Niagara Parks is on a mission. A young, vibrant staff leads the iconic Niagara Parks into a new era of ‘authentic experience’ for Canada’s leading tourism destination.
Since 1885, Niagara Parks has operated as a self-funded agency of the Government of Ontario as a 56-kilometre outdoor adventure museum and is one of the oldest in Canada. Operating along the parkway from old Fort Erie all the way to the site of Fort George in NOTL (but not Fort George itself); from golf courses to the Glen, five restaurants, the best parking pass EVER, butterfly conservatory, floral showhouse, not to mention miles of gorgeously landscaped parklands and gardens.
Joining OCTA’s Feast ON Program, Niagara Parks’ five incredible restaurants, (with even more impressive views) now boast over 25% of their food coming from local Ontario sources (in some cases 35-50%). Also, STC Storytellers has been hired for a re-branding campaign to include a more in-depth look into the history and natural features of their holdings. Niagara Parks hopes to entice travellers who are looking to find an authentic taste of place.
On May 10th, Niagara Parks invited food and travel media and bloggers from Niagara and beyond, to hop on a shuttle bus and head out on the Niagara Parkway for a six hour, five-course eating extravaganza, #FeastONTheParkway. It was a decadent culinary adventure set in the most iconic and breathtaking place in this Region. Those luckily in attendance were wined and dined by all five of their gourmet restaurants and there was a chance to learn more about the Niagara Parks, a truly unique natural history museum.
Queenston Heights Restaurant
Chef Bill Greenan: braised Ontario short ribs with sundried tomato and arugula risotto paired with Trius Merlot.
Chef Tim Vandelaar: asparagus and forest mushroom soup with quinoa salad and micro greens paired with Reif Estate Pinot Grigio
Legends on the Niagara Restaurant
Chef Chris Brown: grilled pork tenderloin with apple & rosemary chutney and spicy pad thai noodles paired with Creekside Syrah
Queen Victoria Place Restaurant
Chef Sidney Krick: northern rainbow trout with a spinach and sweet potato strudel and shoal lake wild rice paired with Jackson Triggs Reserve Chardonnay
Elements on the Falls
Chef Elbert Wiersema: timbale of spaghetti squash and bean pulses with hemp seed ratatouille with a maple Vidal drizzle paired with Chateau Des Charmes Gamay Noir
dessert…and the dramatic and delicious finale!
Pastry Chefs Dave Thai and Hening Sun created a dome of white chocolate melted away by a pouring of cherry scented hot chocolate sauce to reveal raspberry and peach sorbet on top of pear sponge cake.
There was a brief pause between courses to take an impressive ride over the gorge on the Whirlpool Aero Car, a hundred-year-old vintage cable car. On August 8th of this year, the Aero Car officially celebrates its one-hundred birthday. Originally a gift from Spain, it was designed by Leonardo Torres Quevedo as the world’s first ‘Transbordador’. A long time ago they tested its weight capacity with cows. Believe it or not, I did not scream, but someone else did.
The Aero Car runs across the gorge to Thompson Point. This will be the site of Wild Play Niagara’s new adventure course, which opens this summer. A suspended obstacle course with rope swings and views of the whitewater. This will be Wild Plays franchise’ fifth park, (whose headquarters are in B.C.), but it is a first for Ontario and a first in an urban setting. The zip line ride, which is being constructed across from Oakes Garden Theatre, at the bottom of Clifton Hill, is a gravity powered, carbon neutral attraction that soars down to the bottom of the horseshoe falls.
As a Niagara local, the Niagara Parks has always impressed me, but this trip definitely deepened my appreciation.
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