New in Niagara...

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, Ontario - A million bathtubs of water tumble over Niagara Falls every second, but on Easter Sunday in 1848 an ice jam upriver was able able to halt the cascading water for several hours. Read more...

  • In May 2013 I made a quick visit to Niagara Falls as a guest of the family-friendly Courtyard by Marriott, which as gone through several million dollars worth of renovations. Here's what I discovered...

The centrally-located hotel was originally built in 1998. My room, a jr presidential suite, was very large, with a fireplace (ambience only, no heat) and in-room tub. The current rate for this room would be $129. per night. There were lots of family suites, indoor and outdoor pools, and an arcade room for kids which works with tokens (tokes are included with special packages.)

   

What you may not know about Niagara Falls:

  • The first person to go over the falls in a barrel was a woman. Yup, school teacher.
  • One of the first people to launch the trend for honeymooning in Niagara Falls was Napoleons’ younger brother. Read more...
  • Winston Churchill called the Niagara Parkway the prettiest Sunday Drive in the World.

   
There is also a Keg Restaurant in the Niagara Falls Courtyard by Marriott, and there’s free wifi throughout the hotel, plus a small ‘business’ area off the lobby where there are two computers and a printer set up for guests to use for free. 
   
   

Some tips:

You can get a ‘WeGo’ card at the hotel which is valid for shuttle bus service to attractions (including Queenston Heights.) The service is run by the city. The card is included in some packages, or you can buy for $11 for adults, $7 for kids 6-12, and they are valid for a generous 48 hours.

If you are staying on a Friday or Sunday night in the summer ask for a ‘parkside’ room, you’ll have a view of the fireworks. In the winter when the foliage is gone some ‘parkside’ rooms get a peak at the falls.

Niagara Falls Courtyard by Marriott can be followed on twitter at: @Courtyard_NF

   

Tips for international visitors: The view of the Falls is best from the Canadian side. You can reach the this side of the Falls from Buffalo by crossing the Peace Bridge at Fort Erie and then driving north for 20 minutes. Another popular entry point is from Niagara Fall NY, which has crossing the Rainbow Bridge. This leads right into the heart of town. The Niagara Parkway is a scenic drive and a recreational trail that stretches for 56 km (35 miles) from Fort Erie, past the Falls and to Fort George, which is just outside Niagara-on-the-Lake. The route features parkland and historic sites. Niagara Falls is a 90-minute drive from Toronto. Using this route you'll pass through the Niagara region, which is known for having more than 60 wineries. Many are open to the public tour tours and tastings, some feature restaurants.

 
 
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Lucy Izon

Canada Cool is produced by award-winning Canadian travel writer & speaker Lucy Izon. Her travel stories & reports have appeared in numerous leading North American publications including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, and Chicken Soup for the Traveler's Soul. Bio page

Canada’s Coolest:

Welcome to a new feature on Canada Cool. I'll be presenting different 'Coolest' lists with my favorites and I encourage you to nominate suggestions from your own experiences. You can Twitter @CanadaCool or email Lucy@CanadaCool.com. Let me know what makes your suggestion exceptionally cool. Remember, by contributing your comments you are giving Canada Cool permission to quote you. Only a selection of submissions will be included, but all comments and submissions are greatly appreciated!

The first feature is: Canada's Coolest Single Day Scenic Drives

Here are some of my favorites...

Icefields Parkway - the world's most accessible glacier

The Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park, Alberta - This 229 km (142 mi) Rocky Mountain route from Banff/Lake Louise to Jasper passes 100 frozen rivers and nudges the base of the Athabasca Glacier - the most accessible glacier in the world. You can stop and explore it. It spills down from the Columbia Icefield, an area of ice so massive that you could fit the entire population of North America on it with each person getting at least a square metre of space.

Algonquin Moose Viewing

The Corridor, Algonquin Park, Ontario – this 56-km stretch of Hwy 60 cuts through the southwest section of Algonquin Park. Less than three hours north of Toronto the park is a nature-lover's paradise with 7,725 km of lakes, rivers, forest, trails, camping, comfortable lodges and 2000 km of canoe routes. Offers hiking trails to stop and enjoy, but what makes it really cool is that it’s one of the best places in North America to spot moose (especially in May and June). And, on Thursday nights in August up to 600 cars will gather to listen to wolves howl.

Cape Breton Cabot Trail drive

The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – Driving this 303 km (187 mile) route is like riding a roller-coaster: the road snakes around hairpin turns, rises to heights over 365 metres (1200 ft), weaves around headlands revealing spectacular coastal scenery, and plunges down to sea level taking you into the heart of small fishing communities. The most dramatic scenery is between the Cape Breton Highlands National Park entrance near Cheticamp and Pleasant Bay, so go slow. And, plan some flexibility into your schedule, so you can drive it on a clear day.

And here are some of your nominations for 'Canada's Coolest Single Day Scenic Drives'...

 

More from Canada’s Coolest

'Canada's Coolest' topics we'll be publishing in the future:

  • Golf Course Features
  • Haunted Hotels
  • Hotel Special Services

Send your suggestions to lucy@CanadaCool.com

Recent 'Canada's Coolest' topics: