Niagara Falls: a vibrant city that has it all
Niagara Falls tops countless people’s bucket lists — and for good reason. The sheer scale and power of the Falls is extraordinary to witness: a torrent of roughly 600,000 gallons of water rush down every single second. After attending a familiarization trip in May, the Destination Canada Business Events team discovered that the natural wonder is only part of what the destination has to offer.
Located a 90-minute drive from Toronto, Niagara is packed with activities that offer the ultimate reward for high achievers — from exhilarating water-based adventures to memorable meals at acclaimed wineries. There are also many opportunities to explore its sector expertise and connect with thought leaders who are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, making it a natural choice when it comes to hosting meaningful business events.
An array of adventures
Niagara is a place that excels at adventure. Over the course of three days, the Business Events team enjoyed plenty of outdoor activities — starting off with an evening boat ride through Niagara City Cruises. After donning a recyclable poncho, our team hopped onboard to get up close to the trio of iconic waterfalls, known as the American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe Falls. As we listened to its thunderous roar and felt the refreshing spray of its mist, we gained a whole new understanding of their profound power.
The excitement didn’t stop there. We also got an out of this world adrenaline rush as we ziplined 220 feet in the air while taking in the views of the Falls. We took a thrilling jet boat ride to navigate Niagara’s dramatic white-water rapids, which are rated on a scale of one to six. We also gained new memories as we enjoyed the variety of attractions on Clifton Hill’s Street of Fun, including the 175-foot Niagara SkyWheel and go-kart racing at the Niagara Speedway.
Award-winning wines and picturesque vineyards
Beyond the outdoor activities, Niagara is home to one of Canada’s largest wine regions — boasting more than acclaimed 50 wineries. After soaring above the Falls on an unforgettable Niagara Helicopters trip, we touched down in the expansive valleys and hillsides of the Niagara-on-the-Lake. Our first stop: Peller Estates Winery, where we were greeted with a refreshing glass of sparkling wine before being led on a private tour of the underground cellar. The highlight was no doubt a visit to the -10°C ice wine room, a stunning igloo-like lounge that boasts an ice bar and lounge chairs built from over 13,000 kilos of ice.
Many vineyards in the region also offer exclusive dining experiences to celebrate top performers’ achievements, such as the renowned Trius Winery, one of Niagara’s oldest. Our venue for lunch was an intimate underground barrel cellar, where we enjoyed a gourmet multi-course meal that paid homage to the region’s local ingredients, along with a black glass challenge that had us guessing a variety of wines. That was followed by a stop at Wayne Gretzky Estates outdoor beer garden, before heading to charming Niagara-on-the-Lake for the evening.
Brilliant minds leading the way
Organizations that meet in Niagara Falls can enhance their events by tapping into the region’s intellectual capital. There are many opportunities to weave local expertise into conference agendas in areas that span from agribusiness and viticulture to advanced manufacturing and beyond.
We heard an insightful presentation from Dr. Ian Potter, President & CEO at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre — an independent, not-for-profit organization focused on horticultural science and innovation. Dr. Potter shared the centre’s work to diversify and enhance horticulture products produced in Canada, including a new pear variety called Cold Snap™ that boasts a longer storage life and higher resistance to disease.
We went on a guided tour of the Niagara Parks Power Station, a decommissioned power plant that recently reopened as a museum with immersive exhibits, restored artifacts and interactive storytelling. Aside from being a breathtaking facility, the tour was highly informative in demonstrating how the station harnessed the power of the Falls to generate electricity for the surrounding area for a century.
World-class venues and more
In between activities, we had the chance to visit a number of venues and accommodations available to organizations hosting their events in Niagara. The city is home to a stunning, high-tech convention centre, along with plenty of hotels that offer views of the world-famous Falls, including Hilton Hotel & Suites, Sheraton Fallsview and Marriott on the Falls. We also toured several charming hotels, like Old Stone Inn in the Entertainment District and the stunning 124 on Queen in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
As we found during our many exceptional meals in Niagara, you can have both delicious food and jaw-dropping views. For instance, there’s the iconic Table Rock House Restaurant, located just steps from the Horseshoe Falls that illuminate in vibrant shades at night and the R5 Patio & Bar at the top of Fallsview Casino Resort — to name a couple.
A top choice for business events and incentive travel
Beyond the awe-inspiring natural scenery, world-class venues, transformative experiences and a dynamic culinary scene, what stood out for our team was the commitment and dedication to those who host visitors each year. As Chantal Sturk-Nadeau recalls, every partner was truly passionate about ensuring the best experience possible.
“It was a trip that our entire team won’t forget,” she says. “We would like to say a huge thank you to our hosts, Niagara Falls Business Events, as well as all partners for making it possible. Your passion for the region and commitment to helping others experience all that it has to offer is inspiring.”