Thursday, May 16, 2013

The beautiful and historic Niagara Region

The area enjoys all the benefits of being bordered by two of the worlds largest freshwater lakes with its magnificent summer sailing season, its sport fishing tournaments and some great little beaches that line its shores. The two lakes are connected to one another via both the Welland Canal and the Niagara River which feeds the water flow over Niagara falls from Lake Erie heading north and into Lake Ontario. At the southern entrance of the Niagara River is the British built fort of Fort Erie, today it has a front row seat to a panoramic view of the Buffalo skyline. It served the British during the war of 1812 as an outpost to what was then the British colony of Upper Canada. The Canadian and American border follow the geographic flow of The Niagara River which extends 36 miles from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.

The Niagara region as its known, encompasses an area of the most fertile land in Canada and is sandwiched between The Great Lakes of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario along the Canadian and American border. It features the world famous Niagara Falls, Welland Canal, The UNESCO world biosphere reserve - Niagara Escarpment, the historical town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Niagara wine region with its 75+ wineries.

Alongside the Niagara River runs the majestic Niagara Parkway. The Niagara Parkway is one of the most picturesque scenic drives anywhere. I’d recommend however to cycle its winding cycling trail which will take one past many's a million dollar home, fruit orchards, wineries, Niagara Falls itself, the Niagara rapids, the great gorge and old pioneer settlements all on your way to the historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is a living tomb to the British rule in this area with its many pastel colored colonial style buildings, union jacks flying freely and the British fort - Fort George, which shares the same history and played the same role as its sister fort - Fort Erie 36 miles to the south. This is Trisha Romance country, the Canadian artistic equivalent to the American artist Norman Rockwell.

Niagara-on-the-lake has a real haunting feel similar one may find in the older areas in The New England States. Maybe its the old graveyards with their large 200 year old + tomb stones. The first Europeans to travel through the area would have been French fur traders in the 16th century. The first permanent settlements however were established by United Empire Loyalists fleeing persecution at the end of the American Revolution.