Traveling to Queenston with a Dog – Niagara Region – Ontario, Canada
In my last blog, I mentioned that the old town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, although lovely, is not enough to occupy you for an entire day. Add the surrounding area to your visit, however, and you have more things to choose than time to see! And that is how we like it. The highlight of our visit was Fort George, but I will cover that in its own post next week.
What I want to cover today is a quick roundup of what we saw in the area between Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls—in particular, the town of Queenston.
First, you should know that you can rent a bike or an electric scooter, and if you have a backpack, kangaroo pouch, or sling bag for your small dog, you could get around this region riding on the Niagara Parks and Garden Trail. This 50 km trail stretches from Old Fort Erie in the South to Niagara-on-the-Lake in the North. It’s a beautiful trail with views that would be worth the slow pace and extra physical effort. We drove, but eyed the trail with envy every time our road paralleled the paved trail.
The Flower Clock, reputed to be photographed almost as often as the Falls themselves, is a popular stop on the Niagara Parkway. And you don’t need much time. The visit will only take a few minutes. In fact, you can even do a slow drive-by. You guessed it: that is what we did! Although I suspect that the success of this option will depend upon how many tourists are busy taking photos and thus obscuring your view.
I liked being reminded of the floral clock we saw in Geneva. It’s nice to see how some fun concepts travel around the world.
Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum
This is the restored home of rebel publisher William Lyon Mackenzie. It’s fun to see where 200 years ago, Canada’s printed media history began. The crowning glory in the collection is the Louis Roy Press, the oldest in Canada and one of the few original wooden presses remaining in the world! You can read ALL about it here.
I was allowed in with a wink, tucked in my bag and “unseen.” I am guessing that there is a no pets policy that we somehow managed to get around. Having said that, the tour is short enough that you could easily do a hand off if you are travelling as two or more humans. I am certain big dogs will be asked to remain outside. Take a stroll while the other(s) visit and then switch!
Laura Secord Homestead
During the war of 1812, a brave woman set out on a perilous journey in the service of her country and stepped forever into the history and folklore of Niagara.
The restored Laura Secord Homestead is a fun visit complete with stories of her adventures as interpreted by authentically costumed guides. I must admit I was impressed by Laura Secord’s pluck and courage. Travelling eighteen hours over wild terrain and through terrible danger to deliver her warning was the key to the British defeat of the Americans. It is quite possible that Laura Secord’s success and bravery is why Canada is … well, Canada.
I’m not sure if I was really supposed to be allowed in, but I was tucked away in my sling bag on Dad’s hip. So we enjoyed our little private guided tour. After hearing about this amazing young woman, we let it all soak in while we enjoyed some ice cream at the big picnic tables set up outside the tourist office, which is built where the outside kitchen likely once was. We bought some Laura Secord chocolates for a friend; Mom also really liked the book on Laura Secord that was for sale in the souvenir section.
If you are with bigger dogs, the tour doesn’t take that long and you could easily do a hand over. Enjoy refreshments with your canine companion while the other biped tours and then … switch!
Queenston Heights Park and the Brock Monument
The park is nestled high up on the Niagara Escarpment. Garden and nature lovers, hikers and picnickers have used this park for generations. You will find lovely flowerbeds, fountains, lots of historical information, and statues.
Queenston Heights Park is an end point of the Bruce Trail, which winds its way northward over several hundred kilometers. The Bruce Trail passes through the Niagara Escarpment, which has been recognized by UNESCO as a world biosphere. The park is pet friendly so long as the dog remains on leash. It goes without saying, but just to be clear, you must clean up after your pet.
The Brock Monument towers over the park. Measuring 56 metres (185 feet) in height, it is the largest monument of its kind in Canada. It has a very distinct English feel, much like what you might expect to see in London! The monument marks the site of the Battle of Queenston Heights where British and American soldiers fought for the destiny of two nations. Brock’s Monument is the final resting place of Major General Sir Isaac Brock and his Aide-de-Camp, Lieutenant Colonel John Macdonell.
Today, visitors can tour the battlefield with costumed staff, visit the small museum highlighting the early life of Major General Sir Isaac Brock, and climb the 235 steps to the top of Brock’s Monument to enjoy a spectacular view of the Niagara frontier. Small dogs are allowed so long as they stay in arms or in a bag. SWEET!
This historic Georgian structure was the home of John McFarland and then his descendants for 140 years. McFarland, a widower, and his four children, emigrated from Scotland in the 1790s.
The home is of particular historical significance because it survived the burning of Newark, a tragedy that took place when the American forces occupying Fort George retreated from the area in December 1813. This makes McFarland House one of the oldest structures in Niagara-on-the-Lake, as well as the oldest building owned by The Niagara Parks Commission.
Pets are not allowed inside. We did not go inside as a result, choosing to just glimpse the outside and then keep going on our drive.
Walker’s Fruit Stand and the Living Water Wayside Chapel
The Living Water Wayside Chapel is recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s smallest chapel! What makes it a fun stop is that I swear the chapel seems bigger on the inside than outside. And yes, the Dr. Who parallel is not lost on me, although the chapel is not the Tardis.
The chapel was erected in the 1960s and has been a favourite visiting spot for over 50 years. This chapel surprisingly seats up to six people inside, although I noticed that Mom as well as Dad had to duck their heads to enter. Amazingly, some people DO get married there. Talk about an intimate wedding!
Next door to the chapel is the Niagara Parkway’s best-known fruit stand, called “Walker’s.” But it’s more than a stand. It’s a building, with walls and a roof and a patio. They allowed me to sit outside on the patio, for which I was very grateful. I took a break on Mom’s lap and drank some water.
Dad went in and got some cold, locally made grape juice, some local fresh fruit, two wonderful sandwiches freshly made that day, and a nice jar of local grape jelly as a gift for a friend. If you are on your way to or from Niagara-on-the-Lake, where you know you can’t sit on a patio for lunch anywhere, stop at Walker’s for a bite. Although a tad overpriced, everything is clean and fresh and the staff are nice.
White Water Walk and the Whirlpool Aero Car
Note: This walk is accessible only to service animals and ESAs. I don’t know why.
This beautiful boardwalk at the very edge of one of the world’s wildest stretches of white water will mesmerize you. Much like near the Falls, the relentless power and beauty of the water and the nature surrounding it is impressive. Gallons upon gallons of water are forced into this accelerating trough. The sight will take your breath away!
How do you get there? ALL the way down? First, you’ll ride an elevator down 70 meters, then walk along a 73 meter tunnel to the boardwalk. Walk the 305 meters (1,000 feet or ¼ mile) along the boardwalk to the stairs that lead to two observation areas at the edge of the river.
The Whirlpool Rapids consist of four kilometers of three to five meter standing waves, making this stretch of white water the largest and finest series of standing waves in North America. As the water travels through the Rapids at White Water Walk, it is traveling at about 48 kilometres per hour or 30 miles per hour, creating Class 6 Whirlpool Rapids. SUCH fun! Hold on to your kids and pooch!
This site also provides visitors with an excellent view of the 410-million-year-old rock layers of the Niagara Gorge. The Whirlpool Aero Car offers visitors the only opportunity to look directly into the eye of this gigantic whirlpool!
And that was it Dear Reader! We then headed back to Niagara Falls where we were “stationed” and had a quick shower/bath. I had dinner in our room and the bipeds went to the hotel restaurant for dinner. But more on all that later!
In review: Traveling to Queenston with a Dog in the Niagara Region is quite lovely. A picturesque drive, bike or scooter ride with loads of historical stops along the way. Enjoy breathtaking views, lush green spaces and tales told by costumed guides. If you like, you can add some wine tasting to the mix, many wineries are more or less pet friendly.