3 Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving Weekend in Niagara Parks

Sweater weather has officially arrived in Southern Ontario and the leaves on the trees that line our 56km stretch along the Niagara River are sprinkled with hints of orange, yellow and red. Whether you’re coming home to Niagara to spend time with family and friends or looking to plan a weekend escape, here are 3 ways to celebrate the Thanksgiving long weekend in Niagara Parks:


1. Leave the cooking to us
Spend more time relaxing this weekend and visit one of our five Feast On certified restaurants along the Niagara Parkway. Feast On, a criteria-based program from the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, recognizes businesses committed to showcasing Ontario’s unique taste of place. By dining with Niagara Parks Culinary, you help to support the many growers, producers and craftspeople that make up the province’s strong food and agricultural sectors.

On Sunday, October 9, enjoy brunch at the picturesque Queenston Heights Restaurant. Enjoy our seasonal menu while overlooking wine country and the winding Niagara River. Reservations are recommended. Call (905) 262-4274 to reserve your spot.

If you’re looking for a traditional turkey dinner with sides of Spy Apple Sage Stuffing, Yukon Mashed Potatoes, and Harvest Pumpkin Pie with Chantilly Cream, look to Elements on the Falls. Enjoy a prix-fixe Thanksgiving Dinner at the brink of Horseshoe Falls from October 8 to 10 and don’t miss the falls fireworks on Friday, Sunday and Monday evening at 10:00pm. Reservations recommended. Call (905) 354-3631 to reserve your table.



2. Discover some fall colour
A harvest-themed display featuring pumpkins, gourds and other fall décor is now in place at the Floral Showhouse alongside the annual Reiger Begonia Show. Wander through rows of coleus, ferns, and tropicals before heading outside to view our Life on Display exhibit.

After checking out the harvest displays at the Floral Showhouse, head north along the Niagara Parkway to visit White Water Walk and our 100-year-old Whirlpool Aero Car. Stroll along the wooden boardwalk at the edge of the Niagara River at White Water Walk then soar over the whirlpool and enjoy a panoramic view of the gorge aboard the Whirlpool Aero Car. Check out these vantage points before it’s too late – both of these attractions close for the season on November 6.

Plan your adventure and learn more about our passes here.




3. Reconnect with nature
Niagara Parks features 15km of hiking footpaths through six different nature areas, one 56-km paved Niagara River Recreation Trail, and also maintains a section of the Bruce Trail.

Explore the north end of the Niagara Parkway and hike the rugged trails that wind through the Niagara Glen. Located deep in the Niagara Gorge, stairways lead to 4km of rugged paths that wind through this pristine pocket of Carolinian Forest, past prehistoric geological formations, wild flora and fauna. The Niagara Glen overlooks the rapid teal-coloured waters of the Niagara River and the Niagara River Whirlpool.

Niagara Parks also offers superior cycling for all ages on our 53km Niagara River Recreation Trail. As part of larger trail systems that includes the Trans Canada Trail, the Waterfront Trail, the Greater Niagara Circle Route and the Greenbelt Route, the Niagara River Recreational Trail borders the winding Niagara River and is divided into four picturesque sections. Pack a picnic and stop at any of the look-out spots along the river for lunch.


Honouring Legends

As the world mourns the passing of golf’s undisputed “King” on the eve of the 41st edition of golf’s biennial contest between the United States and Europe, one has to think that the Americans will have a thirteenth man in the locker room this week as they try to win their first Ryder Cup since 2008. Arnold Palmer loved this event and in six appearances as a player he won a total of 23 points, a record that stood for 24 years until it was broken by Nick Faldo in 1997. How US Captain Davis Love III harnesses the emotion surrounding Palmer’s death could well turn the tables on Darren Clarke’s European team.

For the man who almost singlehandedly redefined the country club game, the Ryder Cup was about something more than playing for money. To Palmer, it was something grander and more personal as it was for Spain’s Seve Ballesteros who was the inspiration behind Europe’s Ryder Cup resurgence. A mainstay of the European team for much of the 80s and 90s, Seve scored 22½ points in 37 matches and his partnership with fellow Spaniard José María Olazábal was the most successful in the history of the competition with 11 wins and two ties in 15 pairs matches. Just as Palmer brought the game to the masses, Ballesteros helped elevate public interest in the Ryder Cup.

If there was a turning point in the modern era of the matches, it was the 1989 event at The Belfry in England that ignited tensions between the teams and saw the beginnings of a feud between Ballesteros and American Paul Azinger. After holding the cup for more than two decades, the United States team lost both the 1985 and 1987 matches and in 1989 the pressure was on the US side. Early in their singles match, Ballesteros sought to change a scuffed ball for a new one under the Rules of Golf and when Azinger disputed whether the ball was unfit for play, Ballesteros reportedly said, “Is this the way you want to play today?” The matches ended in a tie, with the European side retaining the cup.

The tension between the teams and the feud between Ballesteros and Azinger escalated in 1991 at Kiawah Island dubbed “The War on the Shore”. On the first morning of the competition, Azinger and Chip Beck were paired against Ballesteros and José María Olazábal in a foursome match when Azinger accused Ballesteros of gamesmanship for clearing his throat during Beck’s shots. That intensity produced what may be regarded as one of the best pairs matches in history, with the Spaniards winning 2 & 1. The United States won that year and the Ryder Cup became anything but a friendly contest again.

In 2008, Seve was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour and died May 7, 2011, at the age 54. At the 2012 Ryder Cup, the first to be played after his death, the European team wore navy blue and white on the final day, the colours Seve traditionally wore on the last day of a tournament. On their uniforms they stitched the silhouette of the iconic Ballesteros’ “salute” from his win at the 1984 Open Championship.

Fast forward to Hazeltine this week and the swashbuckling image of golf’s first authentic hero and what US Captain Davis Love III does to honor “The King” could well have a profound impact on the American side and the on-going battle for golf’s greatest team prize.

Getting Golf Ready

With autumn leaves about to blush in northern climates, it’s time to start reflecting on your golf performance this season. Write down what you worked on this year, what needs work, and what your goals are going forward. If you’re content with your current level of play you should be asking yourself what you are going to do to retain that level into next season. If you’re not happy with your game, you should be asking yourself what you can do now and in the off-season to get off to a faster start next year. As Ben Hogan famously said, “Every day that I miss practicing takes one day longer to get good.”

What the average player should be doing is working on their game now before the season ends. It’s never too late to take lessons to get started even at the end of the season. The best players in the world have coaches who they see regularly. Mastering the proper swing fundamentals and short game technique are things that you can take into the off-season and practice at home on the carpet or in front of a mirror. People think that you need to hit balls to get better which is simply not true. If you can regularly practice the proper swing positions in front of a full length mirror, you’ll have those new positions perfected by the time spring rolls around.

The other thing you’ll want to start is a workout program or better yet work with a qualified personal trainer to develop a routine that is golf specific with lots of stretches and balance exercises, both of which will have a measurable impact on distance and consistency. Yoga is also a wonderful way of increasing flexibility and something that can be done throughout the entire year.

The off-season is also a great time to catch up on your reading. The book Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf by Ben Hogan, is a timeless classic that covers the key fundamentals where all great golf begins. Another is The Natural Golf Swing by the late Canadian golfing great George Knudson who takes Hogan’s book one step further when it comes to actually swinging the club. It’s complete with a series of exercises that can easily be performed at home. Both books are worth reading over and over again. And if there’s a book on the mental side of golf, it’s anything written by Dr. Bob Rotella the bestselling author of Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect and the most sought after mental coach in the game. His book Putting Out of Your Mind, is arguably the best book ever written on this essential skill and one of the key elements of a winning game – great putting.

Finally, have your equipment checked by a qualified club fitter. While it’s tempting to have the latest equipment every year, there’s no magic cure to posting lower scores. When you don’t see immediate improvement you start looking at new equipment again and it becomes a vicious circle. Checking your lie angles, making sure that you have the right shafts, and a new set of grips to start the new season can make all the difference in the world.