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Suburban Tourist Tours Niagara Falls

The (Sub)urban Tourist is a travel blog enjoying the outdoor lifestyle and exploring good food and dining experiences.  This summer Margaret Antkowski, who pens the (Sub)urban tourist, took a Niagara Falls tour with her finacé Frank Bourne.  She rated the tour 4.5/5.  Read her review here:

Niagara by bus: sit back, relax and enjoy the tour

The Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls – part of the tour with King Tours. Photo by Frank Bourne

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to Niagara Falls, Ontario. It must be at least six or seven times since I was a small kid. With each visit over the years, I’ve noticed that traffic has become increasingly insane in the Niagara region. Driving with stop-and-go traffic and trying to find a parking spot in Niagara Falls or Niagara-on-the-Lake can leave you drained, stressed out and definitely not enjoying the visit.

This past weekend Frank and I had the pleasure of trying out a King Tours bus tour from Toronto to Niagara Falls.  And it certainly was a stress-free way to enjoy a day away from Toronto.

The $79 per person ticket included the following:

  • Transportation in a comfortable, air conditioned tour bus from downtown Toronto to Niagara Falls
  • Entry into the Maid of the Mist, without having to wait in line for a ticket
  • About two hours to ourselves to explore Niagara Falls and have lunch
  • A drive along the Niagara River to stop at spots such as the Whirlpool (10 minute stop); the Sir Adam Beck Power Generation plant (a few minutes to take photos); and the Floral Clock (more photos).
  • A 45 minute visit in Niagara-on-the-Lake
  • Wine-tasting at Pillitteri Estates Winery

 

People lining up for the Maid of the Mist. We didn’t have to wait to get tickets but went straight to the line-up for the tour itself. Photo by Frank Bourne

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Top 5 Niagara Falls Summer Adventures

Here are Niagara Blog’s Top 5 Niagara Falls Summer Adventures.

1. Whirlpool Jet Boat

Warning! You will get wet. Since 1992, traversing the rapids of the Niagara River Gorge with Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours has become the world’s single most popular whitewater tour. With safety as our premise, millions of Niagara visitors embark on our specialized jet boats to witness first hand the truly world-class whitewater rapids on the Niagara River. Our team of whitewater professionals thanks you for your patronage and trusts your memories of Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours, the Devil’s Hole Rapids, and the Niagara Whirlpool will be with you forever as they will be with me

2. Maid of the Mist

For a thrilling 30 minutes you’ll experience the magnitude and magnificence of the Falls thundering down from the water below. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that is sure to rock your boat!

Debuting in 1846, the Maid of the Mist is North America’s oldest tourist attraction. Ridden by dignitaries and celebrities such as Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbechev and Brad Pitt, a visit to the base of the falls is a priority for all who visit the region.

All passengers are given a recyclable poncho to keep clothing dry, as they are exposed you to a extraordinary experience that can only be described as awe-inspiring.

3. Winery Tour

See the rows of grapevines, sprouting buds, heavy with fruit or in hibernation, create a tranquil countyside view-and hint at the marvellous wines that await you, crafted with care and passion by our renowned winemakers. Whether you are looking for a day trip or a weekend escape, a summer winery tour will capture your heart for Niagara.  Here, the wines, the food, the scenery and the personal stories conspire to engage your senses in every way.  You can visit Niagara Winery on your own by following the Wine Route or simply join a tour.

4. Journey Behind the Falls

At Journey Behind the Falls, you’ll experience the awesome spectacle of one-fifth of the world’s fresh water crashing down to the basin below. During summer daylight hours, over 2,800 cubic meters of water thunders over the brink every second, traveling 65 km per hour!  Yes, you will get wet.

5. Butterfly Conservatory

Do you have young children? This is an excellent adventure for you. This magical attraction features over 2,000 colourful tropical butterflies floating freely among lush, exotic blossoms and greenery. Paths wind through the rainforest setting, past a pond and waterfall and the Emergence window, where butterflies leave their pupae and prepare to take their first flight!

 

 

$45 for a Wine Tour & Guidebook from Crush on Niagara Wine Tours

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$45 for a Wine Tour and Guidebook from Crush on Niagara Wine Tours

Famed Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon was forced to forgo his quest for the mythical land of wine after an accidental tumble into the fountain of youth left him eternally underage. Take up his abandoned journey with today’s Groupon: for $45, you get a wine tour and guidebook from Crush on Niagara Wine Tours between the dates of January 2nd and February 28th (a $96 value including HST).

Oenophiles on the half-day Sniff and Swirl Tour crisscross the emerging wine region around St. Catherines-Niagara in a comfortable passenger van, stopping at four local wineries to sip sauvignon and to gaze upon rows of oak barrels with expressions of awestruck wonder. In honour of the annual Niagara Icewine Festival from January 14th–30th, tours will focus on the production of this sweet dessert beverage made from the hyper-concentrated must of grapes frozen on the vine or imported from Hoth, which will be available for tasting at one or more of the stops. Participants can keep building up ambrosial knowledge after the tour with a complimentary guidebook authored by Crush on Niagara owner and accredited sommelier Andrew Brooks, which includes descriptions of over 50 local wineries as well as wine recommendations and serving tips, such as “Pair a crisp white wine with fish” and “Dom Pérignon is best licked from the lens of a monocle.” Tours usually depart from Niagara-on-the-Lake at 1:30 p.m.; call ahead to reserve your tour and receive pick-up location details.

Missed the deal? Check out other tours of Niagara Falls from Toronto

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Mike Weir Winery Plans Delayed

mike weir wineIt’s been nearly five years since Canadian pro golfer Mike Weir launched his line of Niagara wines, and still he has no place to call home.

No official Weir winery for the PGA player’s fans to make a pilgrimage.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

When Weir first launched his brand with then-partners Peter Jensen and his wife Laura McCain-Jensen in spring 2005, there was talk of building a retail store in St. Davids.

But Weir and the Jensens broke up in 2008, and the golfer partnered instead with Chateau des Charmes Winery in St. Davids to make his Chardonnay, Cabernet Merlot and other wines.

Still, no winery of his own.

But in November 2008, Weir and his winery president, Barry Katzman, unveiled plans to build a winery mecca on a 15-acre parcel of land next to the Whirlpool Golf Course in Niagara Falls. The shovels were expected to be in the ground last summer. No dirt has moved yet.

Trouble is this public course is operated by the embattled Niagara Parks Commission.

The self-financing provincial tourism agency has come under fire for months for giving Maid of the Mist tour boat operators a 25-year contract extension without taking competitive bids.

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Doors Open Niagara

On October 17th and 18th you will have an opportunity to visit  many historic sites free of charge.   Make sure to bring your camera.

chateaudescharmessmLundys-Lane-Historical-MuseFryHouse0ColWilloughby-Historical-Museudoorniagara gorge discovery ctr_web

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