Travel Exercise Tips for the Tourist in Niagara Falls

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image001Staying active while on vacation is a goal most people have and few people meet. Between jam-packed itineraries and how amazing it feels to sleep in, finding time to hit the gym or the streets to work up a sweat can seem like more trouble than it’s worth. However, research has shown time and time again that regular, daily exercise keeps us healthy in the long-term and in the short-term, which means that even while we’re far from home enjoying a much-deserved break from our regular routine, exercise should still play a role in our vacation plans. If you’re planning on coming to the Niagara region for a vacation, here are some exercise tips well-suited to a holiday in Niagara.

Pick a Hotel With a Gym

One of the easiest ways to make sure you get some exercise while you’re on vacation in Niagara Falls is to plan your stay at a Niagara hotel that has an exercise and fitness room. Whether you prefer weightlifting or cardio workouts, a good hotel fitness room will be able to accommodate you. When you make having access to a hotel gym a priority, you more easily set the stage for making sure your vacation includes some sweating, hard work, and an elevated pulse.

Schedule It

The Niagara region is rich in sights and events, which means: If you’re serious about exercising when you come for a vacation, you’re going to have to schedule it in your itinerary each and every day. Whether you pencil it in before you grab breakfast at one of Niagara’s great bakeries with your family, or you reserve an hour right before dinner at one of the area’s finest restaurants, treat exercise the way you would treat the start time of a vineyard tour, and you’ll have no trouble fitting in exercise amidst all the sights and sounds of Niagara.

Choose to Walk

Walking is one of the best exercises you can get, and there are plenty of ways to build a good, solid walk into a day’s outings around Niagara Falls. For instance, if you stay at the Falls Avenue Resort, you’ll be between a 20-minute and 30-minute walk from the Maid of the Mist. Or, drive to the Botanical Gardens, and walk to the Floral Clock, which is just 2.2 kilometers away. However you do it, build an itinerary that includes travel by foot, and you’ll save on gas and get exercise that won’t tire you out too much, preventing you from enjoying yourself.

Take a Hike

image003There is a lot of good hiking in the Niagara Falls region, especially in the Niagara Glen Nature Reserve. Whether you’re an avid outdoors person or someone who only ventures onto a trail when dragged, consider getting the exercise you need during a mid-morning or afternoon hike on the Niagara Glen’s many trails. Not only will you get your heart rate up, but you’ll also be enveloped in the lush flora of the Niagara region. The trails at the Glen have many unique point of interest, too, so your mind and senses will be as engaged as your legs and lungs.

Visiting Niagara Falls doesn’t have to keep you from maintaining your fitness regimen. From walking to your destinations to booking a hotel with a gym, follow these tips, and you’ll easily stay in shape in Niagara.

What to Pack When Visiting Niagara in the Spring

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image001Niagara Falls, like most vacation destinations, will probably require you to pack clothing that’s a bit different from the items you normally wear when you’re at work or play, and for the tourist visiting the Niagara area during the spring months, this is especially true.

While the winter snow and ice are certainly in retreat, the warmth of summer can’t yet be relied upon, which means packing will need to accommodate a range of options that include warm, cold, muddy, wet, and windy. If you’re looking to book a stay in Niagara during the spring and early summer, here are some items you’ll need to bring along.

1. A Quality Coat

During the month of March, the temperature sits around the mid-30s, and while April and May routinely bring sunshiny days in the 60s, the temperature — especially at night — can still dip into the 40s or even lower. Even if your weather app suggests your springtime vacation will be balmy, bring along a coat that will keep you warm should you need to walk back to your hotel after a late dinner in temperatures that are downright cold.

2. Snow Boots

It isn’t unusual for a snowfall to hit the Niagara region as late as mid-April, and while these storms rarely result in massive accumulations, if the forecast for your time in Niagara does call for snow, you may want to pack your snow boots. Especially if your itinerary includes any hiking, bird watching, or other outdoor activity, a pair of waterproof boots with stable and solid traction that can handle uncertain footing may turn out to be a godsend.

3. Galoshes

image003In the spirit of keeping your feet dry, spring in Niagara, like spring in most places, often includes rain showers that are more easily endured with a good pair of galoshes. From running out from your hotel room to quickly pick up a bagel for breakfast to standing on the deck of the Maid of the Mist, rain boots or shoes will come in handy from March through May.

4. An Umbrella

Nothing ruins an outing like being caught in a rainstorm or snowstorm, and even if you do pack galoshes, you’ll want to make sure you have a small umbrella that’s easy and convenient to carry with you wherever you go to keep your clothes and head dry.

5. Layers

Because spring temperatures in Niagara can be so inconsistent, pack and wear clothing that’s easy to layer so that when you’re chilly, you won’t lose valuable body heat to shivering, and when the day gets warmer than you’d anticipated — or you step into an unusually warm museum, restaurant, or winery’s tasting room — you can swiftly remove a layer or two to remain comfortable. Long sleeve shirts made from thin, moisture-wicking fabrics are great for layering, and while it might not be necessary to employ them, be sure to pack a couple pairs of lightweight thermal tights to wear under jeans or slacks for any especially cold days that might crop up.

Spring weather’s volatility and unpredictability can make traveling and staying comfortable a bit of a gamble if you don’t prepare ahead of time. Keep an eye on the weather, and pack the items listed here for a springtime trip to the Niagara region that will keep you warm, dry, and happy.

Spend a Sunday at the St. Catharines Factory Outlet Flea Market

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image0012-300x201St. Catharines sits just 20 kilometers from Niagara Falls and is the Niagara region’s largest city. Home to some excellent restaurants and breweries, St. Catharines also boasts Ontario’s largest, indoor and outdoor flea market. While the term originated from marché aux puces — a name given to a marketplace in Paris where tired, used items were sold, ostensibly with fleas — the St. Catherine’s Factory Outlet Flea Market is tidy, clean, and filled with such a vast assortment of items and wares that on Sundays seems to offer nowhere near the time necessary for the die-hard second-hand treasure hunter. The next time you book a stay in the Niagara region, be sure to leave your Sunday wide open for an unforgettable trip to the St. Catharine’s Factory Outlet Flea Market.

How it Works

Today’s flea markets are usually made up of individual stalls or booths, where different purveyors set up shop and sell their goods. While at some flea markets, each booth’s owner receives payment at his or her space for whatever it is a customer wants to buy, other markets have a centralized checkout area, where customers can purchase all they’ve found within the entire market in one fell swoop as they’re leaving the building. The St. Catharines Factory Outlet Flea Market utilizes the latter method, which makes it simpler for guests to peruse their over 250 stalls stocked by 125 different sellers. The variety of items available is truly impressive, which is why over 2,000 people descend upon the market every Sunday, which is the only day it is open.

What You’ll Find

image003It can be difficult to adequately categorize all the items you can find at a flea market, and the St. Catharines Factory Outlet Flea Market is no exception. Kitchen utensils, sports memorabilia, books, furniture, homemade knit children’s clothing, records, preserves, and antiques of all stripes, shapes, and sizes are all par for the course, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg, too. Whether you need a one-of-a-kind gift for your college-aged son, a vintage dress for a costume party, or you collect a certain style of pottery from the early 20th century, this flea market is the perfect place to try and find exactly what you need, especially since it’s also the kind of place where you might get lucky and happen upon all three. From the moment you step into the market until the time you leave, you’ll find you’re always at the perfect shopping intersection of the hard-to-find, the truly nostalgic, the incredibly useful, and the reasonably priced.

What Goes On

In addition to being a storehouse of a little bit of everything under the sun, the St. Catharines Factory Outlet Flea Market also hosts a number of events. Every Sunday finds plenty of locals in the cafeteria at 1:30 p.m. to try their hand at winning Bingo, and anyone is welcome to join in. They also host photo contests and coloring contests of different kinds throughout the year. And every May finds the market hosting their annual Community Swap Meet where, for $20, people set up their own little yard sale alongside the many stalls and booths, transforming the space into an even more impressive bargain hunter’s dream.

Spend your next Sunday in Niagara at the St. Catharines Factory Outlet Flea Market where you’ll find all sorts of items you need and plenty that you don’t in one unforgettable space in the heart of Niagara.

Niagara Falls Shows You Won’t Want to Miss in April

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image001Niagara Falls is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, and while the Falls themselves have always been — and always will be — the primary draw for anyone taking a vacation in Niagara, these days find a wealth of world-class entertainment available that has absolutely nothing to do with all that majestic water. Whether your idea of a good time is attending throwback 1980s musical theater or you’re never happier than when you’re enjoying a night of classic rock, the shows that take place in Niagara are their own reason to come and stay a while. Here is a small sample of the excellent fun to be had this April.

Moody Blues

The Fallsview Casino Resort is responsible for bringing in some of the area’s best acts, and on April 1 and 2, you can get tickets to see Moody Blues live in concert at the Avalon Theatre. For over 50 years, this classic rock act has been writing, recording, and touring, playing hits such as “Nights in White Satin” and “Your Wildest Dreams” all over the world. As of 2015, they’d sold over 55 million records, and while these days find them touring with some new faces, you can still enjoy original drummer Graeme Edge, bass player John Lodge, and guitarist Justin Hayward.

ABBA and the Bee Gees Tribute Show

image003Relive your favorite songs from two of the 1970’s hottest bands on April 9 at the Greg Frewin Theatre. “Night Fever!” is a show that features two amazing cover bands uniting to entertain for either a matinee (with or without a buffet lunch), or an evening performance (with or without a buffet dinner). From what will appear to be the Bee Gees’ Gibb brothers reincarnated, you’ll hear “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” and “Stayin Alive,” and ABBAMANIA will highlight all the songs that made ABBA famous during their disco days.

Flashdance

Flashdance the Musical” will be at the Fallsview Casino Resort from April 7 through 18. Drawing largely from the hit movie that starred Jennifer Beals over 30 years ago, the musical tells the classic story of Alex Owens, a young Pittsburgh woman, who hopes one day to become a professional dancer. A welder by day and a dancer at a cabaret by night, Alex’s involvement with her boss at the steel mill complicates her goals, but she stays the course and eventually gains admittance to the conservatory to study dance formally. Filled with electrifying music and unbelievable dancing, “Flashdance the Musical” is an inspiring story set to a soundtrack that anyone who lived during the 1980s will love. Songs include: “Flashdance – What a Feeling,” “Maniac,” “I Love Rock & Roll,” and more.

Art Garfunkel

Art Garfunkel, the other half of beloved American folk duo Simon & Garfunkel, is one of the most important musicians of the 20th century, whose lengthy solo career has resulted in a number of classics, including: “Skywriter,” “Second Avenue,” and “Bright Eyes.” On April 24 and 25, concertgoers can enjoy an intimate evening of music with Garfunkel in the Fallsview Casino Resort’s Avalon Theatre.

No matter what your musical and entertainment taste, you’ll find something with which to satisfy it this April in Niagara Falls.

Easter Egg Hunting in Niagara Falls

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image001Niagara Falls is a remarkably popular holiday destination, even during the bleaker winter months. Not only are the waterfalls a stunning sight even when it’s cold and icy, but hotel accommodations are less expensive, and the Winter Festival of Lights is underway from November through January, routinely attracting over 1 million people to its lush and luminous displays.

As the days begin to lengthen and the weather slowly warms, however, other holidays enter the calendar, and it turns out that spring has its own reasons for visiting Niagara Falls that rival winter’s. In particular, Niagara Falls hosts a couple of separate Easter egg hunting forays: one for kids and one for dogs.

For Kids

image003While no one is certain when the first Easter egg hunt took place, the fun and competitive tradition has been around for at least a few hundred years, and children, it seems, have always been the primary participants of the hunt. Niagara Falls has its own version of the egg hunt that takes place every year on the Friday before Easter at Fireman’s Park. Put on by the Stamford Volunteer Fireman’s Association, the day’s events start at 11 a.m. and include face painting, a coloring contest, a bouncy castle, visits with the Easter Bunny, guessing games, Boy Scouts, 400 pounds of chocolate, and, of course, Easter egg hunting. Children from ages 4 to 6 can hunt for eggs at 11 a.m. and noon.

Children ages 7 to 9 can hunt eggs at 11:20 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. Kids from 10 to 11 can hunt at 11:40 a.m. and 12:40 p.m. Children 3 and under can look for eggs at any time. Admission to the day’s events is just $3 per child or a food donation to Project SHARE, a nonprofit organization in Niagara Falls that supplies emergency food and support services to people in the area living at or below the poverty line.

For Dogs

Hosted by National Service Dogs (NSD), an organization that works to provide specially trained Golden Retrievers and Labradors to families and individuals in need regardless of their ability to pay, this Easter egg hunt for dogs and their owners is a fundraiser for NSD. Each year, NSD trains and graduates roughly 30 dogs, and this Easter egg hunt fundraiser and others like it are one of its primary means of funding. Participants collect donations and pledges related to the number of eggs (plastic eggs filled with a dog treat) their pooch can find. There are multiple hunt locations on the Friday before Easter, and this year, each location will give out a grand prize of a Bissell DeepClean Lift-Off carpet cleaner package worth over $350. Bring your dog or just go for the fun. The hunt takes place at Burgoyne Woods in St. Catherines. Registration is at 10:00 a.m., and the hunt starts at 11:00 a.m.

Spend Easter in the Niagara area this April. Whether you have children or dogs, or you just like to watch a good egg hunt undertaken for a good cause, these two Easter egg hunting events make being in Niagara in early spring an ever more attractive option.

4 Fantastic Women of Niagara Falls

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NFH7.jpegMarch is National Women’s History Month, which serves to remind everyone of the important women of the past and present. Niagara Falls has long appreciated the power women wield to shape history; in fact, some of Niagara’s most significant developments occurred because of the wits and wisdom of women. If you visit Niagara Falls in March, make sure you remember these four women while you enjoy Niagara’s amazing attractions.

1. Lelawala

You have likely heard of the Maid of the Mist, the must-see boat tour that takes tourists up close and personal with the mystical water at the base of the falls. However, you might not have heard about the legendary American Indian woman who gives the boat its name.

According to the Ongiaras Tribe (the group that lent their word for “thundering water” to the entire Niagara region), long ago a young woman name Lelawala was wholly distraught by the loss of her husband and decided to throw herself off the edge of Niagara Falls. Instead of crashing into the water below, Lelawala was caught by Heno, the god of thunder, who invited her to live with him and his sons behind the Falls’ veil of water.

Lelawala is said to have lived for several decades with the gods, mothering several children and saving the nearby human tribes from certain ruin, including from pestilence, flood, and famine. Without Lelawala’s diligent eye, the native peoples around Niagara may not have been around to enlighten European explorers of the region’s fertility.

2. Theodosia Burr

Despite the natural romance in the misty air, Niagara Falls wasn’t always the Honeymoon Capital of the World. For much of history, Niagara Falls was simply a magnificent wonder enjoyed by a handful of local colonists and native American Indians. However, around the beginning of the 19th century, Theodosia Burr — noteworthy daughter of America’s third vice president, Aaron Burr — decided to travel to the rumored waterfalls with her newly minted husband, and a worldwide tradition was born.

Following in her footsteps, millions of newlyweds flocked to the landscape. Today, countless thousands of couples make the pilgrimage to Niagara Falls every year to experience the natural ardor of the region, and it is all thanks to Theodosia.

NFH8.jpeg3. Laura Secord

While the War of 1812 may pass through the sieve of American memories, it remains one of the fiercest military skirmishes that Canada has ever fought, especially on its own turf. Situated squarely on the border between America and Canada, Niagara Falls was a contentious zone filled with bloody battles. American and Canadian families alike were torn apart on the battlefield.

One woman sought to end the troubles of her family by intervening in the military efforts. Laura Secord, a Niagara local, by chance overheard the military strategy of the American armies on the Niagara peninsula. Frustrated and frightened by the frequent war activity that threatened the livelihood of her and her husband, Secord refused to wait for a military messenger; she walked 20 miles through the Niagara wilderness spotted with enemy camps to deliver her news to the closest Canadian military company. As a direct result of Secord’s heroism, the Canadians were able to ambush the Americans and push them out of peaceful Niagara.

4. Annie Edison Taylor

It is difficult to imagine Niagara Falls without thinking of the long legacy of daredevils that flock to this astounding place. It is even more difficult to imagine that these risky stunts were all inspired by the work of one 63-year-old woman looking for fame and glory.

In 1901, Annie Edison Taylor realized late in her career as a schoolteacher that she had not generated enough savings to keep her housed and fed for the duration of her retirement. Instead of resigning herself to the poorhouse, she designed a large, oak barrel, stuffed herself into it, and threw herself off into the rushing water of the Niagara River and down the plummeting Falls. While she suffered little injury, she gained little fortune from her act. Still, despite Taylor’s admonitions against others attempting the feat, dozens of copycats have tried (and succeeded as well as failed) to survive a trip down the Falls.

Enjoying Mardi Gras Throughout the Year in Niagara Falls

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NFH5.jpegEvery year, on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, people of all denominations celebrate a holiday of fantasy and whimsy. With faces covered in masks ranging from heavily ornate to mysteriously simple, bodies outfitted in outrageous costumes ranging from scandalous to hilarious, people take to the streets to revel in what traditionally was the last glorious day of excess and joy before the 40 days of mourning prescribed by the Christian Church.

However, even as fewer people participate in Lent every year, the Mardi Gras practices of eating lavishly, imbibing copiously, and generally being merry in any and all manners continue across the world — in many places well past the singular date of Mardi Gras.

While Quebec City may be the Canadian town most notorious for Fat Tuesday festivities, the French Canadians have nothing on Niagara Falls. Though the annual celebration occurred on February 17, Niagara Falls is dedicated to continuing the party well into spring. Here are all of Niagara’s hot spots where you and your friends can enjoy in the dazzling Mardi Gras style throughout the season.

Niagara Nightlife

Even though Niagara Falls is frequently called “The Honeymoon Capital of the World,” the city is as well-known for starting love affairs as it is solidifying them, and there is no better place to meet new people than in a crowded club filled with music and dancing. Niagara Falls boasts some of the best destination bars and clubs in the country, which means you and your friends will have no shortage of late nights to make merry during Mardi Gras.

One club in particular takes the familiar and exciting atmosphere of Mardi Gras to the extreme: Instead of carousing for just the season, Club Mardi Gras welcomes Fat Tuesday pleasure seekers all year-round. Inspired by the wild and free celebrations of New Orleans, Club Mardi Gras provides partiers masks and beads with the hope of encouraging fanciful fun. Bright lights, loud music, and elevated dancing cages ensure a thrilling night; as goes the slogan of Club Mardi Gras: What happens behind the mask stays behind the mask.

Niagara Falls also offers a bevy of other exciting bars and clubs to provide the Mardi Gras spirit of scintillation and satiety. Here’s a shortlist of Niagara’s hottest places to get your revelry on:

  • Rumours Nightclub. Dedicated to hot beats and cold drinks, Rumours knows how to get a party going. The club cultivates only Niagara’s best DJs, and the regular crowd is always rowdy — in a good way for Mardi Gras celebrations.
  • Club Rouge. Rouge is the newest club to hit Niagara’s scene, but it opened with a bang and hasn’t stopped running since. Effectively balancing elegance and high spirits, this club is an excellent choice for both a kickoff point and a last stop on your night of merrymaking.
  • Club Se7en. Long touted as the crown jewel of Niagara’s night scene, Se7en is as sophisticated as it is boisterous — the perfect atmosphere for Mardi Gras. With a full bar and dancefloor ready all night long, you might never want to leave this club.

NFH6.jpegThe Morning After

Even after all-night revelries at Niagara’s best bars and clubs, you can spend your days in the Mardi Gras spirit. You can enjoy a relaxing day full of winery tours replete with luscious tastings and mouthwatering food pairings; in fact, Reif Estate Winery welcomes Mardi Gras celebrations on March 7 with discounted prices and festivity-specific food.

You may also choose to spend your days luxuriating in the pools at Fallsview Indoor Water Park or wandering around Niagara’s myriad beautiful parks and gardens. After all, you’ll need to conserve your energy for more nights of Mardi Gras magic at Niagara’s nightclubs.

Experience the Brand New Niagaralicious Culinary Series

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niagaralicious-2Experience the very best in Fallsview dining and accommodations with Falls Avenue Resort’s brand new Niagaralicious culinary series. This unique hotel and dining experience offers guests the opportunity to choose from specially crafted menus at amazing Fallsview restaurants such as the 4-Diamond Windows by Jamie Kennedy, The Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra, Fallsview Buffet Restaurant, and high-energy themed dining at Hard Rock Café Niagara Falls. And to get the most amazing and well-rounded Fallsview experience, guests can pair their dinner with accommodations at the Sheraton on the Falls or Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls-Fallsview. Niagaralicious is a unique and exciting dining opportunity that showcases the very best of Niagara Falls.

How to Tour Umbria, Italy via Ontario, Canada

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NFH1.jpegMost travelers looking for sunshine and Italian cuisine think first of Tuscany, high on the leg of Italy’s boot. However, Tuscany has become incredibly popular in recent years, and excessive numbers of world tourists are stamping out the region’s provincial charm.

Just to the south, the tiny region of Umbria is quietly being heralded as Tuscany’s successor in terms of food and feel — and there is no better place to get a taste of Umbria than in good old Niagara Falls, Ontario.

On Friday, March 6, world-renowned Italian chef Massimo Capra is paying his respects to the unique culture found in Umbria with an Umbrian-inspired menu and wine list. Read on for more information on this one-of-a-kind culinary adventure you can only find in Niagara Falls.

Umbria’s Delights

Affectionately named “The Green Heart of Italy,” Umbria is the country’s fourth smallest region — bordered neither by coastline nor by mountains — yet one of the biggest and best Italian producers of olive oil and wine. Because of its lack of popularity among tourists when compared to its northern neighbor Tuscany and the southern metropolises of Rome and Venice, Umbria has retained a large amount of its stunning natural landscape, which remains somewhat mystical in light and atmosphere to travelers and locals alike.

Landlocked, Umbria’s traditional foods are not influenced by the sea as is more familiar Italian cuisine. Instead, food critics explain that Umbrian cooking is particularly rustic, governed now as always by the earthy foods grown in the region’s fertile soils. For example, standard Umbrian recipes rely heavily on whole grains like barley, wheat, faro, and spelt mixed copiously with fresh, rich fruits and vegetables; Umbrian olives are notoriously luscious — which is why the region’s olive oil industry is booming — and black truffles are a common delicacy as they grow bountifully in the region’s forests.

NFH2.jpegNiagara Falls’ Homage

Massimo Capra is well-known as one of the world’s top chefs in Italian cuisine, which is why Niagara Falls is so proud to claim his iconic restaurant, the Rainbow Room.

Every day, the Rainbow Room in Crowne Plaza serves up unparalleled Italian cuisine crafted from Niagara’s fresh produce raised in the local landscape; guests can enjoy succulent lobster bruschetta, chicken alla diavola (roasted chicken breast), and black truffle gnocchi, among dozens of other sumptuous dishes. Most Niagara Falls visitors simply cannot miss a meal at the Rainbow Room any time of year, but in March, guests will receive a special treat.

In continuation of Capra’s tour of Italy’s varying regional cuisines, the Rainbow room will spend the evening of March 6 wholly transformed into a vessel for the delights of Umbria. Guests are welcome to come for cocktail hour and enjoy the company of the illustrious chef in person, as well as mix and mingle with fellow food and wine lovers from across the globe. Capra will prepare a night’s worth of dishes, including a handful of canapes and a five-course dinner, exploring the intricacy and extent of Umbria’s cuisine.

Additionally, the evening will celebrate masterful winemaker Marco Caprai of Arnaldo-Caprai Winery, who has won countless awards for his efforts with the sagrantino grape. Each dish will come perfectly paired with a traditional glass of wine, and certainly no one will leave the table disappointed with Umbria or Ontario.

Quintessential Canadian Cuisine

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nfh7.jpegNot many people immediately think of Canada when they are asked to name countries with excellent cuisine. However, though Canada may not include particularly exotic ingredients, the food produced here is certainly some of the world’s best.

In honor of February’s celebration of the 26th annual Cuvee festival, a gathering where Niagara’s most talented chefs and winemakers present their fare to locals and visitors, here are some of Canada’s most iconic foods to sample during your next trip to Niagara Falls.

1. Maple Syrup

It isn’t just coincidence that put the maple leaf on Canada’s flag — it is Canadians’ profound love of the sticky, sweet sap the tree produces. As versatile as it is iconic, maple syrup isn’t just for breakfast foods; natives will drizzle it on just about anything, from pancakes to bacon. Cooked into candy and mixed into marinades, maple syrup shows up in Canadian recipes you’d least expect. Make sure to try as many maple goodies as you can while you’re north of the border, and bring back a bottle, or five, of the sap to experiment with your own maple creations.

2. Poutine

This monstrosity of a meal is becoming more famous in the United States, but it remains a recognizably Canadian dish. French fries slathered in gravy and littered with cheese curds makes for a salty, gooey treat that will fill your calorie requirement for at least two days — but somehow, it’s always worth it. While there are many variations on poutine, you should start out with the traditional three ingredients for the real Canadian experience.

3. Beaver Tail

Though Canada developed into an important colonial holding due to its profitable beaver trade, this noteworthy treat has nothing to do with the dam-building rodents. Instead, a beaver tail is a huge, sweet pastry, perfect on cold Canadian days. Shaped like their namesake, sweet pastry dough is then topped with the diner’s preferred garnishes, which can include chocolate syrup, fruit, sprinkles, or, of course, maple syrup.

4. Nanaimo Bar

Another favorite Canadian dessert, the Nanaimo bar is much simpler to make at home than the beaver tail, but the real thing can only be tasted at a Canadian bakery — though they require no baking whatsoever. The treats are layer cookie bars, and like poutine, they have spawned several hundred varieties due to their popularity. However, the traditional Nanaimo bar as first created in Nanaimo, British Columbia, features a graham cracker base, vanilla custard filling, and chocolate ganache top.

nfhj8.jpeg5. Bannock

Every culture has its own type of bread: Jews have challah, the French have baguettes, and the American South has cornbread. Canadians enjoy a quick, biscuit-like bread called Bannock that is incredibly adaptable to any meal. Covered in icing and sprinkles, bannock tastes just like a doughnut. Wrapped around a hotdog, bannock is buttery and crisp just like a toasted bun. During at least one meal in Niagara Falls, you are bound to find bannock sitting next to your plate.

6. Ketchup Chips

Americans enjoy dipping potato chips in a variety of sauces — from French onion to Mexican bean — but very few would ever consider slathering their crisp in bright red ketchup. However, ketchup is such a popular topping for potato chips in Canada that familiar chip vendors in the states, Frito-Lay for example, produce (and frequently sell out of) ketchup-flavored varieties. While these snacks won’t win a culinary award anytime soon, you won’t find a bag of Ketchup chips in America, so you should sample them while you have the chance.