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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Regional Municipality of Niagara, Ontario
—  Region  —

Motto: Unity, Responsibility, Loyalty
Location of Niagara within Ontario
Country Canada Flag of Canada.svg
Province Ontario Flag of Ontario.svg
Formed 1970 (from Welland and Lincoln Counties)
 - Chair Peter Partington
 - Governing body Niagara Regional Council
 - MPs Dean Allison, Rick Dykstra, Malcolm Allen, Rob Nicholson
 - MPPs Jim Bradley, Kim Craitor, Tim Hudak, Peter Kormos
 - Total 1,852 km2 (715.1 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 - Total 427,421
 - Density 223.5/km2 (578.9/sq mi)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
Website Regional Niagara

The Regional Municipality of Niagara (2006 population: 427,421), also known as the Niagara Region, or, colloquially, "Regional Niagara", is a regional municipality comprising twelve municipalities of Southern Ontario, Canada.

The region occupies most of the Niagara Peninsula. Its eastern boundary is the Niagara River, which is also the border with the United States. It is bounded on the north by Lake Ontario and on the south by Lake Erie.

Unique natural landscapes make the Niagara Region an important centre for agriculture and tourism in Canada. The most important agricultural enterprise in Niagara is viticulture, or winemaking. The Niagara Wine Route, which connects visitors to dozens of wineries, is a growing tourism draw while the internationally-renowned Niagara Falls is one of Canada's major tourist attractions. Along with Shaw Festival, held annually in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and the Welland Canal, the Regional Municipality of Niagara receives up to 12 million visitors each year.






In total, the region has an area of 1850 square kilometres. The regional seat is in Thorold, where the Niagara Regional Council meets.


Data from the Canada 2001 Census.

Racial Groups

  • White: 349,390 or 95.9%
  • Black: 2,990 or 0.8%
  • Multiracial: 2,665 or 0.7%
  • Chinese: 2,345 or 0.6%
  • Other Asian: 2,320 or 0.6%
  • (based on single responses)

Religious Profile

Top Ten Largest Ethnicities





Festivals and Major Events

  • Festival of Lights
  • Niagara Food Festival
  • Niagara Grape and Wine Festival
  • Serbian Day (Vidov Dan)
  • FISA World Rowing Championships - 1970 & 1999
  • St. Catharines Wine Tasting of 2005
  • Canal Days
  • Niagara Folk Arts Festival
  • Royal Canadian Henley Regatta
  • Shaw Festival

Health Care Services

History and trails


  • Clifton Hill (Niagara Falls)
  • Lundy's Lane Tourist District (Niagara Falls)
  • Niagara Olde Town (Niagara-on-the-Lake)
  • Welland Canal Centre (St. Catharines)

Protected areas

  • Short Hills Provincial Park
  • Wainfleet Bog Provincial Wildlife Preserve
  • Ball's Falls Conservation Area
  • Chippawa Creek Conservation Area
  • Long Beach Conservation Area
  • Morgan's Point Conservation Area
  • Cave Springs Conservation Area
  • St. John's Conservation Area
  • Rockway Conservation Area
  • Louth Conservation Area
  • Mountainview Conservation Area
  • Beamer Memorial Conservation Area
  • Woodend Conservation Area
  • Woolverton Conservation Area
  • Wainfleet Wetlands
  • Humberstone & Willoughby Wetlands
  • Mud Lake Wetlands
  • E.C. Brown Conservation Area
  • United Empire Loyalist Conservation Area
  • Port Davidson Weir Conservation Area
  • Sugar Bush Conservation Area
  • Stevensville Conservation Area
  • Virgil Dams Conservation Area
  • Happy Rolph's Bird Sanctuary


West Niagara

East Niagara


400-Series Expressways

Other Highways

Surrounding census divisions

External links

The Niagara Peninsula is the portion of Southern Ontario, Canada lying between the south shore of Lake Ontario and the north shore of Lake Erie. It stretches from the Niagara River in the east to Hamilton, Ontario in the west. The population of the peninsula is roughly 1,000,000 people. The region directly across the Niagara River and Lake Erie in New York State is known as the Niagara Frontier. Located in Western New York, the area forms a part of the broader Buffalo Niagara Region.



The greater part of the peninsula is incorporated as the Regional Municipality of Niagara. Cities in the region include St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Thorold, Port Colborne and Welland. Towns include Niagara-on-the-Lake, Lincoln, Pelham, Grimsby and Fort Erie, as well as the townships Wainfleet and West Lincoln.


The area was originally inhabited by a First Nations people called the "Neutrals", so named for their practice of trading goods such as flint arrowhead blanks with both of the feuding regional powers, the Wyandot and Iroquois.[citation needed] The Neutrals were wiped out by the Iroquois c. 1650 as the latter sought to expand their fur-trapping territory.[citation needed] From this point until the arrival of United Empire Loyalists following the American War of Independence, the region was only sporadically inhabited,[citation needed] as the Iroquois did not establish permanent settlements in the area.

The Niagara Peninsula then became one of the first areas settled in Upper Canada by British Loyalists in the late 18th century. The capital of the new colony was established with the founding of Niagara-on-the-Lake, then called Newark. Many English and Irish immigrants settled in the peninsula, but by the 1800s, Italian and German immigrants heavily populated the peninsula and were the chief sources of immigrants followed by French, Polish, and other Eastern Europeans.[citation needed]

Following the agricultural period of European settlement, the Niagara area became an important industrial centre, with water-powered mills joined later by hydro-electric power generation in Niagara Falls and electricity-intensive industry in both Niagara Falls and St. Catharines. While agriculture – especially fruit farming along the shore of Lake Ontario – remains important to this day, it was joined in the 19th century by industrial developments. A succession of canals were built to connect the markets and mineral resources of the upper Great Lakes with the St. Lawrence Seaway (See also Welland Canal). General Motors built a considerable presence in St. Catharines with auto plants and a foundry, and a number of auto-parts manafucturers followed. Dry docks were also built at Port Weller on Lake Ontario.

at Niagara Falls.]]

21st century

Heavy industry has been diminishing for the past decade or more primarily due to the slow-down of the North American automotive manufacturers. Thousands of jobs have been lost at long-time area employers such as General Motors, Deere & Company, Dana Canada Corp, Port Weller Drydocks, Domtar Papers and Gallagher Thorold Paper. Because of this, local municipalities have been forced to look at new and diversified opportunities to prevent an exodus of well trained staff.


Hospitality and tourism has attracted numerous visitors to the area for more than 150 years primarily thanks to Niagara Falls. New development beginning during the mid 1990's has spun off an upscale hospitality boom throughout the whole Niagara Peninsula.

Today, more than 10 million guests[citation needed] visit the peninsula annually to see the beauty of the Falls and the Niagara Parks. Ecotourism has become more popular with more people finding and exploring out of the way places such as the Niagara Escarpment, named a world Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1990.

Another area of major tourism growth in the past thirty years has been the expansion of the grape and wine industry. The Niagara Peninsula is one of four recognized viticultural areas by the VQA in the Ontario wine industry. The many European style wineries and vineyards have played a major role in attracting visitors seeking a unique cultural experience. Most of the local wineries offer full tours of their facilities with a few offering onsite dining featuring unique Canadian cuisine paired with their own VQA vintages. It is common for many of these wineries' world-class chefs to use fresh ingredients that are grown or acquired from local farms in season. Some wineries also feature live music and theatrical performances in the vineyard during the summer months. Visitors come during the coldest months of the year (usually December to February) to watch some varieties of grapes being harvested and pressed outdoors in the vineyard as part of the process of creating the sweetest, and among the most expensive,[citation needed] wine on earth - Ice Wine. A few Niagara Peninsula wineries have won the most prestigious international awards[citation needed] for their Ice Wine products, many of which are only available from the vintner.

There is an official [1] Wine Routes Guide for those that wish to self-drive while transportation companies offering wine tours operate out of major hotel and bed and breakfast establishments in Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Toronto. (Driving from downtown Toronto to the Niagara wine region is about two hours).

Another major attraction for the well travelled looking for cultural activities is the famous Shaw Festival Theater (named for playwright George Bernard Shaw) located in the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. A resident repertory company of actors uses three theatres during a six-month season. Niagara-on-the-Lake is also the location of Fort George, Ontario, a British built and occupied fort during the War of 1812. It was rebuilt for the public during the 1960s and is open during the summer months. Other key historical locations nearby include: Brock's Monument, the Laura Secord Monument and the battlefield sites of Battle of Queenston Heights, Battle of Lundy's Lane and Battle of Chippawa.


The region's moderate year-round climate, in addition to its close proximity to the United States for easy road and air access to the southern U.S., makes it a popular[citation needed] retirement destination. In fact, the Niagara Peninsula has both the highest density and growth rate of seniors for any region within Ontario.[citation needed] The highest percentage of seniors to the total population is located within the city of Port Colborne, Ontario.[citation needed]

During the early 1990s a major telecommunications highway between metropolitan Toronto and the U.S. was upgraded to become one of North America's fastest fiber backbones.[citation needed] It passes through the heart of the Niagara Peninsula and enters the U.S. at Buffalo, New York. This gave Niagara the advantage of having direct access to the backbone and attracting many new professional call centers.

Compared with the cities of Toronto, Ontario, Hamilton, Ontario and most Ontario municipalities with populations similar in size to the whole of the Niagara Peninsula, the average cost of living is very reasonable.[citation needed] The cost of housing, both owned and rented, is lower.[citation needed] The three major cities, St. Catharines, Ontario, Niagara Falls, Ontario and Welland, Ontario are mostly urban with most needed services available locally. The remainder of the peninsula, especially to the far west and south, is either partially urban or almost entirely rural.

Centres of higher education are Brock University and Niagara College, both offering undergraduate and post-graduate studies in many disciplines.


The major roadway bisecting the peninsula is the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW). This freeway connects Toronto and the United States via New York State. It is one of the major thoroughfares for the North American trucking industry and is responsible for supporting the carriage of nearly one third of all goods imported and exported.[citation needed] The second major roadway is Highway 406 which begins at the QEW in west St. Catharines and ends approximately 30 km south in the city of Welland. Another shorter freeway is Highway 405, named the General Isaac Brock Parkway in 2006. It begins at the QEW in Niagara-on-the-Lake, just east of St. Catharines, and ends about 15 km away at Queenston, Ontario where it connects to an international bridge that crosses into the United States at Lewiston, New York. This is also a major travel zone for the Canada/US trucking industry.

All cities and some towns in the peninsula have taxi services while St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Welland all have a local transit commission. There is also one major airbus company that services Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo airports exclusively. Most cities and some towns also have very limited inter-city bus services operated mostly by Greyhound and Coach Canada. A specialized inter-city regional bus service, owned and operated by the Regional government, began operation in late 2006 but is restricted to those requiring transport to medical appointments throughout the region and have no other means of transportation. (Other restrictions apply). The region hopes to have a fully integrated region-level transit system by the end of the decade.

Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and Grimsby are all connected to the CN railway line. Via Rail offers limited daily commuter and weekend service between these three peninsula municipalities and Toronto and many points between. Via Rail and Amtrak also offer daily southbound service from Toronto to New York City with stops at the same stations.

See also

External links

Coordinates: 43°00′N 79°30′W / 43.00°N 79.50°W / 43.00; -79.50

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Niagara Peninsula article)

From Wikitravel

North America : Canada : Ontario : Golden Horseshoe : Niagara Peninsula

The Niagara Peninsula [1] is located in Ontario's Golden Horseshoe, encompassing most of the megacity of Hamilton and all of Niagara Region.

Niagara Valley
Niagara Valley


The main geographical feature of the region is the Niagara Escarpment, running in an east-west direction. The best known portion of the escarpment is where it meets the Niagara River, creating the beautiful Niagara Falls. Elsewhere in the region in the vicinity of the escarpent, there are many parks and conservation areas to be explored, many smaller waterfalls to be seen, and many great views to be found.

The Niagara Region is home to some of the best farmland in Canada (although the area's proximity to Toronto also attracts human settlement, and farmland has been devoured by urban sprawl in certain areas over the past few decades). The climate makes grape-growing possible, and there are over 60 wineries in the area, most of which are in the towns of Lincoln and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The area is quite historic, having been the first area in Southern Ontario to be settled as well as a main battleground during the War of 1812. This heritage is especially celebrated in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Tourism is a large part of the economy, and the region attracts over 12 million visitors per year from all over the world.

Get in

The closest major airport to the Niagara Region is actually in the United States. Buffalo-Niagara International Airport (BUF) in Buffalo, New York is about a 20-30 minute drive from the Falls and is served by most major American carriers. Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG) is the closest airport to the Falls, but it is only for chartered and private flights.

  • Buffalo Airport Shuttle, 716-685-2550, [2] offers service from the Buffalo-Niagara airport to the Niagara Region. A family of 4 can expect to pay $60 each way (from airport to the Canadian Falls) and the drivers often have great tips on where to go and what to avoid.

Coach Canada, 1 800 461-7661, [3], and Greyhound, 1-800-661-8747, [4], offer regular bus service to Niagara Falls and other cities and towns in the Niagara Region.

Get around

It's possible to see the city of Niagara Falls without a car, as the transit system is well-developed and most of the attractions are close together.

To explore the surrounding area, including Niagara on the Lake and the wineries, a car is recommended. Biking is also popular.

  • The Niagara Falls, for which the region is named, is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the world and is definitely a must for visitors - as is the well-known Maid of the Mist boat trip to the foot of the Falls. In addition to the Falls themselves, the city offers a number of other attractions including the lively and carnival-like Clifton Hills entertainment area, the Butterfly Conservatory, and Marineland. There are also two casinos in Niagara Falls.
  • There are several historical sites from the War of 1812 scattered around the region, since the region borders the United States and much of the fighting took place here. They include Fort George, Fort Erie, Laura Secord's house, and Queenston Heights.
  • Queenston Heights is the location of the famous Battle for Queenston Heights. At Queenston Heights there is a tea room and a humongous monument to General Brock who died gloriously in the Battle of Queenston Heights. There is a small plaque for General Sheaffe, who actually won the battle. And a statue for General Brock's horse.
  • The popular Shaw Festival in Niagara on the Lake features the plays of Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries. It runs from April to October and attracts over 250,000 visitors each year.
  • The Niagara Wine Festival, [5], takes place in September. The main festivities and parade take place in St. Catharines, and the area's wineries host their own special events.
  • In addition to Niagara Falls, the area has a number of other much smaller but still pretty waterfalls, including Ball's Falls and Rockaway Falls near Vineland, Decew Falls on the outskirts of St. Catharines, and Louth Falls near Jordan. The best time to visit is spring and early summer, when water levels are at their highest.
  • There are many possibilities for hiking and biking in the area. The 845-km-long Bruce Trail, [6], has its southern terminus point in Queenston, Niagara Falls and winds its way north along the Niagara Escarpment to Tobermory (Ontario). The Niagara River Recreation Trail is a 56km paved trail running along the Niagara River from Fort Erie in the south to Fort George in Niagara on the Lake in the north. Niagara Glenn has 4km of trails - enter the gorge at Totem Pole Park and follow the U-turn of Niagara so you will be close to where you started when you get out, i.e. a short walk to your car.
  • The region has over 30 conservation areas, [7], each with a unique setting and offering different activities, including picnicking, strolling or hiking, bird-watching, and boating. Beamer Memorial Conservation Area near Grimsby is known as a place to watch the annual hawk migration, Binbrook for windsurfing, Ball's Falls for its waterfalls and historic buildings, including a grist mill. Some conservation areas allow fishing and hunting (license required).
  • Plein Air Painting Artist Workshops, (toll free: 1 800 393-7270), [8]. May through October. Always wanted to try your skill at painting ? or just looking for a travel -learning experience ? Niagara Falls is one of the most dramatic locations in North America. Workshops are outdoors weather permitting in Niagara Falls, New York and Niagara Falls, Ontario. Select artworkshops in WATERCOLOR take place in the quaint town of Niagara On The Lake.
    Please see our website for dates and locations available.>BR> ARTIST GALLERY Original paintings onsite
  • Da Pizza Joint, Port Dalhousie. Da Pizza Joint is one of the number one pizza places in St. Catharines, with multiple styles and the famous Bianco. After a remodeling of the upstairs in 2005, Da Pizza Joint is now the perfect place to eat and drink while spending a night in Port Dalhousie.


The city of Niagara Falls is well-equipped to handle the huge numbers of visitors it receives, with a large number of hotels, motels, and inns in all price ranges. Nonetheless, during the height of tourist season (in particular weekends in July and August), it can be hard to find rooms in the budget to mid-range categories. During these times it's best to book in advance.

Lodging in downtown Niagara Falls means you'll be close to the attractions and have a wide choice of accommodations and restaurants, however, the area can seem very busy, 'touristy,' and noisy. Staying at a hotel or bed & breakfast in Niagara on the Lake or in the smaller towns of wine country can be a more relaxing experience.

There are a number of campgrounds in Niagara Falls, and at the Ball's Falls, Chippewa Creek and Long Beach Conservation Areas.

Stay safe

The Niagara Region is quite safe.

Provincial guidelines limit tasting more than 4 one-ounce samples at each winery. Be aware of your limits and don't drink and drive.

When hiking, take adequate supplies (water, food, safety equipment), wear sturdy hiking footwear and dress with the weather in mind. For safety, don't hike alone. Most trails are not maintained in the winter months.

Get out

There are several bridges to the United States across the Niagara River. Other options for further travel include:

  • Toronto - Ontario's multicultural capital
  • Waterloo - university town hosting the largest Oktoberfest in the world outside of Munich
  • Stratford - picturesque city that hosts the Stratford Shakespeare Festival from April to November
  • New York
  • Buffalo
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