Niagara Ontario

Discover the Backroads

There’s more to do in Niagara Ontario than Niagara Falls! After seeing this Great Wonder of the World, stay awhile and explore the rest of the Niagara Region. You’ll discover bucolic wineries, community festivals, unique boutiques, heritage treasures, art galleries and more. 

Niagara Ontario is a region that is close to my heart. It's where I grew up. My home town was St Catharines but I got to know the surrounding towns and countryside as well, on daytrips with my parents, and as a fruit picker during the summers when I was a student.

Niagara is made up of about 30 different communities large and small. You’ll occasionally hear it referred to as the Niagara Peninsula as well. A peninsula is a piece of land surrounded on three sides by water. In the case of Niagara Ontario, the area is surrounded by Lake Ontario on the north, Lake Erie on the south, and the Niagara River on the east.

Above: The view from Queenston Heights.

The area is also called the Niagara fruit belt, or Ontario’s fruit basket, for its many farms. One of the fruits grown here is grapes and these are used to make great Ontario wines. Some of the popular tourist activities are wine touring, fruit picking at pick-your-own-fruit farms, visits to art galleries, heritage museums, shopping (especially antiquing), craft fairs, community festivals, hiking and camping in conservation areas, golfing, and scenic drives along the Niagara Parkway and the Welland Canal. 

Here are a few of the cities and towns with attractions for tourists.

Niagara on the Lake

This bustling resort town is famous for its Shaw Festival Theatre, heritage homes, historic Fort George, and flower-filled shopping drag. Its proximity to many Niagara wineries makes it a popular starting point for winery tours. Read more: Niagara on the Lake.

St Catharines

St Catharines is the largest city in the Niagara region. History lovers won't want to miss the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre. Another favourite spot is Port Dalhousie with its historic merry-go-round on the beach and the old lighthouses. Read more: St Catharines.

Jordan in Niagara Ontario

Jordan is a small town with a surprising array of one-of-a-kind boutiques, restaurants, wineries, and a great little heritage museum. On the outskirts of town, you’ll find the Balls Falls Conservation area. Read more: Jordan Ontario.

Port Colborne

This Lake Erie port is a small town with a history tied to shipping and the Welland Canal. Their local museum is a fun place to discover the area’s past and to take a spot of tea in the old-fashioned tea room.  In August the place explodes with the Canal Days festival. Read more: Port Colborne.

Queenston

For a commanding view of the Niagara river and Lake Ontario, be sure to visit Queenston Heights Park, the scene of the great battle of the War of 1812. Find a bench where you can sit and contemplate your surroundings, share a picnic lunch with a companion, or climb the great tower. If you’re an art lover, pop in to Riverbrink, an art museum that boasts a fine collection of historic Canadian art, including work by the Group of Seven, Marc Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Côté, Cornelius Krieghoff, and Paul Kane. Heritage fans will enjoy the Mackenize Printery & Newspaper Museum, the former home of rebel-leader William Lyon Mackenzie, and the Laura Secord Homestead, the former home of the heroine (now more famous for chocolates than for her role in the war).

Other towns in Niagara Ontario

  • Welland, for its downtown murals, and its annual Rose Festival and Niagara Food Festival.
  • The Town of Fort Erie, with its reconstructed “Old Fort Erie”, a must for living history fans.
  • Grimsby, with its rainbow-coloured Grimsby Beach neighbourhood
  • Wainfleet, for its annual Marshville festival. Explore its pioneer village and enjoy some “good old entertainment”.  

Above: Fiddlers play at the Marshville Festival.

NIAGARA FALLS REGION TOURIST INFORMATION

Tourism Niagara (for the whole Niagara Ontario region). http://www.tourismniagara.com

Exploring Niagara http://www.exploringniagara.com/index.html

Ontario Travel Secrets > Cities > Niagara Ontario