Great Niagara Circle Route

by Perette Barella

This travelogue follows mom and me around the Great Niagara Circle Route in 2016.


1. Welland, Ontario

2016-07-18 Monday

We started from Fort Erie, heading west on the Friendship Trail toward Port Colbourne. We stopped a cafe/greasy spoon for lunch. When we made it to Port Colbourne, we turned north and began heading up the Welland Canal.

Moving onto "The Island", we stopped to rest at the Lock 8 Gateway Park.

Welland Canal lock 8
A hillock on The Island provides a good place for pretty flowers, and acts as a viewing area to watch lock activity.
Welland Canal lock 8
A fountain decorating Lock 8.
Welland Canal lock 8
The north end of Lock 8. The picture doesn't do justice to the scale; it shows perhaps 1/3 or 1/2 the lock. They are huge.
Pat Barella
My mom Pat, sitting by one of the fountains at Lock 8.

After our break, we continued on as far as Welland. When we got there, the Best Western was full but the awesome staff called around and found us another hotel that had space. If I ever pass through again, I'll make a reservation, and it'll be at the BW because they were so helpful.

2. Queenston, Ontario

2016-07-19 Tuesday

We continued north on the canal.

Welland Canal lift bridge
A lift bridge on the Welland Canal
The Kissing Rock on the Welland Canal
The Kissing Rock on the Welland Canal.
Zig-zag rail crossing on the Welland Canal Rail Trail
Zig-zag rail crossing on the Welland Canal Rail Trail.

When we got to the escarpment, the trail began to descend along a rail line. Half-way down, the trail zig-zagged to cross it, and mom got fouled up and crashed, getting bruised up and cutting hand. But that wasn't going to stop her! After checking her and the bike out, we continued on our way toward Lake Ontario.

At the lake, we transferred onto roads to make our way to the old town section of Niagara-on-the-Lake. We grabbed lunch at a diner, then explored the town.

Pat Barella
Mom in Simcoe Park, Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Perette and Pat Barella
Perette and Pat visit the flower gardens in Simcoe Park, Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Daisies and other flowers in Simcoe Park.
Perette Barella
Perette resting in Simcoe Park.
Fort Niagara, as seen from Queens Park in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Fort Niagara, as seen from Queens Park in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Toronto viewed over Lake Ontario
Toronto's silhouette is is barely visible across Lake Ontario.
Niagara River/Lake Ontario
The Niagara River and Lake Ontario, as seen from Queens Park in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

When we'd finished with the village, we headed south on a bike trail that follow the Niagara River. Tonight's goal was Queenston, where our hotel (with a reservation!) awaited us.

Perette Barella
Enjoying ice cream at a farm stand.
Bikes locked to railing
Our bikes, locked to the railing at our hotel.

There wasn't much for food in Queenston, so we biked the 4km into St. David and ate at the Old Firehall. They had a nice patio and good food.

Pat Barella
Mom at the Old Firehall.
Perette Barella
Perette at the Old Firehall.

We wanted to stretch our legs after riding back from dinner, so we walked down to Queenston docks.

Niagara River
The Niagara River, looking downstream from the Queenston docks.

3. Fort Erie, Ontario

2016-07-20 Wednesday On Wednesday we rode the short but uphill section to Queenston Heights Park, where we stopped to visit the Brock monument.
Perette Barella
Perette taking a picture of...
Pat Barella taking a picture of the Brock monument.
The Brock Monument in Queenston Heights Park
The Brock Monument in Queenston Heights Park.
Niagara River
The Niagara River, seen through the trees from Queenston Heights Park.

From there, we continued along the river to Niagara Falls.

Niagara gorge
Looking down into the Niagara Gorge near the electricity generating stations. The combined power generated here, at full capacity, is 4.9GW---about 5 moderate nuke plants, or 8 average coal plants.
The Niagara Whirlpool
The Niagara Whirlpool.
Niagara Falls overlook park
Fountains in the park overlooking Niagara Falls. If you're looking for the Wonderfalls shop, you won't find it here: it's at Exhibition Place in Toronto, and only looked here through the magic of computer graphics. No smush-faced lion for you!
Pat Barella at Niagara Falls
Pat Barella at Niagara Falls.
Perette and Pat Barella
Perette and Pat Barella and the US portion of Niagara Falls.

After visiting the falls and getting lunch, we finished the last section of the route.

Niagara River
The upper portion of the Niagara River is peaceful compared to the falls and gorge sections.
Niagara River Recreation Trail
Perette rests on her recumbent while we take a break along the Niagara River Recreation Trail, which runs from Niagara Falls to Fort Erie.
Perette and Pat Barella
Perette and mom stop to hydrate and snack along the Niagara River.
Niagara Parkway
In a few places, the separate right-of-way for the recreation trail disappears and we had to ride the roads. But traffic wasn't bad and the speed limit was low (60km/hour), so we didn't mind.
Perette and Pat Barella
Perette and mom cycle along the Niagara Parkway.

Arriving in Fort Erie, we stopped for our daily ice cream, then went to the hotel where we had stowed the car. We stayed the night, for there were more adventures on the morrow.

Perette and Pat Barella
Perette and mom hot tubing away sore muscles.