Exploring our region on foot is a great way to get to know areas in detail. It is amazing what you miss when driving, even when taking the same road every day. As the owner of two dogs, a daily walk of some sort is inevitable and although it is often just a relatively short walk along the road on which I live, my wife and I like to get out and explore whenever we can.
We are fortunate to live just a 15 minute walk to the Bruce Trail. If you walk to the end of Melrose Drive, and climb up over a small rocky outcrop, you enter the site of the former Queenston Quarry.
Disused for many years now, the quarry produced high quality limestone which was use in the construction of many fine buildings. Canada House in London, UK being one! Now privately owned, there are plans to build condos, a new golf course, a winery and possibly some retail outlets and a small hotel.
As you wander through the wooded area along the path, you will join the main path which forms part of the Bruce Trail. Head east on the trail which runs along the ridge of the Niagara Escarpment, offering great views across the vineyards and toward the Niagara River.
Eventually, you will arrive at Queenston Heights. This is a beautiful park which is very popular, especially in the summer, with picnic groups and people playing sports. There are tennis courts, a splash pool, a small gift shop and café, lots of barbecues and several covered picnic areas.
Crossing the park, you will find the Queenston Heights Restaurant with stunning views of the Niagara River, first opened in 1900. Just beside this is the famous Brock Monument, erected in honour of British General Sir Isaac Brock who died in battle during the war of 1812. You can climb to the top of the monument for an even more magnificent view of the area.
If you have had enough of walking, you can get on board the WeGo bus that will take you into Niagara Falls via the Niagara River Parkway.
Below Queenston Heights is the Village of Queenston. The historic village sits on the bank of the Niagara River and is generally very quiet at any time of the year. There are two main tourist attractions here – the printing museum and the Laura Secord Homestead. Both are very interesting to visit.
Wander through the streets of the little village past the Willowbank Estate – now home to a restoration school for historic buildings – and head north where you will join the path alongside the Niagara River Parkway, by Riverbrink Art Museum and drop in to see their fine collection of art on display.
As you continue along the Parkway, you will pass many, very large homes, some quite historic, as the footpath meanders with the river, under the shade of the avenue of trees that line the road. Sharing the foot path with cyclists, it is possible to walk all the way to the town of Niagara on the Lake, passing fruit stands, historic plaques, a number of wineries and even an historic tea room – the McFarland House, set within a park.
The parkway was referred to by Sir Winston Churchill, having been driven down it, as “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world.” It certainly lives up to that and I will never get bored walking along the route. The dogs seem to love it too!