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Highlights at 2015’s Niagara Wine Festival

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

image001While most people love any reason to celebrate, in Niagara, another year’s grape harvest is a reason that sits right at the top of the list. The Niagara Wine Festival takes place across two weekends every September throughout the Niagara Peninsula, and for wineries, winemakers, and wine lovers, it’s a celebration of the grape that’s easily one of the most anticipated events of the year. This year’s event starts the weekend of September 18, 19, and 20, and continues until the end of the following weekend, September 25, 26, and 27.

Almost every winery in the region participates, as new vintages are paired with new culinary creations for an experience that’s unlike any other. While the wine always takes center stage, here are some of the other highlights of this year’s festival that are guaranteed to make the event an unforgettable one.

“Educate Your Senses” Seminar Series

On two separate Saturdays, the 19 and the 26, at Montebello Park in downtown St. Catharines, the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), Dairy Farmers of Canada, and Brock University are offering wine and cheese seminars to educate and enlighten attendees about what to consider when pairing wines and cheeses. Led by experts in both industries, seminars take place both Saturdays at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4 p.m.

The Harvest Lounge

Located in Montebello Parks’ pavilion, the Harvest Lounge is an ideal place to take in some of the festival’s best wine and food away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds. Top-tier VQA wines are available and paired with charcuterie, cheeses, specialty relishes, pickled vegetables, and homemade mustards. Open in the evenings across both festival weekends, a VIP pass to the Lounge is just $10. In addition to having access to the wine and food, the Lounge includes private seating beneath the sheltered pavilion, private restrooms, TV screens showcasing the Main Stage, and a commemorative glass.

The Mayors’ Invitational Grape Stomp

image003Watch the annual Grape Stomp on Saturday, September 19 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Walter Ostenak Pavilion Stage. Presented every year by the St. Catharines Jaycees, the Grape Stomp pits local and regional “dignitaries” and grape growers against one another in a lighthearted competition to see who can stomp the most grapes the fastest.

Kitchen Kids

If you’re coming to the Niagara Falls region with your family in tow, be sure to sign your kids up for this festival event. Held on Saturday, September 20 at 12:30 p.m. in Montebello Park, this fun and interactive child-centered cooking experience will demonstrate the joy of cooking for the younger set. Admission is free, but, due to its popularity, space will probably be limited, so plan to come early.

Entertainment

The live music that takes place each festival weekend is always stellar, and this year is shaping up to be no exception. Bands play Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of both weekends, and some of the acts include:

  • Theatre Crisp
  • Laura Second Drumline and Choir
  • Harlan Pepper
  • Small Town Pistols
  • Brad James
  • And more!

If you love wine, plan your next Niagara vacation so that it coincides with the region’s grape harvest, and celebrate like a local at the Niagara Wine Festival.

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5 Must-See Attractions at The Welland Fair

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

kaboompics.com_Feeding the pigeons-minEstablished 150 years ago to encourage understanding between rural and urban communities, the Niagara Regional Agricultural Exhibition — home of the Welland Fair — is one of the best celebrations of local life in all its variety in and around Niagara. Held each September on the second weekend after Labour Day, the Welland Fair offers the best in family fun and entertainment with horse shows, livestock shows, live music, a baby contest, agricultural displays, a carnival, and more. If you’re looking to take a family vacation to Niagara, make sure it falls on the weekend of September 17 — 20, so you can see these five must-see fair attractions and countless others.

1. The Fun-est Baby Contest

Held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, the baby contest is a perennial crowd favorite. Babies are separated into age groups and genders — they can be anywhere from newly born to 24 months in age — and from there the categories run the gamut. However, the emphasis is always on fun, which is why the judges look for the following characteristics:

  • Chubbiest cheeks
  • Curliest hair
  • Best dancer
  • Longest toes
  • And plenty more!

2. Demolition Derby

If you love watching cars and trucks run into each other in real life in a controlled environment where precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of the participants, then the Welland Fair’s Demolition Derby is for you. One of the most popular events held each year at the fair, this year’s Derby will take place on Saturday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m. Vehicles will race and smash until 11 p.m.

3. Racing Pigs

If you’ve never seen pigs race one another on their quest for a tasty treat, it’s both adorable and hilarious. Celebrity Pig Races puts on animal races all weekend long that include not just pigs, but ducks, goats, and geese, too. Place friendly bets with your family members, and if you want, you can even sponsor a pig or other racing animal by contacting the fair office.

4. The Ken Jen Petting Zoo

Whether or not you have little ones with you, the Ken Jen petting zoo is worth a visit. Deer, pigs, llamas, camels, a donkey—a whole menagerie is on display and available for petting and feeding. All the animals are hand-raised from birth so they’re completely comfortable with people. They all have names and well-known personalities. For a chance to get up close and personal with an animal who will enjoy being petted as much as you enjoy petting it, the Ken Jen petting zoo offers unparalleled fun throughout the entire weekend of the fair.

5. Magic Shows

Another highlight of every Welland Fair is the agriculturally themed magic shows put on by Daniel Steep, an illusionist who holds a Guinness World Record. Adults and kids will all be entertained and educated about the importance of farming and farmers in Canada through Steep’s funny and interactive magic show.

For farm- and community-centered fun that’s feels like it’s from another time, head to the Welland Fair. It’s just one more reason the Niagara region makes such a fantastic place to visit.

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What to Do — Besides Eat — at the Niagara Food Festival

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

image001Held every September, the Niagara Food Festival highlights the very best in Canadian food, farms, restaurants, and celebrity chefs. This year’s festival marks the 22nd year for the event, and it will take place September 11 through the 13 in Welland. Delicious food abounds, but eating is just one of the reasons to attend. Here is a look at some of the other opportunities for fun and education available at this year’s Niagara Food Festival.

The Mobile Culinary Theatre

Part of the educational and entertainment components of the Niagara Food Festival, the Mobile Culinary Theatre is one of the most popular attractions each year, because it allows for a complete cooking demonstration with a live audience. It’s also available for rent for anyone hoping to attract a crowd to an event. A fully functional and mobile demonstration kitchen, the MCT is 15 feet deep and 28 feet long, which allows plenty of space for chefs to put on culinary shows. The MCT will be the set for a number of culinary adventures throughout the festival.

Live Music

Another feature of the Niagara Food Festival is the lineup of excellent local and regional bands that provide entertainment all weekend long, starting at 6pm on Friday. From rock and roll to folk music, the bands are high-energy and family friendly. Kim Mitchell, former member of Max Webster and Canadian singing and guitar-slinging legend is slated to perform, and other acts include:

  • The Mandevilles
  • Orangeman
  • Street Pharmacy
  • Brad Battle
  • River Junction Band
  • Wednesday’s Engine
  • And more!

The Contest

image003Every year the festival holds a “So You Think You Can Cook?” contest for Niagara residents, and the finale — which will take place on September 12 of this year’s festival — is one of the highlights of each year’s event. The first round of the contest is open from June 1 through August 7, and it requires entrants to develop an original recipe for consideration that uses at least one locally grown or sourced food or product. Three finalists are selected to compete for the prize of being the best recipe-maker and cook in the Niagara region, and they must prepare their dish live and in front of an audience where it will then be sampled by the festival judges. Recipes and dishes are judged via the following criteria:

  • Taste appeal
  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Use of Niagara product(s)

Celebrity Chefs

Each year’s festival brings a slew of celebrity Canadian chefs out of the woodwork, and this year’s event will be no exception. While who will all be in attendance is still being decided upon, one sure crowd favorite who has already been booked is Erin Smith, a young Port Colborne native who won Chopped Canada with her innovative use of frog legs, green tea powder, and cheesecake.

If you love eating and cooking, book your Niagara vacation so that it coincides with the Niagara Food Festival. There will be plenty of excellent food to eat, and the entertainment and learning opportunities will keep you happily engaged all weekend long.

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3 of the Best “Pick Your Own” Farms in the Niagara Peninsula

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

image001The Niagara region has long been one of the most important providers of fruit and produce in all of Canada thanks to the temperate climate, rich and well-draining soil, abundance of water, and numerous farms and orchards in the area. It’s the primary reason why the farm-to-table movement is so common in area restaurants: The region’s fertility and variety make using locally sourced food a relatively easy choice.

If you’re planning on visiting Niagara and you’re looking for an experience of the place that’s out of the ordinary, head toward the countryside. Many of the region’s excellent farms or orchards include a “pick your own” option that makes for a fun and delicious afternoon. From pumpkins to blackberries, here is a closer look at three of the best “pick your own” farms and orchards on the Niagara Peninsula.

1. Parkway Orchards

Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Parkway Orchards has a wide variety of fruit for anyone intent on eating from Niagara’s bounty. Cherries, peaches, nectarines, apples, grapes, and more can all be picked by visitors to the orchard — it just depends on when you visit and what’s ripe. Cherry picking and peach picking usually happens around the start of the summer, while plums and nectarines are often picked in August and, sometimes, September. Apples are usually ready throughout September, and grapes can be harvested in October. Located right on the Niagara Parkway, the orchards are beautiful year-round, and whatever fruit is in season is always mouth-wateringly good. They also have a gift shop, and ice cream available for purchase.

2. Bry-Anne Farms

image003While Bry-Anne Farms grows a large variety of produce and fruit — including tomatoes, strawberries, and raspberries — it’s their pumpkins that form the most exciting “pick your own” crop each year. Every October, Bry-Anne Farms turns into the Great Pumpkin Patch. Not only can you select your own pumpkin for jack-o-lantern carving, but they also have hayrides, a straw maze, a hay play place for kids, and a barn for exploring. Regardless of what time during the growing season you visit Niagara, however, Bry-Anne Farms is always a great place to visit.

3. Ridge Berry Farms

While much of Ridge Berry Farms’ 27 acres is planted in corn each year, the owners still maintain a decent amount of fruit production, and the variety they offer is what makes it such a lovely pick your own farm to visit. Small patches of blackberries and purple raspberries are available for visitors to pick, and they also boast fruit like Arctic Kiwis, Saskatoon berries, mulberries, and Concord grapes. They also have a few apples varieties for picking during the autumn months. Visitors can also walk through the farm’s old Carolinian Forest, which includes everything from Black Walnut and Shagbark Hickory trees to wild, edible mushrooms and wild leeks. Be sure to contact the farm ahead of time to let them know you’re coming; because they’re further off the beaten path, reservations are required.

Enjoy Niagara in a whole new way by visiting one of these three excellent “pick your own” farms.

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The Second Annual Celtic Festival at Fort George

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

image001The Niagara region long ago established itself as a well-known and entertaining destination for travelers from anywhere and everywhere of all types and persuasions. Whether you love wine, craft beer, film, geology, or shopping, the region can satisfy your whim and desire with aplomb.

No way is this reality more true than in the wide variety and number of festivals that take place throughout the year. From the Ice Wine Festival held each January to the Shaw Festival that takes place from May through September, a festival in Niagara always lives up to its name, but it has a feel and rhythm unique to the region.

At the Fort George Historic Site on July 24 and 25, that same whim-satisfying experience coupled with that unique Niagara feel and rhythm will be on full display at the second annual Celtic Festival, where lovers of Celtic culture and keepers of Celtic roots come together to celebrate a remarkable tradition and heritage.

Fort George Historic Site

At first glance, it may not seem like the Fort George Historic Site would make a good setting for a festival of any kind, let alone a Celtic one, but upon closer examination, it’s actually a perfect fit. The location of the headquarters of the British Army’s Central Division during the War of 1812, it’s a perfect spot to celebrate a culture that has survived into modern times as a part of the United Kingdom. Today, the fort has been restored to its former grandeur, and the beautiful green spaces surrounding its many buildings make for an idyllic place to hold a festival.

The Festival

image003Celtic culture is well-known and celebrated for its music, and the Celtic Festival at Fort George will feature sounds and songs in a big way. Celtic music is the traditional folk music of Ireland, Wales, Brittany, Scotland, and Galicia, and while the term is a loose one that can be applied relatively broadly, it’s marked by the use of drums, numerous types of pipes and fifes, and it’s often accompanied by Celtic dancing. At this year’s festival, hundreds of amateur and professional musicians will be in attendance, as well as the Niagara Regional Police Pipe and Drum Band, in order to create the many sounds that are needed for everyone to properly experience Celtic culture. In addition to the music and dancing, there will be a cheers tent, an event zone that’s just for kids, food vendors, Celtic wares, cabers, kilts, tartans, performances by individual pipe bands, and, of course, the mass band made up of all the musicians in attendance.

The festival starts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 24, with a performance by Tartan Terrors, a premier Celtic music and dancing group that puts on an electrifying live show. Tickets to the festival are $19.

Whether you’ve always loved Celtic culture or you just need one more reason to come visit Niagara at the end of July, book a stay and spend the last weekend in July at Fort George Historic Site surrounded by bag pipes, drums, dancing, and fun.

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The 2015 STIHL Timbersports Championship Is in Niagara Falls!

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

image001Because Niagara Falls is such a popular and world-renowned destination spot, it has played host to scores events over the years, but the STIHL Timbersports Canadian Championship Series is one of the most exciting. Canadians are aficionados of the timbersports, due to our rugged history of taming such a great and impressive wilderness. For Niagara Falls, then, to host the national championships is a great honor, and that honor commences on July 19 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre.

The History of Timbersports

The STIHL Timbersports Series is known throughout the world as the best competition in lumberjack sports, and around the globe, fans watch the series live on TV. The sport originated in those places where lumberjacking was common — the United States, Canada, and New Zealand — and the competitions were originally held by the lumberjacks themselves to determine who the best among them was. As time passed, those involved in the competition reached impressive skill levels, and in 1985, the first-ever STIHL Timbersports Series Championship took place in the U.S.

The Canadian Series

In Canada, competitive lumberjacking is almost as serious a business as hockey, which is why the STIHL Timbersports Series is incredibly popular in Canada. Each year, there are more than 15 competitions throughout the country to determine who qualifies to compete in the East and West qualifiers, where four lumberjack athletes and the best rookie are chosen to compete in the Championship. The overall champion will then represent Canada at the World Championship held in the fall. There are also three more lumberjacks chosen to form the rest of Team Canada to compete in the team portion of the World Championship, and the best rookie will join the International Rookie Team to compete as well. Last year brought a women’s portion of the event for the first time ever, and this year will include that as well.

The Events

image003For anyone looking to spend their summer vacation in Niagara Falls around the same time as the championship, here are the events:

  • Springboard. Using two spring boards, the athlete must reach the tip of a nine-foot pole to chop a 12-inch block from both sides.
  • STIHL Stock Saw. Two athletes face off with both hands on identical logs. A signal is given, and they each make two cuts through the logs that must conform to specific guidelines.
  • Underhand Chop. A timed competition, the athlete stands on a 12- to 14-inch log. When the signal is given, she starts chopping through it. Halfway through, she turns it and chops from the other side. Time stops once it’s cut through.
  • Single Buck. With a single-man, cross-cut saw, the athlete cuts through an 18- to 20-inch block of white pine. Time is called when the block is cut through.
  • Standing Block Chop. A timed race, athletes cut from both sides through a white pine log 12- to 14-inches around.
  • Hot Saw. With a custom chainsaw, the athlete makes three cuts that must conform to a specific depth and location.

Come to Niagara Falls this July and experience the STIHL Timbersports Canadian Championship with lumberjack lovers from around the country.

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Celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Cool Climate Chardonnay Association at i4C

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

image001As a wine lover, you already understand that terroir can markedly affect a wine. A pinot noir grape grown in Central California will not taste the same if grown in the Burgundy region of France or the Twenty Mile Bench region of Niagara. It’s enough to keep your curiosity in a state of constant hunger — what is the path to understanding wine as a whole if a single grape is so elusive?

Well, chardonnay fans may have met their curiosity’s match. The International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration, or i4C as it’s popularly known, is a festival that lets you hunker down and really get to know the varietal inside and out, define its complexities, note its boundaries, and discover its secret selves. Taking place this July 17 to 19, the i4C will open your mind, expand your palette, and thoroughly delight you at the same time.

What It Is

The i4C is a truly a celebration of all things chardonnay-related. Over the years, 135 wineries from 36 different cool climate regions have participated, and an amazing 550 different chardonnays have been poured and shared. 2,000 guests attend the event each year, including over 20 sommeliers from Montreal and Toronto. There is excellent dining, industry discussion, keynote speakers — and all of it centers on a single grape grown in cool climates.

This year’s celebration is particularly noteworthy, because it marks the fifth anniversary of the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Association, which means even more winemakers from all over the world will be in attendance to taste, share, and talk about current and special past vintages.

The Wineries

Over 50 wineries from around the world will be in attendance from countries that lay claim to growing and making good chardonnay, including France, Canada, the United States, Australia, South Africa, Italy, Chile, Germany, and New Zealand. More than a dozen Niagara wineries will be represented as well.

Schedule Highlights

image003While it’s impossible to list the entire three days’ schedule here, there are definitely some events worth highlighting, such as:

  • The School of Cool. On July 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can attend this winemaking and viticulture session that includes Matt Kramer, “Wine Spectator” contributor, and a panel of over 15 international and Canadian wine industry experts. Only 350 tickets are available for this daylong, in-depth session.
  • Barrels & Bonfires BBQ. Held at 13th Street Winery in St. Catharines, this casual event will take place July 17 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Enjoy chardonnay, smoky barbecue, live music, and bonfires among 13th Street’s lush vineyards.
  • Go Vertical with Le Clos. On Saturday, July 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., head over to Le Clos Vineyard to take in chardonnays from three different years: 2007, 2009, and 2011. The event will highlight the differences in taste that result in a warm vintage — the 2007 — as opposed to cooler vintages —the 2009 and 2011. Appointments are required.

If you love chardonnay and have always longed to understand it better, spend the weekend of July 17 to 19, 2015 in Niagara. The i4C is a celebration of wine unlike any other, and your ticket awaits.

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4 July Shows You Don’t Want to Miss

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

image001Every month finds world-class performers of all types taking the stage at the Fallsview Casino Resort, including legends of rock and roll, pop, comedy, dance, and more. This July is no exception as music and comedy lovers can all find ample reason to buy tickets and settle in for an unforgettable night in the resort’s intimate, state-of-the-art 1,500-seat theatre. From classic country to one of the world’s most popular comedians, here are four acts to travel to Niagara for at the height of summer’s fun.

1. Patti Labelle

One of the most celebrated and imitated R&B vocalists of all-time, Patti Labelle will take the stage at the Fallsview Casino Resort on July 10 and 11 at 9 p.m. She’s enjoyed massive success over the years with hits like “On My Own,” “New Day,” “When You Talk About Love,” and “Oh, People” to name a few. She first rose to prominence in the 1970s with the massive disco hit, “Lady Marmalade,” and she and her group the Bluebelles made history as the first African-American vocal group to be features on a “Rolling Stone” magazine cover.

She has enjoyed continuing success as a solo artist ever since, earning top five hits and Grammy nominations as recently as 2004. She is an unforgettable performer, and tickets for both shows start at $50.

2. Norm Macdonald

For one night only, on July 16 at 8:30 p.m., Canadian Norm MacDonald will perform his one-hour comedy special: “Norm MacDonald: Just Me Doing Stand-Up.” Widely recognized thanks to five years as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” MacDonald’s most current “day job” had him hosting “Sports Show with Norm MacDonald on Comedy Central.” Known for his stand-up chops, MacDonald is a favorite of live audiences everywhere. Tickets start at $30.

3. The Oak Ridge Boys

image003Perennial country favorites, the Oak Ridge Boys have been hard at work for over 40 years, although the core of the group has been performing together since 1943. They started out as a gospel quartet based in Knoxville, Tennessee, but they performed so often at the nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, they decided to take the name.

Their gospel roots are why, when they transitioned over to country in the 1970s, their vocal harmonies were such a defining characteristic of their sound. They’ve had dozens of hits, including “Elvira,” “Bobbie Sue,” “American Made,” and “You’re the One in a Million.” They’re slated to perform on July 17 and 18 at 9 p.m. Tickets start at $30.

4. Hall & Oates

Pop superstars Daryl Hall and John Oates hit the stage in Niagara Falls on July 23 for one night only at 8:30 p.m. Purveyors of seminal hits like “Rich Girl,” “Maneater,” “Every Time You Go Away,” “Private Eyes,” and many, many more, Hall & Oates have sold more albums than any other duo in history. While their golden decade was definitely the 1980s, the two have continued to write, record, and tour extensively. They’re both members of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Tickets for the night start at $60.

Get your fill of some of the best entertainment in the world with these four acts when they come to Niagara Falls this July.

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5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do in Niagara

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

image003For many people — even those who have never been here — Niagara Falls feels like a known entity. Honeymooners vacation here. The waterfalls are amazing. There are vineyards aplenty and award-winning wines. And while all of that is true, it only scratches the surface of the many fantastic offerings and surprises that exist in and around Niagara Falls. Here are five ways to enjoy the area you probably didn’t know about. Come, stay in Niagara Falls where waterfalls are just the tip of the entertainment iceberg.

1. Go Horseback Riding

Have you ever wanted to go horseback riding along the beach? Just a 30-minute drive from Niagara Falls, you can find a horseback trail riding company called HorsePlay Niagara that specializes in group or private horseback riding tours. Anyone 6 years old and up is welcome to ride their horses and the trails. In addition to Trail Rides, they also offer Cookout Rides, Romance Rides, and Sunset Rides. They’re open seven days a week, all year round for rides that range between 30 minutes and two hours.

2. Ride a Giant Ferris Wheel

Located on Clifton Hill, the Niagara Skywheel stands 175 feet high and grants those
who are unafraid of heights an amazing panoramic view of the area, including the Horseshoe Falls and American Falls. Hop into a climate-controlled gondola any time of year, rain or shine, and experience seeing Niagara in a completely unique way.

3. Get Scared

The Nightmares Fear Factory has been featured everywhere from MTV to The New York Times, and for over 30 years, it’s been terrorizing all who try to brave it. The longest-running haunted house in North America, it also claims to be the scariest, and judging by the hilarious photos of people while they’re inside the Fear Factory — it is. Not suitable for small children, if you love being scared, Niagara Falls’ Nightmares Fear Factory is the place for you.

4. Ponder the Old Scow

image001Just upstream from the Horseshoe Falls, you’ll find what looks like a boat resting against some rocks about 100 feet from the edge of the Falls. Called the old Niagara Scow, the boat has sat in the same spot since it was wrecked back in 1918. The story of the old scow is that two men were on board it when it broke free of its mooring. As it drifted close to the Falls’ edge, the two men were fortunate enough to think of opening its bottom doors, which grounded it into the rocks it still sits on today. The men waited 29 hours before rescuers devised a plan to retrieve them: They shot a lifeline from a nearby power plant, and the shipwrecked men made it to shore via a breeches buoy.

5. Visit the Cham Shan Buddhist Temple

Most people don’t even know Niagara Falls has a Buddhist temple, but it does. The Cham Shan Buddhist Temple, which sits on River Road just across the street from the White Water Walk, is ornate, beautiful, and full of fascinating sculptures. Visitors are welcome every day between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and there are also free, guided tours available.

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Spotlight on Windows by Jamie Kennedy Fresh Grill & Wine Bar

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

image001Niagara Falls has long been one of the best places in North America to get a meal, whether you wanted classic poutine, wood-fired pizza, or a thick, hearty steak. As the Niagara Peninsula’s wineries and vineyards have continued to garner more and more attention by visitors to the area, some of the dining preferences of those living close by and visiting from far away began to shift: The oenophiles and foodies marveling at the Falls have been increasingly on the lookout for dining experiences worthy of the region’s legendary waterfalls and its legendary, world-renowned wine.

When Chef Jamie Kennedy opened Windows by Jamie Kennedy Fresh Grill & Wine Bar in February of 2012, he did so after many successful and highly acclaimed restaurant endeavors in Toronto, as well as after his appointment to the rank of Member of the Order of Canada. For his Niagara Falls restaurant debut, he wanted to bring a new type of dining experience to the hundreds of thousands of people dining in the heart of Niagara Falls each year, and in order to do that, he decided to shine a light on the region’s many food producers. Toward that end, he crafted a menu born entirely out of the rich and fertile bounty of the many farms, dairies, vineyards, and orchards in the area.

Jamie Kennedy is probably best known throughout Canada for two things: his commitment to fresh, local, seasonal, and sustainable fare and preparing all that good local food in such a way that it highlights and celebrates all the aspects of Canadian cuisine that make the country’s many regions standout as unique in their various culinary expressions, and his journey to this Niagara Falls restaurant is no exception. When guests dine at Windows, they get to experience the Niagara region’s remarkable flavors, colors, textures, and aromas, and they get to do so at the hands of a skilled culinary master and his skilled culinary team.

image003Even though it has only been in operation a little more than three years, Windows by Jamie Kennedy Fresh Grill & Wine Bar has already won numerous prestigious awards, including the CAA/AAA Four-Diamond Award and the 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, and while no official award has been granted for it, it’s hard to imagine a better view of the Falls than the one guests enjoy from the restaurant’s dining room.

In addition to the top-quality food and preparation that’s par for the course, the wine list is likewise exceptional. To say it features Ontario wines is something of an understatement as the list offers dozens of excellent area wines, including seven different Ontario icewines. There are also wines from France, Italy, South Africa, Portugal, and more, but it’s always clear that the true star of the Windows wine show are the wines produced in the restaurant’s backyard.

Come to the 14th floor of the Sheraton on the Falls, where local food is prepared according to the highest culinary standards, the wine list is to die for, and the view is out of this world.

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