4 Niagara Late Summer Events That Won’t Last Long

image001Summertime is Niagara’s busiest season, and we understand why. Niagara’s summer weather and scenery are some of the most beautiful in the country, so we make for an excellent destination no matter your vacation goals. Because of the considerable influx of travelers around this time, we always plan out best regional events for the summer months, so our visitors can soak up as much Niagara fun as possible. However, as summer once again draws to a close, so do our outstanding seasonal attractions. Here are four of our favorites that are rapidly drawing to a close — so you better get to Niagara Falls before they’re gone.

1. Sharing an Icon

Niagara Falls is recognized around the world as a magical place, and it has been celebrated as an inspiration for centuries. The Niagara Falls History Museum is celebrating the global appreciation for the natural wonder with an exhibit featuring various images of the Falls across the ages, from the first published image of the falls in 1697 to modern pictures on social media.

Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $4 for students, and free for children. Sharing an Icon closes September 6.

2. Earth and Sky Film Nights

After the sun sets on Niagara, the air is cool and comfortable, and the sky lights up with twinkling stars. The atmosphere is just right for a glass of wine, a picnic blanket, and a thrilling movie. Chateau des Charmes, a winery outside Niagara-on-the-Lake, celebrates great modern film with a handful of movie nights on its cozy summer lawns. This year, they are screening Ethan Hawke’s “Seymour: An Introduction” — a much lauded film by a celebrated actor.

Earth and Sky Film Nights cost $15 per show and include renowned wines and gourmet snacks from local vendors. The event ends September 7.

3. Music Under the Stars

image003The countryside surrounding the quaint town of Niagara-on-the-Lake is flush with ripening wine grapes during the summer, and in daylight, you can easily go from vineyard to vineyard and delight in Niagara wines. However, at night, one of those wineries transforms into a fanciful star-lit stage where renowned Canadian artists put on wondrous musical acts. Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery provides the chairs and the performances, as well as samples of some of their outstanding wines, so visitors need only bring eager ears (and potentially some rain gear).

Ticket prices to Music Under the Stars varies by night. The event ends September 11.

4. @ The Museum Thursday Night

The Niagara Falls History Museum is one of the city’s most beloved institutions for its emphasis on natural and cultural history of the region — as well as its amazing Thursday Night attractions. The museum hosts an exciting new event every Thursday night; the events are designed to engage and enthrall all manner of people. This summer, the most stirring Thursday Night events have been:

  • Summer Courtyard Music Series. Eight Niagara bands perform intimate concerts in the museum courtyard, accompanied by local food vendors.
  • Impersonating 1812. Brilliant and knowledgeable 19th century recreationists explain and demonstrate common customs from the War of 1812.
  • Community Art Project. Visitors can contribute to a massive project that aims to unite everyone’s vision of Niagara Falls into a single work of art.

@ The Museum Thursday Night is absolutely free to everyone. The last of these events, the Community Art Project, will continue until September 17.

4 Reasons to Eat Niagara Fruit

image001The entire Ontario region is known throughout Canada and North America as an area that excels in producing fruit and vegetables of a wide variety, but it’s the area’s tender fruit production that keeps Canada in everything from peaches and pears to cherries and plums during the summer and autumn months. And with orchards and farms scattered all over the countryside, Ontario’s bounty is almost always exceptional.

While central to the stellar fruit-growing reputation of Ontario, the Niagara region doesn’t always receive as much attention for its fruit-growing prowess by the millions who visit the area every year. Tourists are often too busy enjoying the many wineries and the stunning waterfalls to marvel over the wealth of fresh and delicious fruit available during the growing season. However, to really experience Niagara, it’s essential to bite into some of its ripest seasonal offerings during a visit.

If you’re headed to the Niagara region anytime in the next couple of months, the tender fruit will be ready for you. Here are four reasons to include some time for fruit on your Niagara vacation’s itinerary.

1. There’s So Much of It!

Ontario enjoys its reputation as a powerhouse of agricultural productivity, but when it comes to tender fruits — peaches, plums, pears, sweet cherries, sour cherries, apricots, strawberries, prunes of all colors, and raspberries — over 90 percent of what is grown in Ontario is actually grown just on the Niagara Peninsula. The same rich soil, mild climate, excellent drainage, and abundant water that allows for the region’s robust grape production also contributes to the abundance and quality of everything grown in the area, but the fruit crop is particularly superb.

2. It’s Beautiful

image003Driving around the Niagara Peninsula is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon, and it’s not just because the grape vineyards are so lovely. Interspersed throughout the region are the scores of farms and orchards that keep Canada in fruit, and the meticulous care the trees and bushes are given helps account for why the area is so postcard perfect and picturesque. Don’t just get a photo at the Falls when you visit Niagara, be sure to snap a few along the roadside in front of a field of cherry trees or pear trees, too.

3. It’s Delicious

Fresh fruit picked the morning you sink your teeth into it is a delight unrivalled during the summer months, and in Niagara, it’s a welcome rite of passage for locals and visitors in the know each and every year. The roadside stands dotted along the Niagara Parkway are a great introduction to Niagara’s freshest fruit, and you can also usually buy jams and pies at them as well.

4. You Can Pick Your Own

Especially if you’re visiting Niagara as a family, look into the many orchards and farms that offer pick-your-own fruit opportunities. It’s a great way to get outdoors and experience a little bit of the working farm life in the region. A few of the best places to pick your own fruit include:

  • Parkway Orchards
  • Bry-Anne Farms
  • Cherry Avenue Farms
  • Two Century Farm
  • Town and Country Farms

Head to Niagara for a world-class vacation, and while you’re there, be sure to eat the fruit.

What You’ll Find at the 2015 Niagara Craft Beer Festival

image001When people hear the word Niagara, the first thing that leaps into their minds are the region’s eponymous waterfalls, but the area boasts thousands of events, industries, and offerings so that even if the Falls weren’t in the area, it would still be a great place to live and visit.

Some of the many happenings common to the Niagara region are the scores of festivals that take place throughout the year. From peaches and ribs to wine and music, Niagara’s festivals alone make the place a standout destination. Here is one such festival — the Niagara Craft Beer Festival — and some of what you can expect to find if you get to attend.

Don’t separate your love of beer from your love of waterfalls. Head to Niagara over August 22 and 23, and indulge in both at the Niagara Craft Beer Festival.

The Beer

If you’ve ever wanted to experience what Canadian craft brews taste like, few opportunities exist like the one at the Niagara Craft Beer Festival. Flagship beers and specialty beers will all be on hand and on tap for a beer tour of Ontario that would take you weeks to accomplish on your own as more than 20 breweries will be pouring their brews — many of which are fresh off wins at the Canadian Brewing Awards this past June.

The Food

The only way to keep drinking great beer is to keep your belly full of great food, and the festival will have some of the area’s best food available. Food trucks from a number of different area restaurants will be onsite so you can enjoy everything from the quintessential Canadian dish — poutine — from Smoke’s poutinerie to gourmet and locally sourced fare from el Gastronomo Vagabundo. You can also get your favorite bar food from Iggy’s Pub and Grub, and there are other options as well.

The Details

image003Held over the weekend of August 22 and 23, the Niagara Craft Beer Festival is Southern Ontario’s premier craft beer festival. Guests must be at least 19 years old to attend, and a photo ID is required to gain admittance. All the festivities will take place at The Market Village in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and admittance costs $20 on Saturday and $10 on Sunday. Both days’ ticket price allows for in and out access, as well as three 5-ounce beer samples, and a commemorative Craft Beer Festival mug. On Saturday, the event runs from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m., and on Sunday it opens up at 1 p.m. and closes down at 6 p.m. The event will go on rain or shine, and in the event of rain, don your galoshes, because no refunds will be given. There will also be live music and the spinning of some excellent vinyl records for entertainment throughout the two-day festival.

3 Reasons to Head to St. Catharines This August

image001One of the best parts of visiting Niagara Falls is the wealth of charming communities in the immediate area. Quaint downtowns, fabulous restaurants, charming festivals, biking and hiking trails, museums, lush and green parks, and more await visitors to towns like Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, St. Catharines, and more.

If you’ve enjoyed yourself in Niagara Falls before, or even if you haven’t, set aside some time to explore the region. While every town and village is worth a stop, the city of St. Catharines has some remarkable offerings. Here are three of them, and they’re all reasons you should book a trip to Niagara that includes a visit to St. Catharines this August.

1. The Weather

To be fair, the August weather is a reason to visit anywhere on the Niagara Peninsula, but because St. Catharines is such a vibrant place, the warm and balmy late summer month is a perfect time to get acquainted with all it has to offer. The average temperature in St. Catharines for the month of August is less than 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and each day brings the smallest bit of cooling to each day’s high. While it can reach as high as 88 degrees now and again, for the most part, August is an ideal temperature for summertime activities. So, whether you’re lounging, picnicking, or reading in Montebello Park’s more than two hectares or shopping at the Farmer’s Market or any of the downtown’s amazing boutiques and galleries, the weather will more than support your endeavors.

2. Summer Downtown D’Lish

The equivalent of Restaurant Week in downtown St. Catharines, Summer Downtown D’Lish runs from August 14 through August 29, and it includes special menus for lunch and dinner at many of the city’s downtown restaurants. A lot of the restaurants offer prix fixe menus that range in price from $15 to $40, and they often create specialty dishes that aren’t available throughout the rest of the year. Especially because the Niagara region’s restaurants and chefs do such a good job of using local produce, cheese, meat, and seafood, Summer Downtown D’Lish offers visitors and locals a chance to experience Niagara’s bounty in a unique way.

3. The Full Moon Ghost Walk

image003Held on August 29, the Full Moon Ghost Walk is a great chance to raise the hairs on the back of your neck while learning about St. Catharines spookiest past events and people. With a history that dates back before the American Revolution and includes being a prominent stop on the Underground Railroad, St. Catharines has a storied past that can enliven the imagination once you learn some of its more sensational details.

A guided tour that takes place from 9 p.m. until 10:30 p.m., all you have to do to participate is meet up at Market Square at the King Street doors. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased in advance, but you can also just show up with cash in hand. Rain or shine, the walk will go on, so if you do choose to go, be sure to dress appropriately.

The Niagara region is home to countless ways to spend your time, but during the month of August, the city of St. Catharines offers some of the best.

American / Canadian Currency Exchange in Niagara Falls

It’s no secret, the strength of the American dollar has made it easier for Tourists to cross the border into Canada for a Niagara Falls vacation. And subsequently, the strong US Dollar is keeping Canadians from border hopping, also opting to stay in Canada.

This raises the question for those coming into Canada for a vacation–where can I convert my money into Canadian Dollars?

Canadian Money

First off, Canadian Dollars aren’t one colour (green).

We also have dollar and two dollars as coins, and we don’t accept pennies! Everything is rounded up or down to the nearest five cents. For example:

  • 1.02 = 1.00
  • 1.03 = 1.05

Ok, now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s get back to the crux of the article– where to exchange money.

Best Places to Convert Currency in Niagara Falls

Outside of the obvious; ie converting at your local bank, you can convert money at:

Your Hotel

Most major hotels (such as Marriott’s or Sheraton’s) will allow you to convert money at the front desk.

Bank Machines

The Majority of Bank Machines on the Canadian side of the border will accept American Debit cards, as long as your card has an Interac logo on the front or back.
Interac logo


Casinos on all sides of the border (Seneca Niagara Casino in the US, as well as Casino Niagara & Fallsview Casino on the Canadian Side) will exchange funds inside the Casino playing floor. All three Casino’s are located within close walking distance to Niagara Falls Hotels.

At the Border

All Three Major Border Crossings near town (two in Niagara Falls, one in Buffalo) have on-site currency conversion stations. The rates are reasonable, usually only 1 or 2% above international currency rates.

These are the four of the easiest ways to convert your money while in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Upcoming Classic Car Events in Niagara

image001For lovers of classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles, there are few experiences as satisfying as attending a classic car show, where the pleasure of seeing a rare, mint condition vehicle firsthand is a common occurrence. Thousands of vehicle models have come and gone over the more than 100 years that have passed since Henry Ford made the personal motor vehicle a reality, and while not every single one of those vehicle models has been heralded as a standard bearer over the years, each one nevertheless carries with it the weight of both cultural history and personal memory. When it comes to feeling the wistful nostalgia of times gone by and the deep admiration elicited by world-class functional design, the classic car show is truly in a class by itself.

For the visitor to Niagara with a love of classic cars — or the visitor to Niagara who wants to show off a classic car, truck, or motorcycle he or she proudly owns — there are dozens of events held throughout the region all year long. If you’re headed to Niagara Falls in the next few weeks or months, however, here are four annual classic vehicle events that shouldn’t be missed.

1. Kinsmen Annual Show and Shine

Held each year in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this year’s Kinsmen Annual Show and Shine will take place August 9 at Kinsmen Scout Hall. Registration for vehicles is from 8 a.m. until noon, and each vehicle entered costs $5. The show is open to spectators from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. for $3. Children under 12, however, get in free.

2. Classic Car and Truck Show

A St. Catharines classic car event, the Classic Car and Truck Show takes place at the CAA Car Care Centre on August 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is no charge to show a vehicle or attend this event thanks to the sponsorship of CAA Car Care Center.

3. 9th Annual Pine Ave. Classic Car and Bike Cruise

Held every year as part of the Niagara Falls Blues Fest, this classic car show is actually a cruise, which makes just being in Niagara Falls when all those beautiful relics of the past roll by a memorable treat. Thursday, September 10 at 5 p.m., anyone with a classic car, truck, or motorcycle is encouraged to meet up at Sal Maglie Stadium. The cruise will leave from there at 6 p.m. and will go down Pine Ave. to Old Falls St. Set up camp along the route, or wander over to the meet-up spot at 5 p.m. to get a good look at some beautiful old vehicles.

image0034. Last Chance Car Show and Swap Meet

Part of the Niagara Regional Exhibition held in Welland every year, this large and very popular car show features well over 1,000 different classic vehicles that are worth millions of dollars. Hosted by the Sunset Cruisers Car Club, the car show also includes a swap meet. You can register your vehicle for $10 and set up a booth to sell your secondhand goods and wares for $10, too. Spectators pay just $5 to get in, and the event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Head to Niagara, and experience you love of classic cars in one of the world’s best-loved vacation destinations.

3 Niagara Region Events Where History Comes Alive

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

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!

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

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 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.