The Niagara Blogger

Fun adventures and explorations in and around Niagara

Find Inspiration at the Home and Garden Show

If you’re considering doing some home renovations, decorating or landscaping this year, then a visit to a large tradeshow can be a great source of inspiration and ideas to achieve the home of your dreams. The Canada Blooms and National Home Show at the Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, was on in Toronto March 9-18, 2018,  and it was amazing.

TV By the Pool

At the show there are booths displaying everything for your home from kitchens and fireplaces to smart home products and hot tubs, even cars! Exhibitors are ready to answer all your questions, so don’t be shy. Its a great place to see what’s new and innovative in the market.  The Two biggest trends this year are outdoor living spaces with water features, and smart technology for the home.

Poolside Lounge

If you missed the show in Toronto, The 8th Annual Greater Niagara Region Home and Garden Show will be held next weekend March 23-25th, 2018, at The Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls.  There are great seminars and speakers like Frank Farragine, AKA “Frankie Flowers” giving lots of gardening tips, take a look at the schedule on their website so you can plan your visit.

Zen Garden

There are also many great resources available online to help you plan your renovating and gardening projects from home.  Pinterest is great for making idea boards and finding out what décor styles you like. Another fantastic website to try is Houzz.com. On Houzz you can look at tonnes of design inspiration photos to get ideas, you can shop for items through the website, and also connect with contractors and design professionals in your area.

Luxury Greenhouse

 

 

Trek into Sugar Bush Country for Some Maple Magic

If you’re thinking about going on a sugar bush trek this season White Meadows Farms is a great local place to try out.  Located at 2519 Effingham St. in Pelham, Ontario, it’s just a 10 minute drive from St Catharines.

Guide at White Meadows Farms

One of the guides like Randy, will take you out into the woods and back in time, to teach you about how maple syrup was discovered by Canadian Indigenous People, who taught it to early Canadian settlers. Its amazing to learn how they collected sap using sticks and birch tree buckets, then used rocks heated in a fire to heat the sap and reduce it down to syrup.

Maple Syrup Boiling in Cast Iron Pots

Next is the pioneer station where you can watch demonstrations of how they collected sap in buckets, and boiled it down in cast iron pots over an open fire. Many pioneers would camp out in the woods for months just to collect and produce maple syrup, which many people used for cooking and trading for other goods.

Maple Sap Collecting buckets

 

Making Maple Syrup Candy

Time for tasting! your guide will ladle out hot maple syrup onto a bed of pristine white snow. Wait 10 seconds then dip in your sticks and roll up the solidifying maple syrup. The taste of warm sweet maple syrup candy will melt in your mouth like maple magic.

A visit to the shop gets you some more maple syrup tasting, and an opportunity to purchase some maple syrup to take home with you. Maple season is only in March and April here in southern Ontario, so get out there! To find a sugar bush trek near you check the Ontario maple website.

Maple Syrup Candy

 

 

A Toast to Oast!

The Niagara area is famous for it’s wine, but did you know there are also some amazing craft beer distilleries here too ? Check out the one with the big red barn, Oast House Brewers, located at 2017 Niagara Stone Rd. in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

The Big Red Bard

As soon as you walk in its warm and welcoming. Approach the tasting bar and talk to a bartender to try a variety of their beers from light to dark. Glasses of amber and gold glimmer and shine in the sunlight coming in through the window.

Brewery Jewels

Taste the beers one at a time and you will be amazed at the variations in flavour profile from one beer to the next. The Country Bumpkin beer truly tastes like pumpkin, Barn Raiser has a light citrus flavour that would be so nice ice cold on a hot summer day, and the dark Porter is rich and delicious with a deep mocha flavour.

The Hayloft

The vibe here is fun and casual. There is a ping pong table,  a seasonal patio and beer shed with Friday night live bands, and The Hayloft upstairs. The Hayloft is a big, bright, beautiful event space with large windows that overlook the neighbouring winery. The space can be rented out for parties, business meetings, wedding receptions and more.

Beer Barrels

 

Take a tour of the brewery facilities to lean more about how they make their craft beers. There are huge vats, tanks and barrels of beer in various stages of fermentation all around. Oats House Brewers have tripled their production since 2012 and they are sold in 330 LCBO stores in Ontario.

Oast House Brewers Beer

 

 

 

How to Escape Winter for a Day

If you’re looking to escape the chill of winter for a day try visiting the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls, Ontario. When you enter the Butterfly Conservatory its like entering another place and time. The huge glass enclosed space is filled with the soothing sounds of waterfalls, hundreds of tropical plants and flowers and over 2,000 butterflies.

Glass Butterfly Atrium

Wandering the pathways that lead you through, butterflies will flutter freely all around you in a magical way. Take your time and be careful where you walk, sometimes butterflies land on the pathway and you don’t want to step on one. You may even have a butterfly land on you! Don’t be scared they can’t hurt you. It’s very educational and beautiful, but also teaches you how to be careful with such delicate creatures.

Butterfly on my Leg

Plates of sweet juicy fruits are laid out all around and visitors can watch the butterflies feeding on them.

Butterfly Brunch

Another place to check out is the Bird Kingdom where tropical birds fly around in the open aviary space. You can also help feed the birds and have encounters with them and other animals that live there. If you’re lucky You will get a chance to get up close and personal with these beautiful and colourful creatures.

Colourful Parrot at Bird Kingdom

If you feel like swimming and splashing around, check out an indoor water park like Great Wolf Lodge. You can spend the day poolside, ride the waterslide, or relax and sir back in yurt own private cabaña. You will feel like you’ve had a mini tropical vacation right in Niagara Falls.

Great Wolf Lodge

 

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