Niagara Parks Tagged Monarch Butterfly Reaches Mexico

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The annual migration of the Monarch Butterfly from southern Canada and the Northern United States to Mexico is one of nature’s most profound and mysterious phenomena. The scientific community still hasn’t quite figured out how these tiny, fragile creatures complete such an intimidating journey and arrive at their overwintering locations, but each year millions arrive just the same.

While tagging Monarchs to track their migration has failed to answer how they chart their course, it has provided some remarkable examples of their journey. Each September, the Niagara Parks Majestic Monarchs event gives visitors the chance to tag a Monarch for themselves before they embark on their journey. Experts help attach tiny stickers to the wings of these incredible creatures, each with its own unique tracking number. Then, everyone gathers to watch as they’re released!

This past spring one of our tagged butterflies was found at the Rosario Monarch Reserve in Mexico, over 4,000 km away!

The first documented tagging and tracking of Monarchs began with Canadian zoologist Frederick Urquhart in 1937, but it was nearly 40 years later in 1975 that was finally able to discover their final destination, leading to the discovery of dozens of sites in Mexico.

One of Urquhart’s most notable discoveries was that while a single Monarch makes the entire trip from the north to the wintering locations, the return trip consists of several generations of Monarchs. The butterflies tagged each year at the Majestic Monarch event are in effect a “super generation” with a longer life cycle, allowing them to reach their wintering destination and mate.

During the “We Are the Insects” exhibit, on February 6 through March 28 at the Butterfly Conservatory, the Monarch Teacher Network of Canada will be offering two workshops, Amazing Monarchs, Amazing Kids and Make Your Garden Monarch Friendly. Do not miss this unique opportunity to learn about these incredible creatures with 90-minute, in-depth, hands-on seminars on February 20 and March 12. Click here for additional information and workshop registration.

Niagara Parks 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

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With the holidays quickly approaching, we’d like to help you check a few more items off your wish lists with our 2015 Gift Guide. Give your loved ones the gift of Niagara Parks and create lasting memories together throughout the new year.

For the Adventure-Seeker

Discover the wonder of the Niagara Falls with our 2015/2016 Wonder Pass! Save over 55% on our top attractions Journey Behind the Falls, Niagara’s Fury and the Butterfly Conservatory in the fall, winter and early spring season. You’ll also receive two days on the WEGO transportation service, a hop-on, hop-off system connecting Niagara Parks attractions with Niagara Falls hotels. Wonder Passes are valid for use before April 30, 2016. Purchase Wonder Passes online here.

For the Golfer

Do you have an avid golfer to buy for this year? Niagara Parks Golf Courses, Legends on the Niagara and Whirlpool Golf Course, are conveniently located 1.5 hours south of Toronto. Dramatically situated next to the mighty Niagara Whirlpool or bordering the historic grounds of the 1814 Battle of Chippawa, Niagara Parks Golf Courses feature challenging designs by renowned golf architects Stanley Thompson, and Douglas Carrick and Thomas McBroom.

Niagara Parks Golf eGift Cards make the perfect gift for golfers of any skill level. Ranging from $25 up to $200, gift cards can be redeemed at Legends on the Niagara or Whirlpool Golf Course towards green fees, pro shop purchases, or in the restaurant. Purchase Niagara Parks Golf eGift Cards here.

For the Foodie

Give the foodie on your list the gift of a locally sourced meal alongside the mighty Horseshoe Falls. Featuring the freshest ingredients from local farms, Ontario craft beers, and a selection of VQA wines from the vineyards of Niagara, we’re proud to be Feast ON certified by the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance.

At Elements on the Falls, elevate their dining experience with a glass of VQA wine paired with a char-grilled AAA Beef Tenderloin or Canadian Baked Atlantic Salmon stuffed with velvety lobster mousse. To finish, our famous Niagara Spy Apple Barge is a popular choice with its delicate filo pastry basket filled with warm cinnamon-scented apples, French vanilla ice cream and Chantilly cream. Make this memory unforgettable with a dinner featuring the tastes of Niagara during the nightly Falls Illuminations.

To purchase gift certificates, call us directly at 1 (905) 354-3631. Niagara Parks Culinary gift certificates are not site-specific and can be used at any Niagara Parks Culinary destination.

For the Collector

Did one of your loved ones visit Niagara Parks this year? Bring back memories of their first time seeing the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls with a Christmas ornament, a framed print of the roaring Horseshoe Falls, or even a bottle of Canadian maple syrup. Purchase collectables through our online shop.

Your purchases help great things happen in Niagara Parks

Niagara Parks has operated without tax dollars since 1885 and every dollar you spend with us helps protect the natural and cultural heritage along the Niagara River. So while you’re giving the gift of Niagara Parks to your loved one, you’re also helping to preserve our beautiful parkland for generations to come.

U35 Niagara Tackles Local Challenges Facing Emerging Generation

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The Average University graduate in Ontario will take 14 years to pay off the entirety of their student debts, and judging by the current job market available to recent graduates in Niagara, this figure might be on the low side.

This was just one of the eye-opening stats cited by Jessica Potts during her opening remarks at the U35 Niagara event held on November 18th.

The one day summit held at the Scotiabank Convention Center focused on strategies for attracting and retaining young professionals “The Emerging Generation” in the region. The day was attended by 150 delegates, spanning all walks of the Niagara economy from local government and political figures to business owners, and of course young professionals themselves.

The day’s proceedings were light on structure and rules, but heavy on ideas and conversation. A common theme of the day surrounded changing the perceptions of Niagara as a brand and repositioning its economic identity away from the disappearing industrial manufacturing jobs that were once its primary driver and towards a more dynamic and diversified future.

Aside from heavy manufacturing, Niagara’s other remaining economic identity is the 800 pound gorilla in the room, tourism. With the falls only receding an average of one meter per year, it’s fair to say that this industry is not disappearing any time soon.

Of course, there are certainly worse geo-economic climates then being located just over an hour from Canada’s largest population base, along a major international border crossing, and anchored by a natural wonder. However, diversifying Niagara’s economy, and providing opportunities for young professionals to stay and build careers in their field of choice, can happen in tandem with our identity as a tourist mecca and not in spite of it.

For example, that new upscale boutique hotel down the road will need renovations completed and a website created prior to opening, resulting in contract work for skilled tradespeople and a design firm. Upon opening, an event planner and IT specialist could also find employment. If this sounds like an overly optimistic appraisal of this hypothetical situation, that is fair, but we have to start somewhere and using our established industries as a springboard for emerging ones is a an obvious place to start.

The wine industry in Niagara provides an excellent example of exactly this. Niagara has long been home to wineries, but its explosion as a full-fledged wine tourism destination on an international level is a fairly recent development. This emergence has in no small part been thanks to the growth of complimentary experiences, which also contributes to building the broader agricultural, service, creative, and knowledge industries in the region.

The benefits of building this culinary experiential identity can be seen in a number of the successful new initiatives here at Niagara Parks. Our local food focus at our Elements on the Falls, Queenston Heights, and Queen Victoria Place Restaurants, ensures that a minimum 25% of the food and beverages served are locally produced. As well, our culinary apprentice program engages young, up and coming culinary industry professionals. Both items ensure Niagara Parks is at the forefront of showcasing the flavours and culinary talents of Niagara.

These types of initiatives are obviously just a drop in the bucket in addressing the challenges facing the region as a whole, but I left the U35 conference with a great sense of optimism about the future of the Niagara region and its potential to attract and retain the emerging generation moving forward. As well as proud of Niagara Parks’ efforts towards this.

Certainly, achieving this goal will not happen overnight, but the seeds of a movement have been planted. If the positive energy that permeated the room is any indicator, the shift towards a Niagara that not only attracts young people from outside the region, but also provides viable opportunities for them to plant roots, grow their careers, and contribute to the economic future of the region is well underway!

Special thanks to event organizers Brock University, Niagara College, Next Niagara, Innovate Niagara
and the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce.