By: Riva Sun
Riva is a graphic designer for The Cajor! For her entry for The Bulletin, she has compiled her favourite summer destinations in the Niagara region that continue to be accessible throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As a native to the area, she certainly knows what’s hot and what’s not!
The Niagara Region, a two-hour drive from the GTA area and bordered by the United States, has history in every corner. Being surrounded by Lakes Ontario and Erie, the geography creates various beach destinations! The area is also known for its local wineries, outdoor spaces, and multiple shopping centers. Over 10 million visitors annually come for destinations such as the Shaw Festival, the Welland Canal, and Niagara Falls. As a native to the region, today I’ll be discussing the top spots to supplement your summer fun!
Historic Old Town
The town of Niagara on the Lake, or Newark (named by Lieutenant-Governor John G. Simcoe), was established in 1792 when it was chosen to be the first capital of Upper Canada! The town was a protected place for the loyalists who fled during the American Revolution and one of the first stops of the Underground Railroad refugees. The main street and residential areas are traditionally decorated and showcase different types of architecture, while the charming roads are lined with bakeries, restaurants, ice cream shops, and clothing stores. It is within walking distance of the Shaw Festival Theatre, Prince of Wales Hotel, Simcoe Park, Queen’s Royal Park, and the local museum!
Niagara Freedom Trail
The Niagara Freedom Trail highlights several crucial spots of the Underground Railroad: safe houses. These havens were used by runaway slaves from the United States who escaped to Canada, hoping for a new life of freedom. While it may not be widley known, the Niagara Region played a crucial part as one of the first destinations before they would later expand into the rest of Canada. One of the most notable places is the Salem Chapel British Methodist Episcopal Church located in the heart of St Catherines, a neighbouring town. The chapel was founded in 1820 by runaway slaves, and is still a thriving community today with many historical artifacts. One of the most well-known members who attended the church was Harriet Tubman, who was a leader in bringing emancipation and freedom.
Beechwood Doughnuts is a local business located in downtown St Catherines that is known for their homemade and 100% vegan doughnuts! Currently, they are only offering an online pre-order menu for store pick up or delivery, but continues to be a must-not-miss place!
The Kasbah Mediterranean
The Kasbah Mediterranean is a local restaurant that prides itself in their homemade and fresh foods. Their specialties include Armenian sausage, Souvlaki, Sizzling Shrimp, and Gnocchi, but they have a wide variety of options available on their menu! From AAA meat, halal meat (beef, chicken, and lamb), vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, it is bound to be the perfect spot for all occasions. As of writing, they offer dine-in, outdoor seating, delivery, and takeout options.
Werner’s Fruit Farm
Werner’s Fruit Farm, located near the Welland Canal and on the Niagara Greenbelt, is a roadside shop that sells fresh local fruits and vegetables during the summer. Evident from their online reviews, Werner’s Fruit Farm is a great place to buy local and fresh produce. Their fruits and vegetables are sold at a reasonable price, but they only take cash. Definitely check this gem out!
Which destination will you visit first? We’d love to know in the comments down below!