Observation Platform are not only regaled with spectacular views of the mighty Niagara and surrounding areas, but can trace the history of the Skylon’s lifetime, see the Wall of Fame, and find its place within The World Federation of Towers. In total, visitors will currently find three installations exhibited on the Observation Platform. The architect behind these works of art is Natalie Stickles, Creative Director at “5 x 5 Studio Design,” here in Niagara. The first one narrates the timeline of the tower’s construction, and was completely constructed from an old-fashioned story board with actual black and white pictures. The second, displays pictures, autographs and the kind words of some of the countless celebrities that have graced the place with their presence over 54 years. This installation was created using images from the actual autograph books which are still used to document. The third, a very educational one, places the Skylon in a pictogram amongst its peers in The World Federation of Towers, with interesting facts and trivia. Skylon’s Director of Sales, and the idea behind the concept, Anita Pang-Hrepic particularly likes this installation, as she makes it a point to visit tall wonders every time she travels to any of these cities. “People make connections to home when they visit us and see towering structures from their part of the world,” she goes on to explain. Along with the installations are newly minted geographical coordinates placed around the interior perimeter of the Observation Platform, to show visitors where significant landmarks are around the region. Having lived in the Niagara Region most of my life, and having prided myself on my knowledge of the area, even I was surprised to learn a few new things! This feature is something that both tourists and locals will enjoy and is well worth the “climb”. TM


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It's a Silver Jubilee at

Oh Canada Eh? By Martine Mackenzie

Photos courtesy of Lee Seigel Photography

When Oh Canada Eh? dinner theatre first opened its doors 25 years ago, with the novel concept of an all Canadian dinner theatre, they were given 6 months, yet here they are, having celebrated their silver anniversary on May 17th. I’m almost ashamed to admit, that as a local, I just never thought of seeing something I deemed as “touristy”. Well, was I ever surprised! This two-hour show, comprised of 75 songs, extensive choreography, and a trip through Canadian musical history was only rivaled by the hearty meal, full of typical Canadian comfort fare, served by the performers themselves. But where did the whole idea of this song, dance, and dinner come from? Eric Hitchcock, who has been the General Manager of the place for 17 years answered that question for me. “The original owners, Jim Cooper and Ross Robinson, were both travel agents. Ross spent a year in Australia and found this show called, ‘The Jolly Swagman’, about Australian stereotypes – kangaroos, koalas, crocodile hunters, etc… He had the idea to do something Canadian from about 30 or 40 years ago. He walked into the office of Jim Cooper, who was at that time, operating a travel agency. Jim had a very strong theatrical background and already had a dinner theatre in Montreal which is still running to this day. It’s called ‘Le Festin du Gouverneur’ and opened back in the ‘60s.” TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 63

With Ross’s strong background and experience in marketing and sales, and Jim’s passion for and experience with the theatre, being involved in Garden City Productions, it was a match made in heaven. Their brainchild was born in 1994, when the two proudly launched ‘Oh Canada Eh?’, a dinner theatre which would encompass everything Canadian. Their unique idea also had the performers themselves interacting with the audience by not only taking the stage, but by serving the food. Those naysayers that had Oh Canada Eh? closing after 6 months sure have egg on their faces! Credit for the content of the show itself goes directly to Lee Siegel, who has had a very long and satisfying career in theatre. As Creative/Artistic Director, Lee writes the shows and is the driving force behind every last detail of how each performance unfolds. Lee has been with Oh Canada Eh? for over 20 years. With a passion for theatre and creativity, he began as a performer on the stage for 7 years. From there, he went onto the Stratford Theatre. But bigger things were beckoning, as Lee found himself on Broadway in New York City, where he had the honour of performing at the Tony Awards. Lee gushes with genuine and heartfelt enthusiasm as he tells me just what to expect in anticipation of my actually seeing the show. “You will be fully immersed in Canadiana. Log cabin and lumberjacks. Anne of Green Gables, a Mountie…the full Canadian experience. You would have to go coast to coast to see everything you will see in the show.” A week later, I wasn’t disappointed! The show is absolutely amazing, chock full of local talent. The musical numbers travel from the 1940s through to today, featuring artists such as Oscar Peterson and Ruth Lowe, right up to the Barenaked Ladies and Shawn Mendes. I thought I had a pretty good knowledge of Canadian music but I was very surprised to learn that some of the songs I thought to be American-written, are actually Canadian. The show had me singing along, clapping, and shouting “Eh?”!

To say that the performance is interactive is an understatement. What sets this show apart from any other dinner theatre I’ve been to is the fact that the performers are the servers and your meal is served as the show is in progress. This troupe of professionals doesn’t miss a beat! The one on one contact that the audience members get with the performers lends to an atmosphere of camaraderie, as you truly feel you know this talented group, many of whom have been with Oh Canada Eh? for 10 plus years. The family-style dinner is delicious and also takes you from coast to coast, bringing all of the flavours of Canada to your table. The beverages menu offers Canadian wine, beer and signature cocktails along with a variety of soft drinks. And of course, the pièce de résistance is the Canadian maple syrup-infused dessert. The long, rectangular tables seat large parties - but have no fear if it’s just a few of you going – you will be sat at a table with strangers who literally become your friends. This all ages show is truly a familyoriented experience. Lee Siegel didn’t just pen this particular show. The venue also aptly named, “Oh Canada, Eh?” hosts shows year-round, all written by Lee. This 2019 anniversary season features the namesake performance, running now until October 26th. As they say in the theatre world, “The show must go on”, and on it does, with 5 shows a year, all original Lee Siegel masterpieces. In the last 10 years, the team has put on 40 different shows. To get the lowdown on what is happening and when, I strongly suggest checking out their website at ohcanadaeh.com. To really appreciate the full effect of this show, you need to get out there and see it. From the beginning, when you are greeted and seated by the performers, through the show and the meal, right down to the end, where as you leave, you are once again met by the performers who bid you a fond farewell, the Oh Canada Eh? experience will leave you wanting more. TM



Classiest e

For 17 years Frank Thomas Croisdale has worked for the Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites, but he is also well known for a successful career as the Contributing Editor for the Niagara Falls Reporter. “I was considered the nice guy at the paper. I would write funny columns and humanistic feel good stories,” says Croisdale. “It was a bulldog journalistic mentality and that newspaper and I sort of helped balance things out a bit.” With over 700 columns to his name including some bold pieces and some matter of fact articles, but mainly focusing on tourism, it was a perfect marriage to his work in the hotel and tourism industry. “I thought I would be repeating myself if I continued in journalism and I decided to end that part of my life. It was an amazing experience,” he explains. While Croisdale was Vice President of Sales for Greyline, he met the owners of the Hilton. “They asked me to take over their tour sales and concierge department,” explains Croisdale. “Once I came here I never looked back.” When it comes to being a tourist in Niagara, Croisdale has learned a few tricks of the trade. “If you are going to see the Falls, my advice is to experience it in as many ways as you can,” he says. “If you ride the Hornblower and don’t do the Journey Behind the Falls, you don’t get the full experience.” Croisdale encourages visitors to embrace all that the area has to offer. “People still have a notion that Niagara Falls is some isolated area. They think it’s like the scene in National Lampoon’s Vacation where the Griswold family pulls up to the Grand Canyon in their station wagon and Chevy Chase bobs his head two times and they get in the car and leave,” says Croisdale. “It is a 12,000 year living spectacle and we try to promote the history of all of the Niagara Region, not just the Falls. I hope people can soak in as much of it as they can,” he says. Croisdale recalls the days when the Minolta Tower and Waltzing Waters were the main attractions on Fallsview Boulevard. “I love it when you get guests that were here 20 years ago and come back, and you see it through their eyes. Where they’ll say, ‘My goodness when we were here not too long ago none of this was happening on this street,’” says Croisdale, who believes that the next step for the area is to have more theme properties and shows similar to Las Vegas. “Tourism is the lifeblood of the city,” he says. ‘You need to stay on the forefront of that. Fifty years ago there were cabins and motels, now hotels,” he says. “If we redid this interview 15 years from now we will be saying, ‘Remember when there was none of that on Fallsview, just big hotels,” says Croisdale.

By Jill Tham

concierge in town

Croisdale encourages locals to stop and appreciate the city as well. “Local residents should take a few days every year and be a local tourist. The sleep cheap is a great way to engage people, have a staycation, and see the area,” encourages Croisdale. “You don’t have to travel to find the incredible beauty and history we have here.” Constantly captivated by the beauty of the Falls, Croisdale is a firm believer in the preservation of the area. “I think it is important that people are cognizant that you have to protect the Falls by not building right on the river,” says Croisdale. “That is why I love the Hilton Fallsview, it is backed up from that.” “I was born in Niagara Falls, New York,” says Croisdale. “I have always known the Falls: it’s in my blood. Croisdale is the author of the best-selling book, “Buffalo Soul Lifters,” a collection of inspiring and heartwarming stories about the people of Southern Ontario and Western New York. “It was such a life-altering experience to write it. So many people entrusted me with their amazing stories and I was honoured to bring them to life. After 15 years it is still selling really well,” he says. “We are very excited, this hotel (the Fallsview Hilton) will have a radical makeover,” says Croisdale. “The Hilton is building a 5,000 seat theatre with direct connections to the Fallsview Casino, which will replace the current Fallsview Theatre,” says Croisdale. “There are going to be huge acts coming to Niagara Falls. You don’t have to go to Toronto. You will be able to be in a more intimate setting and see it up close,” he says. "I enjoy being at the centre of tourism, and being with the Hilton, the largest hotel between New York City and Toronto. It is an amazing thing to represent,” says Croisdale. “I can’t imagine doing anything else.” Croisdale is also the founder of Niagara Rises, an American not-for-profit group committed to enriching the community. His love of Niagara Falls and his ongoing commitment to the tourism industry is evident in the approach with his position with the Hilton Hotels. “In my job I teach. I educate people about Niagara Falls every day. I have students from around the world who sit in my ‘classroom’ and I really love that,” says Croisdale. “If I had to isolate one thing that I love the most about my job it is that each and every day we meet the world,” says Croisdale. “Niagara Falls draws people from all over the world and the one thing they have in common when they get here is that they are inspired by the awe of the Falls,” says Croisdale, who enjoys the opportunity to help visitors make the most out of their trip. “I wouldn’t trade that for anything.” TM For more information visit wnybooks.com/soul.html and niagarafallshilton.com

If you are going to see the Falls, my advice is to experience it in as many ways as you can.



Experience RIPLEY'S THE



Ripley’s offers interactive, family friendly fun for all ages at our three unique attractions. Tour OVER 800 UNIQUE EXHIBITS at the ODDITORIUM, ride every bump, dip and sharp turn inside our 4D MOVING MOVIE THEATER THEATER, and take a selfie with a star at LOUIS TUSSAUD’S WAXWORKS. Don’t forget to visit our huge wax hand station located inside the Odditorium for a unique souvenir! TOP OF CLIFTON HILL | 905.356.2238


©Ripley Entertainment Inc.


Unbelievable By Martine Mackenzie


The words “BELIEVE IT OR NOT” have been synonymous with the name Ripley for over 100 years now.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! was founded by Robert L. Ripley, an American cartoonist, explorer, reporter, adventurer, and collector, who traveled to 201 countries seeking the odd, the unusual, and the unexplained. Over the last century, the Ripley name has become associated with an anthology of concepts including newspaper panel series, radio shows, television shows, books, and museums bearing the trademark name, “Odditorium.”

Photos courtesy of Ripley's Entertainment Inc.

However, Robert Ripley began his career as a cartoonist, whose series, “Believe It or Not” was started 100 years ago on December 19, 1918, when the first “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” cartoon was published. Ripley claimed to be able to “prove every statement he made” and hired professional fact researcher Norbert Pearlroth to help him out. Pearlroth spent the next 52 years in the New York Public Library, working ten hours a day, six days a week, assembling an array of “Believe It or Not!’” odd facts for the cartoon series and also verified small-town claims submitted by readers. In the 1930s, Ripley expanded into other forms of media by beginning a 14-year run on radio. During this time, he also hosted the first of a series of two dozen Believe It or Not! theatrical shorts for Warner Bros. & Vitaphone. In 1948, the radio show drew to a close and was replaced with the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! television series, a bold move for Ripley to make since few American households at the time had television sets. Their television shows garner worldwide interest, and a brand-new Ripley’s Believe It or Not! show is slated to debut on June 9, 2019, on the Travel Channel, hosted by iconic and veteran actor, Bruce Campbell. Ripley was struggling with health issues and passed away from a heart attack at the age of 58. His ideas and legacy live on in Ripley Entertainment, a company bearing his name, and owned since 1985 by the Jim Pattison Group, Canada’s second-largest privately held company. Ripley Entertainment continues to air national television shows, features publications of oddities, and has holdings in a variety of popular public attractions. A visit to Niagara Falls will bring you the opportunity to come face to face with some of the 20,000 photographs, 30,000 artifacts and more than 100,000 cartoon panels that Ripley’s has in its collection. You can experience three unique attractions: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium, Ripley’s Moving Theater, and Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks. The Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditorium on Clifton Hill is shaped like the Empire State Building fallen over, with King Kong standing on top of it and boasts over 10,000 square feet of space. This very cool place is the second oldest Ripley’s Museum

in the world and is one of two in Canada. The Odditorium has more than 15 themed rooms, carrying over 400 unbelievable exhibits. In keeping with the Ripley tradition dating back to 1964, the crew here has continued to scour the globe to bring to Niagara the most amazing and “believe it or not” exhibits, and is regularly updating these exhibits with new and even more amazing pieces. Just across the street, you will find Ripley’s Moving Theater, Niagara’s original 4D theater. This state of the art theater with digital effects, surround sound, and motion seats will have you feeling as though you are in the movie! Strap yourselves into your seats because you are in for a bumpy ride in this seriously realistic Moving Theater experience that is fun for all ages. Around the corner, on Victoria Street, you will be invited to mingle with the stars of yesterday and today at Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks. Here, you will find over 100 true-to-life wax figures that you can actually get up close and personal with. The stunning, English Tudor style building is made up of 16 spectacularly themed galleries. Nothing is behind glass, and you will instantly recognize the many celebrities and historically prominent figures. Pose for a selfie with ‘Game of Thrones’ Tyrion Lannister, or with Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ronald Weasley. If you can muster up the courage, the Hall of Horrors, featuring some of the scariest people in life and in entertainment, is a true must see! A hop, skip, and a jump away, in Toronto, you will find Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. Just take the Queen Elizabeth Highway (QEW) Toronto and follow the signs to bring you directly to downtown, just southeast of the CN Tower. This fabulous aquarium has 5.7 million litres (1.25 million gallons) of marine and freshwater habitats from across the world. The building on Bremner Boulevard features a multi-faceted shell, clad in large aluminum panels that create the illusion of the earth’s crust peeling away, giving us a peek into the aquatic world. You will find 10 different galleries that showcase more than 16,000 exotic sea and freshwater specimens from more than 450 species. You can spend an entire day in the 135,000 square feet of space that was opened to the public in October 2013 and is operated by Ripley Entertainment. Whether it’s Ripley’s cartoons, the longest-running cartoon in history, their attractions, books, television shows, or just strange stories, Robert Ripley has left an UNBELIEVABLE legacy for all of us to enjoy and be thrilled by. TM




pioneer ERA



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Formerly known as Souvenir City, Maple Leaf Place is Niagara’s preferred onestop attractions, retail and restaurant outlet and is conveniently located just 5 minutes from the Falls with loads of free on-site car parking and easily accessible by WeGo bus Green Line.

The Maple Trail Niagara’s Newest Attraction FREE ADMISSION! All new this year, opening in April, is Niagara’s newest attraction experience – The Maple Trail. We’ve brought the Maple Sugar Bush indoors! Our brand new 5,000 square foot Maple Trail features a 30’ crystal maple tree centrepiece. The Maple Trail includes an exciting, educational interpretive display of Canada’s maple syrup heritage. You’ll learn Maple Syrup’s origins with Canada’s First Peoples, its evolution through the Pioneer Era to Modern Day production, its health benefits, as well as maple syrup’s significance to Canadian culture and identity.

Maple Leaf Place Shopping Maple Leaf Place boasts a 20,000 square foot space, including Niagara’s largest selection of fine Canadian gift ware and Niagara souvenirs, First Nations crafts, and Niagara’s only on-site wood-carving demonstrations. You will also find our Fudge Factory, famous for its home-made fudge, and renowned Chocolate World, along with travel essentials and so much more! If you’re looking for top quality gifts or souvenirs to celebrate your visit to Niagara Falls, Maple Leaf Place has it all. You’ll enjoy our newly refurbished retail marketplace with a warm and inviting atmosphere full of top quality unique souvenirs, gifts and collectables for every occasion. Maple Leaf Place shopping offers top quality and best prices for everything Niagara! Be sure to include a Maple Leaf Place shopping experience in your Niagara Falls visit.

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The Hungry Moose Dine in our new 120-seat food court and you’re guaranteed to find something delicious to fuel your day. At the Hungry Moose, you’ll enjoy fabulous, fast, Canadian fare. Grab a fresh personalized salad, awesome burgers from our grill, a great selection of pizzas and our famous paninis. Of course, we also have the alltime Canadian classic – Poutine. We serve generous portions for the heartiest of appetites. But save room for our new signature ice cream treat – The Sweet Canoe! A Niagara Falls classic not to be missed. The Hungry Moose offers a clean, comfortable, casual rest stop with complimentary wi-fi. TM





Open 364 days a year (closed for Christmas Day) 4199 River Road (Niagara Parkway), Niagara Falls, ON mapleleafplace.ca | Toll Free 1.866.344.0985 | 905.357.1133 Photos courtesy of Maple Leaf Place and Haskell Photography. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 73

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at the

Live out all of your superhero dreams and learn to fly at Niagara Freefall and Interactive Center. By Gabrielle Tieman-Lee

Photos courtesy of Niagara Freefall.

This indoor skydiving experience removes all of the fear from skydiving and completely immerses visitors in the thrill of the experience – without ever having to pack a parachute, pull a ripcord or launch out of a perfectly good plane. The first and only indoor skydiving wind tunnel of its kind in Canada, Niagara Freefall is a state of the art custom recirculating airflow simulator which simulates a standard skydive freefall. “We wanted to give people a great thrill ride,” says co-owner Attila Cserpes, who owns the family-run facility with his brother Andrew. “This is an open concept (wind tunnel) so you are flying in the air and there are no physical walls around you; you can have customers standing on the side as you fly. Other concepts are that you are flying in a glass tube, so there are close walls right next to you. This one is a little bit more open.” The indoor vertical wind tunnel chamber has a diameter of 12 feet and is 20 feet high providing enough room for up to four experienced people to fly together in air speeds of up to 140mph. The chamber is fully padded from floor to ceiling for the safety of flyers. Operational seven days a week and yearround, the tunnel employs state of the art technology which accurately controls the environment inside the tunnel no matter the weather outside.

“By having control of the air we can maintain a comfortable atmosphere in the flight chamber regardless of the outside weather conditions,” said Cserpes. “This allows you to fly indoors year-round in air speeds of over 140 mph.” A variety of prices and packages are available; from Single Flight Pass (three minutes of individual flying) for $70 dollars to Single Mega Flight Pass (five minutes of individual flying) for $100 dollars and repeat flights available for $45 dollars each. “Three minutes of skydiving is the equivalent of jumping out of a plane five times,” said Cserpes. “Each person gets three rotations. You just fall into the wind and start to fly.” From start to finish the experience is 45 minutes to one hour in length. This includes a 20-minute pre-flight classroom training with video and safety orientation with the instructor who will accompany flyers into the wind tunnel. The instructor will train your body to maneuver through the air with precision, control and incredible accuracy and supply you with all required flight gear including: suit, goggles, helmet, knee and elbow pads, earplugs and gloves. It is designed for ages five and up and no previous experience is required. “The oldest person we have had is a 92-year-old lady,” said Cserpes. “Her family brought her here on her birthday and she loved it.”

Books of five flights are also available for purchase at $200 dollars each and are available to any flyer who purchased a Single Flight Pass in the same day. A Family Fun Package is also available for $325 dollars and includes 15 minutes of exclusive access to the wind tunnel for your family for up to five flyers. Corporate and group rates are also available as well as exclusive tunnel rentals at per hour rates. Niagara Freefall is also available for private rental and can cater to corporate events, team building retreats, birthday parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties and private parties up to 70 people. Along with the wind tunnel, Niagara Freefall features on site, a 32-foot high outdoor rock wall, Lazerball (a paintless indoor paintball game which uses soft and safe reusable foam balls instead of paintballs for zero mess and pain) a professional grade mechanical bull and a collection of interactive arcade games. New in 2019 is the addition of a Sling Shot game, which combines the exhilarating fun of Lazerball with slingshots. Cserpes said all walk ins are welcome but reservations are encouraged due to the increasing popularity of their facility. Flyers under the age of 18 require a parent or guardian to be present and sign a waiver. TM For more information visit niagarafreefall.com


WILDPLAY NIAGARA FALLS NIAGARA’S FAVOURITE OUTDOOR ATTRACTIONS! With 5 amazing outdoor attractions to choose from, WildPlay Niagara Falls has something for everyone. From the spectacular adrenaline-rushing Zipline rides to the base of the mighty Horseshoe Falls, to the family-friendly Whirlpool Adventure Course, an outdoor oasis of suspended obstacles and aerial games nestled in the quiet heart of the pristine Niagara Parks alongside the Whirlpool Rapids and Niagara River Gorge, WildPlay offers a host of must-do experiences for any visitor to Niagara Falls.


ZIPLINE TO THE FALLS Hang on to your heart and keep your eyes wide open because you’re in for the ride of your life! You’ll feel the force of nature – the awesome power, thundering roar and amazing mist of the mighty Canadian Horseshoe Falls as you soar 67 meters high above the Niagara River Gorge and glide 670 meters (2200 feet) past the American Falls to the Falls Landing and Observation Deck at the base of the mighty Canadian Horseshoe Falls. There’s no better way to experience Niagara Falls up-close and personal than from one of our 4 parallel Ziplines that combine an amazing adrenaline rush with the very finest panoramic views of Niagara Falls. This is Niagara’s most breathtaking experience. The Zipline To The Falls is available for ages 7 years and older and Family Passes are available for groups of four riders and offer savings of $40. Zipline admission includes free elevator access to the Launch Platform, comfort harness with zipper pouch for personal effects and return transportation to the top via air-conditioned shuttle van. Guests should visit before 10am or after 6pm to avoid wait times or lineups. Refreshments, souvenir photos and videos are available for purchase at the Falls Landing and Observation Deck.

NIGHT-TIME FALLS ILLUMINATION ZIPLINE TO THE FALLS This is Niagara’s ultimate evening entertainment experience. Set to the backdrop of starry summer skies, breathtaking views of the dazzling city skyline and the colored Illumination the American Falls and Canadian Horseshoe Falls, the night-time Falls Illumination Zipline is a visitor favourite. With check-in times after sunset, riders can also enjoy exclusive Falls Fireworks viewing from the Zipline Launch Platform or directly overhead from the Falls Landing and Observation Deck. Tickets are limited and sell-out quickly. Admission includes free elevator access to launch platform, return transportation to the top via air-conditioned shuttle van, the very best Falls Fireworks viewing anywhere and complimentary lightup zipline souvenir. 5920 River Rd (Niagara Parkway) at the foot of Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls, Canada

TICKETS: 1-800-263-7073 or online at wildplayniagarafalls.com


WHIRLPOOL ADVENTURE COURSE – NIAGARA’S GREAT OUTDOORS PLAYGROUND! WildPlay’s Whirlpool Adventure Course is a collection of fun and exciting obstacles and games suspended 20 – 40 feet in the air. Three self-paced courses include dozens of climbing, ziplining, jumping and swinging aerial games. These cliffside courses are a totally new and unique way to enjoy an authentic Niagara River experience and discover the lost art of monkeying-around! This quiet natural oasis is conveniently located just 5 minutes from the Falls along the Niagara River Parkway in the heart of the pristine Niagara Parks. It’s nestled adjacent to the Niagara River Gorge and Whirlpool Rapids and conveniently accessible via WeGo Bus Green Line or by car with loads of FREE onsite parking.

WHIRLPOOL ADVENTURE CLASSIC COURSE This most popular challenge course is recommended for ages 5 years and older and promises a series of cool, suspended obstacles including cargo nets, rope swings, tightropes, wobbly bridges, ziplines and more games up to 40 feet above the ground.

EXTREME COURSE Visitors can up the ante with the Extreme Course that offers 12 more games and zips up to 50 feet high!

KIDS COURSE This awesome kids course provides dozens of games and bumble ziplines to entertain and challenge the youngest monkeys. With tons of on-site free parking, picnic grounds, on-site snack-bar and washrooms, WildPlay’s Whirlpool Adventure Course is an idyllic quiet reprieve from the crowds, congestion, hustlebustle, and noise of the busy tourist area, yet only minutes from the Falls. This great outdoor playground is perfect for families, young-at-heart and those just looking to Monkey Around!

LOCATED AT: 3500 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls, Canada.

TICKETS: On-site or call WildPlay at 1-800-263-7073 or online at wildplayniagarafalls.com

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On The Boulevard Summer 2019