Niagara Falls Niagara Falls Ontario Parks

Niagara Parks Commission building Niagara Parks
An agency of the Government of Ontario since 1885 responsible for parkland alongside Niagara Falls & Great Gorge, White Water Walk, Whirlpool Aero Car.

A couple of rules for any Niagara Parks parks:

Baden Powell Park
Montrose Road, south of the Welland River
Formerly known as Grassybrook Park, this park has a hill built from the digging of the Queenston-Chippawa Power Canal, and offers a naturalized, walking area.

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture
Niagara Parks
Nine kilometers north of the Falls , and established in 1936, it features a highly-respected residential school for training horticultural students. The 100 acres of immaculately maintained gardens are a visual feast for some 750,000 visitors annually. Take a self-guided tour of one of Canada's finest collections of several hundred trees and shrubs, which includes an herb garden, a vegetable garden, a rose garden or a splendid arboretum.

Canadian Falls
Niagara Parks
About 12,000 years ago, Niagara Falls was 11 kilometres (7 miles) downstream from its present location, and has gradually receded as the rocks have eroded back from the Escaprment's edge. The Canadian Falls was first described as "horseshoe" shaped in 1721. Erosion, which used to be about one metre (3 feet) per year has slowed significantly since major water diversions for hydro power built over the 1900s have diverted water from the Falls. The Canadian Falls ("Horseshoe Falls") is approximately 52 metres (170 ft) high, with a crestline estimated to be 675 metres (2200 ft) wide. The river below the Falls is actually deeper at 56 metres (184 ft).than the Falls is high. The flow of water over the Falls is estimated at more than 168,000 cubic metres per minute.

Chippawa Lions Park Fitness Pathway
Oliver Street, south of Main Street
A 2 kilometre asphalt pathway of two large loops, lit for evening walking.

Dufferin Islands
7400 Portage Road
In the Niagara River, about mile upriver from the Horseshoe Falls.
Niagara Parks
Dufferin Islands are part of an embayment cut into glacial debris ,left behind from the last Wisconsin Glacier 50,000 years ago. The rock shelf under the Niagara River tilts about 6 metres, 20 feet toward the Canadian shore, which causes the strongest currents to be close to the Canadian shoreline, creating the strongest erosive forces. As a result of this erosion, the four Dufferin Islands were formed. In 1794, a saw and grist mill was built on Dufferin Islands, using the fast-moving waters past the islands to propel a water wheel. The islands also had a natural gas well for a few years during the 1800s, and remained privately owned until 1886. At that time, they were purchased by the Province of Ontario to be part of Queen Victoria Park, and the islands were renamed for the Earl of Dufferin , then Canada's Governor-General,.

Today, the Niagara Parks Commission maintains a beautiful and quiet nature area where the four islands are connected with walking paths and bridges, with a swimming area in summer. The fast moving waters through Dufferin Islands have since been reduced drastically by the water intake gates for the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Plant just upstream, south of the mouth of Dufferin Islands. Open year round. Free.

E.E. Mitchelson Park
Glendoone Street, just south of Huggins Street
Park has a senior soccer pitch and the remaining soccer pitches, and connecting asphalt trail. Walking loops can be followed to the west in the vicinity of St. Paul High School or to the east around Notre Dame School.

Haulage Road Trail
Access SE from Mountain Road & Dorchester Road intersection to St. Paul Avenue
This 1.5-kilometre asphalt route is located on a former Haulage Road.

Willoughby Marsh
Gonder Rd
(take Lundy's Lane (Hwy 20) west, then Montrose Rd (RR 98) south, Gonder, then east)
Challenging nature trails. Caution is advised.

John N. Allan Park
Kalar Road, just north of McLeod Road
Wooded area with an asphalt pathway or take the short natural loop.

Millennium Trail
This asphalted trail extends 2 kilometres from McLeod Road at Oakwood Drive to Lundy's Lane. Notice the various trees, birds and wildlife as you walk along the trail.

Rock along trail in Niagara Glen Niagara Glen
7400 Portage Road
Niagara Parks
The name Niagara Glen suggests a pleasant, peaceful glade, which describes the picnic area above the cliff. Below the edge of the gorge, the scene changes dramatically, and the river her is sometimes called "Devil's Half Acre" or the "Battleground of the Gods". Gigantic moss-covered boulders, some the size of houses, are strewn about the valley. There are 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) of trails, accessed via a metal staircase down the initial, steepest part of the gorge. Rock climbers are often seen dangling precariously by ropes and pitons from the cliff face.

The trails, steep in places but well-marked, lead down into the gorge, revealing the geologic strata that were laid down over four hundred million years ago and exposed over the past few thousand years. The huge boulders and cliff face here show where Niagara Falls was about eight thousand years ago. See natural features like the mammoth pothole, the leaning rock, and Devils arch. The mostly deciduous forest includes maples, Staghorn sumacs, sassafras, tulip trees, and red mulberry trees. Fishermen can often be seen casting their lines from the many rocks that are strewn along the shore (CAUTION: water levels can change suddenly and leave you stranded).

Niagara Greenhouse, Queen Victoria Park
Niagara Parkway, just 500 metres(1/4 mi south) of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls
Niagara Parks
From early Spring to late Fall, Queen Victoria Park's acres of colourful gardens bloom profusely. Bedding plants used for the many display gardens are grown here. The tropical house features a collection of plants from around the globe, with flying tropical birds living in the Greenhouse. The Fragrance Garden is located close to the Niagara Parks Greenhouse, with plants with aromatic fragrance, unusual touch and heavenly smells. This popular free attraction is visited by over 420,000 people per year. Opened daily year-round from 9:30 am, with extended hours during the "Winter Festival of Lights" and holidays. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Niagara Parkway - Niagara Glen to the Floral Clock
This 6-kilometre route starts at the Niagara Gorge (located on Niagara Parkway), continues along the Parkway to the Botanical Gardens and ends at the Floral Clock.

Niagara Parks Floral Clock Niagara's Floral Clock
Next to the Adam Beck Power Generating Station
Niagara Parks
Built in 1950, this floral clock is the largest in the world at 12.2 metres (40 feet ) in diameter. The "floral face" of the clock is changed twice a season. Violas are planted to provide a colourful design to welcome in the spring season. From the latter part of May, traditional carpet bedding material is used until frost occurs.
Adjacent to the Floral Clock is the Centennial Lilac Garden with over 250 varieties and a total of over 1200 individual shrubs which bloom from late May each year.

NS & T Right of Way
The Right of Way for the Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto Railway today has a natural pathway which passes through Meadowvale and Lind Sommerville Parks (east of the QEW) and crosses a number of streets. To complete a loop, travel south along Drummond Road, west along Morrison Street, then north along Dorchester Road.

Oakes Gardens
7400 Portage Road
Opposite the Maid of the Mist Plaza
Opened in 1937, the architectural design of this amphitheatre is based on those of ancients Greeks and Romans. The fan-shaped stage is placed so that the Falls panorama as a backdrop. It is built to take advantage of the ground contours, and incorporates a foundation wall of the old Clifton Hotel. At the rear there is a curved pergola connecting two open pavilions, one aligned on the axis of the Horseshoe Falls, the other on that of the American Falls. Sloped terraces, rock gardens, lily ponds, shrubbery and wide promenades lead to the amphitheatre. Oakes Garden is popular with photographers especially on formal occasions such as Weddings.

Oakes Park Track/Fairview Cemetery
Morrison Street, west of Stanley Avenue
Oakes Park track has a rubberized surface with night lighting. Across the street, Fairview Cemetery has a nice walking path around its perimeter.

Niagara River Recreational Trail Queen Victoria Park
Niagara Parks
The parkland adjacent to the Canadian "Horseshoe" Falls is truly a royal garden setting and yours to enjoy free of charge. From early Spring to late Fall, Queen Victoria Park's many acres of colourful gardens bloom profusely.
Queen Victoria Park provides the best view of both cataracts-Summer and Winter- an ideal place to stroll while you watch the coloured night lighting of the Falls and the summer "Falls Friday Fireworks" displays.

Shriners Woodlot/Mount Carmel Parks
Mount Carmel Boulevard, west of Montrose Road
Both of these areas offer a quiet walk in a natural setting, through connected pathway systems

View of Whirlpool from Tram Whirlpool
Niagara Parks
The Whirlpool was created about six thousand years ago by erosion which resulted in the course of the river making a "dog leg" change in direction. As the Falls eroded back from the Escarpment, it came upon a buried gorge which had been filled in with glacial silt and debris. This buried gorge followed a path perpendicular to the receding Falls, and proved to be the path of least resistance and the receding falls began to follow the path of the ancient glacial buried gorge. Today, the Whirlpool is 5.3 km (3.2 miles) downstream of the Falls.

The Whirlpool is a large circular pool of water about 550 yards (502m) in diameter, and 125 feet (38m).deep. The Niagara River makes a right ninety degree turn in its course in a narrow gorge. During the day, when flow is at its peak, the river's current actually pushes straight past the actual turn and enters the whirlpool where the water follows the contour of the circular edge of the whirlpool and loops counter clockwise back to near where it entered the whirlpool and exits by flowing underneath the water entering the whirlpool, and then flows north towards Queenston and on to Lake Ontario.

view of Robert Moses Hydro Generating StationsOvernight, between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., the Sir Adam Beck and Robert Moses Hydro Generating Stations divert water for power generation, reducing the water flowing over the Falls by half (to less than 62,000 cubic feet per second). As a result, the currents in the Whirlpool reverse direction, so the water flows clockwise around the outside of the bend at the Whirlpool before exiting through the northern channel towards Queenston. The Whirlpool's reversal occurred the first time on November 15th 1961 with the increased water diversion. Despite the significant variation in water flow, the Whirlpool water elevation only varies by 3 feet (1 m) between daytime and nighttime

Links to Regional Parks & Recreational Trails

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