Tales from Niagara: 5 unforgettable experiences to have along the new Greenbelt Route

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Tales from Niagara is a blog series focused on the people and places that make Niagara’s Greenbelt great. The series will cover everything from local businesses, to seasonal events, to life on Niagara farms. Look out for our upcoming posts to stay up-to-date and informed on exciting going-ons in Niagara's Greenbelt. 

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The Greenbelt Route is here! 

The result of three years of collaboration between the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, and over 27 Greenbelt communities, the new Greenbelt Route is a whole new way to experience Ontario's almost 2 million acres of protected countryside. 

Signed, mapped, and protected, the 475 km Greenbelt Route spans seven regions, from Northumberland to Niagara.

The Niagara section of the trail highlights some of the region’s best features and attractions, and give riders reasons to make stops along the way.

Check out my cheat below for how to make your ride along the Greenbelt Route a uniquely Niagaran experience.  

Visit award-winning wineries
Niagara is known for its wines, and visiting a Niagara winery is a must-do for anyone exploring the region - luckily, there's no shortage along the Greenbelt Route.  From the newly opened Red Stone Winery in the west, to the renowned Chateau des Charmes of Niagara-on-the-Lake, you will be able to note the distinctive tastes of the various appellations as you make your way across the region.    

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Have your fill at world-class restaurants
Cycling across Niagara will work up your appetite, so what better way to satisfy it than stopping for lunch or dinner at one of the area’s touted restaurants. Chefs using Greenbelt ingredients prepare fresh and delicious meals that are as unforgettable as the Greenbelt Route itself. Many of the wineries on the route, such as Ravine Vineyard, have their own  excellent restaurants, but make sure to check out other options, including August, a farm-to-table restaurant in Beamsville, or the Bleu Turtle breakfast bistro in St. Catharines.

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If you’re hungry but not in the mood to sit down for a meal, check out some of the many farms and produce stands along the Greenbelt Route. Niagara is the province’s tender fruit capital, home to acres and acres of orchards of peaches, pears, plums, and other fresh fruit. With so much produce available, a picnic of farm fresh ingredients has never been so appealing.

Explore waterfalls, forests, and hiking trails
The Greenbelt Route runs through some gorgeous countryside, and Beamer Memorial Conservation Area is not to be missed. There are two ribbon cascade waterfalls in the conservation area, and the heavy spring and fall flows are photo-worthy. The conservation area is a hot-spot for spring-time hawk migration, and in the summer and fall the foliage of the diverse Carolinian forest makes for beautiful hikes. Don’t miss the viewing areas that overlook Grimsby and Lake Ontario!

Travel through the past
Niagara is loaded with historical landmarks and stories from the past. Queenston Heights, where you can find one of the Greenbelt Route trailheads, was the setting for the first major battle of the War of 1812. The battle, as well as the life of British Major-General, Sir Isaac Brock, is commemorated at Queenston with plaques and the famous Brock’s Monument. Looking through the past is also a reminder to cherish what we have now – fresh air, clean water, lush green space, and delicious food. We want you to enjoy it and tell your family and friends about all the great benefits the Greenbelt provides so we can continue to protect it for future generations.

Plan your Greenbelt Route trip! Check out Greenbelt.ca/route for an interactive map featuring over 4000 attractions along the Route.

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CODY PYTLAK 
--Communications Assistant, Niagara Region  

  

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Want to be part of Ontario's cycling history? Join the first official group-ride on the completed Greenbelt Route! From August 16-21 the Waterfront Regeneration Trust is hosting one of Canada's premier cycling events, the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure (GWTA), along the new Greenbelt Route; the first time-ever the GWTA has not been held along the shores of Lake Ontario.    

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