Skyline Hotel & Waterpark Niagara Falls

What’s Happening at the 2015 Niagara Literary Arts Festival

image001Niagara Falls and the region surrounding it are well known throughout the world thanks to the impressive display of Nature’s power that exists in the Falls and the remarkable breadth and depth of world-class wine grown throughout the Niagara Peninsula. For most people visiting Niagara, these two attractions are almost always near the top of their must-see and must-do lists, which is as it should be — the wine and roaring waterfalls are second to none.

But Niagara is a place that is rich in other ways, too, which is why, in the winter of 2010, the people behind the Niagara publishing house and magazine “Grey Borders” decided to start up an annual event held throughout the Niagara region that would not just celebrate Canadian literature, but also the literature of Niagara. If you love literature, readings, book signings, and being introduced to new writers, you need to book a visit to Niagara Falls during the month of June so you can take in the annual Niagara Literary Arts Festival.

Now in its fifth year, the NLAF is a 100 percent volunteer-run literary festival that spans the month of June and Niagara and offers free or nearly-free events the entire month. While it has not yet reached its long-term goal of being able to feature one event a day in every Niagara municipality for the entirety of the month of June, its current offerings are still impressive.

From poets and novelists to collaborative arts initiatives on the cutting edge, this year’s literary arts festival will take place in cafes, malls, museums, and pubs throughout the Niagara region as the NLAF continues its upward and forward momentum. Here are just some of the authors you can look forward to at this year’s festival:

  • image003Stuart Ross. A Canadian poet, fiction writer, creative writing instructor, and editor, Ross was born in Toronto but grew up in New York. His work has won numerous awards including the 2010 ReLit Award for Short Fiction, the Elaine Mona Adilman Award, and the Exist Through the Gift Shop Award.
  • Shirley Camia. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Camia is a broadcaster and journalist, who just released her debut collection of poems, “The Significance of Moths,” to rave reviews.
  • Lindsay Jack. A performance artist and community organizer from St. Catharines, Jack is a poet who specializes in slam poetry. Jack founded the Kitchener Waterloo Poetry Slam and Brock Pride’s Outspoken series. He has received a Word of Mouth grant and was a finalist at 2013’s Canadian Individual Poetry Slam.
  • Keith Henderson. A Montreal native, Keith Henderson is the author of three novels and an award-winning collection of short stories. He teaches English Literature in Montreal at Vanier College.
  • John Terpstra. A Hamilton, Ontario native, Terpstra is a poet, artist, woodworker, teacher and cabinetmaker, whose collections of poetry have won numerous awards.
  • And many more!

Whether you love poetry, fiction, romance novels, or travel writing, the Niagara Literary Arts Festival has something for you somewhere in the Niagara region throughout the entire month of June.

Relax! 5 of the Best Spas in Niagara

image001One of the primary reasons people head out on vacation is to leave the stress and demands of everyday life behind, and while there are scores of ways to effectively relax — lay by the beach, shut off your cell phone, and take a yoga class, to name a few — one of the most popular and straightforward ways to get stress and tension to dissipate is to spend a day or afternoon at an excellent spa.

If you’re planning a trip to Niagara to get some much-needed R and R, make sure you check out these five fabulous Niagara spas.

1. Christienne Fallsview Spa

Located at the Sheraton on the Falls in Niagara Falls, this world-class spa offers tremendous packages for total relaxation that can be experienced in full view of an amazing view of the Canadian and American Falls.

Whether you partake of a massage, a pedicure, or a total body treatment, this spa’s unique location and view of the Falls provides for a spa day truly unlike any other.

2. Spa on the Twenty

Located in Jordan, this spa sits jus across the street from the much-loved and regaled On the Twenty Restaurant, which means you won’t have to travel far after your day of pampering to enjoy a world-class meal.

Surrounded by a garden with a gazebo and a well, the spa specializes in vino-therapeutic treatments thanks to their relationship with Cave Spring Cellars Winery. From body wraps and facials to massages and reiki, you can easily spend the day here in total bliss.

3. Secret Garden Spa

Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Secret Garden Spa is one of the finest spas in all of Canada. Contemporary and sleek, the spa has been designed for true relaxation from the chocolate and earth tone color scheme woven throughout the space to the Relationship Packages offered to couples looking to rejuvenate together.

Secret Garden makes use of all natural products, including green, white, and red teas for some of the finest beauty treatments available.

4. Serenity Spa by the Falls

image003One of the highest-ranked spas in all of North America, this Niagara Falls spa offers services and packages that include body treatments, manicures, pedicures, facials, and much more. Most of their services are undertaken with rich, restorative Moroccan oil, which leaves skin supple, soft, and youthful-looking and feeling.

Be sure to partake in one of their signature treatments: The Waterfall Bliss is a 90-minute, one-of-a-kind facial that involves double exfoliation and multiple masks that will leave your skin fresh and revitalized.

5. 100 Fountain Spa

Ranked as the highest ranked spa in all of Canada in 2013, Niagara-on-the-Lake’s 100 Fountain Spa places guests in the ultimate lap of luxury with a hot spring, salt water pool and high-end services and treatments.

At over 13,000 square feet, this spa ensures you and your loved one or friends can enjoy a day of ultimate pampering without ever feeling rushed or cramped. Scrubs, wraps, facials, massage — whatever it is you’d like to indulge in can be had at this luxury spa.

Recover your equilibrium at any one of the five fine spas the next time you make your way to Niagara.

Friday Night Flicks

image001Starting up once again this May on the 22nd, the Niagara Parks Heritage Association will be presenting movies on Friday nights at 7 p.m. for just $5 a person at historic Old Fort Erie. From award-winning classics to new releases, the film series is an easy Friday night pick for anyone visiting Niagara, and is looking to experience a bit of the place’s history and charm while being thoroughly entertained.

While some would consider it highly unusual to choose when to visit Niagara based on what movie is showing, for those who take films seriously, it isn’t strange at all. Here are the themes for the films that will be showing over the next three months, as well as a list of the films themselves and a brief description of each one.

May Is Royalty Month

To celebrate and honor Britain’s royal family and the obsession most Canadians and Americans have with it, the month of May will see two recent and award-winning films depicting the British monarchy. The films are:

  • The Queen, May 22nd. The Queen is set just after the death of Princess Diana and it depicts Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II (played by a fabulous Helen Mirren) and her reaction to that and other unexpected and difficult events.
  • The King’s Speech, May 29th. This film shows the sudden ascension to the throne of King George VI, whose stutter — among other uncertainties — makes him feel unworthy of his new role. It stars Colin Ferth, Helena Bonham Carter, and Geoffrey Rush.

June Is Aboriginal Month

The two films chosen for June’s aboriginal month depict First Nations people and storylines. One is a story set in contemporary times, while the other hearkens back to the days of the French and Indian War. The two films are:

  • Smoke Signals, June 19th. Written, directed, and co-produced by Native Americans, this film is a coming of age story that starts out on a reservation and becomes a road trip. Smoke Signals stars Canadians Adam Beach and Evan Adams.
  • Last of the Mohicans, June 26th. Daniel Day Lewis stars in this film that follows three frontier trappers who are called on to protect a British colonel’s daughters at the height of the French and Indian War in 1757.

July is Bi-National Blundering Month

image003In celebration of blundering on both sides of the border, July’s movie theme is bi-national blundering, and the two films chosen to represent Canada and the United States are both well-loved for the zany foolishness each portrays. The films are:

  • Tommy Boy, July 24th. Tommy Boy follows the efforts of ne’er-do-well Tommy Callahan (Chris Farley) and super-nerd Richard (David Spade) as they set out to save a factory and a town, while ridding Tommy’s family of con artists.
  • Strange Brew, July 31st. Strange Brew was released back in 1983, but thanks to its cult following, it’s never really gone out of fashion as movie lovers continue to laugh at the antics of Bob and Doug McKenzie — beer lovers who seek to get jobs at Elsinore Brewery only to find that something strange and unseemly is afoot. The film stars Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas.

Come to Niagara for the world-class waterfalls and fun, and make sure you check out the Friday Night Flicks, while you’re at it.

See Niagara via Ontario’s Bike Train

image001Cycling continues to grow in popularity around the world as a way to practically get around, while also experiencing a new land or culture in a one-of-a-kind way. Because it’s has a much slower pace than motorized transport, bicycling provides travelers with a unique experience of a place.

But very few people want to have to spend every minute on their bicycle when they’ve headed out to see a new part of the world. For the visitor to Niagara, who’d like to see the area on a bike without always having to be on her bike, Ontario’s Bike Train is the perfect way to explore the region.

The Initiative

Select passenger trains now have bike racks installed onboard so that anyone embarking on a cycling holiday can hop on and off the trains with greater ease. A project of a non-profit called Transportation Options, the goal of Bike Train and similar initiatives is to promote and stimulate transportation systems that are sustainable.

Over 2,500 riders have utilized the Bike Train since it started in 2007, and it has proven itself to be an economic, environmentally friendly, and flexible way for people to see Ontario by bicycle, especially as route options throughout the region continue to expand.


image003Depending on how much biking you’d like to do, where you’d like to go, and how much time you have in which to do it, there are a number of different routes the biking enthusiast can take when traveling via the Bike Train. During the summer months, train service is offered between Toronto’s Union Station and Niagara Falls Station with a handful of stops, including one at St. Catharines.

There is also Bike Train service from Windsor to London to Toronto, as well as a route that will take cyclists between Toronto and Montreal with numerous stops in between. It’s on this last route that cyclists can gain access to the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail that follows the coastline of Lake Ontario from the United States border at Niagara-on-the-Lake all the way to the Quebec border just off Cornwall.

For the biking enthusiast who wants to see some of Niagara’s famed wine country, Ontario’s stunning countryside, and quaint villages and border towns, it’s 559 miles of beauty, culture, history, and fun, and the Bike Train provides connection to many portions of it.


The benefits of cycling are many. From great exercise and stress relief to saving money on gas and saving the environment, utilizing your bike to get around makes sense. And when you add in the option of getting further faster with Ontario’s Bike Train, you can bicycle without being totally at the mercy of the speed at which your bike can travel.

So take the train to Toronto and bike back to Niagara Falls, or catch a ride to St. Catharines so you can spend the day in wine country. Whatever you choose, Bike Train lets you and your bike travel easily throughout the region.

A Primer for Newcomers to Niagara’s “Liquid Gold”

image001Ever since 1991 when Inniskillin Winery traveled to Bordeaux France with their 1989 icewine and won the Grand Prix d’Honneur at Vinexpo, the Niagara Peninsula has been known and heralded around the world for its excellent icewines.

Known as “liquid gold,” the resonant sweetness of a good bottle of icewine is without parallel in the wine world, and in Canada, it’s as common and as essential as bread and butter. If you’re planning a trip to Niagara, it’s essential that you know a little about the history and painstaking process that first put Canadian wine on the international map. Especially since every harvest still results in some of the world’s finest icewines.

Here is a short primer on Niagara’s most famous wine for newcomers to the area’s “liquid gold.”

The Origins

Most people credit Germany with the happy and accidental invention of icewine back in the late 1700s, when an early freeze caught grape growers off guard. Undeterred, a stubborn winemaker went ahead and harvested the frozen grapes, pressed them, and fermented them. The result was a delicious sweet wine that was so good, the process was repeated again the next year so that now, icewine is sold in 59 countries all over the globe.

While Germany continues to make icewine — or eiswein as they call it — conditions in Ontario have turned out to provide a more ideal climate with the region’s warm summers for grape ripening and cold winters that freeze the grapes without being cold enough to damage the vines.

The Process

Icewine production in Niagara is a labor of love. During the fall, when the grapes are starting to ripen, the vines are put under nets to offer some protection for the fruit from birds. Then, every November, winemakers register their grapes with VQA Ontario inspectors so that when the wine is made, the bottles can bear the VQA distinction.

From that point on, the grapes are left on the vine, causing them to dehydrate so that the remaining juice becomes very concentrated. Once -8 degrees Celsius (or 17 degrees Fahrenheit) is reached and sustained, which tends to happen anytime between December and February, the winemakers and growers watch the temperature gauge to find a temperature stretch between -10 and -12 degrees Celsius (10 and 14 degrees Fahrenheit). These low temperatures produce the optimum amount of sugar in the juice, and they often hit overnight so that the harvest and pressing occur in the dead of night.

image003Handpicked over about a six-hour period by people dressed as warmly as possible, the grapes are immediately pressed, yielding a small amount of very concentrated juice. Juice yields for icewine are usually only about 15 percent the amount extracted for other wines, a disparity due to dehydration, birds and animals, and the frozen pressing.

The Taste

Niagara’s icewine is notably sweet, but it can also be very complex. The high sugars in the juice stop the yeast from being able to grow for long so fermentation is brief, which results in a wine with low alcohol and a lot of sugar. Some icewine is oaked, which yields a more robust and complex flavor, while unoaked icewine maintains a bright fruitiness.

Head to Niagara to taste the wine that proved Ontario could compete with the best wines in the world.

Niagara Wineries Where Eating and Drinking Go Hand in Hand

image001Niagara wine is some of the finest on earth, and each year finds more and more people flocking to the region to experience it firsthand. From award-winning chardonnays and pinot noirs to the icewines that put the region on the world’s winemaking map, any trip to the Niagara Peninsula would be incomplete without some time spent in and around a vineyard.

Of course, drinking excellent wine is only enhanced when you eat an excellent meal along with it, which is why some of the area’s wineries have on-site restaurants. And, because agriculture has long been practiced and practiced well in Niagara, these excellent restaurants make a point of showcasing local vegetables, fruits, cheeses, meats, and fish on their menus. An ideal marriage of taste and presentation, the next time you come to relax and unwind in Niagara, be sure to snag a reservation to dine at one of these four wineries’ restaurants.

1. Ravine Vineyard

This vineyard is family owned and operated and strives to be organic. The 34-acre Ravine Vineyards practices sustainable farming in the sub-appellation known as St. David’s Bench. Producers of a number of excellent wines, they make especially remarkable Chardonnay, and their restaurant is more than up to the task of providing meals that live up to their wines’ reputations. A true farm-to-table restaurant, Ravine does almost everything themselves: They bake their own bread, grow their own organic vegetables, and raise their own pigs. Beyond that, they also plan a menu with the help of their winemaker for meals that always have wine at their center.

2. Trius Winery

Trius is a winery that makes every type of wine from cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir to sparkling bruts and icewines. A winery that features some of their finest offerings in person at the winery only, their restaurant’s selection is vast enough to satisfy almost any oenophile. They use as many local ingredients as possible, and of course, their servers are excellent at assisting diners with pairings.

3. Peller Estates

image003A family-run winery that has been in operation for over 50 years, Peller Estates has achieved plenty of international recognition, especially for their rieslings, chardonnays, and icewines. In fact, London’s International Wine & Spirit Competition recently named them the Best Canadian Winery of the Year. Their award-winning restaurant centers its menus around their wines and the changing seasons. Each dish has been paired with a wine under the guidance of Peller’s winemaker, but the staff is knowledgeable, too, should you want a different option.

4. Strewn Winery

Award-winning wines are commonplace at Strewn, an unusual winery that includes a winery cooking school in addition to its vineyards and restaurant. Their wines focus on the most traditional grapes: cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, riesling, sauvignon blanc, gewurztraminer, pinot blanc, and chardonnay. Their restaurant, Terroir La Cachette, recently closed, and they are about to open another one on-site called OLiV in mid-April. A casual fine dining restaurant and tapas bar, OLiV will feature fare that allows the winery’s exceptional wines to shine through.

Whether you love red wine or white, seafood or lentils, eating and drinking in the Niagara region is an exquisite pleasure when done at these four wineries’ restaurants.

You Know You’re in Canada When…

image001Canada is a unique place with a cultural flavour all its own and a history that spans hundreds of years. The second largest country in the world, the vast majority of the population lives in southern Ontario—including the Niagara region—but even though Niagara Falls and the surrounding area are remarkably close to the American border, Niagara has maintained a very distinct personality from our neighbors to the south.

Whether you’re staying in Niagara Falls for the first time, or you’ve been making the trek annually for years, there comes a point when it’s clear you aren’t in the U.S. anymore. From impressive and unyielding politeness to the Terry Fox Run, here are some ways you can tell you’ve arrived in the land of the Canucks.

The Terry Fox Run

Every fall, the vast majority of Canadian students participate in the Terry Fox Run — an all-volunteer-led, non-corporate fundraiser and run that raises money for cancer research. Named after Terry Fox and his eponymous foundation, Terry was just 18 when he was diagnosed with cancer and had his right leg amputated. Moved by the suffering of the cancer patients around him, he pledged to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. Called the Marathon of Hope, Terry — running on a prosthetic leg — ran an average of 26 miles a day once he started his run across the country. After 143 days, increased attention, and 3,339 miles, Terry had to stop short of his goal, because cancer had reappeared in his lungs. He died at the age of 22 in 1981, and his foundation and the Terry Fox Run have garnered over $650 million dollars since he first ran.

The Manners

Canadians have a reputation for being some of the nicest people on the planet, and for good reason. We say, “please” and “thank you” at every appropriate opportunity, and we even say “sorry” at inappropriate ones — like when someone else bumps into us. We hold doors for each other, and if we spy a tourist with a puzzled look on their face, we’ll ask if we can be of any help. If you drop something on the street, we’ll pick it up and run after you to return it, and angry horn honking in traffic hardly ever happens.

The Food

image003Canadian food is oftentimes similar or identical to what you’ll find in other places, but there are some notable exceptions. And while these exceptions are starting to show up across the border here and there, we think they taste best in Canada. Here are some examples of food that is distinctly Canadian:

  • Ketchup-flavored potato chips
  • Poutine — French fries covered in fresh cheese curds and gravy
  • Beaver tails — a deep-fried pastry with sweet toppings
  • Butter tarts — a sweet, buttery dessert tart with nuts or raisins

So, enjoy the Canadian culture when you visit Niagara, where people are nicer, the accent is charming, and the French fries are covered in gravy.

A Closer Look at the Niagara College Teaching Winery

image001If you love Canadian wine, especially the wine that comes from the Niagara area, then you’re probably familiar with the region’s lush vineyards, award-winning wineries, welcoming tasting rooms, and internationally acclaimed wines.

But if you’ve never taken a gander at the Teaching Winery that has been a part of Niagara College for 15 years, there is more for you to uncover and learn. The next time you head up to Niagara, be sure to book a tour or two at the Niagara College Teaching Winery for an inside look at what learning the trade might entail.

Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Niagara College Teaching Winery is Canada’s only fully licensed teaching winery. An important center of wine education for the region and country, the students in the school learn the art, craft, and trade of winemaking in general and as it applies to winemaking that is specific to the Niagara Peninsula, which is that seemingly magical 30-mile-long plain with a terroir comparable to France’s Languedoc-Roussillon that produces some of Canada’s — and the world’s — finest wines. Started at Niagara College in 2000, the Winery and Viticulture program has its own vineyards that cover 38 acres.

The vineyards and winemaking facilities ensure that students at the school don’t just learn about winemaking from books and lectures, they actually experience what it’s like to be winemakers by tending the land and doing the work of producing the teaching winery’s many award-winning wines. They do all this learning and work under the tutelage of celebrated winemaker Terence Van Rooyen.

It’s within this environment and the college’s commitment to winemaking in the region that tours to the public are offered. Here are a handful of ways of you experience the Niagara College Teaching Winery without becoming a student:

  • image003Public Tours. Tour the Teaching Winery’s impressive and cutting-edge facility with an experienced guide. Learn the history, philosophy, and practices of the school’s winemaking. This tour concludes with a tasting of three of the school’s VQA wines.
  • Niagara Segway Tours. Roll about the college’s vineyards on a Segway to experience the growing spaces in a brand, new way.
  • Sensory Lesson. Bone up on your wine-tasting skills and knowledge with a guide who will lead you through a sampling of three VQA wines at the college’s Wine Visitor and Education Tasting Bar. Chocolate lovers can add a chocolate pairing for just $3.00 more.
  • Teaching Winery Tour and Tasting. An hour-long tour, you’ll first head out to the vineyards where a discussion of the growing season, local terroir, and wine industry will ensue. From there, you’ll head into the winemaking facility to discuss the school’s winemaking process. Last, you’ll enjoy a tasting of three of the Teaching Winery’s VQA wines.
  • Journey of the Senses. The most in-depth tour available, this tour follows the same general format as the Teaching Winery Tour and Tasting, but it goes into greater detail and includes more shop talk.

For an insider’s look at winemaking education, spend some time touring the fantastic Niagara College Teaching Winery, and gain a bit more insight into what makes Niagara Peninsula wines so exceptional.

Free Fun in Niagara Falls

image001One of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, Niagara Falls attracts everyone from starry-eyed lovers enjoying a romantic getaway to parents with young children on their first real family vacation. Regardless of why you’re visiting or who you’re visiting with, taking in Niagara’s attractions doesn’t have to pull your purse strings too tight. A bevy of fun, free things to do awaits you if you’re looking for ways to save on a trip to Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls

Of course, the best, fun, free thing to do in Niagara Falls is to witness the majesty and power of the waterfalls first hand. So, be sure to walk along the gorge beside and above the Falls, which you can do for free. In almost any weather and at any time of year, being that close to one of nature’s most impressive attractions is an unforgettable experience. Be sure to also explore the Niagara Falls at night. The illumination and fireworks provide a totally different look and feel, and the extra pizzazz at night is just as free as the unadorned beauty in the day.

Niagara Glen

image003For nature lovers, there are few locations right around the Falls that are as beautiful and fecund as Niagara Glen. Diverse bird, plant, and tree species abound throughout the Glen making it perfect for an afternoon or day hike. Bouldering has become a popular activity in the Glen as well, and while a good pair of climbing shoes will certainly come in handy, it’s just as free as the hiking is. For a bit of friendly competition, you can also use Niagara Glen for geocaching — a scavenger hunt/ treasure hunting game that uses devices with GPS, like most smartphones or tablets, to navigate specific coordinates in order to find a container that’s been hidden at that location.

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens

The Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens is 40 hectares of perennials, flowering shrubs, dwarf conifers, herbs, ornamental trees and more. Display beds are changed three or four times a year to reflect the changing seasons. The rose garden has over 2,400 roses in bloom at peak season, and there’s also a remarkable grass display. The Botanical Gardens is also home to the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory, and while it isn’t free, it does boast a unique butterfly garden at its entrance that has been planted with plants like Purple cornflower, Butterfly Bush, and milkweed to attract native butterflies.

The McFarland House

Built by a Scottish immigrant at the start of the 19th century, the McFarland House was a family home for over 150 years, although it saw some action during the War of 1812 when it was used as a hospital by both the American and British armies. A gun battery was also placed on the property during the war in order to protect the Niagara River, and the British used the property as a launch point for the attack and capture of Fort Niagara on December 18, 1813. When the last member of the McFarland family died in 1959, the Niagara Parks Commission gained control of the estate and set to restoring it. Set upon a large and beautiful property that includes a garden similar to what would have been kept in the 19th century, you can visit the home and are around it for free and take a guided tour.

While not everything in Niagara Falls can be enjoyed for free, thanks to the area’s rich heritage and beautiful landscape there is much that can be.

Come to Niagara for These 5 Great Festivals

image001The Niagara region is home to 12 distinct communities, hundreds of farms and vineyards, and a thirst for celebrations. When it comes to festivals, the area boasts a wealth of opportunities all year long. Whether you’re looking for folk arts, food, theater, or film, these five festivals are just five more reasons to plan a trip to Niagara.

1. Niagara Folk Arts Festival

A multicultural celebration that features music, food, exhibitions, art, and dance from around the world, The Niagara Folk Arts Festival is Canada’s oldest continually ongoing heritage festival. Held at various locations throughout the Niagara region, each May brings with it another opportunity to learn about and gain a greater appreciation of the vast variety of people and cultures that make Canada the diverse nation what it is.

2. Shaw Festival

A festival that celebrates theater in the spirit of provocative Irish playwright, Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Festival takes place in Niagara-on-the-Lake. For the theater lover, there are few places shy of London and New York to get such a concentrated theater fix. One of the best parts of the festival is that each production takes place in one of five theaters that are all within walking distance of one another. Plays that will be performed during the 2015 season include:

  • “Peter and the Starcatcher”
  • “Top Girls”
  • “Pygmalion”
  • “The Next Whiskey Bar”
  • And more!

3. Winter Festival of Lights

image003The Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights will run from November 14, 2015 through January 11, 2016. One of the most impressive light displays in the entire world, the Winter Festival of Lights includes over 3 million lights and over 125 illuminated holiday displays. Over a million people enjoy this festival each and every year, making it one of the most popular events in all of North America.

4. Niagara Integrated Film Festival

A film festival that could only take place in Niagara, the Niagara Integrated Film Festival, or NIFF, celebrates the art of the cinema by combining the finest films from around the world with food from some of Canada’s most famous chefs and wines from its award-winning wineries. Some of the festival’s programming includes:

  • Film Feast. This bus tour of some of the Niagara region’s best wineries includes hors d’oeuvres and a sampling of fine short films.
  • The World’s Smallest Film Festival. This competition is for short films shot on a mobile device.
  • Filmalicious. Guests at Filmalicious enjoy an evening at a winery where an award-winning chef cooks a fabulous dinner, accented with excellent wines, after which the guests enjoy a film in the vineyard.

5. Niagara Food Festival

Running the first full weekend in September, this fall will find the Niagara Food Festival enjoying its 22nd year. All types of foods make their way into this festival, from the offerings of local restaurants to the work of celebrity chefs. Live demonstrations are offered throughout the weekend, and admission is free. There is also live entertainment and plenty to keep young and old satisfied, no matter their taste.

Niagara isn’t just a land of mighty waters; these festivals and others like them make the Niagara region a land of mighty cultural events as well.