Cruising Niagara Region by Boat
As the calendar turns to April, our excitement as well as yours likely increases as the promise of warmer weather and boating activities become a reality once again.
Only an hour cruise from Toronto you will find yourself docking at one of the most acclaimed grape-growing and winemaking regions in Ontario. Niagara on the Lake, often called “the prettiest town in Ontario,” offers a picturesque journey through its quaint streets, pristine gardens, and breathtaking views of the Niagara River from its waterfront nature trails. Whether you arrive for a romantic rendezvous, a culinary adventure with friends, or if the arts are your passion, you will find your tonic.
With over 100 wineries in the region, it is a destination for grape lovers and if you haven’t experienced a wine tour or tasting before, I can assure you, you’ll be hooked! A favorite amongst friends are the self-guided winery tours on rented bicycles offered by Zoom Leisure Bikes. Located only a few minutes walk from the Niagara on the Lake Sailing Club, they offer rentals for solo, tandem and even electric power assist bikes, all with maps, safety gear and best of all custom-made handlebar bags that fit a bottle of wine just right! If cycling isn’t your thing, there are dozens of tours to choose from, Niagara Vintage Wine Tours and Crush Tours come highly recommended. If wine isn’t your fancy, you can try a brewery or distillery tour.
Who doesn’t love a day at the spa? I recommend planning an overnight stay giving you the time for a shopping day with a trip to a local spa. Niagara on the lake has many award-winning spas to choose from and although due to Covid many of their usual packages may not be offered, a massage and even a couples massage are still on the menu, it’s worth inquiring as many treatments are available. Two of the local vintage hotels, The Pillar and the Post and 124 on Queen Hotel & Spa come highly recommended.
Niagara on the Lake boasts some fabulous boutique shops that offer everything from modern fashion, European delights, freshly made ice cream and an array of art galleries showcasing the work of local artists. I encourage you to browse through Beau’s Chapeau, they have over 10,000 hats in stock from casual to one-of-a-kind works of art. You may want to pair that delicious wine you purchased on tour, so a stop into Cheese Secrets shouldn’t be missed. They offer a wide variety of rare, handmade and farm-fresh specialty cheese from Ontario along with unique accoutrements from around the world. The staff are knowledgeable and will take time to make recommendations.
If you enjoy an afternoon matinee, the Shaw Festival offers theatrical productions year-round featured in its three theatres: The Royal George Theatre, the Shaw Festival Theatre and the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre. A few of the productions planned for this upcoming season are Sherlock Holmes and the Raven’s Curse, a mystery based on the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Charley’s Aunt, a side-splitting comedic farce; The Devil’s Disciple, a Bernard Shaw comedy, an adventure and a love story set at the height of the US revolution.
Known as the culinary capital of Canada, Niagara on the Lake has an outstanding selection of dining experiences. Fine dining at the Noble Restaurant is for those with an appreciation for opulence, the Backhouse Restaurant is a farm-to-table experience with plates made over an open grill. For an upscale casual experience Corks Winebar & Eatery comes highly recommended or if you want to add a little spice Chili Jiao offers authentic Sichuan and dim sum dining. The selection is endless and for every palate.
Whether it is high tea at the Prince of Wales vintage hotel, a historic tour through the Fort George Historic Site or a pub lunch at the Olde Angel Inn that dates back to 1790, Niagara on the Lake will keep you as busy or as relaxed as you want your adventure to be. You can be sure to find something for everyone and I encourage you to share your experiences with me.