There is a possibly apocryphal story that Winston Churchill once called the Niagara Parkway “the prettiest Sunday drive in the world.” If he didn’t say that, he should have, because it is.
The Parkway runs south from Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake and follows the Niagara River to Fort Erie on Lake Erie. At 53 kilometres long, the Parkway is a feasible day trip in one shot, or can be broken up into smaller sections with a notable stop in Niagara Falls.
As a flashpoint location of the War of 1812-1814, you can expect a trove of heritage sites marking the last time Americans and Canadians took up arms against one another.
The war cost the lives of about 25,000 Americans, British, Canadians and native warriors – and in the end, everything went right back to the way it was before the war. Except for 25,000 gravesites.
The Niagara Parks Commission is responsible for a number of attractions along the Parkway – For Erie, at the south end; the botanical gardens, one of the finest in the world; a butterfly conservatory; the iconic floral clock; and several world-class golf courses, including Legends on the Niagara, and the Whirlpool Golf Course.
For something a bit more spinetingling, the historic Whirlpool Aero Car carries riders high over the whirlpool and rapids. If even that’s too tame, there is always the MistRider Zipline to the Falls.
For more passive observers, an energetic enterprise called Hornblower Niagara Cruises offers a full menu of ways to get up close to the Falls on their boats.
Of course, visitors to this area are going to want to see the Falls, as one of the natural wonders of the world. But if you visit the city of Niagara Falls and that’s all, you are missing some of the best attractions and experiences Canada has to offer.
Niagara wineries are internationally recognized as among the finest in the world, and the small, friendly establishments will welcome you with open arms and open bottles.
The Niagara Parkway is indeed one of the prettiest drives anywhere, with dedicated paths for bikers and hikers. There are plenty of riverside picnic places and enough produce and bakery stands along the roadside to fill any basket. Better yet, the area boasts some of the finest heritage hotels anywhere.