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The 2015 STIHL Timbersports Championship Is in Niagara Falls!

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

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

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

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

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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What You’ll Find at This Year’s Willowbank Jazz Festival

June 8th, 2015

image001Willowbank is a school of “Restoration Arts” located in Niagara-on-the-Lake that specializes in the field of cultural heritage. Focused on a more sustainable and ecologically sound approach to conservation, the school trains its students in the work of restoring buildings, artifacts, and landscapes according to a holistic approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of historical objects with the rituals, cultures, and people who produced them.

An independent and nonprofit school, Willowbank is highly dependent on donations and fundraisers to keep the lights on, and every year, one of their most popular fundraisers is their jazz festival. Now in its 12th year, the Willowbank Annual Jazz Festival will take place at the Riverbend Inn and Vineyard on June 14 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

An afternoon of the best from Canada’s jazz scene is just $45, and you can watch, dance, and listen, and every last penny goes to support the work of the school. The afternoon will also feature both a live and a silent auction, local wine, and food, but the real highlight of the day will be the performers. This year’s roster includes:

  • Bourbon Street Buskers. A Dixieland/swing band from Toronto that’s been performing since 1991, the Buskers play a style of music that’s perfect for dancing, and they have a good enough repertoire to take requests.
  • Guido Basso and Friends. A legendary Canadian trumpet player originally from Montreal, Guido Basso has been playing music for over 60 years. Named a member of the Order of Canada in 1994, he plays trumpet, harmonica, and flugel horn.
  • Climax Jazz Band. Another Toronto-based Dixieland band, Climax Jazz Band plays traditional favorites and a few obscure numbers, and occasionally, they feature a vocalist or two.
  • Tyler Yarema & His Rhythm. Self-taught pianist Tyler Yarema leads this high-energy band in a unique blend of jazz, blues, boogie-woogie, jump blues, and swing music.
  • Terry Clarke. One of the best-known drummers in jazz, Terry Clarke has performed all over the world, on hundreds of records, on countless television and movie scores, and is one of the founding members of Rob McConnell’s “The Boss Brass.”
  • image003John Sherwood. A St. Catharines native, John Sherwood is a highly respected jazz pianist who regularly performs with his trio and other groups in the greater Niagara area.
  • Steve Wallace. Upright jazz bassist Steve Wallace is considered by many to be Canada’s finest upright bass player. Another member of “The Boss Brass,” Wallace has played with everyone from Rosemary Clooney to Oscar Peterson.
  • Reg Schwager. A jazz guitarist and composer, Reg Schwager has been playing and touring the world for roughly 40 years. He has also been named “Jazz Guitar Player of the Year” four times at the National Jazz Awards.

If you love jazz, plan a weekend stay during June 13 and 14. Listen to a full afternoon of some of the best in Canadian jazz, while raising money for Willowbank School of Restoration Arts.

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Niagara’s 2015 New Vintage Festival

May 29th, 2015

image001Every new year in the Niagara Peninsula brings plenty of new reasons to celebrate the area’s exceptional wine offerings. How could it be otherwise with almost 15,000 acres of lush and fecund vineyards producing some of the finest wine in the world? One of the highlights of the spring to summer season is the Niagara New Vintage Festival that’s held every year in June.

One part solstice celebration, one part decadent dive into the season’s best wine offerings, the New Vintage Festival brings together over 40 of the region’s best wineries, 10 of the area’s best local chefs, live entertainment, and countless lovers of wine. If you’re looking for a reason to head on up to Niagara during the month of June, look no further than the New Vintage Festival. Here is just a sampling of what you can do and taste and how you can go about it at this fabulous event.

The New Vintage Discovery Pass

Whether you choose to experience the festival over the weekend of June 13 and 14 or June 20 and 21, make sure you get a New Vintage Discovery Pass, so you won’t miss out on anything. For $40, the Discovery Pass gives you access to eight different Niagara wineries where you’ll be served VQA wine paired with exquisitely prepared food. Some of the wineries accessible with this year’s pass include:

  • Fielding Estate Winery
  • Inniskillin Wines
  • Chateau des Charmes
  • Trius Winery at Hillebrand
  • Peller Estates Winery

Driver’s Discovery Pass

Because it’s difficult to get around to all the wineries participating in this year’s New Vintage Festival without someone driving who won’t be drinking all that amazing wine, there’s a Driver’s Discovery Pass for the kind souls who chauffeur friends and family during the two weekends. For $30, you’ll have access to eight of the participating vineyards just like the wine drinkers with the traditional Discovery Pass, and you’ll be given an excellent non-alcoholic experience at each one.

The Tailgate Party

image003One of the most popular events of the festival is the Tailgate Party that will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., June 20 in the middle of a Niagara-on-the-Lake vineyard. An all-inclusive party, over 40 wineries will provide wine from the season’s bounty. Area winemakers will tell tales. 10 local chefs will cook up amazing food sourced from local farms and orchards.

Live entertainment will be provided by New Country band, Evermile, and of course, delicious wine will be thoroughly enjoyed as the longest day of the year fades into darkness. A favorite way to ring in the start of summer, the Tailgate Party is just $80 if you buy your ticket before June 1. The ticket also includes shuttle service as there won’t be any parking at the party’s location in order to ensure the protection of the vineyard.

Celebrate the start of summer and your love of Niagara’s finest wines and food by participating in this year’s Niagara New Vintage Festival. From the Tailgate Party to the Discovery Passes, it’s the perfect way to enjoy the best in this season’s offerings.

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Romantic Picnic Spots in Niagara

May 20th, 2015

image001Niagara Falls isn’t known as the Honeymoon Capital of the World for nothing. Thousands of couples each year descend on the region to celebrate their recent nuptials in one of the most spectacular and romantic settings in North America. From the thundering waters and picturesque vineyards to the exceptional hotels and restaurants in the area, Niagara Falls really is a great place to enjoy true love.

Of course, every couple needs something to do with their time in addition to ogling the waterfalls and one another, and since eating also should come into play during any type of vacation, going for a romantic picnic is an idyllic way to while away the hours with your beloved. If you and your partner are looking to experience romance by staying in the Niagara region for a spell, here are some of the best places to go for a picnic.

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens

Since 1936, this 99-acre park has been drawing crowds from around the world, and these days find almost a million visitors enjoying the gardens every year. Beautifully and meticulously maintained by students of the Niagara Parks’ horticultural school, the Botanical Gardens includes many flowering trees, shrubs, and plants, as well as a special rose garden and herb garden. Entrance to the gardens is free, which means you can splurge on some local icewine, berries, and cheeses for your meal. Be sure to bring along a blanket, too. There are benches here and there, but you’ll probably want to find an out-of-the-way spot for a little privacy.

Oakes Garden Theatre

The gateway park that leads into Queen Victoria Park, Oakes Garden Theatre was built in 1937 upon the site of a hotel that was destroyed by fire five years prior. Hotel ruins can be seen throughout the garden theatre, which is shaped like an amphitheater whose stage has the Falls as its backdrop.

Iron gates, Queenston limestone, manicured beds, rock gardens, a long and curved pergola and much more make this picturesque space both charming and formal. Enjoy a picnic here with your beloved among the flowering trees and plants before wandering on through Queen Victoria Park.

Montebello Park

image003Located in the downtown area of St. Catherines, this two and a half hectare park is the site of numerous festivals and other local events, but its central location also makes it perfect for a picnic on the fly for the couple who has already been out and about in the city of St. Catherines.

Designed at the end of the 19th century by Frederick Law Olmstead, one of the preeminent founders of landscape architecture in the United States, this park features plenty of shaded clearings perfect for spreading out a blanket, as well as a rose garden and fountain. Grab a sandwich or pastry and a bottle of wine from one of the downtown shops, and you’re just minutes away from a romantic and memorable time in one of the Niagara Peninsula’s finest city parks.

Romance abounds in the Niagara region, and it isn’t just because of Niagara Falls. Pack up a blanket, your true love, and some victuals, and enjoy a picnic in one of these three tranquil spots.

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3 Fun Things to Do in Niagara Only the Locals Know About

May 13th, 2015

image001It’s easy for visitors to Niagara Falls to assume they know all they need to know about the area. Stunning, massive waterfalls that are just as worth a gander at night as they are during the day? Check. Amazing local viticulture with world-class and award-winning wines and wineries? Check. Fascinating history museums and year-round family entertainment, including a Ripley’s Believe It or Not!? Check. Honestly, what else could there be?

It’s true that, on the surface, Niagara Falls seems like a place with just a handful of excellent offerings, and while the attractions for which it is most known are truly stellar, there are plenty of other happenings that anyone looking to experience more of the local flavor should consider. From five-pin bowling to ice skating on the hottest day of the summer, here is a look at some of the fun you can have the next time you stay in Niagara that only the locals seem to know about.

1. Ice Skating Any Time of Year

The city of Niagara Falls has two arenas that have five professional-quality ice surfaces between them, and while Chippawa Willoughby Memorial is only open during the fall and winter, the Gale Center is open year-round and has four ice areas.

While many groups and organizations use the two arenas to rent out ice for private functions, there are various open skating times offered at the Gale Center all year. From skating times specifically set aside for toddlers and their parents to pay-as-you-play hockey, if you love to be out on the ice, you can almost always find it in Niagara Falls.

2. Five-Pin Bowling

Similar enough to ten-pin bowling that anyone who has ever bowled before can easily catch on, five-pin bowling is a variation of the game that can only be found in Canada. The lane is the same as in ten-pin, but at the end of it, five smaller pins are placed in a V. The smaller ball is thrown three times with the same goal as more traditional bowling: to knock down as many pins as possible. The kicker in five-pin, however, is that each pin is worth a different number of points, which shifts a player’s strategy when all the balls aren’t knocked down on the first try. Places you can five-pin bowl in the Niagara region include:

  • Pla-More Bowling Lanes in St. Catharines
  • Fairview Lanes in St. Catherines
  • Hillside Lanes in Welland
  • Bowl-O-Rama Lanes in Welland

3. Curling

image003A team sport of precision and skill, curling is one of Canada’s favorite sports. While it seems like it’s just pushing a rock across ice in a winterized version of shuffleboard, the game requires many variations of technical skill that make it much more complicated, and, to the lover of the game, much more enjoyable.

If you have a hankering to try your hand at it, there are instructors available to teach you with the Niagara Falls Curling Club. For a larger family outing, learning to curl can make for a highly memorable and fun afternoon.

So, head to Niagara and take part in some under-the-radar fun that everybody who lives in the area routinely enjoys.

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Heading to Niagara? Gain Insider’s Knowledge With These 2 Podcasts

May 6th, 2015

image001The podcast is one of the modern age’s best and most enduring mediums, not only because they cover subject matter as diverse as the people podcasting and the countries they’re podcasting from, but also because the very nature of podcasting — it’s easy and inexpensive — lends itself to more colourful and colloquial kinds of storytelling and information sharing.

Whether want to learn more about history, the culinary arts, puppetry, or oncology, there are plenty of podcasts to choose from. So it is with the Niagara region, as area enthusiasts and others in the know share their insider’s knowledge for anyone with a smartphone or an Internet connection. Here is a look at a podcast wholly dedicated to Niagara Falls and another Niagara-centered episode that will more than whet your appetite for this beautiful area, so you can properly prepare to have the time of your life from the time you check into your Niagara hotel to the time you head home.

• “Niagara Falls Show”

image003Hosted by Steve Kostyk and Wayne Malton, two seasoned entertainers from the Niagara region, the Niagara Falls Show is a weekly podcast that reveals the best in Niagara Falls area attractions, events, entertainment, dining and more on both the Canadian and American sides of the Niagara River. Especially for visitors who want to experience the local music scene, this podcast delves into what’s really happening at the local level in Niagara Falls, both on the Canadian and American sides. The episodes are colorful, entertaining, and offer insight that can’t be gleaned from books or the Internet, and while the information about Niagara is truly helpful, the rapport between Kostyk and Malton is its own reason to listen in.

• “Radiolab: Taking the Plunge”

Another popular podcast, Radiolab is a “show about curiosity” that explores the overlapping areas of science, philosophy, and individual, human experience. In the episode “Taking the Plunge,” the hosts of Radiolab, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, discuss what we think we know about falling. After talking about how fast felines fall and good ol’ gravity, the episode ends with a tale about the first person who ever went over the Falls in a barrel and how that did, and didn’t, change her life.

For an experience of Niagara before you get to town, be sure to check out these two podcasts.

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