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Published: April 21st 2022
On Thursday, we planned to venture further up the Niagara Parkway to Niagara-on-the-Lake. This is a true parkway as it parallels the Niagara Parks Commission park its entire length. First stop was the Floral Clock. The Floral Clock
is a 40-foot wide operating clock. It's been in operation since 1952, originally maintained by Niagara Hydro and now by Niagara Parks. It's called the Floral Clock because the clock face is decorated each year with different themed flower arrangements. In 2005, the theme was Scouting, celebrating the centennial of the founding of Boy Scouts in the UK. Behind the clock, a room contains a display of color photos of all of the annual floral designs back to the beginning. It was inspired by the Floral Clock in Edinburgh, Scotland, but this one is larger at 40 ft. across.
In a room in the back of the base, one can see a display of photos of all the different arrangements through the years. I remember first seeing the Floral Clock when I was nine years old. I enjoyed it on this trip, too. It seems very Canadian, like the hanging flower baskets one sees in smaller towns.
On up the parkway
Brock Monument, Queenston Heights, Ontario. Commemorates British General Brock who defended the Niagara region from invading Americans during the War of 1812. IMG_1487p1
was Queenston Heights. The Brock Monument
is located here on a hill overlooking the river. The cenotaph commemorates the British general who defended Upper Canada against an invading American army in 1812. Here, we began to gain a sense of the importance the War of 1812 holds for Canadians.
The Queenston Heights restaurant is nearby. We ate lunch at this very nice restaurant with a commanding view of the Niagara River below. A wine tasting was in progress as we left, but we did not tarry.
Below Queenston Heights is the Laura Secord Homestead
historic site. Laura Secord is a Canadian patriot and heroine. She was an American from Massachusetts who married a French Canadian and settled in what was then known as Upper Canada. During the War of 1812, invading American troops bivouacked at her farm. She overheard their plans and journeyed through the night to warn the British Army of the American advance.
The region contains many farms today. We stopped at Kurtz Orchards
to sample the region's products and learn about the Ontario wine industry. The shop at Kurtz displays a panoply of Ontario wines and jellies, preserves, spreads, and syrups made from locally
grown fruits and vegetables. There were numerous tasting stations and we enjoyed trying out many delicious varieties of preserves. Especially noteworthy were the Ontario wine preserves! We bought a few bottles and jars to take home and for gifts. Niagara-on-the-Lake
is a verry pretty community right at the mouth of the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. Hanging flower baskets line the main street, giving an air of community pride and tidiness.
The Shaw Festival takes place here. We saw the festival theatre and my wife and I agreed we'd like to come back to see one of the productions. Fort George
is a Canadian National Historic Site. It's located on the Niagara River near its mouth, almost directly across from Old Fort Niagara on the New York side. There's a reason for this. Fort George was built by the British in the 1790s to replace Fort Niagara, turned over to the United States at the end of the Revolutionary War. (Old Fort Niagara
, in New York state, is also a historic site open for visitors.) As you enter Fort George, a large brass artillery aiming device invites the visitor to draw a bead on Old Fort Niagara right
across the river and the border. The two forts did bombard one another during the War of 1812. Bunkhouses, the officer's quarters, and other structures have been restored and furnished and contain interpretive displays. Reeanactors roam the fort to answer questions. Officers will address you in character as Sir! During our visit, a fife and drum corps in period costume put on a performance.
On the way back from Niagara-on-the-Lake we spotted the large Souvenier City establishment. It's on the Niagara Parkway and can't be missed. We had to stop in! Souvenier City has a wide array of Canada and Niagara Falls themed merchandise ranging from T-shirts, hats and other apparel to souvenir magnets, spoons, thimbles, plates, and bottle openers. There is an Indian handcrafts area and also an Ann of Green Gables section. Postcards, too, of course. It's all tastefully displayed. Everyone has one of the discount coupons distributed around town. (If you don't already have one they give you one in the parking lot!) Outside there are giant replicas of the merchandise inside.
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