The Niagara Peninsula, a fascinating region to discover

Canada, North America

South of Lake Ontario and Toronto is an arm of land linking the province to the United States. This magnificent region is world renowned for its waterfalls, but also for its terroir, which can be discovered in each of its picturesque villages.

Niagara Falls

What can be said that hasn’t already been said? That the falls are still the favorite destination for newlyweds from all over the world (if legend is to be believed, this fashion was started by Napoleon’s brother, who came here for his honeymoon), that they are the most photographed site in the world and that they could fill a million bathtubs per second…

One thing is sure, they impress even the most jaded, and some filmmakers were not mistaken in seeing an incomparable dramatic potential, like Henry Hathaway (Niagara, 1953, with Marilyn Monroe). All the tourists, and there are more than ten million of them every year, let themselves be trapped and joyfully participate in the general fascination.

Outside of these natural wonders, which are worth seeing from the Canadian side, the rest of the city looks like a Luna Park. Fortunately, all this display of lights and bustle is held slightly – but sufficiently – back from the falls. Note: the American border, very close to the center, will give you access to a different (less impressive, but still…) view of the falls.

Despite its falls, the Niagara River was a strategic location, marking the border between Canada and the United States. During the War of 1812 between the United States and the British Empire, several battles were fought here.

Two forts recall these events: Fort George and Fort Mississauga, two key locations in Canadian independence. Indeed, the resistance offered at Fort George by the Canadian military, British soldiers, and native peoples prevented the annexation of Ontario by the United States. The mission being accomplished, the enemy spared Fort Mississauga. Today, nature has reclaimed the fort, giving it a mysterious air that is well worth the hike.

The Niagara Peninsula Wine Route

From Grimsby to Niagara Falls, there are two wine routes with nearly 100 wineries (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Escarpment and Twenty Valley). Explore Niagara’s vineyards and spend a few days in a wonderful setting, where wine tastings and guided tours of the wineries follow one another. Viticulture is both a science and an art. We explain all the stages of wine making, from the soil where the vine grows to the cork that seals the bottle. Some are masters of this art. Châteaux des Charmes, Inniskillin, Peller and Jackson-Triggs are just the tip of the iceberg.

Also discover the secrets of the famous ice wine, in the largest and most prestigious producing region. This sweet wine is produced from grapes picked frozen, in January. This ice wine, so prized by Asian countries such as China and Japan, is nicknamed “liquid gold” or “dessert wine”.

Several wineries, including Inniskillin, the first Ontario producer to receive an international award for its ice wine in 1991, will allow you to discover the delicate production of this rich and intense nectar. Authentic icewine must be made from grapes picked… at night! Indeed, the grapes must have spent three days on the vine at -8°C, after having survived the torments of autumn. The fruit must be pressed on the spot so that the thick liquid retains a maximum of flavor. Production is small. It takes five to seven times as many frozen grapes to produce ice wine as traditional wine. To fill a 375 ml bottle, it takes about 3.5 kg of Riesling or Vidal grapes. This explains the high price of Ontario icewines, but since happiness is priceless, this rich and tasty beverage is widely enjoyed.


First capital of Ontario (1791-1796), this small town still retains its old-fashioned character. It’s easy to discover this illustrious little city filled with history and modern attractions on foot or by bike. It is not called the “prettiest city in Canada” for nothing! Numerous B&Bs, wineries, local stores and farms, where you can pick an abundance of fruit, have made this beautiful region their home. Spoil yourself!

Practical info

  • Height of Niagara Falls: 57 m
  • 447,888 people in Niagara Region (2006)
  • Official language: English
  • Province: Ontario

Photo Gallery

Niagara Falls are 57 meters high

Les chutes du Niagara mesurent 57 mètres de hauteur

Niagara River

La rivière Niagara dans les gorges jusqu'au lac Ontario

Vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Vignoble à Niagara-on-the-Lake


Clocher au milieu de la rue principale

“ The magnificent waterfall and river were named ‘Niagara’ by members of the Neutral Nation who lived there 500 years ago. The term sometimes means ‘the one that makes the thunder rumble’ and sometimes, less romantically, ‘the shrinkage’. ”

St. Catharines

Founded by the Loyalists around 1780, St. Catharines is now the largest city on the Niagara Peninsula in terms of area and is the industrial center of the peninsula. Despite this, the city has retained its original character, as evidenced by the locks of the Welland Canal. The Welland Canal crosses the Niagara Peninsula from Port Colborne to St. Catharines. The 28 km of bicycle paths between St. Catharines and Welland allow you to observe the impressive movement of the eight locks of the canal.

The architecture of the canal, worthy of maritime canals and heavy ships, is impressive. The Welland Canal’s Lock No. 3 in St. Catharines offers an interpretive center that is not to be missed. Its observation deck is a great place to get up close and personal with ships from all over the world. This charming little town is also an interesting cultural center with art galleries, museums and festivals awaiting visitors.

The Welland Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway

The St. Lawrence Seaway is a deep navigable waterway, 3700 km long, which allows ships to connect the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Superior, the westernmost Great Lake. While there is a tendency to include all of this territory in this term, it should be noted that since 1951, under the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority Act, it officially extends from the Port of Montreal to Lake Erie. Approximately 40 million tons of cargo are transported annually by a few thousand ships, facilitating the transit of goods produced in the cities bordering the Great Lakes (Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, etc.) to the Atlantic Ocean.

However, a solution had to be found to cross Niagara Falls to pass from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. Prior to the construction of the Welland Canal, traffic between these two lakes was carried by portage between the communities of Chippawa and Queenstown, both of which were respectively upstream and downstream of Niagara Falls. In 1824, construction of the first canal began.

Three other constructions were subsequently built, but it is the fourth canal that is in operation today. It is 42 km long and connects Port Weller, which depends on St. Catharines (Lake Ontario), to Port Colborne (Lake Erie). It includes seven locks at the Niagara Escarpment and an eighth at Port Colborne to control the depth of the canal. It allows boats to bypass Niagara Falls to pass the Niagara Escarpment, a trip that takes about 11 hours. For more information, there is an interpretive center at Lock 3 on the Welland Canal in St. Catharines. You can also visit the Historical and Marine Museum in Port Colborne.

Fort Erie

Fort Erie, with its population of nearly 30,000, is located at the southern entrance to the Niagara River, opposite the city of Buffalo, New York. In 1784, Loyalists settled in the area, followed by German immigrants. However, Fort Erie – originally a French trading post and later a British fort – had been guarding this strategic location since 1764.

In 1931, the village, located near the British fort of the same name, merged with the railroad town of Bridgeburg and became the town of Fort Erie. Two of the original forts were destroyed by the ice of Lake Erie and the mighty Niagara River; a third was partially destroyed in 1814 by American soldiers, the last foreign troops to occupy Canadian soil. The forest and grounds were restored between 1937 and 1939 and are now under the jurisdiction of the Niagara Parks Commission.

In fact, numerous celebrations were held from 2012 to 2014, marking the bicentennial of the War of 1812. Another major attraction is the Fort Erie Racetrack, which is among the oldest and most attractive in North America.

Photo Gallery

St. Catharines

St. Catharines et le canal Welland

The Welland Canal

Le canal Welland

On the St. Lawrence River

Fort Erie

Le fort Erié


With a passion for travel and discovery, we invite you to discover original photos that will inspire you to get away from it all. Visit museums and hiking trails, big capitals and small villages, and marvel at the beauty of our world. Plan your trip and set off to meet warm, welcoming people, witnesses of different yet enriching cultures.

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