There’s always lots happening in Niagara, and never more than in July and August. Here are 11 great reasons to visit this summer.
1. Inniskillin’s Canada Day
It’s actually a four-day celebration with the Piazza becoming a hub of activity dotted with flags, red umbrella picnic tables and Muskoka chairs. July 1-4. Sip fine VQA wine, enjoy Chef David Penny’s locally inspired cooking, wave the flag and, on Canada Day, watch fireworks over the vineyard. See inniskillin.com.
2. Bikers’ delight
Some 50,000 motorcycle enthusiasts and 250 industry vendors take over the new Scotiabank Convention Centre July 20-21 for the biggest motorcycle event Niagara Falls has ever for seen. Outfit your bike or yourself, take a demo ride, check out a stunt show and meet industry icons. See niagaramotorcycleshow.com.
3. Relax to the max
For the uber relaxing couple-escape, the tranquil, subterranean Spa at White Oaks Resort offers Couples Reconnect — a two-hour indulgence in the luxurious couple’s suite, where you can relax by a romantic fire following side-by-side, Nectar of Niagara massages. One of the largest spa facilities in Ontario you’ll experience a 5-Star, 4-Diamond customer service experience. See whiteoaksresort.com.
4. Into the woods
Swap the urban jungle for the pastoral trails of the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve where you’ll marvel at the 37 different types of wild orchids, the diversity of the birds and mammals and the outcroppings of rock streams and mini waterfalls. Up close and personal with nature, it’s a winning place to unwind for the entire family. Including Fido. See escarpment.org.
5. Backstage at Shaw
Peek behind the scenes at a world-class theatre. This hour-long tour takes you to the glamorous world of wardrobes and wigs, then gives you a front-row seat at a rehearsal in full swing. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays until Oct. 31. Call ahead to book ( 1-800-511-7429 ) while making reservations for this season’s smash hit, the Tony Award-winning musical Rag Time. See shawfest.com.
6. Jazzy vineyard
Hillebrand has been bringing top notch Canadian jazz talent to their vineyard for 23 years. On July 14 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., it’s Jazz at the Winery with spectacular music, fine wines and Chef Frank Dodd’s great local cuisine. Seating options are as simple as a picnic on the lawn or as sophisticated as a reserved seat and a gourmet three-course meal at the restaurant patio. Seereservations.andrewpeller.com/events/jb-event.html.
7. Celebrating fruit
Discover the gentle charm of Niagara at one of several fruit festivals held throughout the summer. There’s no better way to experience the warm and friendly feeling of being part of a small community that doesn’t even know you. The first — Cherry Festival, July 7 at St. Marks Church, Niagara-on-the-Lake. See stmarks1792.com.
8. War of 1812
Bicentennial festivities honouring the War of 1812 will be in full swing for the entire summer; however Aug. 11-12 is the time to experience the most extravagant re-enactment of the Siege of Fort Erie ever produced. Step into Old Fort Erie and a world of red coats, black powder and grey fortress walls. See discover1812.com.
9. Canal days
Tall Ships gather in Port Colborne Aug. 3-6 for the Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival — four days of activities and attractions that honour the city’s marine heritage and its connection to the St. Lawrence Seaway. There’s fun for the entire family. See portcolborne.ca.
10. Golf with dinosaurs
Fifty astonishingly realistic and life-sized dinosaurs populate two 18-hole golf courses at Niagara Falls newest attraction — Dinosaur Golf. Amidst the sounds of the jungle, golfers play over decorative ponds with fast-moving rapids and around a 50-foot high “active” steam-erupting volcano, then directly through an eerie, cavernous volcanic interior. Contact 905-358-3676 .
11. Top draw
It’s an oldie but goodie. For 166 years, the Maid of the Mist has been bringing visitors to the edge — the very thrilling edge — of the Falls. The original Maid was a steam-powered paddle-wheeler ferry; today she is one of four state-of-the-art, diesel-powered boats, each capable of accommodating 600 passengers. There’s no better place to feel the astounding, wind-driven mist. See maidofthemist.com.
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