Canal Days 2013

portCanal Days in Port Colborne is a festival to celebrate the marine heritage and the connection with the seafaring world. As this celebration moves into its fourth decade, there is no surprise why this weekend of fun has become so popular, with more than 300,000 people visiting over the four days.

There are so many different events and activities going on throughout Downtown Port Colborne, from August 2nd to August 5th, that it’s difficult to choose which to check out. On Princess Street, there will be Midway Rides and Games, starting at 10:00am, daily. The children always love taking a ride on the dragon or trying to win a huge bouncy ball at one of the games.  To continue with what children love, there will be a Children’s Area at Seaway Park. From 11am-6pm, the kids can enjoy Balloon Animals, free face painting and bouncy castles. I always loved having flowers painted on my face when I was a kid.

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If craft shows are your style, make sure you check out the Vale Health and Wellness Centre on Elizabeth Street. Show casing more than 60 vendors and supporting the Optimist Club, it’s a great way to buy some unique gifts and help a good cause.

Lots of action at HH Knoll Park during the festival! Throughout the day on Saturday, wander down to see the Niagara Windriders Kiteflyers Association demonstrate their moves up in the sky, with a night show, complete with lit up kites. And on Sunday, head down for the Car Show! If you want to participate, show up early with your beautiful ride.

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If you want to listen to live music, Canal Days has you covered on Market Stag (just follow the music). Friday night: Tea Party, Bleeker Ridge and Time Giant. Saturday night: Myles Goodwyn & April Wine, Downchild Blues Band, and Rich and the Poor Boys.

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Of course, a Canal Days festival wouldn’t be complete without a walk down the harbor to check out all the ships. There will be a Boat Parade of Lights on Sunday night, followed by a fireworks show that will really help to celebrate! For the full list of events, make sure you check out their website so you can plan your festival.

Niagara Falls Canada Day Celebrations

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Niagara Falls is the place to be for your Canada Day celebrations! Not only does Niagara Falls have the world famous firework display to ring in Canada’s birthday, but lots of fun is planned throughout the city during the day as well.

canadadayThere will be a Canada Day parade, along Victoria to Queen Street, starting at 11:00am. The main stage, at city hall will have opening ceremonies with performances from Elton Lammie, Senior Star and Pop Sensation, which are playing at the Greg Frewin Theatre throughout the summer. Birthday Cake will be served at noon, but only while quantities last, so make sure you get there early!

Not only can you celebrate Canada Day but you can also celebrate the Niagara Falls community with demonstrations by Club Italia, Happy Feet Dance and many more. This is happening at the corner of Queen & St. Clair. All along Queen Street, you will also be able to enjoy our local delicious food vendors. Lots happening downtown!

Niagara-Falls-FireworksOnce you’ve had all the fun you can have on Queen Street, make your way down to Queen Victoria Park to watch the firework show and show your Canadian pride!

Bird Kingdom’s 10 Anniversary

bird_kingdom_niagara_falls_logoThe Bird Kingdom is celebrating its 10th anniversary and has won a Trip Advisor Award of Excellence! We have visited the Bird Kingdom before and the award is definitely well deserved. Lots of birds, cool reptiles and other creepy crawlers too.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary, the Bird Kingdom will be thanking its guests with free children’s admission all day on Sunday, June 23rd and adults tickets only $10. If you haven’t been before, this is a great opportunity to check it out and if you’ve been there before, it’s a great opportunity to go back and relive all the fun!                    Bearded_Barbet_smaller  parrots_0

You’ll  be celebrating alongside all of the birds and creatures while you partake in scavenger hunts with prizes and get your face painted.  Don’t forget to stop by the snack bar for when you want to take a little break from the  excitement.

Make sure you say hi to my old friend the Iguana.  Happy Anniversary Bird Kingdom!

Niagara New Vintage Festival 2013

new-vintage2Can you think of a better way to kick off summer then with a festival dedicated to celebrating wine? Me either! The Niagara New Vintage Festival is not something to be missed; with wine and food and great live entertainment, it’s going to be a great weekend!

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To get the festival started, Sam Roberts Band will be playing at Jackson-Triggs amphitheatre. If you are lucky enough to have tickets to this sold out show, this band will definitely put you in the summer vibe. The next night, Jackson-Triggs will be hosting another huge name!

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Chantal Kreviazuk will be sharing her musical talents while Niagara sips on some of its talents and good news! There are still tickets available.

 

newvintageThe Discovery Pass is what you are looking for if you want to experience 8 different wineries. The pass can be used over two weekends, June 15-16 and 22- 23, and each winery will have their own take on showcasing their wines. Cattail Creek Estate Winery will be doing a Riesling and Rueben, showing off not only their delicious Riesling wine but also a delicious Rueben sandwich among their picnic tables. Chateau des Charmes will be presenting Sparkling Deconstructed, serving up 4 wines to compare, 2 of their stills and 2 of their sparking. At Diamond Estates Winery, along with a wine tasting, you will also be able to take the Cellar Floor Experience, which will teach you about their entire wine making process. And these are only 3 examples of the great experiences you can have!

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Snowbirds fly over Niagara Falls

snowbirds3If you are down by the Falls tomorrow night, May 29th, at 6:00… look up! The Canadian Snowbirds will be putting on a 25 minute air show over Niagara Falls. Starting in 1971 and becoming a permanent unit in 1977, known as the Canadian Forces Air Demonstration Team, the Snowbirds have performed hundreds of shows across Canada, The United States and Mexico. This fly season, from May to October, the Snowbirds will perform over 50 shows.

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Birthday People

Before you begin reading, I must warn you: this article is slightly self serving but I know everyone can relate.  This Friday is my birthday! As it approached I began thinking about birthdays in general. I have come to some conclusions, that I would like to share.

birthdayThere are three types of birthday people. Which one are you?
1) The Birthday Proclaimer: this person has no problem telling you that it’s their birthday. There, of course, are various levels of this person. The one, like me, who will tell you that it’s their birthday with a big grin on their face and are looking for a little sentiment for being born this day x amount of years ago. And then there is the ultimate Birthday Proclaimer who will wear a birthday pin all day and may also have a ‘Happy Birthday’ helium balloon attached to them to follow them around.

m-crying2) The Birthday Protestor: this person wants nothing to do with their birthday. They won’t have it posted on their Facebook, they won’t mention the date of their birthday and they definitely won’t tell anyone that it’s their birthday the day of! They don’t want to have a celebration, they don’t want you to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and they really don’t want the homemade birthday card I spent an hour making (oops).

birthdayboy3) The Birthday Down-Player: this person will not come out and tell you that it’s their birthday but if you realize and wish them a ‘Happy Birthday’ they will be happy. They may have a small celebration with their friends but they don’t want a big shin-dig, they don’t want the office to bring them a cake and candles but a card will be appreciated.

 

With the advent of Facebook and Twitter and all other things social media, Birthday wishes have changed. After some further thought, I realized that there is not only 3 types of birthday people but various types of birthday wishers on social media:imagesCA4RE3ZB
- The Once-A-Year: one Facebook message/year that says ‘happy birthday.’ There may be a smiley face included.
- The Friend That Should Have Called. Pretty self explanatory.
- The Who-the-Heck-Is-This: this person leaves a lovely message but you have no idea who they are. You want to say thank-you but you aren’t sure if you are being a jerk because you can’t remember them or if they are completely random and maybe a little creepy.
- The Genuine Facebook Post: this person took the time to write a lovely message to you, upload a funny photo from your past or find the perfect image on Google to make you laugh on your birthday and make you feel special.

Now that I have summed up Birthday People and Birthday Wishers, there is only one thing left for me to do: go and celebrate my birthday! Cheers!

Victoria Day in Niagara

queen_victoria_partay_3In Canada, Victoria Day started in 1845 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday on May 24th, as the mother of Confederation. The Canadian government marked that the Monday before May 25th would be the day every year that Canadians would honour Queen Victoria’s Birthday, as well as celebrate the reigning sovereign’s birthday as well.

To most Canadians however, Victoria Day means shaking off the spring time showers of April and kicking off the summer season! Niagara Falls is the perfect place to celebrate Victoria Day with lots of exciting attractions and great outdoor activities, not to mention the famous firework display over the Falls!niagara-falls-fireworks

skywheelThere are some different ways to celebrate the long weekend here in Niagara Falls. For a more action packed long weekend, why not try your luck at the Casino and then walk down Clifton Hill and ride on the SkyWheel for a perfect view of the Falls. Be prepared to wait in some lines and have it a little crowded; this option seems to be a visitor favourite.

Port DalhousieOr if you are looking for a different way to celebrate your long weekend, a hike through the Niagara Gorge would be a great nice weather activity or a walk along the Niagara parkway. Of course, after that you would need to wet your whistle with some patio drinks along Lundy’s Lane at the Croft Lounge at The Best Western Plus Cairn Croft!

This year, the GO train will be running from Toronto to Niagara throughout the whole Victoria Day weekend! Plan your visit with the train schedule and avoid the traffic that usually follows the holidays.

 

It’s Earth Day Niagara Falls!

Earth-Day3Happy Earth Day Niagara Falls! Every year on April 22nd, over 170 countries celebrate Earth Day with various activities to promote greener living and help educate on proper environmental safety practices. Starting in 1970, Earth Day began as an environmental awareness event lead by Wisconsin Governor Gaylord Nelson and a Harvard University student, Denis Hayes. Since then, this event has grown into a whole day and even a whole week worth of events to better the environment we live in.

earthdayniagaraEvents take place in almost every community across Canada: rain barrel sales, tree planting, clean-ups, corporate information sessions and school activities for every child in Canada, just to name a few. If you want to be a part of an Earth Day activity in your community, check out the events listings and for the Niagara Region, Earth Day events are happening all week. On top of the designated Earth Day events, this is a great time to get out and enjoy the outdoors… to truly appreciate the beauty of our Earth. Perhaps a hike along the Niagara Gorge is in order?

Here at Best Western Plus Cairn Croft, we do our best to make sure that we are leaving a smaller carbon footprint on the Earth than we have in the past. We have recently introduced Green Energy to our hotel and encourage all guests to be green during their stay!gogreen


Niagara Falls Comic Con 2013

comic6This year, Niagara Falls Comic Con has brought in some pretty impressive guests! Turning 50,000 square feet of the Scotiabank Convention Center into a comic and pop culture hub, Comic Con will not disappoint. Happening June 8th and 9th, with a weekend pass only costing $30 and I think you’ll need the whole weekend to experience everything that will be there this year!

Comic book vendors, artists, celebrities and attractions will fill your day. Some of the renowned comic book artists include Marc Silvestri, Colleen Doran and George Perez. The 1966 Batmobile will be on display, a gaming area will be there to try a variety of different video games and a Cosplay Costume Contest will be held on Saturday for Best Male, Best Female, Best Boy, Best Girl and Overall.

And the impressive list of celebrity guests include: Adam West (1960s Batman), Corey Feldman, Lou Ferrigno (The Hulk), Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon), David Prowse (Darth Vader) and Larry Thomas (The Soup Nazi).
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If you are coming from out of town, The Best Western Plus Cairn Croft has great packages available to make sure you are taken care of during your Comic Con weekend! Take the WEGO Shuttle from our hotel and walk a quick 10 minutes to the Scotiabank convention center.

 

Niagara Food & Wine Expo 2013

niagara food and winePicture this. One giant room, filled with delicious gourmet food, award winning wines and thirst quenching beer! No, it’s not some adult version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in Niagara Falls… it’s Niagara Food & Wine Expo happening April 26th-28th in the Scotiabank Convention Center.

This expo is jam packed with tons of exhibitors, entertainment, auctions and lessons. This year, join food and wine experts like Christopher Waters from VINE Magazine, Lydia Tomek from Hernder Estates, Sue-Ann Staff from Megalomaniac Wines and Kevin Brauch the Thirsty Traveller. Something that really sparked my interest is that Kevin Brauch will be putting on a tutored tasting called The World of Drinks. This man has been drinking in a ton of places and to learn from him and hear his stories sounds awesome! Tickets for his event are $45 and include your ticket to the expo as well.
The Canadian Food & Wine Institute at Niagara College will be bringing to The Chef Stage on-going, live demonstrations from chef masters. Watch and listen as they give you some tricks of the trade and create what are sure to be mouth-watering dishes.
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Alongside The Chef Stage, there will also be a Tasting Stage with 30 minute wine tastings for you to partake in. It is first come, first serve, so if you see a tasting that you don’t want to miss, make sure you get there early. The tasting is limited to 40 people/session.

And now, I know what you are all thinking. “Hayley! Tell us what delicious restaurants, wineries and breweries we can find on display.” Don’t worry, there is no short supply and you won’t be disappointed. Some of the restaurants that you can sample from include: 21 Club, AG Inspired Cuisine, Ponte Vecchio, and Sushi & Oyster Bar. There are also over 30 wineries to sample; Diamond Estates, Kacaba Vineyards and Between the Lines Winery! With Sample Tickets only being $1, it’s afforable to give lots of new things a try.
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The Niagara Food & Wine Expo is filled with so much information from wine pairings to delicious restaurant choices to fun cookware accessories. The event is 19+ and tickets can be purchased in advance to save $3 from the door price of $15. However you say it; Salut! Prost! Yamas! Cheers!