The main thing on my list of things to do when in Canada was to visit Niagara Falls. My dad had been several years ago (we have relatives in the area) and I remember him being stunned by its beauty. If my dad is stunned by something you know it’s gotta be good as it takes a lot to impress him! I’d booked us a tour online via www.niagaratours.ca which cost us $69 + TAX each and included all of the following:
- pick-up and return from any hotel in Toronto
- a brief Toronto city tour as the tour bus picks up passengers from various Toronto hotels
- wine tasting and winery visit
- a visit to the historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake
- opportunity to take pictures at the Niagara Falls Floral Clock
- admission on the Maid of the Mist
- 2 hours of free time to explore Niagara on your own
- 13% discount from participating shop and dinning retailers in Niagara Falls.
I thought this was a great deal until I found it for $50 someplace local but nevermind! Obviously I was a bit panicked after the hotel screwup (read my previous post if you haven’t already) but after calling to explain it turned out that we were just three doors down from the tour companies offices anyway and we could simply meet them there at 9am for the start of the journey. This did mean we missed out on the brief city tour but it wasn’t the end of the world as we’d already explored some of it ourselves.
Matt promptly fell asleep on the coach as he does so I was left to awe at the skyscraper buildings, views of the great lakes and the city of Hamilton (where my relatives live) on my own. It took about an hour and a half to arrive at our first stop which was at a small airport where people could purchase a helicopter tour of Niagara for an additional fee. Nobody did though so soon enough we were back on the road. Not more than ten minutes later we stopped at the Diamond Estate Wines winery where actor Dan Aykroyd is a shareholder. We got to taste a lovely wine that was a mix of three different grapes and then both a red and white ice wine. Ice wine is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The rules are very strict as to what can be classed as ice wine and as such it’s an expensive thing to make. Surprisingly it was too sweet for me even though I like other dessert wines just fine.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is a charming little town that is so quiet and peaceful with these quaint little stores. It would be a great place to visit and explore for a couple of days in the Canadian sunshine. It greatly amused me to discover a British shop there in which the top floor was dedicated to Scotland. We only had time for a quick lunch but the sandwich we had their was by far one of the best things I’d eaten during the trip (the heat kinda stole my appetite and still hasn’t really given it back :/)
The stop by the Niagara Falls Floral Clock was incredibly quick, just enough time for people to take photos if they wanted to and then it was on to our final destination: Niagara Falls itself. From the first glimpse I was hooked and seeing it fully was breathtaking. Our tour guide took us to the Maid of the Mist entrance where we were given our tickets which we were free to use at any point that day provided we were back on the coach by 4:30pm. Matt and I decided we might as well just do it first (not really considering the whole, you’re GOING to get wet thing!) we timed it so that a boat was just leaving and opted to stay behind. Yes it meant a 15-20 minute wait until the next one was ready to start boarding BUT it meant we had the prime spot at the front of the ship on the top deck.
I don’t really know what to say other than it was amazingly beautiful and stunning and glorious. There was a rainbow which made it even more glorious and well I’ll just let the pictures try to do it justice. (Note: they don’t.) I’ve tried to be selective but I have many more over on my Facebook Page 🙂
Afterwards we decided to try a Bear Claw, something I’ve never tried before. It was delicious but I didn’t want to eat too much of it and provoke my stomach as it hadn’t been at all happy the day beforehand. We walked it off though as we went the full length from opposite the American falls to the Canadian ones taking many pictures along the way. It was a really glorious day and I had failed to put on (or take) sunscreen so was a bit pink by the time we boarded the bus back to Toronto. I would have loved to have done the walk behind the falls but unfortunately there just wasn’t enough time. At least it gives me an excuse to go back 😉