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TO DAY MAGA Z I N E . CA

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BEST PATIOS IN NIAGARA

IT'S A SILVER JUBILEE!

Niagara is home to a number of breathtaking natural backdrops and with summer in full swing, the outdoors beckon.

Oh Canada Eh? is celebrating 25 years. Experience their fabulous all Canadian musical dinner theatre.

on the cover…

THE MAPLE TRAIL

Niagara's newest attraction experience featuring a 30' crystal maple tree centrepiece.

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

CUSTOMIZE YOUR FALLSVIEW DINING EXPERIENCE

Three-Course Dinner

$59

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BUFFET BREAKFAST | SEASONAL HOURS Located in Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites directly across from Fallsview Casino Resort 6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3V9

+1 905 353 7138 watermarkrestaurant.com |

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Complimentary parking for our dining guests. * Prices subject to change. Prices do not include taxes and fees


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SUMMER 2019

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TO DAYM AGAZ IN E. CA

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

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BEST PATIOS IN NIAGARA

IT'S A SILVER JUBILEE!

Niagara is home to a number of breathtaking natural backdrops and with summer in full swing, the outdoors beckon.

Oh Canada Eh? is celebrating 25 years. Experience their fabulous all Canadian musical dinner theatre.

on the cover…

THE MAPLE TRAIL

Niagara's newest attraction experience featuring a 30' crystal maple tree centrepiece.

82

Today Magazine Niagara Edition is published by AdFuel Media Inc. All opinions expressed in Today Magazine Niagara Edition 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 Today Magazine Niagara Edition 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 Today Magazine Niagara Edition. 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 Today Magazine Niagara Edition are submitted at the author’s risk. Manuscripts and or photographs intended to be returned must be accompanied by sufficient postage. Today Magazine Niagara Edition does not assume any responsibility for any claims of our advertisers and reserves the right to refuse any advertising.

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TODAY MAGAZINE NIAGARA EDITION IS PUBLISHED QUARTERLY. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 5 Cover photo courtesy of Haskell Photography.


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WE WANTED TO FILL THIS MAGAZINE WITH NIAGARA HOT SPOTS AND ALTHOUGH WE GOT A TON IN, WE STILL HAVE WAY MORE WE WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU!

VISIT NIAGARA @visit_niagara

A resource for the best places to visit in Niagara. From delicious food to the most scenic spots, you can find the most coveted locations around the region on their page.

Check out our “Local Niagara Must-Sees” board on Pinterest to discover fun and unique wedding ideas!

NIAGARA ALE TRAIL @niagaraaletrail

Niagara is more than just wine country. The Niagara Ale Trail is your guide to the must-visit offerings in the area, both established and new to the local craft scene.

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The most famous hill in the country, Clifton Hill is known around the world for its fun and exciting atmosphere. Check out their page for tips, deals, and entertainment on the hill.

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//LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

As the much-anticipated warmth of the sun shines on us, can anyone think of a better way to take in the lazy, hazy days of summer other than being on a patio, or at the beach with a cold beverage and our Summer Issue of Today Magazine? Our editorial team has brought together a number of not only informative, but fascinating pieces that will be sure to capture your interest. In this issue, you will find the best of the best in Niagara! We will guide you to the wines to sip, the beers to savour, the food in which to indulge your taste buds, the fabulous entertainment for all ages and the amazing shopping. We locals know what’s hip and happening and are eager to share with the millions of people who visit Niagara all year long. As Editor of Today Magazine, my goal is to continue to bring features that speak all things Niagara and to continue to educate, fascinate, entertain, and yes, enchant our readers. Best,


//CONTRIBUTORS

CHRISTOPHER BALOGH

EMMA CAVANAGH

Polyglot, endurance athlete, world music junkie and art director.... busy teaching spin classes and selling real estate in Niagara for the past 12 years. With international roots in fashion and journalism, he recently collaborated on albums for Juno award winners Kobo Town and The Tenors. Christopher has written and produced travel articles for Pedal Magazine, The Seven Day Cyclist and Complot. His recent marketing project for the Region of Emilia Romagna is the subject of four stories in Today Magazine. Elevate your real estate experience... CBalogh.com.

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 GILBERT

MARTINE MACKENZIE

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

JILL THAM

GABRIELLE TIEMAN-LEE

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 REV publishing for over three years, Gabrielle has written for numerous REV publications including Taste, Shopping & Travel. She is a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s Journalism program and has written for a variety of newspapers including the National Post, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette.

SHERMAN ZAVITZ 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.

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 11


//INSIDE FOOD & DRINK

CELEBRATE NIAGARA! HERE.SEE.DO. 70 A DAY IN ST. DAVID’S

The charm and pace of Niagara’s small towns offer visitors an opportunity to discover a different side of the region’s local culture. The delightful little town of St. David’s, nestled at the base of the Niagara Escarpment is worth the trip away from the hustle and bustle of Niagara Falls. 14 BEST PATIOS IN NIAGARA

Niagara is home to a number of the most breathtaking natural backdrops in Canada. With summer in full swing, the outdoors beckon. 20 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 20-year career and what makes him so passionate. 24 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. 28 SPARKLING NIAGARA! A JOURNEY THROUGH OUR BEST BUBBLES

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

44 HAPPILY EVER AFTER – STARTING IN NIAGARA!

The first in a four-part series, we begin with summer weddings in the Niagara Region. Today Magazine’s photographer, David Haskell shares with us some of his favourite places to shoot bridal photos, along with what he believes makes Niagara the perfect all-season wedding destination. 50 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. 58 NEOB LAVENDER FARM

Just outside of Virgil, is a magical floral wonderland. Niagara Essential Oils and Blends, better known as NEOB Lavender is where you will always find the calming scent of this beautiful flower in the air. Here, these healing plants grow in abundance and are transformed into beautiful essential oils and other fabulous lavender products. 62 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. 67 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.

74 THE CLASSIEST CONCIERGE IN TOWN

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. 76 BEYOND THE TREELINE

There is a new way to explore Niagara! Biologist and local adventurer and professional hiker, Owen Bjorgan is the man to take you into Niagara’s back woods, and magical places that few locals have even seen. 78 A TRULY UNBELIEVABLE STORY

91 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. 94 TD JAZZ FESTIVAL

Niagara is fast becoming a hotspot for jazz. The dynamic duo of Juliet Dunn, her husband and musical collaborator, Peter Shea, are once again bringing to us the elaborate summer component of the TD Jazz Festival. 96 PARMA TWO PARMA

The second in his four-part series has globetrotter Christopher Balogh sharing his travels through Parma in Emilia Romagna where we get a taste of the amazing culture this beautiful place has to offer.

SHOPPING & BUSINESS

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. 82 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. 84 SNOWBIRDS SOAR!

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are once again taking flight in Niagara-on-the Lake this September, as part of a fundraiser presented by the Niagara Historical Society. You can be there and feel the excitement and thrills!

106 TRENDS THAT TRANSCEND

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! 111 TRULY LOCAL ADVICE

Wealth Advisor, Trevor Lagerwerf brings baseball and finances together, giving valuable advice on how to break down the curveballs so that they don’t take down your dreams. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 13


Photos courtesy of Mick & Angelo's Kitchen + Bar and Johnny Rocco's Italian Grill.

Best Patios in Niagara By Gabrielle Tieman-Lee

Niagara is home to a number of the most breathtaking natural backdrops in Canada – from the thundering waters of Niagara Falls to the forest lined Niagara River, and the vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see to preserved green space and historic architecture. It would be a pity if we had to always eat inside wouldn’t it? Thankfully, Niagara’s culinary scene is rich with a network of breathtaking patios which allow foodies to escape the recycled air conditioning and enjoy their meal al fresco, surrounded by the best views in the province. And isn’t there something about eating outside that just makes food taste better?


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

Mick and Angelo’s

Johnny Rocco’s Niagara Falls

Mick and Angelo’s is Niagara Falls' premier sports bar and restaurant. Catering to all appetites and ages, the freshly renovated restaurant features a delicious combination of popular pub fare and classic Italian favourites, and the perfect atmosphere for any occasion whether it be a family dinner or a night out. Although their modern dining room, rustic-chic bar and private party room (coined The Shed) are cool spaces to watch the game and enjoy some wings, their open air patio is the place to be during the summer months. Seating you right in the summer action of Niagara, the lively patio is closed in by a glass border so you don’t miss a second of the action while modern wood touches, large umbrellas and greenery flock the table-filled deck. It is the perfect spot to enjoy free live music and a fresh made specialty pizza or one of their signature dishes prepared for you by their local chefs.

Johnny Rocco’s is a modern twist on the classic family-friendly Italian restaurant. This restaurant is dedicated to serving timeless Italian classics that are freshly cooked with only the finest local ingredients. Johnny Rocco's dedicates themselves to consistently providing the ideal atmosphere and service standards that are sure to impress. Their expansive, wrap-around patio mirrors Johnny Rocco’s high-end yet homey interior style, combining plush lounge chair seating with traditional patio tables, casually clustered under oversized umbrellas for a lounge style vibe. Although it is located on a busy street, the comfortable patio’s fun, family-friendly atmosphere manages to outshine the hustle and bustle of Niagara Falls traffic with ease. Live music is played nightly during the summer to make any night out an enjoyable, and memorable experience.

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 15


Oast House Founded in 2012, Oast House Brewers’ craft brewery has taken beer enjoyment to a new level. Drawing inspiration from both its European hops kiln namesake and the local Niagara farming community, Oast House has evolved their brews into an elevated flavour experience, profiling the unique produce of the region in their seasonal brews. Tucked away behind the Niagara brewery, the double decker Pati’Oast and outdoor bar awaits. With the ability to transport you away from Niagara-on-the-Lake traffic and into a sit back and relax atmosphere, Oast’s patio is a favourite for those looking to spend a leisurely day in the sun enjoying upscale backyard barbeque from the popular Brushfire Smoke BBQ , live music and great beer. “(The Patio) is sustainably constructed from re-purposed sea containers and the full-service main bar is equipped with TVs and sound system. We also have one of the Region’s most stunning vineyard views located above on the top level,” said owner Cian MacNeill. Pop-up events and entertainment also occur regularly throughout the season – with one staple being live music on the flatbed stage (coined The Federal) every Wednesday and Friday adjacent to the patio.

Top: Lock Street Brewing Company. Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Tieman-Lee. Middle and Bottom: Photos courtesy of Oast House Brewers.


Two Sisters Vineyard Be transported right into old world Europe at the breathtakingly beautiful Two Sisters Vineyard. Owned and operated by sisters Angela Marotta and Melissa Marotta-Paolicelli, the sprawling Palladio style estate winery rests stately in Niagara-on-the-Lake, awaiting visitors to pass through its grand doors ready to discover an authentic Italian dining experience. The winery was inspired by Venetian architecture, with floor to ceiling windows, vaulted ceilings, gothic lighting and the pièce de résistance – their open-air patio which runs the length of the building. This patio is one you will never forget! Featuring sky high columns, delicate wrought iron furniture and panoramic views of over 76 acres of vineyard, it is the perfect backdrop for a wood oven pizza lunch or formal celebratory dinner. Corks Winebar and Eatery The answer to the annual question, “Is it warm enough to eat on a patio yet?”: Corks Winebar and Eatery! With a heated and air conditioned indoor/outdoor patio, European pub inspired menu and 32 local Niagara wines available and 21 beers on tap, Corks provides a perfect atmosphere for dining and enjoying all year long – no matter what the temperature may be. Their four seasons patio faces the famous Queen Street in historical Niagara-on-the-Lake, giving diners a front row seat to watch the world go by in the picture-perfect town. The open air patio has an enclosed roof, allowing you to enjoy al fresco dining even on the crummiest of days. Lock Street Brewing Company Dedicated to making authentic beers and ales in the heart of the old Port Dalhousie Heritage District, Lock Street Brewing has one simple philosophy when crafting brews: we take our time, so you can enjoy yours. Their patio reflects this relaxed way of living and enjoying. With a secret garden in an urban setting vibe, their Biergarten is tucked behind the brewery and surrounded by trailing ivy, hop plants and greenery that provide plenty of shade on a hot day. “We have a variety of different spaces here that can reflect any type of occasion,” says Chelsea Pihach, the Program Manager at Lock Street. “We boast a second floor lounge with a variety of couches and tables for a more informal feel; a second floor balcony that overlooks the goings-on on Lock Street below and views of Lake Ontario. There is a tasting room on the ground level for a more bar-style atmosphere and a large backyard Biergarten that feels like relaxing in a friend’s backyard.” In the traditional Biergarten style, seating is casual and is comprised of Muskoka chairs, picnic tables and family style tables which encourage mingling. “We are a completely family-friendly and dog-friendly brewery, so not only do we allow but we encourage our customers to bring the whole family along to enjoy the atmospheres we have available,” said Pihach.

Lock Street Brewing Company. Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Tieman-Lee.

Palmwood Waterfront Eating and Patio Bar Slightly off the beaten path, the Palmwood Waterfront Eating and Patio Bar in Crystal Beach is a hidden gem in Niagara. Their wrap around waterfront patio which reaches out towards Lake Erie is the closest you can get to feeling like you’re on the ocean without the price of a flight. With vintage beach house vibes, insanely cheap daily specials and the best fish and chips off the coast, Palmwood is the summer getaway you’ve been searching for. Sitting right at the edge of the popular beach, the patio is a party during the summer, but open year round. TM TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 17


Live Entertainment Every Day Niagara’s Largest TV Open Daily From Noon Located in Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites directly across from Fallsview Casino Resort 6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3V9 +1 905 354 7887 spycelounge.ca |

spycelounge

Complimentary parking for our dining guests.

Unlimited Authentic Dishes Brought to Your Table. Opens Summer 2019.

Located inside Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites. corsoniagara.com | corsoniagara | corsoniagara


LOCATED IN THE FALLSVIEW CASINO - CONCOURSE LEVEL 6380 FALLSVIEW BLVD, NIAGARA FALLS, ON

(905) 358-2672 • VITTORIOSNIAGARAFALLS.COM


Photo courtesy of Emma Cavanagh.

A CHAT WITH CHEF

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 is 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 21


WHERE THE LOCALS DINE

Johnny Rocco’s is where you can enjoy casual dining in a warm, festive ambiance. Discover our menu of fresh, handmade Italian dishes cooked just for you. Two locations to serve you better.

Mick & Angelo’s Eatery & Bar is where the locals go for family fun and great Italian homemade foods. Mick & Angelo’s Eatery & Bar offers a gluten free menu, outdoor patio and live entertainment.

271 Merritt St., St. Catharines • 905-680-9300 6889 Lundy’s Ln., Niagara Falls • 905-358-0004 johnnyroccos.com

7600 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls 905-357-6543 mickandangelos.com


Wherever your appetite takes you, we’ve got you covered. From authentic Italian cuisine, AAA-certified steaks, pizza, wings and burgers, Johnny Rocco’s, Mick & Angelo’s and Cracker Jacks can satisfy any craving. For special gatherings with family and friends, Stonemill Ballroom’s on-site catering adds that touch of magic to any occassion.

Love sports? Casual food and drinks? Then you’ll love the “New” Cracker Jack’s Bar and Grill. We are The neighborhood bar filled with character and warm cheer.

The Stone Mill Ballroom caters to all events. Whether you are planning your wedding, hosting a meeting or celebrating an event. Let us host the occasion!

207 Keefer Rd., Thorold 905-680-5066 crackerjacksthorold.com

271 Merritt St., St. Catharines 905-680-8300 stonemillballroom.com


Tales from Ale Trail- Not Your Average

Beer Show This is not your average realty TV show. Tales from the Ale Trail combines wit and humor 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 evergreen 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. !t’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 25


A view to thrill

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


905•468•4443

theirishharppub.com

245 King St. Niagara-on-the-Lake

The Kasbah Mediterranean is a local restaurant featuring homemade, farm-to-table Mediterranean delights from Greece, Lebanon, Armenia and Italy. All menus offer many vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Come try some of our specialties such as Armenian sausage, Souvlaki, Sizzling Shrimp and Gnocchi. Perfect for families, couples, and private dining/banquets (groups).

6130 Dunn Street, Niagara Falls, Canada 905-357-1000 • thekasbah.ca

Take-Out and Delivery

Call or visit our website for reservations, takeout or delivery

HUSBAND DAYCARE

Ladies... Need time alone? Need time for shopping? Then drop him off here and we’ll take care of him. All you pay for is food and drink!


S

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 at 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. Davids, 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 29


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 friend, 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 31


FRESH · CLASSIC · ITALIAN NIAGARA'S BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT

3518 PORTAGE ROAD NIAGARA FALLS, ON

Just A CookingUnique Dining Experience Awaits Font “Just Cooking”-Jennifer Lynne “Rustic Italian”-Eras Light ITC

Rustic Italian C-100 M-100 Y-100 K-100

Rustic Italian

C-14 M-100 Y-100 K-5

Gold Foil

Classic Italian foods made in-house from the freshest ingredients.

Catering Available

3457 King Street, Vineland, ON • 905-562-3222 justcooking.ca


INNOVATIVE, FLAVORFUL AND DRINKABLE CRAFT BEERS PAIRED WITH GREAT FOOD.

VIRSA FINE INDIAN CUISINE Extensive Vegetarian Selections Available Visit Us for an Exceptional Fine Dining Experience Close to most hotels Our Banquet Hall Accommodates 80 – 100 Guests L.L.B.O Licensed Eat In | Take Out Free Parking on Ellen St. Opposite Falls Family Lodge Mon. – Thurs. • 11:00 am – 11:30 pm Fri. – Sun. • 11:00 am – 12:00 am 5677 Victoria Ave., Niagara Falls, ON 289-296-5001 • virsanf.com

CELEBRATE BEER. CELEBRATE BUFFALO.

55 E. HURON ST, BUFFALO NY 716.854.5050 WWW.BIGDITCHBREWING.COM


special advertising feature

taste

YOUR FLAVOUR PASSPORT

In Good Taste showcases a variety of Niagara’s most melt in your mouth, showstopping, foot stomping, lick your lips, delectable dishes. Whether these items are unique to a restaurant or a familiar food that is prepared in a way you’ve never tasted before, it’s evident that Niagara is home to a food culture that is growing every day, and while it can be hard to choose where to engage your taste buds first, we hope this guide gives you a good head start.


THE BLIND PIG

AG INSPIRED CUISINE

BAC KHOUSE RESTAURANT

5195 Magdalen Street, Niagara Falls 289.292.0005 agcuisine.com

242 Mary Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake 289.272.1242 backhouse.xyz

6689 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls (Right next to The Beer Store) 905.358.9744 blindpigniagara.com

Inspired by Niagara growers and producers, and brought together by the inventive hand of our executive chef, Cory Linkson. Beautifully designed, unique, and delicious dishes remain true to the very essence of the ingredients. From our farm to our kitchen, to your plate, every day. It truly is inspired cuisine.

One of Canada’s best restaurants. Backhouse offers a continuously evolving menu with a commitment to integrated cool climate cuisine and enlightened hospitality. Boasting a finely curated local and international wine list dedicated to low intervention winemaking, craft cocktails, and tasting menus, guests are assured to have one of their best dining experiences.

Where the locals eat! The Blind Pig is a speakeasy inspired gastro pub with socializing in mind. Pulling subtle design inspirations from the 1920’s, we’re also built for the modern times with a diverse menu, hand crafted cocktails, free WIFI and USB charge ports. Our signature dishes include Bourbon Glazed Pork Belly, KFC (Korean Fried Chicken), Boneless Short Ribs, and much more…

BRASA BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE

BUCHANANS STEAK & SEAFOOD

CAFFE GATTI

6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.353.7187 brasaniagara.com

6039 Fallsview Blvd., Niagara Falls 905.353.4111 buchanansniagara.ca

3 Race Street, St. Catharines 905.641.5009 caffegatti.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.

A blend of modern steakhouse and chic lounge, this home-grown restaurant offers an appealing selection of hand-cut steaks charbroiled to your liking, tasty seafood, pasta, fresh salads, vegan and more. Lunch $14-16, Dinner $1838. Happy hour daily 2-6 pm: VQA wine or craft brew with appetizer $15. Complimentary parking. Event space for up to 250 guests.

Celebrate patio days and live music during the spring and summer months at Caffe Gatti! Serving up smiles with artisan Roman style pizza, salads, soups, gourmet sandwiches and fresh Italian cakes, pastries and gelato. Choose from freshly brewed, locally roasted coffee, espresso, cappuccino, lattes, and organic teas to local/imported beer or wines. Mon-Thurs: 9am-4pm, Fri-Sat: 9am-9pm, Sun: 11am-4pm.


//IN GOOD TASTE

CASA MIA RISTORANTE

CHARM’S JERK HUT

COCO’S STEAKHOUSE

3518 Portage Road, Niagara Falls 905.356.5410 casamiaristorante.com

6423 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls 905.358.6964 charmsjerkhut.ca

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

Located on the Niagara Wine Trail, in the heart of Historic Stamford Village, Casa Mia Ristorante serves as a gathering place for food lovers who pay homage to the creativity, flair and culinary expression that define chefs Luciana and Claudio Mollica. Enjoy complimentary shuttle service from the Fallsview District hotels. For reservations or more info call 905-356-5410.

Charm’s Jerk Hut brings the mouth-watering taste of the Caribbean to Niagara Falls. Experience the taste of Jamaican jerk cooking, with fresh ingredients and flavourful spices. Try classic Island dishes like our Jerk Chicken Leg Dinner, the classic Ackee & Saltfish, or the Jerk Pork Roti. Come and experience great Jamaican cuisine at our new location on Lundy’s Lane and taste the difference.

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.

CORSO

DOC MAGILLIGAN’S RESTAURANT & IRISH PUB

FRONTIER BBQ & SMOKEHOUSE

6361 Fallsview Boulevard corsoniagara.com

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.

6400 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls 905.374.0021 docmagilligans.com

6519 Stanley Avenue, Niagara Falls 289.296.6367 frontierniagara.com

Nominee for North America’s Best Irish Pubs and winner of the Best Irish Pub Chef, North America (2017) by Irish Pubs Global. Stunningly-accurate design, great food, drink, music and, most of all, people. Guests are immersed in a world of warmth, conversation, laughter and fun. What the Irish call ‘the craic’... Comfort food at its best, using heritage Irish recipes.

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.

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 37


GRAND OAK CULINARY MARKET

HERNDER ESTATE WINES

ITALIAN ICE CREAM

4600 Victoria Avenue, Vineland 289.567.0487 grandoakculinary.ca

1607 8th Avenue Louth, St. Catharines 905.684.3300 hernder.com

5458 Victoria Avenue, Niagara Falls 905.356.3866 italianicecream.ca

IT’S ALL GOOD! Easy access from the QEW. Fresh-baked wares & locally sourced produce. Elegant post and beam design. A favourite with locals and visitors alike. A relaxing place to enjoy lunch, coffee or a snack. Enjoy our fantastic selections at the Cheese Bar and Salad Bar — perfect for light lunches or a spur-of-the-moment picnic. Open 9 am to 6 pm. Closed Sundays.

Hernder Estate Wines is open 7 days a week, year round for complimentary tastings and weekend tours at 1pm. 30 VQA wines, fruit wines and icewines. Licensed patio, wine boutique and two floors of rustic beauty for weddings, private parties and dinners. Our Niagara Vinegar section includes grapeseed oil, vinegars, reductions, hot sauces and homemade jellies.

We have been producing our own gelato since the day we opened and never stopped improving the quality or variety of our flavours. We offer 24 flavours of milk base and water base gelato. Try our espresso, teas, panini, desserts and imported drinks. We are fully licensed and have a beautiful patio to enjoy your treats on.

JOHNNY ROCCO’S ITALIAN GRILL

JUST COOKING RUSTIC ITALIAN RESTAURANT & CATERING

THE K ASBAH MEDITERRANEAN

Lundy’s Lane, NF / Merritt St., SC johnnyroccos.com

3457 King Street, Vineland 905.562.3222 justcooking.ca

6130 Dunn Street, Niagara Falls 905.357.1000 thekasbah.ca

Savour the flavours of Italy! From our succulent hand rolled Zia’s Rice Balls, to our hand tossed pizza dough, cooked to perfection in our 600 degree wood fired oven. Pair our traditional dishes with our vast array of Italian & local wines. At Johnny Rocco’s gli amici sono la famiglia — Our friends are all family!

Enjoy our rustic approach to classic Italian foods. Everything made in-house. No processed foods — ever. Relax in our quaint, friendly unpretentious space. Enjoy the best of local Niagara wines. When the weather’s good, take in the sun on our spacious, welcoming patio. And, for anyone planning a special event, we’d love to cater it for you.

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.


//IN GOOD TASTE

LIV RESTAURANT AT WHITE OAKS RESORT

THE KEG STEAKHOUSE & BAR

L`ANG RESTAURANT

6700 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.374.5170 fallsviewrestaurant.com

161 Church Street, St. Catharines 289.362.2288 langrestaurant.com

253 Taylor Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake 905.688.2550 ext. 5248 whiteoaksresort.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.

Canada’s 1st All You Can Eat Vietnamese BBQ & Hot Pot.

LIV Restaurant is the signature restaurant for White Oaks Resort and offers a fantastic dining experience. The menu is sublime, the wine list award winning and ambiance beautiful. LIV is where you want to celebrate special moments and treat yourself to a night of fine dining, fabulous wine and conversation.

MICK & ANGELO’S KITCHEN + BAR

MOOSE AND PEPPER BISTRO

7600 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls 905.357.6543 mickandangelos.com

4740 Valley Way, Niagara Falls 289.296.8858 mooseandpepper.com

8585 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls 905.374.1995 ohcanadaeh.com

At the Moose and Pepper we want you to relax, sip some wine or a craft beer and enjoy our fare. Come for dinner and let the candlelight and jazz be your escape. An ensemble of flavours awaits you between the pages of our menu, sure to satisfy the most discerning taste buds. Whatever you choose on your journey with us, be assured we want you to be as pleased with your selections as we are preparing them.

Canada’s Longest Running Dinner Musical! This two-hour production features over 70 songs from Canadian artists like Paul Anka, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Justin Bieber, and more. While you’re enjoying the show, Lumber Jacks, Anne of Green Gables, a Mountie and other Canadian characters serve an allCanadian, five-course, family-style meal!

Rediscover Mick & Angelo’s!! Whether you are looking for a great meal, a place to watch the big game or booking a function... look no further. Mick’s boasts a large bar with numerous TVs, an updated dining room and 2 function rooms that are ideal to host any event.

In Vietnamese “L`ang” means “Village”. Our spices, flavours and methods of cooking cuisine are unique. Whether you’re barbecuing your meal on a fire or cooking your food in the aromatic broth at your table you’ll get the full Vietnamese experience at L`ang!

OH CANADA EH?

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 39


RAVINE VINEYARD ESTATE WINERY

ROBIN HOWE CATERING

1366 York Road, St. Davids 905.262.8463 ravinevineyard.com

27 Balfour Street, St. Catharines 905.682.0050 robinhowecatering.com

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.

Robin Howe is Niagara’s premiere wine country caterer! For over 20 years Robin Howe has been catering special events for a broad spectrum of clients with discriminating tastes and palates in and around Niagara’s wine country. Together let’s design a menu that is delicious, unique and seasonal using only the very best of Niagara’s tremendous bounty.

RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE

THE SECRET GARDEN RESTAURANT

ROCKY MTN CHOCOLATE

Outlet Collection at Niagara, 300 Taylor Road, Unit 807, Niagara-on-the-Lake 905.685.5500 rockychoc.com

Clients and employees alike always appreciate premium-quality, hand-made chocolate - the ideal gift for all occasions. Call us or come in to one of our 3 Niagara locations and let us assist you in putting together your customized gift packages. All confections are made on premises for maximum freshness and flavour.

SKYLON TOWER

6455 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.357.1199 ruthschrisniagara.com

5827 River Road, Niagara Falls 905.358.4588 secretgardenrestaurant.net

5200 Robinson Street, Niagara Falls 1.866.393.5612 skylon.com

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.

NIAGARA’S BEST KEPT SECRET! For over 20 years, a family owned restaurant in the heart of Niagara Falls. Open daily for breakfast, lunch & dinner including kids, gluten free & vegetarian menus. Huge patio with a great view. Located just across from Niagara Falls. Group rates are available. Visit our Gift Shop for a perfect memento of your trip.

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.


//IN GOOD TASTE

SPYCE LOUNGE

SUE’S SEAFOOD

TGI FRIDAYS

6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.354.7887 spycelounge.ca

782 Clare Avenue, Welland 905.714.1117 suesseafood.ca

6700 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.356.8523 tgifniagarafalls.com

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.

Sue’s Seafood is a family owned and operated shop located in Welland, a short 20 minute drive from Niagara Falls or St. Catharines. The store has been here for 11 years now but experience goes back for years. The focus of the business is doing English Style fish and chips and doing it well. Offering haddock from Nova Scotia, halibut from Alaska and Lake Erie Perch when in season. Stop by and check us out.

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.

VITTORIO’S ITALIAN EATERY

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6380 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.358.2672 vittoriosniagarafalls.com

6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.353.7138 watermarkrestaurant.com

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.

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TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 41


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STARTING IN NIAGARA! By Martine Mackenzie | Photos courtesy of Haskell Photography.


When thinking ‘Photography”, one name stands out above all the rest in the Niagara Region: HASKELL! David Haskell was born into the world of photography. His father is world-renowned photographer Preston Haskell, of Millipond Photography Studio in St. Catharines. However, David has carved his own reputation in the world of photography as a premiere talent, world-renowned in his own right. Over 30 years ago, David Haskell opened his first photography studio in Toronto, Canada. His unique ability to capture beauty in just about any subject matter, quickly established him as a trendsetter in the photographic field. At the tender age of 19, Haskell’s photographic career began with Revlon. Haskell’s creative world was expanding, as after a few years in Toronto, he moved to the United States, where he worked with some of the largest companies, organizations and high profile personalities in the world. Haskell has been labeled a visionary and photographer that has a true talent for bringing out the individual personality of his subjects. His credits are a virtual who’s who of the most relevant publications, people and corporations in the world. His work has been seen on the pages of Newsweek Magazine, InStyle Magazine, National Geographic, just to name a few. He has immortalized in photos, the likes of President Bill Clinton; musicians JayZ and Rihanna; actors Kathleen Turner and Arnold Schwarzenegger; celebrities Jay Leno and famed astronaut Buzz Aldrin; professional athletes, NHL superstar Patrick Roy and NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony -- there are just too many to name. The breadth of Haskell’s work extends to ROLEX, Mazda,

/ / CELEBRATE NIAGARA! HERE.SEE.DO.

Bacardi, etc…and of course, to his roots at Revlon. He has also captured the essence of some of the most beautiful people in the world, working with supermodels Veronica Webb, Inés Rivero, Tyson Beckford and Frederique van der Wal. Haskell’s work has now been published in over seventy countries and can be seen in North America’s major market publications, advertising outlets, and galleries daily. And now, he’s found his way back home to the Niagara Region. “With the new studio and gallery set and established in the heart of Niagara’s Wine Country, clients of all categories find themselves enjoying the atmosphere and artwork created in my working environment. From small product to football stadiums, and high profile personalities to the person next door, my passion for the creative arts is as strong and relevant today as the day I walked into Revlon”, he says. David and his wife and business partner, Guen are the consummate professionals and approach every shoot with a spirit of adventure, creative passion, and genuine love for what they do. That genuine love pours into their devotion to their community. They give of their time willingly and very generously, in supporting, D.I.S.H.E.S. (Pediatric Aids), Day of Caring (Breast Cancer Awareness), One Foundation (Cancer Centre Niagara), Community Care (Coat & Food Drives), DSBN (For a Better Learning Centre), Hospice Niagara, and enjoy a Proud Partnership with Hernder Picasso’s Foundation. I am also proud to say that I can count Haskell as not only a TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 45


friend, but as a colleague, as he is our photographer here at TODAY Magazine. I can call him at a moment’s notice, and get him to take the best photos ever to grace our covers and to complement our features. It is only logical that he is “my person” when it comes to putting together a feature on the two things he knows best – Weddings & the Niagara Region. Of course, most people think that Niagara is only a great destination for summer weddings, but Haskell and I are about to enlighten you all. Niagara is an excellent all-season destination for weddings. In this four-part series, Haskell and I will be bringing to you the best of the best that Niagara has to offer, starting with the logical choice – summer weddings! The Niagara Region is a very popular choice for summer weddings. Because of its proximity to major highways and New York State, brides and grooms come from all over to get married surrounded by the natural beauty that Niagara has to offer. From the majesty of the Niagara Falls themselves, to the historic estates, lush gardens, and vast vineyards, you can find numerous romantic, beautiful, and intimate settings. From the wineries along “The Bench” all the way down to Niagara-on-the-Lake, the options are numerous for great summer nuptial locations. Wineries provide a great backdrop for wedding photos, especially when the vines are in full bloom during the summer season. Niagara is definitely wine country and there are so many wineries to choose from, with most of them offering wedding packages. Haskell is no stranger to shooting vineyard weddings. “Any of the wineries along Highway 55, heading into Niagara-on-the-Lake, or out onto The Bench will provide a very classic, vintage feeling to wedding photos,” says Haskell. Of course, Niagara-on-the-Lake also provides natural waterfront opportunities for pictures. Shakespeare Beach in Niagara-on-theLake is a favourite spot for Haskell to shoot happy newlyweds.

“If you get a sunny day, there is no better place,” he says. Niagaraon-the-Lake is one of the most historic towns in all of Ontario, having been the primary hot-bed of activity during the War of 1812. Picton Street is one of the oldest streets in the province and its cobblestones and architecture provide great backdrops. Another historic site just a stone’s throw away from downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake is Fort George, the British/Canadian stronghold during the War of 1812. “It’s almost like being on the moors of Scotland,” Haskell shares, “with the wide open field and the nostalgia of battle.” Further on down on the Niagara Parkway is a site that is filled with wedding parties all summer long as it’s a very popular place for shoots – the Botanical Gardens. If you’re looking for amazing floral beds and arrangements, full of colour, and are wanting a more traditional feel to your wedding photos, these gardens will give you all of that, however, there is a guarantee that the space will be crowded and very busy. The city of Niagara Falls itself is still referred to as the “Honeymoon Capital of the World”. The small waterfall next to the American Falls is aptly named “Bridal Veil Falls” because of its resemblance to a bridal veil. At night, a white light shines down on the Bridal Veil Falls to honour all honeymooners visiting. Haskell’s favourite venue to shoot in the city is the Hilton Hotel. Not only does this 5-star hotel offer exceptional wedding packages, but the views from the top are bar none, the best in the city. “I love shooting at the Hilton because of the fantastic views and because the hotel itself is very sleek and modern. Brides and grooms looking for the opposite of that vintage feeling,” says Haskell, --- “this is the place to be.” Moving up river, we find ourselves in the city of St. Catharines. Haskell loves finding unique places to be able to shoot the most eclectic of photos. Rodman Hall offers a historic manor feeling with


beautiful architecture set amongst exquisite gardens. If you’re a couple who has edge, then the graffiti wall on Garden Park Street is a great venue to get that downtown cool, big city vibe. Haskell chuckles as he tells the story of one particular shoot in front of this graffiti wall: “The groom was a rocker just off tour with Iron Maiden. As we were getting ready to shoot, the lead singer of Iron Maiden was texting him, and his bride was giving him a hard time for being on his phone. Ironically, the mural is of a girl on her phone!” Another popular site is Balls Falls. Here, not only will you find a waterfall, but some of the most historic landmarks in Niagara along with a fabulous, natural backdrop. Trails, valleys and hills all provide a spectacular landscape for bridal photos. “There are so many sites to choose from at Balls Falls. You really get that back to nature, rustic feeling here,” Haskell says. Summer brings weddings, with warm breezes blowing love all around us. Niagara can give brides and grooms whatever they need for their perfect day. We have ethereal gardens, lush vineyards, a vast array of architectural masterpieces, luxurious hotels, rustic barns, and tremendous views of Niagara Falls and Toronto on a clear day. Romance is definitely in the air. However, stay tuned, as you will soon learn that September is the new June, when Haskell and I take you on a ride through autumn weddings in Niagara. TM

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 47


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BEYOND

RAINBOW: By Sherman Zavitz

Photos 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

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 51


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 Power house, 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

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 53


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neob

Lavender Farm By Gabrielle Tieman-Lee

Straight from the pages of your favourite fairy tale, a magical place can be found just outside of Virgil where you can plunge yourself into a floral wonderland. Niagara Essential Oils and Blends, better known as NEOB Lavender, draws you in straight from the road. Perfectly round bushes of fragrant lavender scent the air surrounding the farm, wafting in through your window and pulling you onto their property like a magical force you just can’t fight. Harnessing the ancient restorative and healing powers of these plants and others, are owners Melissa and Robert Achal. What began as a flower business – supplying fresh cut flowers to stores across Canada – has since evolved into a large scale essential oil and natural health and beauty products operation. It all began when Melissa says she one day found her greenhouse had become filled with lavender. “We kept coming back to lavender,” said Melissa. “We started to read up on (lavender) and realized all of its properties and it developed into essential oils and our products from there.”


Melissa, who is completely self-taught, began hosting tupperware-esque Lavender Experience Parties, bringing her products directly to customers and discussing their wants and needs from the fragrant plant. From there, the product lines developed and grew as Melissa listened and learned how lavender could fill the void in both home and beauty products. Today NEOB Lavender carries hundreds of natural products that utilize real essential oils, uniquely made on premise. These products include essential oils, culinary grade oils, pillow sprays, soap bars, homecare products and the very popular health and beauty skincare line which includes day and night creams, skin healing creams, lotions and more. Their facility and farm have expanded in tandem with their product line; housing over three acres of lavender on premise (12 acres total across the region), rose gardens, a greenhouse (which holds lemongrass, rosemary, peppermint and more), a retail boutique and an antique store. NEOB as well has a research facility on premises where their team can research new plants, experiment with hybrids and cross pollination and test the durability of plants within Niagara’s climate. “We do all of our research here and once it becomes a success, we launch out a field,” said Melissa. “We live in Niagara and we want our plants to thrive here, so sometimes you have to create your own.” These brand new plants include NEOB’s very own type of lavender - Massuet Lavender (also known as Niagara Lavender) which is a cross between a few different types of lavender. It is said to be heartier than other standard varieties which makes it easier to grow in Niagara’s climate. “We are kind of in a biosphere (in Niagara),” said Melissa. “It is a microclimate. We are protected by the escarpment and with the lake effect it makes it a great climate for growing your own lavender.” NEOB has also experimented with roses – creating a crossbred Niagara Rose which is used in their essential oils and product lines. New to farm is the addition of Shiitake mushrooms which they plan to harvest for the plant’s great anti-wrinkle properties and utilize in their skincare line. Along with their curated hybrids, NEOB grows over five different varieties of lavender including the white blooming Melissa Lavender and Glorious Lavender which is known for being used in sweets and baking. “Each one is very different from the other in scent profile, taste and uses,” said Melissa. “(Melissa Lavender) is my favourite to just pick and chew and freshen my breath - it’s really delicious - but Massuet Lavender is great for meat marinades.” New this summer is NEOB’s re-formulated festival season; instead of hosting their annual two-day concentrated festival, NEOB will be spacing out the celebrations over the entire four week flowering season. This will allow for more events, more hands-on activities and more tasting of the lavender products.

“We want to create a tasting event for everyone,” said Melissa, “so everyone can try the lavender and experience how great it is in food and see how easily it can be used beyond home and body products.” From mid-June to Mid-July, NEOB will be hosting Lavender Picnic Lunches each weekend. The event will cost $65 dollars per person and include a demo on how to grow lavender and a tutorial on its culinary uses, lunch (to include a salad with a lemongrass and lavender vinaigrette, a gourmet veggie sandwich and a dessert), a cooking demo with samples and a tour of the facility and distillery – all while enjoying a cup of lavender peach ice cream. The day will conclude in the flowering lavender field so you can pick and design two lavender bouquets with your choice of three different shades of lavender. You will also receive 10 per cent off any purchases made in the boutique that day. Pick Your Own Lavender events will also be hosted throughout the week during flowering season for $25 per person. This ticket also includes lavender peach ice cream, a mini vial of lavender essential oils and 10 per cent off boutique purchases. Can’t make it during flowering season? Daily tours are run from May to October and there is always something to be seen on the farm. “No matter what time of year you come by, there is always something happening,” said Melissa. “For example, in the late fall time, we are harvesting the Rose Geraniums, and all you smell is roses through the entire field and greenhouse.” All products and tickets are available for purchase online or in their boutique at any of their five retail locations including Niagara-on-the-Lake, Oakville, Stratford, Elora and Port Carling (opening this May Long Weekend). TM

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 59


Fresh flower fields: Pick your own Niagara

By Gabrielle Tieman-Lee

Feeder Flower Farm

The smell of warm grass, that excitement from spotting a blossom peaking up from the frozen soil, those first papery petals that unfurl on the trees: it’s the official sign that winter is over! Instead of heading straight to the store to brighten up your home with a bouquet, why not pick your own? Wander in the fresh air through rows of fragrant seasonal blooms, scissors in hand, plucking the petals straight from the soil for your own unique arrangement (and just think of the photos!) Here is a selection of beautiful flower farms right in Niagara’s backyard that offer pick-your-own options.

NEOB Lavender NEOB Lavender is home to over three acres of picture-perfect lavender fields, rose gardens and an aromatic greenhouse filled with herbs and plants. New to the fields this year will be pick-your-own lavender days. Held Monday-Friday during the plants’ four week flowering season, customers can pick and design their own lavender bouquets right in the fields. Choose from three different shades of lavender, all which are unique in scent, while enjoying a lavender peach ice cream. Tickets include two bouquets of lavender, one lavender ice cream, one mini vial of lavender essential oil and 10 per cent off boutique purchases. When: June 18th-July 18th Where: 758 Niagara Stone Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake Price: $25 per person (parking included)

This beautiful environmentally responsible farm located just over 30 minutes from Niagara Falls has become famous for their handson floral workshops and fresh hand-picked bouquets. The organically-managed, 15-acre flower farm offers a number of floral workshops and events from May-October that are held right within their dahlia fields. These events combine pick your own flowers with other hands-on activities which in the past have included yoga amongst the flowers and bouquet building demonstrations. When: Events/Workshops held from May-October. Check website for details Where: 32775 Feeder Road West, Wainfleet Price: Price varies according to event/workshop

Wendalane Farms Cultivating over 50 field-grown varieties of fresh cut flowers, the family owned and operated Wendalane Farms, located in Wellandport, is just as beautiful as the flowers they grow. Presently the farm grows just under two acres of annuals, perennials, bulbs and shrubs seasonally – including the always popular sunflowers, lilies and zinnias. The farm features a seasonal self-serve stand at the road where you can pick a fresh cut bouquet while enjoying the smell of the flower farm. T heir gorgeous bouquets and seasonal arrangements can also be found at the Grimsby Farmer’s Market from May to October. When: May-October Where: 5998 Canborough Rd., Wellandport Price: Price varies according to bouquet


A vibrant and impressive city located on the south shore of the scenic Niagara Region; Port Colborne is a community embedded in marine heritage and welcoming hospitality. With a generous climate, ample beachfront, and cultural attractions, Port Colborne is truly a destination you must visit. Throughout the year, the uniqueness of Port Colborne is showcased as visitors and residents stroll along

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the Welland Canal, pop in and out of the shops and boutiques, immerse themselves in the local arts and culture, and relax on the beach. Visitors to Niagara’s South Coast can expect a getaway that is relaxing, fun and takes full advantage of everything this area has to offer. Experience Port Colborne – Experience what you expect life to offer on Niagara’s South Coast.

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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 TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 63


INDOOR SKYDIVING 6357 Stanley Avenue • Niagara Falls ON Canada 6357 Stanley Avenue • Niagara Falls ON Canada (Steps from Fallsview Casino) (Steps from Fallsview Casino)

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It's a Silver Jubilee at

Oh Canada Eh? By Martine Mackenzie

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 67


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.”


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

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 69


Photo courtesy of Ravine Vineyard

,

A St. David s DAY IN

By Gabrielle Tieman-Lee

The energetic atmosphere and excitement of Clifton Hill is thrilling, but the charm and pace of Niagara’s small towns offer visitors an opportunity to discover a different side of the region’s local culture. Nestled at the base of the Niagara Escarpment only a short drive from the historic Old Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, the charming town of St David’s sits on the hill side – surrounded by million-dollar estate homes, rolling vineyards and picture perfect views of the Niagara River. And though this town is worth visiting for the picturesque drive alone, what can be found tucked away in the town’s quiet streets is equally worth the trip: unique boutiques, chocolate shops, farm to table restaurants and award-winning wineries simply waiting to be discovered. Ravine Vineyard | 1366 York Road What could be sweeter than a day spent in the vineyard? Nestled in the warm corridor of St. David’s Bench where history and family values meet is Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery. This fifth generation family farm is home to a 100 per cent certified organic vineyard and winery, year-round award-winning restaurant, canning house, event facility, garden and grocery shop and outdoor family fun activities.

This winery offers it all: sip and sample award-winning red, white, rosé, and sparkling wines at the modern tasting bar, enjoy a crisp hard cider on tap at the outdoor patio as the kids kick a soccer ball in the field, sample local cheeses in the shop or enjoy farm to table food in the restaurant. Realistically, you could spend all day here. Eat local is not a seasonal term at Ravine. Their commitment to freshness means their menu is constantly changing in the spirit of dining on the farm; with all dishes consisting of local ingredients and produce cultivated and harvested right on premise (think locally cured charcuterie boards, wood oven pizzas, daily soups accompanied by zucchini muffins and mouthwatering entrées). “We like to say it’s always sunny in St. David’s, because that’s the feeling we strive for on our 150-year-old family farm” says Paul Harber, proprietor of Ravine Vineyard. “From dining in our award-winning restaurant to tasting our portfolio of biodynamic wines and attending community events like our Canada Day celebrations, we consider our guests to be a truly important part of our legacy.” Old Firehall Restaurant | 268 Four Mile Creek Road Surrounded by bright-coloured umbrellas, picnic tables and greenery, The Old Firehall Restaurant is nestled at the heart of


this small town. This Niagara favourite is the perfect stop for a beer outside, shared appetizer or heaping plate of pasta no matter what time of the day. Venturing inside, you are transported right back into the vineyard. Dangling wine bottles, winding grape vines and rustic stained glass windows cast a green shimmer on the entire restaurant, lending the feel that you are still outside under the sun. The eclectic menu caters to all cravings: from flaming Greek Saganaki to Mediterranean seafood dishes, Ontario fish and chips to Beef Tenderloin, there is an item to content any starving traveler. Chocolate FX | 335 Four Mile Creek Road Chocolate FX is Niagara’s premier destination for all things chocolate. With over 85 chocolate products prepared at Chocolate FX, they stand true to their motto that, “If you can’t dip it in chocolate it’s not worth eating!” All chocolates are made with pride from hand utilizing premium chocolate and old-age artisan chocolate panning and molding techniques to create each individual treat. Free tours are offered daily and a large retail store is available so travelers can purchase treats right on premise. Tourists and locals alike are welcome to take a seat at the tasting bar and sample original recipes and discover a new world of chocolate sensations. They also have a viewing area where you can get up close and personal with the chocolate production happening right on premise. Bloom and Co. | 247 Four Mile Creek Road We Sell Nice Things. This tagline could not be more accurate for the lifestyle boutique Bloom and Co. Inspired by travel, slow living and purposeful indulgence, this store is a Pinterest-planners dream. Every nook and cranny is filled with an effortless collection of stoneware dish sets, organic peony scented soaps, locally made jewellery and home décor trinkets – each carefully curated and emitting a laid-back nod to sophisticated style. And don’t forget the spattering of hilarious greeting cards, seasonal décor and so many potted succulents tucked in between

that you could be in a secret garden – all goodies that you would never find in an ordinary shop. And that is because, simply put, this shop isn’t ordinary. Owners Nataschia Wielink & Kalin Falconer explained that St. David’s was the perfect home for their businesses because the town is “distanced from the hustle and bustle of old town”. “We decided to open Bloom & Co in the little village of St. David’s after seeing this century old building being renovated the summer of 2017,” said Wielink and Falconer. “(This building) suited our store perfectly and being distanced from the hustle and bustle of old town afforded us the opportunity for a larger space where we could maintain our other businesses as well (Falconer is a wedding florist and Wielink is a photographer). The business as well hosts a number of workshops throughout the year. Queenston Pottery Studio | 1648 York Road RR 1 The quaint gallery of Queenston Pottery is tucked away on the escarpment, showcasing unique ceramics and pottery items for purchase. Almost everything found on the property (including the house, studio, gardens and manufacturing facility) was made by hand by owners and husband and wife duo Eva and Frank Mlcak, making the studio a marvel to visit for viewing their awe-inspiring work alone. Queenston Pottery has a full line of dinnerware, including serving platters, mugs and plates, as well as wine coolers, decanters and fruit bowls. Each piece has a unique hand painted design and glaze that guarantees you have purchased a one-of-a-kind item. Though their pieces are timeless, the Mlcak’s are constantly refining and evolving their products to remain current with popular fashions, colours and trends. For the art collector, the studio sells an assortment of wall tiles, art pieces with intricate designs and motifs and collectors’ items – including their Chinese inspired, copper red glaze technique which annually draws crowds to their studio. Queenston Pottery is open daily from 11-5 p.m. TM

Photos courtesy of Queenston Pottery Studio and Nataschia Wielink of Bloom & Co. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 71


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REDSTONE WINERY 4245 King St. | Beamsville 905.563.9463 redstonewines.ca Stop by for a taste of our award-winning VQA wines or spend the afternoon. Enjoy a flight of wines in our Tasting room, perhaps a farm tour, maybe enjoy a fabulous meal on our outdoor terrace or ideally all of the above; Redstone Winery is your one-stop-shop for authentic Niagara wine country experiences.

“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.” - Paulo Coelho -

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 73


Th

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 5000 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.

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 75


Photo courtesy of Victoria Gilbert

By Victoria Gilbert


The beauty of Niagara Falls is you can be standing on the precipice of a world-famous waterfall with hundreds of people, and as you gaze into the majesty of the falling water, it’s possible to forget you are surrounded by crowds, even if it’s just for a moment. There is a way to explore Niagara and be the only person standing on the edge of a waterfall. Owen Bjorgan is a biologist, local adventurer and professional hiker and is the man to take you beyond the treeline. After years of exploring Niagara’s back woods on his own, Bjorgan now takes visitors to places few locals have seen. “I started realizing a few years ago with both locals and tourists alike, that many people were not aware of the natural significance but also the natural spots that are available to explore in Niagara,” he says. The Niagara Escarpment is a UNESCO listed area partly because of its outstanding natural features. It runs from Queenston in Niagara all the way up to Tobermory and provides the backdrop for a beautiful hike. “The Escarpment acts as an incredible habitat corridor, lots of unique and specialized habitats are found because we have that escarpment feature,” says Bjorgan as he points to the elevated treeline. The peace and the private experience of enjoying the best of the region’s natural environment without the tourist traffic zones is what Bjogan offers with tremendous enthusiasm. “It’s all about putting Niagara on the map in a different way,” he explains excitedly. “All of a sudden, I take you to a place where you don’t hear the traffic, the people. Instead of Niagara Falls, which may have 5000 people looking at it at any moment, we’re the only five people looking, and you can hear deep forest species of birds calling out at the same time, and there’s a certain peace that washes over people, and amazement when they can get an entire waterfall to

themselves. That’s the kind of thing that can happen on my tours.” Biophilic World Hiking Tours (bwhikes.com) are suitable for people of all hiking levels and Bjorgan is dedicated to modifying the tour to suit his hikers’ needs. “To be biophilic, is the concept that means to be part of nature not apart from it,” says Bjorgan. “It’s the concept that we are all innately connected to nature and in our busy modern world we sometimes forget that. It’s time to be biophilic again.” A typical tour runs between 1.5 hours to a full day, with multiple spots to explore depending on your hiking level and interest. There are many entry points, but most are located within 20 minutes of Niagara Falls. Wide sweeping scenic vistas, lush forest and possibly a white-tailed deer or ermine if you happen to be in the right place at the right time. If you’re eager to explore a wetland ecosystem which is over 12,000 years old but you forgot your rubber boots, Bjorgan has a pair for you. “We go into swamp forest areas, we put on rubber boots, and for some adults they haven’t done that since they were a kid so it adds a sense of adventure as you are checking out ancient wetlands. I think the type of scenery and habitat really surprises people and they get fired up about that.” Beyond getting a true breath of fresh air from Biophilic World Hiking Tours, Bjorgan also hopes the people who join him on his tours walk away with a sense of place in the natural world. “My interest and concern is the big picture, says Bjorgan. “How does nature work as a larger unit, how does it all string together? What is our human place in the natural world in modern and changing times? Awareness starts perhaps with coming on a tour with me, and it could be the first time looking at nature in Niagara from a different perspective. That’s what I like to focus on during my tours.” TM

Biophilic World Hiking Tours 289-407-5537 | www.bwhikes.com | bwhikes@gmail.com Price: Tours run $25-45 per person depending on the type of tour. Can accommodate a single hiker or small groups (up to 12 people). Check out his documentary film called Hidden Corners Niagara to get an idea of what you may encounter on one of his hikes: youtube.com/watch?v=qCrWCnVR5SU TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 77


A TRULY

Unbelievable By Martine Mackenzie

STORY

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

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RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT! ODDITORIUM • LOUIS TUSSAUD’S WAXWORKS • RIPLEY'S MOVING THEATER 4D • WAX HANDS

Experience RIPLEY'S THE

FAMILY FRIENDLY, FUN FOR ALL AGES

CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF MAKING YOU BELIEVE SNAP A SELFIE WITH A STAR AT WAXWORKS

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 THEATER, and take a selfie with a star at LOUIS TUSSAUD’S WAXWORKS. Don’t MOVING MOVIE THEATER forget to visit our huge wax hand station located inside the Odditorium for a unique souvenir! TOP OF CLIFTON HILL | 905.356.2238

RIPLEYSNIAGARA.COM

©Ripley Entertainment Inc.


TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 81


first

PEOPLES

pioneer ERA

on-site BOTTLING, CAPPING & LABELING

MAPLE TAFFY

free experience TASTING BAR!

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.

niagara first nations WOOD CARVING

fudge factory FREE SAMPLES!

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

niagara SOUVENIRS

LOCAL HANDMADE

artisan CHOCOLATE

new 120-SEAT FOOD COURT

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 83


Photo courtesy of Mike Reyno/SKIES

Soar!


By Martine Mackenzie

Humans have been fascinated with flight since the beginning of time. This drive to conquer the air is even documented in Greek Mythology with the poor, ill-fated Icarus who in his arrogance, flew too close to the sun, melting the wax that held his wings together. Songs have made reference to the lure of flight for ages -- “Fly Like an Eagle” and “Jet Airliner” by The Steve Miller Band, “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra, etc… But it wasn’t until Wilbur and Orville Wright came along that the skies became our domain as much as the earth.

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Canadian Forces Snowbirds return to Niagara-on-the-Lake!

September 11, 2019 Niagara District Airport A limited number of tickets on sale for a

one-of-a-kind VIP experience.

Enjoy food stations, refreshments, and music

Watch the airshow from prime viewing location

Private meet & greet with Snowbirds post-show

VIP & General Admission tickets now available at

Presented by

notlsnowbirds.ca

TAKE A PIECE OF CANADA HOME FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS. HOMEMADE, HAND-CRAFTED AND SURE TO IMPRESS!

Three locations to serve you better: 70 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake I 905.468.0800 Canada One Factory Outlets 7500 Lundy’s Lane, Unit C1, Niagara Falls, ON I 905.356.0585 Niagara Outlet Collection 300 Taylor Road, Unit 807, Niagara-on-the-Lake I 905.685.5500

www.rockychoc.com


Most of us will only experience flight as passengers, but for the few that can get behind the controls – well, we can only imagine the excitement, that feeling of ultimate freedom with the breathtaking views and the exhilarating thrill. On September 11th, The Canadian Forces Snowbirds return to Niagara-on-the-Lake for an awe-inspiring event! You might not be in the cockpit with these talented pilots, but you will get to experience the next best thing here. This fundraising event is presented by the Niagara Historical Society and, as in 2017, when the Snowbirds previously took flight at the Niagara District Airport as part of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Canada 150 Celebrations, this event promises to sell out quickly. Two years ago, there were 350 tickets for the VIP Area where holders got the chance to get up close and personal with the Snowbirds. It’s no surprise that VIP tickets sold out quickly. But those roughly 2,500 people who showed up via General Admission were surely not disappointed by what they got to see as well. What many people don’t realize is that the Snowbirds are not stunt pilots who travel from airfield to airfield to perform. Their official name is Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, a team of Canadian Forces personnel, who, together, demonstrate skill, professionalism, and true teamwork. The Squadron itself is based near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. It also takes a small army to run this operation. The show team flies 11 CT-114 Tutors, nine for aerobatic performances, including two solo aircraft, and two spares, flown by team coordinators. There are approximately 80 Canadian Forces personnel who work with the team full-time with 24 personnel in the show team that travels during the show season. The show team was formed in 1978, but its history goes much further back to World War II, when the 431 was created under the control of RAF Bomber Command on November 11th, 1942. The Squadron had many battle honours, including engagement in the English Channel and North Sea, along with engagement in Berlin, Normandy, and several German ports. Postwar, the squadron assumed the duties of aerial combat training and participating in air shows where they displayed to the public the capabilities of jet operations. This unit was disbanded on October 1st, 1954.

In 1969, Colonel O.B. Philp, Base Commander of CFB Moose Jaw, wanted to put together another aircraft team but needed formal approval. Permission had only been given for the refurbished but still aerobatically-fitted CT-114 Tutor aircraft to provide simple flybys at local events. In order to grow his vision, Philp began informal, enhanced formation practice with the aim of providing multi-aircraft flybys at special events. By 1971, the team had grown in size to a fleet of 7 aircrafts and 11 pilots. As the team gradually gained recognition, those formation flybys were replaced with some of the signature moves we see today. The squadron was officially named “Snowbirds” on June 25th, 1971, the name reflecting the aircrafts’ distinctive white paint scheme from that time. The Snowbirds were officially designated as the Canadian Forces Air Demonstration Team on January 15th, 1975 and 431 Squadron, (present-day 431 Air Demonstration Squadron) was reactivated on April 1st, 1978. On September 11th, the air show in Niagara-on-the-Lake will feature formations and manoeuvres new to the season, all designed by the team, with some elements of the show passed down from one season to the next. A little known detail is that all of these fantastic “stunts”, as we laymen see them, must be approved by the Canadian Forces, Transport Canada, and the FAA to ensure safety guidelines are met and followed. The Snowbirds have completed many notable performances in their time together. Perhaps the most memorable was at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, where, during the Opening Ceremonies, they made use of coloured smoke. The five different colours represented the Olympic rings. Just as it takes a small army to run the Snowbirds shows, there needs to be incredible involvement on behalf of the host community. The team on the ground this year consists of 23 volunteers, some of whom bring the experience of having worked on the event in 2017. Any way you fly it, seeing a performance by the Snowbirds is definitely a treat to be remembered for a lifetime. TM For further information, including ticket prices, visit: notlsnowbirds.ca

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 87


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.

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 91


YOU’LL FEEL THE FORCE OF NATURE – THE AWESOME POWER, THUNDERING ROAR AND AMAZING MIST OF THE MIGHTY CANADIAN HORSESHOE 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

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 93


niagarajazzfestival.com

What A Jam-up! By Martine Mackenzie

The great jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk said, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” This was the challenge I ran into while trying to put together how to best write about the TD Niagara Jazz Festival. It’s very hard to put into words and properly express the essence of jazz music. I grew up with jazz music. It’s the first genre that I have any memories of. My father, in his youth, along with his brothers, formed a jazz quintet that was renowned throughout the region. To this day, he still enjoys strumming his vintage Gibson acoustic guitar. The sounds of Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, just to mention a few, were always playing somewhere in the background of my life. In turn, I developed a love of jazz and have enjoyed the enduring melodies of Billie Holiday and Wynton Marsalis as well as the more modern jazzy sounds of Chicago and Van Morrison. Niagara’s music scene has historically not had a huge jazz influence. Enter Juliet Dunn and her husband and musical collaborator, Peter Shea. This dynamic jazz duo truly has a passion for music and life! Peter himself has always believed that Niagara has the potential to be the ‘New Orleans of the North’. Juliet also believes that the festival could one day be as important to the world jazz scene as the Montreal Jazz Festival is. It all started with an outdoor event that the duo put together in August of 2013. It was here, down by Lake Erie on Crystal Beach, that “Twilight Jazz on the Beach” was born. From there, the idea of putting together an actual jazz festival came to their minds. Peter and Juliet did their research to find that neither the organization nor the domain name, Niagara Jazz Festival, belonged to anyone so it was theirs for the taking. They also found out that jazz events in the Niagara Region were typically Photos courtesy of TD Niagara Jazz Festival


one-day events. Because the duo had been performing for events in wine country for years, they knew that a jazz festival in wine country would be a perfect marriage. The festival itself actually began with a weekly series called, “The Twilight Jazz Series”. The duo would hire local Niagara jazz artists and feature one of their own bands monthly as well - The Shea D Duo, Le Trio Parisien ( Juliet’s French band) or the Peter Shea Trio. As the series gained momentum with locals, Brock University and the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre took notice, realizing that Juliet and Peter were creating a jazz scene in the Niagara Region. Both wanted to help in not only keeping it going, but also in growing it. The current Twilight Jazz Series wound down its 8th season in June and will resume in November. On the first Sunday of every month at Mahtay Café and Lounge in St. Catharines, you can expect to hear the best from this duo who has also expanded the series to include Niagara-on-the-Lake on the 3rd Sunday of every month. In reality, the TD Jazz Festival is an ongoing event with music playing year-round at multiple venues. It has brought to the region, great jazz music for your listening pleasure, featuring talented established artists, and emerging young artists. The festival in its 3rd year officially became one of the ‘Jazz Festivals of Canada’ and also won ‘Best New Festival in Ontario’ in 2017. Peter Shea’s and Juliet Dunn’s vision to make Niagara the “New Orleans of the North”, will be brought to life this

summer. Going into its 6th year, the festival will feature “Niagara’s Summer Mardi Gras”, on Saturday, July 20th at the Henley Grandstand in Port Dalhousie, from 4pm to 11pm. The summer portion of the festival will culminate with two fun-filled weekends in St. Catharines and Niagara-on-theLake, celebrating music, life, and art the last two weekends in July. There will be an incredible lineup at various venues which will take place rain or shine. Since its inception, Peter and Juliet have grown the TD Niagara Jazz Festival incredibly with last year boasting 265 musicians and 77 performances from various bands. Over the years the duo has presented and provided employment for thousands of musicians which has brought them both so much pleasure. They do what they love for a living, which is evident in the passion the pair have for this festival. Their wish is the same for all artists. The scope of this festival is just too huge to be able to do it proper justice in one feature. The best advice I can give to anyone out there, whether you are a newcomer to the genre or a true jazz aficionado and enthusiast, is to check out their website. You will get all of the ins and outs and where to be along with ticket and Season Pass prices. So, pick your place… “drum on your drums…sob on the long cool winding saxophones…dig the jive of the cool cats”, and let the sounds of music show you that hipness is not a state of mind, it’s a fact of life! TM TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 95


Parma o w T


Parma TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 97


Commissioned by the tourism board of Emilia Romagna to photograph key cities for a major ad campaign, we left Bologna in early morning. Our first guide, Helga wasn't hiding her excitement with bringing us to a rural area some forty minutes by car from Parma. Once back in the city she would hand us off to Sara, our new guide and Parma historian. Ready to capture the essence of another city of Emilia, we discovered that the road to Parma was not as direct as we hoped. BY: CHRISTOPHER BALOGH | PHOTOS: PAUL WRIGHT TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 99


“Why can’t we just shoot this ham in the city somewhere? There is really nothing out here.” It was my pleasure to incite Helga, as she pointed out the less than impressive birthplace of Verdi. “This is the only area where it is produced, it is very special…and Chef Massimo is waiting.” Greeted by peacocks and a few cats in the courtyard of a large Palazzo in the countryside, we rushed to set up for a portrait of chef Massimo Spigaroli. He is a man with a vision. The Michelin starred chef converted the palace of landowners in whose fields Spigaroli’s great-grandparents once worked. The Antica Corte Pallavicina now houses his renowned restaurant, an osteria and the production of culatello; including a museum dedicated to it. Even the great black pigs once indigenous to the Po river delta are raised on the grounds. The story of culatello is far too expansive for my account. Here is my summary: the pigs look like hippos, the best cut of their hindquarters is used (culatello means little ass), the unique fog from the river creates an essential mold in aging; it is a protected DOP product, mentions of it date back to the 15th century, and you won’t find it in North America. Its texture is like silk and tastes like the fog from which it is born. More than the iconic Prosciutto di Parma, culatello is history woven into a piece of meat.

Culatello is served with a cold sparkling Lambrusco (Spigaroli bottles his own called Fortana)…yes Lambrusco! Surprised? Drinking out of a ceramic bowl with your thumb dipped in for luck, this isn’t your grandparents’ Lambrusco. It is low in alcohol, so we made sure that the bottles kept coming. No longer complaining about taking the long way to Parma, the ideas for yet one more photo were suddenly as abundant as the wine, culatello and bread. We met Sara Dellacasagrande under the arches of Palazzo della Pilotta, which was built by the powerful Roman Farnese family whose rule marked one of the many periods of Parma. “You will see that there are really two Parmas. The agricultural Parma is much the base, and the sophisticated…we can say Parisian Parma, is the other.” Sara walked as quickly as she spoke. While loading clothes, camera equipment and bicycles for another shot, even the delicate Viennese style pastries eaten on the fly led back to Duchess Maria Luigia of Habsburg. The Duchess, who was sent to govern the Duchy of Parma, is responsible for having commissioned a theatre, which rivals more well-known theatres in Venice or Milano. Permission to shoot in Teatro Regio is not a given. Sara was excited about her Parma, especially about having secured access to the theatre.


Originally called the New Ducal Theatre, the Teatro Regio opened in 1829. With a gallery and ceiling painted by Giovanni Battista Borghesi, one of the rare surviving theatre curtains also by the painter, depicts Maria Luigia Hapsburgo as Minerva surrounded by nymphs and muses. Possessed by the decadent gift of this Helmut Newtonesque location, we wandered in and out of ornate booths of gilded stucco and red velvet. Our Prosecco refill trips to the neoclassical café open to the public, led us well astray to discover more and create our own chef d’oeuvre. Heavy rain swelled the Parma River which was no more than a stream when we rolled into town. We would have a few days off while we waited out a deluge that was flooding most of northern Italy. With our work slowed to a halt, we took to exploring the city. Our hotel backed onto the vast Parco Ducale, offering a pleasant short cut to centro. The symmetrical pathways, lamplight and the crunch of pebble stones felt like Tuileries Gardens or Versailles. Spoiled by our client, we had carte blanche at three different restaurants. The one that we returned to the most was Borgo 20, appropriately hidden on pedestrian-only Borgo XX Marzo (borgo20.it). This contemporary bistro is small, cozy and modern, with a few tables right in the street. Somehow, despite the daily rainfall, we grabbed

blankets and ate outside. Their simple creative dishes with fresh local ingredients, regional wine list, and good beers kept us coming back. We never hesitate when someone recommends a local watering hole and we soon had a short list of ‘must do’ bars. The rain and our new favourite Lambrusco washed away the memory of our Parma shot list. At least we got the theatre done! In the meantime, we were welcomed and absorbed by the locals. Pietro, who we started to call “the mayor”, was a regular in every bar. Looking like a Judas Priest roadie, he had a distinctly laborious walk, long straight hair, rings on all fingers, and one black leather outfit. “Ciao Chris.” His baritone echoed off the damp alleyway as we walked home late one night. We shook our heads and looked at each other, amazed by how he always appeared so randomly. “And he remembers your name…” added Paul. Sara reappeared in the morning with the sunshine on our last day in Parma. Some of the most important exterior shots would be crammed into this final day. A pair of vintage city bikes waited for us in the Piazza Duomo, adjacent to which, we set up to shoot what is perhaps Parma’s most symbolic monument, the Parma Baptistery. It is a dazzling site on a sunny day. The rather stumpy octagonal tower clad in pink marble was the idea of architectural genius, Benedetto Antelami. Built in 1196, it is permeated by the number eight in its symmetry and covered in decorative panels of theological allusions and mediaeval symbols. It was actually distracting to ride one’s bike back and forth in order to realize the shot without gazing up at the many arches and bas reliefs. Since it was a little early for more Lambrusco, we managed to ride in a straight line. We hit our stride into the afternoon, hanging out at iconic Cocconi café which seemed to find us as we shot in the middle of the busy Strada della Republica. The sign alone, unchanged for many decades, draws you in if you have the eye. With the coffee and artisanal chocolate shot in the bag, the tall beer and pastry shot followed. Our constant fascination with stylish signs led us back up the road to the Borsalino shop opposite Teatro Regio. We had passed the famous hat shop many times in the rain. Its mid-century sign and quirky interior spoke our language. “It will open in thirty minutes. Maybe we can wait in the bar next doors”, suggested Sara. Glancing sideways at each other we knew that our mojo was working almost too well. “Yes! Isn’t it time for a spritz? You know, if you get one of those hats you can wear it to the next city. ” “Where are we going after Parma, Sara?... I tested her. “Don’t you know? I tell you only that it is the home of Enzo Ferrari.” “Ok ! Cheers…. Salute !”

Final product baggage claim Bologna airport.

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 101


Top

special advertising feature

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.


//TOP ATTRACTIONS MAPLE LEAF PLACE

NIAGARA HELICOPTERS

NIAGARA IMAX THEATRE

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®.

NIAGARA SKYWHEEL

NIAGARA SPEEDWAY

NIGHTMARES FEAR FACTORY

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.

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 103


//TOP ATTRACTIONS RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT

WILDPLAY MISTRIDER ZIPLINE

YUK YUK’S COMEDY CLUB

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)

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.

GO BEYOND THE MAGAZINE Get featured content, extended articles and more at

todaymagazine.ca

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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

36 HOLES OF PREHISTORIC FUN

FREE

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300+ GAMES IN 70,000 SQ FT OF PLAY

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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

$ OFF ADMISSION

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

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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

CONQUER

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

36 HOLES OF PREHISTORIC FUN

300+ GAMES IN 70,000 SQ FT OF PLAY

A BEAST OF A COURSE

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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

CHILD

Adult Admission

50¢ off Children and Students Guinness World Records Museum™

1 2 3 4 5 6

off

ADULT

1

$ .00

STUDENT 1 2 3 4 5 6 SENIOR

G_SAB_2018_final.qxp_NCG SAB 2012 2018-03-23 5:40 PM Page 4

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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

JUST GOT REAL

GAME TOKENS

A/C 6051

1

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

1

Wizard’s Golf Mini Putt

$ OFF ADMISSION

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.

www.falls.com

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

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 105


Trends That Transcend: By Martine Mackenzie

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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 shoppes, 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 is 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


on

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

emma

/ / SHOPPING & BUSINESS

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 107


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

"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.

at 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 109


Douglas Poole ANTIQUES • SELECTIONS

W ith over 60 years experience in the antiquing industry and located in the heart of Niagara Falls, Canada, Douglas Poole is committed to bringing you the very best in high quality antiques and selections at a fair and reasonable cost. We invite you to visit our store and browse through our fabulous collection.

WANT MORE DISCOUNTS? ENJOY CIGARS. ENJOY LIFE.

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TRULY LOCAL ADVICE//COLUMN

Curveballs and Dreams: Investing in Your Pre-Retirement Years By Trevor Lagerwerf, PFP, PenFinancial Credit Union As a kid, I thought that hitting a baseball would be easy. Until I tried to hit a curveball. I wanted that homerun. So I had to learn how to adapt to the ball that was thrown at me. Then I had to learn how to hit a fastball. With each pitch, I learned it wasn’t about just hitting a baseball, or avoiding being hit by that baseball! It was about hitting the baseballs I was thrown. And running the bases with all my heart. When I became a wealth advisor, I realized that personal finance is another place where one question might be answered with five questions instead of a simple answer. For example, a member may ask “should I invest in a TFSA, RSP, or pay down my mortgage?” In response, I might ask: • • • • •

How much income do you make? What income sources will form your retirement? Have you in the past or are you currently part of a pension plan? What is the interest rate on your mortgage? Do you have other debts to pay down first?

Financial planning is not a one-size-fits-all mentality. Each investor is unique and needs to be treated that way. As I work with members in their 40s and 50s, I see how dreams and realities differ for people in their pre-retirement years. These people have often dealt with more curveballs than they care to remember. I think about the member who lost his job, or the member who lost her wife, or the member who found a child living at home again after a divorce. We looked at the bigger picture of wealth to them. We individualized their plans to follow the paths of their lives so that they could achieve the wealth they wanted.

1. Don’t shake the vending machines. 2. Come up with a realistic financial plan.

Most of the members I meet know that the lottery is not a longterm strategy for funding their wealth, retirement, or happiness. But sometimes I need to help pull them out of that dream. I try to be gentle. I ask what would happen if they took the $25 a week they spent on lottery tickets and directed it to an investment that averaged a 5% return over the long term? I explain that they would have approximately $100,000 after 30 years, which is approximately $100,000 more than their friend who is still buying lottery tickets would have. When I meet with members in their pre-retirement years, I help them assess their spending, their definition of wealth, and their needs to create and work with a viable financial plan. At this stage of life, they can focus on accumulating assets and planning more realistically how they want to share their wealth. It’s important to help them look beyond the small picture, like rate of returns on investments, and see the bigger picture: the importance of getting advice on decisions that make a bigger impact on meeting your goals and giving back. Investing in your future with an individualized plan makes sense. Don’t get locked into a one-size-fits-none plan. Ensure you’re well educated and that your Advisor works with you to help you with a financial plan that offers backup for life’s curveballs. TM

Look Beyond the Lottery: Find a Strategy to Achieve Your Dreams

Have you seen the commercials featuring the happy couple that won the lottery? They bought a cottage and their life was so great because they had so much money. Those ads always make me laugh. In small print at the end, it should say, “Odds of being killed by a vending machine (1 in 112 million) are significantly higher than winning the lottery.” There are two take-aways from this example: Trevor Lagerwerf, PFP is a Wealth Advisor at PenFinancial Credit Union. He is passionate about all things financial, including improving his member’s lives by providing expert, free financial advice since 2012. Trevor and his young family live in St. Catharines and he enjoys giving back to Niagara in many ways including the giving of blood (over 60 donations), participation in Movember (Men’s Health) fundraising and support of the Niagara Toolbox Project. Visit www.penfica for details. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 111


NPCA BELIEVES NATURE IS HEALTH… Recent studies have shown that spending time in nature reduces stress, strengthens our immune system, improves our fitness level, and helps us to lead more creative, meaningful and happy lives. The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority manages 42 Conservation Areas that marry nature, culture and adventure to create limitless opportunities for discovery. These play an important environmental, educational, and recreational role and contribute to the physical and mental well-being of thousands of visitors every year. A mix of family and friends, tents, campfires, s’mores, sing-alongs, and lots of laughs can make for a great camping getaway at Chippawa Creek or Long Beach Conservation Areas. For fun and thrilling experiences for guests of all ages, Binbrook Conservation Area is home to trekking and ziplining adventures, a floating waterpark, wakeboarding, and paddleboarding. And set within the breathtaking Twenty Valley, Ball’s Falls Conservation Area offers spectacular scenery and natural beauty with interactive exhibits and displays focusing on nature, conservation, and culture. Lovingly maintained to its early mid-19th century industrial hamlet atmosphere, it features original buildings from the 1800s. Hidden within all these natural gems are rivers and streams, wetlands, beaches, waterfalls, caves, and forests. We challenge you to unplug, disconnect, and recharge by stepping into nature with us. The NPCA is a proud sponsor of the Pathstone Mental Health Natural Playground and Healing Garden.

@NPCA_Ontario | www.npca.ca

STEP INTO NATURE WHERE: NIAGARA PENINSULA WATERSHED 42 Conservation Areas to choose from

Visit a Conservation Area

Snap a fun selfie or nature image

Share it using the #StepIntoNature and #DiscoverNPCA hashtags


JEWELLERY FOR STYLE EXPLORERS Get the best of all worlds with our new Summer collection.

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