Celebrate winter wonders in Niagara

Wine can’t melt the snow, but it sure can warm your heart.

With more than 80 wineries in the peninsula, Niagara is an oenophile’s playground.  If you had the constitution – and a designated driver – you could easily spend two weeks working your way from tasting to tasting, sipping, sampling and savoring.  Given that most of us just don’t have the fortitude for a fortnight of frolicking, we have to choose our moments.

And the moment to visit Niagara is now.

When ice coats Niagara Falls, they are at their most magificent.  Photo provided by the Niagara Parks CommissionWinter wonders, events & festivals in Niagara, Canada

Winterglow, a Niagara-on-the-Lake celebration will light the darkest days of the year with entertainment, music, food and wine.  Its most delectable phase – Winterlicious – will run from February 25th through Monday, March 1st, 2010 when frugal gourmands will be treated to star performances by chefs at many of the area’s best restaurants.  Lunch can be had for $20-$25 and dinner for $30-$35.

Chocolate & wine pairings. If a glass of wine can blunt your winter blahs, just imagine what the addition of a bit of chocolate could do!    Visit the twenty wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake any time in February and experience special chocolate and wine pairings – the ultimate indulgence.  A passport good for three weekends is $34.50 and is available by phone at

Maple sugar bush at White Meadow Farms.  There’s more to Niagara than wine, of course, so you might want to round out your tastebuds tour with a visit to White Meadow Farms near Vineland.  The sap begins to run in mid-February and the maple sugar bush is then in full swing every weekend until late March.  A great opportunity for the kids to blow off some steam on bright wintry weekend, a visit to the sugar bush starts with a hay ride, includes a chance to try tapping a tree, a self-guided tour with period-costumed hosts to provide explanations, demonstrations and an introduction to maple taffy pulling along the way.  Be sure to arrive early enough for a pancake breakfast served with maple baked beans, maple muffins and tarts, maple cream cheese, maple apple crisp, maple cheese cake and more. For more information, visit

Be sure to catch the illumination of Niagara Falls every eveningRide the Niagara Skywheel.  In case you’re thinking that winter in Niagara offers nothing other than fine wine and great food, think again.  Winter is perhaps the most spectacular time of year to ride the Niagara Skywheel, a four-season ferris wheel in the heart of the Clifton Hill tourist area of Niagara Falls.  With the trees bare, the view of the Falls from the Skywheel is unobstructed and mind-bendingly powerful.  Beautiful at any time of year, the Falls are most dramatic when surrounded by bushes, rocks and railings coated in icy crystals.

See Niagara Falls lit up.  Be sure to plan a night-time visit to the Falls when that massive flood of water is illuminated by stunning coloured lights.  A year-round treat for Niagara evenings, the illumination of the Falls is nothing short of spectacular.  For a complete schedule of the nightly illumination of the Falls, please visit

Prefer to find your fun indoors? 

Stay at one of Niagara’s many family-friendly hotels. While there are great packages available at all area hotels and motels during the winter season, some really go the extra mile to create never-to-be-forgotten family getaways.  Think fun, fun, fun, then check out the Great Wolf Lodge and the Hilton Niagara Falls Fallsview Hotel, both of which feature on-site, indoor waterparks so you can stay and play all day – no matter what the weather’s like outside! 

Niagara’s Fury.  While you’re exploring indoor fun, be sure to visit Niagara’s Fury, a multi-media introduction to the birth of Niagara Falls that features everything from rocking floors, to indoor snow, to the world’s only 360 degree screen as it tells the tale of climate change gone wild!  Kids will love the adorable animatronic introductory presentation, and everyone will be fascinated by Niagara’s Fury!

Shopping, dining & viewing Niagara Falls.  Later you can all explore the completely renovated new Table Rock Centre, home to some of the best shopping, dining and viewing in Niagara Falls!  (Careful: Children who fall in love with the animated hosts of Niagara’s Fury will find them for sale in stuffed animal form at the Table Rock Centre!) 

There’s no better way to make the long days of winter more fun than spending time with those you love – and there’s no better getaway destination than Niagara!

For more on visiting Niagara, go to:

Looking to book a trip to Niagara Falls, Canada? Check out the Trip Builder where you can request a quote local travel agents who are waiting to offer you custom prices on your trip.

Liz Fleming
Liz Fleming is an award-winning Canadian travel journalist who specializes in adventure, health and wellness and learning travel. For more from Liz, go to: Liz Fleming’s Travel Tales.

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