What’s so special about spring and summer in Niagara-on-the-Lake? Spring explodes onto the scene with bursts of colour: fresh green grass, bright yellow daffodils, blooming fruit orchards and tulips in every colour sprout in private gardens and along Queen Street. Once annuals are planted, the array of colours multiplies — a sure sign that summer is just around the corner.
Another sure sign of summer? Festivals, events and, yes, wine and craft-beer tours. And, as we celebrate Canada’s 150th year of Confederation, many more events and festivals than usual are in the works. So, let’s take a gander at what is currently scheduled for Summer 2017 in and around Niagara-on-the-Lake:
FORT GEORGE WELCOMES ALL
Great News: Entrance to the Fort George National Historic Site is free to everyone throughout 2017. If you have your Parks Canada Pass, just present it at the gate. If not, request your free pass at the ticket booth on site.
But wait! There’s so much more happening at the fort this summer. June 17–18 presents Fort George in the Great War. Celebrate July 1 — Canada Day — at the fort complete with fireworks. Watch the Battle of Fort George, a War of 1812 Re-enactment on July 8 & 9. On August 3, check out the Persuasion Tea Party. August 19 & 20 brings in the Fife and Drum Muster & Soldiers’ Field Day. A military timeline event, Echoes of Niagara’s Past, takes place on August 26–27. Enjoy the Grand Canadian Steampunk Exhibition on September 22–24 or the Commons Market on September 30. Join a Battle of Queenston Heights Commemorative Tour on October 7 or 8. Attend the Second Annual Beefsteak Society Dinner on November 3. Experience a Garrison Christmas on December 9 & 10 or the New Year’s Day Levee on January 1.
2017’S SUMMER OF CELEBRATIONS
Niagara-on-the-Lake has an exciting line-up of musical and original theatrical performances throughout the summer and admission is free to all shows. A few highlights include a Sunday concert in question Heights Park on June 18; a giant cake parade down Queen Street on July 1; music, theatre and fun activities in Simcoe Park on July 3; RendezVous 2017 Tall Ships visit Niagara-on-the-Lake on July 3 & 4; 225th Anniversary of the First Parliament in Simcoe Park on September 17; and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds aerobatics and show at the Niagara District Airport on September 20. More details are found at www.notlcanada150.ca.
WINERY EVENTS AND OPENINGS
Wayne Gretzky fans will be happy to hear the Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery has opened its doors at 1219 Niagara Stone Road in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Enjoy tasting bars, retail stores, tours and experiences throughout the day and a VIP tasting room. Relax with light fare and cocktails on the patio at The Whisky Bar overlooking a summer water feature that transforms into a backyard skating rink in the winter.
The Hare Wine Co., another new winery, has opened its doors at 769 Niagara Stone Road. Ask us for wine-tasting coupons to this and many other wineries in the area.
Jackson-Triggs in Niagara-on-the-Lake recently announced its 2017 summer concert lineup. The Sam Roberts Band kicks off the season on June 8 while folk music icon Gordon Lightfoot takes centre stage July 21 and Blue Rodeo veteran, Jim Cuddy wraps up the season on September 8. Other performing artists include Amanda Marshall (June 17), Chantal Kreviazuk (July 8), Whitehorse (July 22) and so many more. The Jackson-Triggs Amphitheatre concert series presents a unique way to enjoy Ontario’s wine country while catching Canada’s premier talent under the stars as you sip award-winning wines and savour Niagara’s outstanding local fare prepared by chef Tim MacKiddie.
On June 24 & 25, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., discover incredible artists and enjoy delicious wines at Frogpond Farm Organic Wines. Stop by the tasting bar for a glass of vino and then head out into the vineyard to view exceptional works of art by Ontario artists. Admission is free.
Trius Winery at Hillebrand is bringing back the ever-popular Movie Night in the Vineyard. Priced at $20 CDN per person plus tax, the Movie Night package includes one great movie, one glass of wine, one souvenir glass and one bag of popcorn. Better yet, how about dinner and a movie? For $99 CDN per person plus tax and gratuities, indulge in a three-course seasonally inspired dinner with wine pairings and best seats. Scheduled movies include La La Land (June 2), Rogue One (June 9), Breakfast Club (June 16), Suicide Squad (June 30), Dirty Dancing (July 7) and Logan (July 14).
Rock and blues lovers won’t want to miss these two events also happening at the Trius Winery at Hillebrand. Rock at the Winery takes place July 15 and features Classic Albums Live The Beatles. Then, on August 12, the winery will host the 28th Annual Blues Festival. It’s all about friends, wine and music.
Wine-tasting coupons are always available here at Globetrotters Bed & Breakfast in Niagara-on-the-Lake. However, you may prefer an organized tour of three of four wineries. We recommend Grape Escape Wine Tours. They will pick you up at our door and return you safe and sound. Vehicle tours include a morning or afternoon winery and cheese tour; a gourmet lunch or dinner and winery tour; or wine, beer and tapas lunch or dinner tour (new this year), with prices ranging from $59 to $139 CDN per person plus tax. Bicycle tours include similar itineraries, ranging in price from $54 to 119 CDN per person plus tax. Bicycles can also be rented if you wish to follow your own path, with rates ranging from $15 CDN + tax for a half-day rental to $25 CDN + tax for a full-day (prices include helmet, lock and handlebar bag). If you call and reserve your bike ahead, they will deliver the bikes to our B&B prior to your arrival and pick them up when you’re done.
WildPlay’s Whirlpool Adventure Course is a thrilling new attraction aimed at those seeking an active, outdoor adventure and provides new ways to interpret and experience the natural beauty of the Niagara Gorge, Niagara Glen and Whirlpool Rapids below as they explore serial obstacles and ziplines. This marks the second outdoor Niagara Parks attraction for WildPlay, following the opening of the popular MistRider to the Falls Zipline attraction, which opened in July 2016. The Whirlpool Adventure Course is positioned along the Niagara River Gorge next to the Whirlpool Golf Course and directly across from the Whirlpool Aero Car, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016.
Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours are set to make a splash for their 25th season in Niagara-on-the-Lake, with departures from Niagara-on-the-Lake, Lewiston, NY, and, effective June 25, from Niagara Falls. Passengers can choose between two types of adrenalin-filled trips — wet or dry. Guests in open-topped jet boats are guaranteed to return to the dock soaking wet while their boat pilot powers them through rapids at high speed and expertly spins them through the chop in a complete 360-degree turn. Meanwhile, passengers on the covered Jet Dome get the same thrill ride, minus the splash and return as dry as they started the trip.
A little less adventurous, but equally entertaining, the Niagara Belle takes guests on a Niagara sunset cruise on board a fully restored New Orleans-style paddle wheeler to enjoy fantastic sights of the Niagara River at a slower pace.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is reputedly the most haunted town in Canada. Join entertaining storytellers on a Ghost Walks tour to learn all about the mysterious figures who haunt some of our public buildings, private residences and open spaces. The walk lasts about 90 minutes and happens rain or shine.
Everyone is pretty familiar with the Shaw Festival — an annual event that takes place from April through October. This year’s big hit, based on popular demand and guest feedback, is Me and My Girl, which will be around to entertain audiences until October 15. Other productions receiving a big thumbs up are The Farmers’ Revolt, Saint Joan and Dancing at Lughnasa.
In Niagara Falls, check out the Greg Frewin Theatre where Cirque Cabaret’s first show, Shotgun Wedding, will be in residence at this 650-seat theatre from June to October.
Posted by Donna S. Vieira, Owner of Globetrotters B&B/Gallery in Niagara-on-the-Lake