Recently I took a trip to the Niagra Region where a friend and I rented bikes and toured around Niagra on the Lake, stopping at wineries along the way to sample local wines and refuel for the next leg of the journey. It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon. One of those precious days where summer is slowly relenting its grip, and fall begins to take over. It was perfect weather for a bike ride as the sun followed us all day, and a gentle breeze wafted crisp autumn scents as we rode along the lake.
We stopped at a few different wineries, mostly the smaller ones, and a few bigger ones. As I find when I go to cafes, restaurants or shops in Toronto, I was more relaxed and welcomed in the smaller wineries. There, they took the time to walk us through our tasting and were both proud and humbled by their blessings to be creating a drink that brings people together in a picturesque setting just outside of Toronto.
I highly recommend seeing the wineries this way. It is more intimate as you get to choose exactly where you visit, and of course biking in between the wineries ensures you do not over do it on the sampling, but also helps you work up a healthy thirst appetite between each stop!
Bikes can be rented for the modest amount of $30 a day, sampling ranges around $1-3 a glass. Of course at the smaller wineries if you a buy a bottle of wine they wave the sampling fee-definitely worth it!
After a few hours of biking we were ready to call it a day and headed into Niagra Falls. Afterall, you really cannot deny the immense beauty of the cascading water. Year long rainbows really are a huge pull for me…I found myself desperately wanting to see a double rainbow all the way. If you do not understand this reference please refer to this link here.
While I stared back in wonder, yet again, at the marvel that is nature my thoughts were interrupted by the realization that the falls have, for a lack of a better saying, been basterdized by commercialism. The beauty of mother nature brings millions of people from around the world to stare in awe, yet an even bigger marvel is the ability of mankind to take something so picturesque and surround it with flashing lights, buildings, theme museums and cheap trinkets. It just feels so tacky and fake.
If you take a look at the Niagra Falls Toursim Official Website here is how they describe the Falls: ‘The New Niagra Falls, Canada-with eclectic restaurants, contemporary hotels and electrifying attractions-is a true Canadian vacation destination for couples and families alike”. It strikes me as slightly odd to make no mention of the Falls themselves or of the amazing biking trails and heritage buildings that exist in the area. I do not mean to discount the the greatness of the ‘beauty of doing nothing’ as the Italian would say (or so Eat, Pray, Love will lead you to believe that they say). Seeking out ways to entertain is a constant throughout the globe, but we seem to have taken it to new heights. In fact the ‘down’ time where we are supposed to be doing nothing, seems to be more infused with stuff to do than many actual jobs. Niagra Falls has turned into a need to be flashy and new, with so many visual distractions it’s almost hard to focus on the Falls themselves. And really is that not why we came?
In an ideal world the walkway of the Falls would be laden with ethical and sustainable coffee shops, local designers selling goods and local restaurants featuring the best foods in the region. Of course one of these local shops could also feature lovely fashion designs from a certain line featuring a collaboration between Haitian garment makers and Toronto designers. Just saying…