3 Niagara Region Events Where History Comes Alive

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image001For the history buff, spending a day or week among the dusty annals of a library’s special collection sounds like a vacation made in heaven, whereas, for most of us, such an endeavor is a lot less fun. Regardless of its importance in the overall scheme of things, for the majority of people, any engagement with “history” needs to involve some pretty hefty razzle dazzle to attract and hold our attention, which is why history buffs invented historical reenactments, which are a fantastic way that history gets preserved and learned.

Experience Niagara’s past in tandem with its stellar present by visiting Niagara Falls during one of these three reenactments during the month of July.

What’s a Reenactment?

A historical reenactment is an entertaining and educational activity that involves a group of people reenacting an event that took place some time in the past. Spectators attend and observe from the sidelines in order to get a fly-on-the-wall view of the event as it unfolds. Most reenactments are of battles, and they take place all over the world to mark significant times of war in a given location in a nation’s history, and the Niagara region is home to some excellent ones.

1. The Battle of Fort George

On July 11 and 12 at the Fort George Historic Site, reenactors from all over North America will join together to mark the 202nd anniversary of the Battle of Fort George. A bloody fight that took place during the War of 1812, the Battle of Fort George was a seminal engagement in the Niagara region’s history that saw the Americans defeat British troops to successfully capture the fort. In addition to battle reenactments that will take place on Saturday and Sunday, the weekend will also include musket firings, period music, artillery presentations, and more.

2. The Battle of Chippewa

image003Another engagement during the War of 1812, the Battle of Chippewa took place nearly two years after the Battle of Fort George, and while it resulted in another American victory over the British — and caused significant British losses — it nevertheless failed to allow the Americans to make much headway in the war overall. This July 5 marks the anniversary of that battle, and reenactors will take to the field to relive it at 2 p.m.

3. French and Indian War Encampment

On the first weekend in July, the Siege of 1759 that took place during the French and Indian War will be reenacted at Fort Niagara. Hundreds of reenactors are slated to attend for both the battle reenactments and the living history camps. Period artisans, craftspeople, and merchants will also be on-site, and there will also be artillery firings, musket demonstrations, Native councils, military music concerts, youth recruitment demonstrations, special exhibits, and much more.

No matter which end of the history-loving or hating spectrum you routinely find yourself on, the month of July boasts three spectacular events in and around the Niagara region sure to stoke your curiosity of what Niagara was like long before the 21st century.

What You’ll Find at the 2015 Niagara Jazz Festival

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image001Jazz is a form of music as iconic as our region’s eponymous waterfalls, but unlike our waterfalls, jazz branches off, transforms, and reinvents itself at almost every turn. It started out in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a lively and inspired synthesis of African American, brass band, pop, and European music that incorporates improvisation, blue notes, poly-rhythms, swung meter, and more, and throughout its young lifespan — it is just a bit over 100 years old — jazz has spread throughout the world.

To the true jazz aficionado, the form is best experienced live, so long as the players playing are up to snuff, which is why—if you love jazz—you need to plan a trip to Niagara for the 2015 Niagara Jazz Festival.

The Festival

A newer music festival celebrating its second year, the Niagara Jazz Festival spans July 23 through the 26, and it takes place in the heart of Niagara’s beautiful wine country at venues that range from small, indoor, intimate settings to more airy and festive outdoor scenes. Both Canadian and international artists are featured throughout the festival’s four days, as well as culinary packages, award-winning wines, and great local craft beers. Last year’s festival saw more than 3,000 attendees over three days, and this year’s hopes to draw even more, as the Niagara region plays host to the lovers and keepers of North America’s greatest musical art form.

The Bands

image003There are plenty of entertainment and educational events slated to take place throughout the festival, but the highlights are the bands. Here are some of the performers making their way to the Niagara region for the NJF:

  • Gord Sheard. A well-known Canadian jazz musician who’s been playing for over 30 years, Gord Sheard’s most recent project, The Gord Sheard Quintet, will perform their unique blend of jazz, rhythm and blues, and African and Brazilian music.
  • Heillig Manouevre. This Toronto-based quartet has been a Canadian jazz favorite since 1998. Specializing in their own unique version of contemporary jazz, they play mostly original songs and just recently added saxophonist, Alison Young.
  • Genevieve Marentette Trio. After spending eight years singing and performing in Asia, Marentette is back in her homeland where she will be joined by pianist Mark Kieswetter and bassist George Koller.
  • Dinny and the Allstars. A Dixieland-style band, Dinny and the Allstars features Brian “Dinny” Dinsdale on trumpet. They play everything from marches and ragtime to standards, but their focus is on music that will get a crowd on its feet.
  • Vox Violins. Beth Bartley and Mark Clifford are Vox Violins, and they play a blend of jazz, folk, rock, gypsy, and classical music that has taken them around the world numerous times since they first began playing together in 1980.
  • Michael Kaeshammer. Beloved Canadian performer, Michael Kaeshammer, is slated to be the NJF’s 2015 Flagship Event Headliner. He is an accomplished pianist and singer, who specializes in blending boogie-woogie-style piano with rock, blues, jazz, and more.

If you love jazz and you love wine country, come to Niagara the last weekend in July for the Niagara Jazz Festival.

The 2015 Summer of Thrills Begins!

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image001Niagara Falls has long been known as a hotbed of entertainment, culture, and awe-inspiring sights. From the region’s storied wine country, shopping, and world-class musical offerings to the stunning waterfalls themselves, any trip to Niagara is an opportunity ripe with chances to have the time of your life.

But ever since the advent of the Clifton Hill Summer of Thrills stunt shows, the good times that can be had around the Falls — especially for the whole family — has truly reached new heights. Running from July 2 all the way through September 7, 2015, here is a look at the amazing, free street performances heating up Niagara four times a day, Thursday through Monday.

If you’re planning a trip to the Niagara region during the height of the season on any day but Tuesday or Wednesday, be sure to set aside an hour one afternoon to catch the Summer of Thrills acts at either 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., or 8 p.m.

The Wheel of Fate

Set atop the Imperial Hotel, the Wheel of Fate looks like something out of an early 20th century circus act, but instead of sitting reasonably at ground level in a ring beneath a circus’s big tent, it sits 10 stories above Victoria Avenue. If you can imagine a giant hamster wheel powered by a human daredevil urging the wheel round and round, then, you can also imagine that spinning hamster wheel is set at one end of a giant lever that is also in rotation. The daredevil’s silhouette is easily visible to the naked eye so that everyone on the street below can marvel at his or her ability to balance, spin, and maintain equilibrium while tolerating heights and the prospect of his or her own mortality. Kids and adults alike will absolutely love it.

High Wire Sky Cycle

image003It’s only fitting that one of the Clifton Hill’s Summer of Thrills performances should involve a tightrope. After all, tightrope walkers near the end of the 19th century were at least partially responsible for Niagara Falls becoming such a popular destination for travelers from around the globe. The High Wire Sky Cycle is a stunt that takes place on a wire stretched between Day’s Inn and Tussaud’s on Victoria Avenue. Because, apparently, it isn’t enough to just ride a motorcycle across the wire, an aerialist is also suspended beneath the motorcycle on a trapeze, and because, apparently, it isn’t enough to just cling tightly to your trapeze in hopes the motorcycle you’re tied to doesn’t plummet to the ground below, the aerialist performs death-defying stunts on the trapeze throughout the high wire ride.

The Jugglers

If you need a break from the heights, or, if you need a chance to gear up for them, another spectacular part of the Summer of Thrills act are the fire and chainsaw jugglers who precede each installment of the Wheel of Fate and the High Wire Sky Cycle. Just as death defying as the high wire and hotel rooftop acts, these jugglers make playing with fire and power tools look easy.

Coming to Niagara? Here’s an Introduction to Canadian Culture

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image001Canada is the second largest country in the world by land mass, but it’s estimated that as many as 75 percent of the nation’s 35 million residents live within 100 miles of the border it shares with the United States. A former colony of both the French and the British, Canadian culture involves plenty of carryover from those two nations as well as the indigenous people groups and immigrants who have called Canada home over the years.

The result is a highly nuanced and friendly culture that’s so polite, we’d likely never tell you if we spied you committing some egregious cultural faux pas. Whether you’re a first-timer planning a trip to Niagara, or you’ve been here dozens of times before, here are some of the truths about Canadian culture you may or may not know.

Common Etiquette

Canadian etiquette is similar to many other western and developed countries, but it gets expressed in ways that are uniquely Canadian. When you’re visiting Niagara, if you happen to make the acquaintance of a Canadian — and you probably will as Canadians really are amazingly friendly — keep in mind the following:

  • Greetings and introductions should include handshakes with strong grips and good eye contact.
  • Take your shoes off and leave them at the entrance whenever you enter someone’s house.
  • Use titles or last names when addressing someone, as first names are generally reserved for close friends and family.
  • If invited to a dinner party, bring flowers, high-quality wine, chocolates, or all three as a gift.
  • Give people plenty of physical space in conversation.

Progressive Ideals

image003Because of the wide variety of people who visit Canada and call it home, Canadians tend to be a pretty progressive and welcoming bunch. Universal health care, a commitment to sustainable agriculture, legal same-sex marriage, the abolition of capital punishment, religious freedom — these realities and others like them show Canadians’ commitment to progressive ideals.

Polite Behaviour

When you visit Niagara, especially if you come from a major city in the United States, you’ll notice there is less honking and aggressive driving on the roadways. Canadians are also quick to take responsibility, apologizing for slightly brushing anyone on a sidewalk or in a grocery. Harsh words are so rarely exchanged between people in public that some Canadians would say it never happens.

Hockey

Hockey is the one religion in Canada that you can always talk about in any kind of company. If you’re unfamiliar with the sport before you come for a visit, just talk with a local long enough, and we’ll fill you in on everything from the local high school team’s record to NHL trades and rule changes. Almost everyone has a favorite team and almost every Canadian can ice skate well, too — a reality that’s evidenced by Edmonton’s plan to build an ice skating “highway” for people to use when commuting to work.

While Canadian culture is often subtle enough to go unnoticed, keep these guidelines and touchstones in mind while you’re in Niagara, and you’ll fit in as one of the locals.

Enjoy Traditional Afternoon Tea in Niagara at These 2 Tea Rooms

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image001The tradition of afternoon tea can be placed solely upon the British, which is why its popularity still holds sway in places like Canada, the United States, India, and even Burma. Its history harkens back to the early 19th century when the Duchess of Bedford needed something to tide her over during the late afternoon.

The advent of electric lighting had recently transformed such mainstays as eating so that the second of the two meals people used to eat during the day had been moved — for the aristocracy at least — until after dark so as to make use of the technologically advanced lighting. As that long expanse of time between the first meal and the second proved too much for the Duchess, she requested tea and a snack, and the tradition of afternoon tea was born.

The Niagara region is home to many high-quality and varied afternoon tea experiences, and if you’ve never taken time out with a friend or family member to enjoy tea, it’s a simultaneously relaxing and invigorating experience. Just as your energy is beginning to languish after a nearly full day sightseeing, you sit down to a light and delicious snack accompanied by a refreshing beverage that often contains caffeine. As you rest, eat, and drink, your blood sugar is restored. Your rushing about is paused. You are given a chance to reconnect with a loved one or traveling companion and yourself. Afternoon tea is truly a fabulous mini meal, and if you’re planning a Niagara Falls vacation, you should reserve some space in your itinerary for these two excellent tea rooms.

The Drawing Room

image003Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, The Drawing Room boasts one of the most regal and traditional forms of afternoon tea available. A space of undeniable Victorian finery and charm, the tea room is laid out with meticulously set tables covered in cloth that feature fresh rose bouquets and Minton China. An excellent selection of tea is offered, and the accompanying food and condiments are superb. Warm scones, lovely finger sandwiches, Devonshire cream, and pastries are all served on shining silver stands as attentive wait staff meets your every need. You can add to the more traditional tea offerings by choosing different menu items including Canadian cheeses and wine as well.

The Savoy Room

For another high-end tea experience, choose this St. Catharines tea room. The elegant Victorian setting features fine bone China, a wide variety of quality teas, linen tablecloths, and sweet and savory snacks. The Savoy Room offers a variety of tea types and times, including:

  • Elevenses. Taken mid-morning, this tea break is served with a simple snack.
  • Afternoon Tea. The most common type of British tea time, The Savoy Room offers three distinct styles: Cream Tea, Light Tea, and Full Tea
  • Royal Tea. Afternoon tea served with either champagne or sherry.
  • High Tea. Also called “Meat Tea,” this tea is actually a robust meal that includes meats, cheeses, meat pies, desserts, bread, and teas. It is generally taken in the early evening.

Come to Niagara, and eat and drink like the British by enjoying tea at The Drawing Room, The Savoy Room, or both.

The Great Niagara Falls Ribfest of 2015

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image001For the 11th year running, the Niagara Falls Rotary Club is sponsoring and putting on the Niagara Falls Ribfest, a celebration of barbecue, smoked meats, and ribs that’s heralded as “Ontario’s Number One Ribfest.” Traditionally held over Father’s Day weekend, this year’s Ribfest is taking place one weekend earlier on June 12 through 14.

If you’re trying to decide when the best time to head to Niagara Falls is, the second weekend in June would be hard to beat. Here’s a look at what Ribfest has to offer from its lineup of musical entertainment to its ribs.

Entertainment

Live entertainment is offered all weekend long, starting at 4:00 p.m. and lasting until 11:00 p.m. on Friday; from noon until 11:00 p.m. on Saturday; and from noon until 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. The acts are quite varied and include local and regional acts. Some of this year’s highlights include:

  • Vinyl Flux. The winners of the 2013 Best Band award at the Niagara Music Awards play at 9:00 p.m. on Friday.
  • Crowns Down. This high school-aged band plays at noon on Saturday.
  • Mudmen. These Celtic rockers play the last show of the festival at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.

There will also be a Kids’ Midway with plenty of fun for little ones, 50/50 drawings held every day, a car raffle, and Wi-Fi.

Vendors

Of course, no festival is complete without a bevy of vendors hawking their wares, and thankfully, Ribfest is no exception. Buy jewelry, body candy, African crafts, artwork, and even Jacuzzis. Visit booths promoting the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara, Believe Me Marketing, Costco, SCRC’s Ride for Sick Kids, and much more. Take your children to the Home Depot craft spot on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, or just delight in watching little ones get their hands dirty. Get your face painted. Get tattooed, and of course, eat some ribs.

image003The Food

Known as the Ribbers, there are six different barbecue rib vendors slated to feed the masses at this year’s Ribfest, and all of them are vying for customers and awards. Each year, the best ribs and the best sauce are decided upon by a panel of judges, with second and third places being awarded as well. There’s also a People’s Choice award given out. This year’s Ribbers include:

  • Billy Bones
  • Silver Bullet
  • Bone Daddy
  • Crabby BBQ
  • Horn Dawgs
  • Texas Rangers BBQ

In addition to all the good ribs you can get stuck in your teeth, there are also vendors selling baked potatoes, ice cream, mini donuts, lemonade, elephant ears, deep-fried candy bars, kettle corn, and bloomin’ onions.

The Ribfest is an incredibly popular event for locals, as it’s a major fundraiser for the Rotary Club. Over the years, they’ve donated to Rotary House, GNGH Foundation, Pathstone Mental Health, Boys and Girls Club of Niagara, Literacy Niagara, the School Breakfast Program, and Habitat for Humanity, just to name a handful. So, if you’re looking for a unique Niagara experience that will also contribute mightily to the good of the region, spend some time and dollars at the Niagara Falls Ribfest.

Start Learning to Pair Wine and Food With Reif Estate Winery

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image001Almost any trip to the Niagara region includes much more than just marveling at massive waterfalls, which is as it should be: In addition to its stunning and eponymous cataracts, Niagara is home to world-class entertainment, history, culture, and wine. Especially for the true and budding oenophile, the Niagara Peninsula’s wines are a major draw.

Some of the finest in all of Canada, Niagara wine attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to our wineries every year for the unforgettable experience of touring our vineyards first-hand, meeting winemakers, and enjoying vintages and varietals that can’t be found anywhere else. In addition, many of our wineries offer events and learning opportunities to assist wine-lovers on their quest for further knowledge and appreciation. One such offering takes place the first Saturday in June, when Reif Estate Winery gives a class in pairing wine with food.

Pairing food and wine is as much science as it is art, and for newcomers to the effort, it can feel overwhelming. How do you bring out the raisin and coffee notes in an older cabernet sauvignon? What can you eat with an unoakaed chardonnay that will coax out the wine’s more subtle notes for a fuller experience? What wine should you serve with a particularly stinky blue cheese? What wine is best alongside pot roast?

For the food and wine lover, these questions are of extreme importance, and it’s only with guidance and experience that the answers can be discovered. For the uninitiated in the process, the class at Reif Estate Winery is a great way to start putting together the world’s oldest dining pair: food and wine.

Part of their Start Living the Reifstyle series, the class is held on June 6th at 2 p.m. in the Reif Estate Winery Sensory Garden and Winemaker’s Loft. Reif’s Wine Sensory Garden is the only one of its kind in the vineyard- and winery-heavy Niagara-on-the-Lake, and it exists as a tool to enable guests to consider image003the many colors, flavors, and aromas that are often used to characterize the wines made in the area.

For example, the riesling and sauvignon blanc section of the garden boasts delicate flowers and includes aromas of coriander, mint, honeysuckle, grapefruit, and more. The icewine and chardonnay section is located in the yellow quadrant of the garden, and there you will smell peach, sage, pineapple, and vanilla to name a few. Likewise, cabernet sauvignon and merlot are represented in the red section with oregano, mint, and chocolate plantings. In every way, the Wine Sensory Garden is an invitation to experience wine anew by increasing your understand and engaging even more of your senses.

In addition to your time in the Wine Sensory Garden, the class will also include a tasting of four estate-bottled wines that have been paired with four local, herb-inspired samples. As you taste each pairing, the principles of matching food to wine and vice versa will be discussed. The cost is $30 a person, and it’s the kind of experience that can only be had in Niagara’s wine country.

Where to Eat Poutine in Niagara Falls

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image001Poutine is a Canadian food that is so well-loved and ubiquitous, it’s hard to remember a time when it wasn’t readily available and eaten by all. French fries covered in fresh cheese curds and gravy, poutine isn’t for the overly health-conscious, but as far as Canadian comfort foods go, it’s hard to top.

According to legend, the first batch of poutine was ordered from and served by a small restaurant in Quebec back in the late 1950s when a trucker ordered the menu’s French fries and cheese curd in a bag with a side of gravy. Today, the dish is a favorite among Canadians and anyone else lucky enough to try it. If you’re planning a visit to Niagara Falls, and you’d like to experience poutine, here are a handful of restaurants that do it right.

Syndicate

Syndicate Restaurant and Brewery serves up gourmet fare that makes use of local farms’ produce, meats, and cheeses as much as possible. While poutine is usually considered pub food or fast food, Syndicate flips the script with duck poutine and manages not to alter the gooey goodness of the dish one bit. Available on their bar menu, fresh-cut fries are smothered in house gravy and fresh cheese curds before being topped with duck confit.

Smoke’s Poutinerie

Smoke’s Poutinerie is on a mission to bring the wonderful world of poutine to everyone. With scores of locations in almost every Canadian province and Berkeley, California, Smoke’s is slowly putting restaurants dedicated to poutine everywhere. With over 30 different kinds of poutine to choose from, and countless options to invent your own, the poutine you’ll get from their Niagara Falls location probably won’t be anything like what you’re used to. Here are just a few of the options:

  • Chicken fajita poutine
  • Philly cheesesteak poutine
  • Perogy poutine
  • Pulled pork poutine
  • And many more!

Flying Saucer Restaurant

image003If you ever wanted to eat poutine inside a restaurant shaped like a flying saucer, now is your chance. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night, Flying Saucer Restaurant is a favorite with locals and visitors of all ages. Order their poutine for a slightly different take on the classic — instead of fresh cheese curds, they use fresh, shredded mozzarella.

Taps

Taps on Queen is known first and foremost as a brewery and brewpub that serves up some of the area’s finest craft beer. From bright, satisfying ales to hoppy IPAs, they have a rotating selection of brews that are definitely worth trying. While it could probably go without saying, one of the best accompaniments to excellent beer is excellent poutine, and Taps has six kinds to choose from, including:

  • Classic poutine
  • Chicken club poutine
  • Vegetable curry poutine

Michelle’s Fries

Michelle’s Fries started out as a food truck, and because they specialize in fries, you can bet their poutine is exceptional. Winner of the “Best Fries” award in Niagara Falls for multiple years, they make a good thing even better. From classic poutine to poutine with hamburger and onions, every variety they serve is delicious.

So, bring your fry-loving appetite to Niagara Falls, and indulge in a Canadian classic at one of these five restaurants.

The Best Places in Niagara Falls to Get a Pint

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image001Beer doesn’t hold quite the hallowed place that wine does in the hearts of the people of Niagara, but it’s certainly climbing the ranks on lists about why people love visiting the area. From light crisp ales to sweet and earthy stouts, a handful of breweries have popped up in the region in recent years, and the beers they brew are starting to garner some much-deserved attention.

Whether you’re a beer lover on a perpetual tour of the earth’s finest brews or you’re just a guy who likes to drink good beer when you’re away from home, here are some of the best places to grab a pint of beer the next time you visit Niagara Falls.

Syndicate Restaurant and Brewery

Syndicate Restaurant and Brewery blends the best of the farm with excellent food and beverages — just one of the many time-honored traditions visitors to the Niagara Peninsula have enjoyed for decades.

Fresh, local, gourmet food is served with elegant simplicity, and it’s accompanied by excellent beer made on-site. Order the Niagara’s Best Brown Ale, the Taps Rye Knot, or the Niagara’s Best Blonde Premium Ale, and pair any one of them with the duck poutine or a local, dry aged steak.

Syndicate boasts three locations: Niagara Falls, St. Catherines, and Grimsby, but the Niagara Falls location is where the beer is made if you want to take a gander at their operation.

Taps Brewhouse and Grille

Now in its 11th year, Taps Brewing Company — who also makes the beer served and enjoyed in Syndicate — features and perfects small batch craft beer using only the most basic of beer ingredients: pure filtered water, malted barley, yeast, and select hops.

As with almost every libation in Niagara, the beer is made alongside an excellent restaurant whose award-winning chef’s menu includes better-than-basic pub fare. They boast six different types of poutine, including vegetable curry and Philly steak, and a handful of hamburgers worth writing home about.

The beer taps change regularly, but if you’re able, knock back the Taps Charleston Lager and the Taps Red Cream Ale. Besides being a great pub with good food and beer, they also have live music and other entertainment throughout the week.

Niagara Brewing Company

image003Opening up in May 2015, Niagara Brewing Company is the area’s newest beer maker. Firmly planted in the tradition of Canada’s burgeoning craft brew scene, Niagara Brewing Company promises to make and serve one-of-a-kind beers using the best in locally sourced ingredients.

At the helm of this new enterprise is Gord Slater, a brewery and brewpub developer whose roots in the business go down and back 30 years. With more than 60 breweries and pubs under his belt and plenty of awards for the beers he’s made, it’s likely his newest endeavor also pass muster. The Niagara Brewing Company is located in the center of the Falls View Resort.

Whether you love beer as a companion to food or you love it in its own right, accompanied by good friends or a ball game, the beer in Niagara’s breweries continue to get better and more local with each passing year.

The Ride of Silence

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image001May is National Bike Month, which means it’s the perfect time of year for anyone with a childlike hankering to get on a bike again to do so. In Niagara, with winter’s thaw well underway, it’s also the time of year when cyclists from all over the world start descending on the region to enjoy the picturesque scenery, the vast, open roads, and the increasingly charming weather.

If you’re someone who enjoys cycling, you should definitely bring your bicycle along with you the next time you stay in Niagara. Especially if you’re here over the 20th of May, consider joining with other cyclists in the area to ride in and mark the Niagara Falls’ ninth annual Ride of Silence.

The Ride

Every May 20th at 7 p.m., bicyclists in communities around the world join together to take part in a silent bicycle ride to honor those cyclists who have been severely injured or killed while riding on public roads.

A slow-paced event that welcomes anyone of any ability who would like to ride, the Ride of Silence seeks to not only honor the dead and injured, but to also raise awareness of cyclists and safety, as well as the necessity of sharing the road with one another.

Many motorists are unaware that bicyclists have as much a legal right to the road as other vehicles do, or motorists are unaware of bicyclists traveling along their roadways — in both instances, tragic and avoidable accidents can and do occur.

The History

image003The first Ride of Silence happened in 2003, when Chris Phelan organized a ride to commemorate the passing of Larry Schwartz, a nationally known endurance cyclist, who was hit and killed by a school bus mirror. Organized in less than two weeks following Schwatrz’s untimely death, the first ride took place in Dallas and saw more than 1,000 participants, most of who heard about the ride by word of mouth.

Originally intended as a one-time event, each year now finds hundreds of rides happening on May 20th, from Canada and the United States to Cyprus, Israel, and the Philippines. Here’s how the Ride of Silence works: A free ride without sponsors, fundraising efforts, and registration fees, the only stipulations are that those involved ride no faster than 12 miles per hour, that all participants wear a helmet, that everyone follow the rules of the road, and that silence be maintained for the duration of the ride.

The Niagara Falls Ride of Silence

On Wednesday, May 20th, 2015, Niagara Falls’ concerned residents, cyclists, and any visitors who’d like to mark the event with them will meet at the MacBain Community Centre parking lot, which is located on Montrose Road. The ride will leave at 7 p.m., and will travel down the road in silence, procession-style. The entire ride will cover roughly 6 miles, and everyone is welcome. Riders must wear helmets and follow the rules of the road.

Regardless of what brings you to the Niagara Falls region, if you’re a cyclist, events like the Ride of Silence are working to keep you and others like you alive. Building a bridge toward better safety on both sides of the equation — motorists and cyclists alike — the Ride of Silence honors the dead so that the living can enjoy the road from bikes and vehicles in greater, shared safety.