The City of St. Catharines has 131,000 residents living on the Southern shore of Lake Ontario at the northern end of the Welland Canal. St. Catharines. “the Garden City”, is the largest urban area in the Niagara Peninsula and its largest employer is General Motors of Canada. The extensive waterways, trail systems and parklands of St. Catharines create a natural network of recreational opportunities that include fishing, sailing, boating, hiking, cycling, golfing- the possibilities are endless!
The St Catharines area was first settled by United Empire Loyalists who were given land grants following the end of the American Revolution. In the early 1800’s it was known as “Shipman’s Corners” for an important tavern and stagecoach stop, located near what is now Ontario Street and St. Paul Street. It was also called “The Twelve”, referring to the Twelve Mile Creek. However, the name St. Catharines, in one form, or another had preceded all other names, though its origin is obscure.
While first referred to as St. Catherines (with an ‘e’) on an 1808 survey, but became St. Catharines (with an ‘a’) when the town was incorporated in 1849. The town was referred to as the “garden city” since the 1840´s, due its abundance of gardens and nurseries. The town flourished after the first Welland Canal opened in 1829. In the 1850´s the Town was a major stop on the Underground Railroad including for its famed conductor, Harriet Tubman. These escaped & freed slaves built what became known as the British Methodist Episcopal Church on Geneva Street in 1855. St. Catharines became a health spa Mecca when natural underground salt springs were discovered along the Twelve Mile Creek in the early 1800s. In 1876 St. Catharines was incorporated as a City.
Historic Port Dalhousie ‘Old Port’ was the original Ontario end of the Welland Canal, via 12 Mile Creek. This community has boat-launching facilities, marinas, fishing charters, tour boats, beaches, picnic pavilions and more. The Port Dalhousie Harbour Walkway traces the shoreline winding past historical sites, quaint shops, gardens, and fully restored 19th century light- houses, and an antique carousel. The world renowned century-old Royal Henley Regatta rowing championship is hosted here.
Today, St Catharines lies on the Wine Route- a scenic trail that winds through Niagara past award-winning wineries amongst vinifera grape vineyards, including those of Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery and Hender Estate Wines. In addition, Niagara’s unique landscape allows for a wide variety of golfing experiences, with over 40 public golf courses within a half hour’s drive of St. Catharines
St Catharines Annual Festivals
|Octoberfest||mid October||Bavarian food & entertainment festival at various locations.|
|Grape & Wine Festival||late September||A festival celebrating the end of the Grape harvest & wine production. A King & Queen are crowned each year. Festival culminates in Grape & Wine Festival Parade.|
|The Royal Henley Rowing Regatta||early August||Port Dalhousie|
|Annual Lake Ontario Salmon Derby||April & May|
|Niagara Lifestyle Home Show||late April||Garden City Arena|
|Folk Arts Festival||late May|
St. Catharines Attractions
Lakeshore Park in Port Dalhousie
It is one of the oldest hand crafted wooden merry-go-rounds in North America.
Henley Regatta Rowing Site
World class rowing competitions are held at this rowing course once a year.
Welland Canals Centre @ Lock 3
1932 Welland Canals Parkway (formerly Government Road)
St. Catharines, ON, L2R 7K6
Mailing: St. Catharines Museum, Box 3012, St. Catharines, ON, L2R 7C2
(905) 984-8880, Fax (905) 984-6910, toll-free: 1-800-305-5134
From the elevated viewing platform at Lock 3, get a close-up look at ships from around the world and experience the wonder of the Welland Canal. Inside, watch the 15 minute video presentation Welland Canals Past and Present and learn more about the four Welland Canals in the Museum exhibits and education programs. The Museum chronicles the industrial, cultural and social history of the area with an emphasis on the Welland Canal. Browse in the museum gift shop. The Welland Canal connects Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, which is 100m (327ft) higher than Lake Ontario. Some 8m (27ft) deep, the canal enables large ocean vessels to navigate the Great Lakes. Each year, more than a thousand oceangoing vessels travel through the seven locks that make up the 42km (26mi) long canal. The average transit time for any vessel is 12 hours.
Port Weller Dry Docks
Lakeshore Road at the Welland Canal
View enormous ships being built, refitted or repaired.
St Catharines Parks
Happy Rolph’s Bird Sanctuary
The 9/11 Walkway recognizes the 27 Canadians that passed away at the World Trade Centre, memorialized by twenty seven varieties of deciduous trees. The handicap-accessible walkway also has benches for enjoying the beautiful vistas on the shores of Lake Ontario.
Edgedale Road, east of Glenridge Avenue, north ofGlendale Avenue
This 49-hectare park has an open area with BBQ fire pits(bring your own wood, kindling, and weiners), and a wooded area with wheelchair-accessible walking paths crossing the stream which runs through the park. The front loop that is paved and the back loop is surfaced intermittently with tar, wood chips, and exposed earth. The park also has a popular toboggan run in winter. You can reserve a section of the park for a picnic event.
1565 Four Mile Creek Road, Virgil
The park has 2 arenas (Niagara Credit Union and Centennial Arenas), 3 lit ball diamonds, 2 lit asphalt tennis courts, playground equipment, skate park, picnic pavilion, concession and washrooms. Plans are to add soccer fields and a trail.
Green Ribbon Trail
Old Martindale Road
This 529-metre path is bounded by Martindale Road and Third Street Louth. Stations found along the path indicate particular aspects of the wetland, including information about plants, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. This trail is a Class One wetland and is dedicated to missing children.
Happy Rolph’s Bird Sanctuary
Read Road off Lakeshore Road
This 15 acre municipal park on the shores of Lake Ontario, has one of Canada’s most exotic collections of flowering rhododendrons. The petting farm, operates from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving weekend, and has a variety of farm animals including chickens, pigs, horses, rabbits, sheep and goats. Hundreds of ducks, geese and native birds live in the adjacent pond. The sheltered pond inlet offers food and shelter for resident waterfowl and migratory birds. Picnic and playground facilities include a pavilion and washrooms.
Found in Port Dalhousie, this 3-kilometre trail is comprised of a combination of stone dust, concrete, and boardwalk. This trail extends from the base of the pier at Lakeside Park through the park to the commercial core area. The walkway passes through Lockhart Point and ends at the Locktender’s Shanty.
Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail
The Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail stretches approximately 325 kilometres from Trenton to Stoney Creek with new sections in the Niagara Region. It links communities, natural areas, parks and promenades, marinas and yacht clubs, historic places, commercial districts and other trail systems. It is a multi-use trail suitable for both cyclists and hikers. Please use caution and obey traffic laws when using the roadways. For more information on the Waterfront Trail, please refer to the Waterfront Trail Guidebook for sale at bookstores and from the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, 207 Queen’s Quay West, Suite 580, Toronto, Ontario, M5J 1A7,
The St. Catharines section of the trail is approximately 9 kilometres between West Port Dalhousie and East Port Weller, using a combination of city parks and roadways to access as much of the lakefront as possible. Attractions along the trail include Royal Canadian Henley Regatta Course, Port Dalhousie Harbour Walkway, Lakeside Park and Carousel, Municipal Beach, the Welland Ship Canal, and Happy Rolph’s Bird Sanctuary.
On Lake Ontario, this park has been a major attraction since the turn of the century, when visitors came on the NS&T electric railway from as far away as Toronto. The park has picnic areas, a boardwalk, snack bar, swimming, change rooms, washrooms, and playground equipment, as well as public docks for visiting boaters. The highlight of this park is the 100-year-old Looff Carousel where children can ride the painted ponies for only 5 cents a ride. Dalhousie Yacht Club, found across from the park, has reciprocal berthing agreements with other yacht clubs. Port Dalhousie Marina, on the east side of the harbour, offers full service berths on a seasonal and occasional basis.
Lester B Pearson Park with Infinity Playspace
Infinity Playplace is the City’s first accessible playground, opened in 2001, with accessible play opportunities which meet the varied needs of children of a wide range of challenges, organized with three distinct play themes. The playplace features a looped ramp system accessible to wheel chair users, wide decks, visual orientation strips at openings, and the entire surface of the play area is made of rubber. The playplace was funded by the St. Catharines Kiwanis Club.
Malcomson Eco Park
Niagara Street and Lakeshore Road
The Friends of Malcolmson Park. (Mike Anderson at 905 688-5601 extension 3140)
This 36 macrepark allows visitors to witness and participate in the ongoing restoration of a Carolinian forest, Savannah grassland, and wetland environment. There are several trails, including wheel chair accessible stone dust paths. This park was once known as “Bicycle Forest” with heavy damage from vandals, refuse dumping, tree-cutting and bonfires. The development of the Savannah grassland over the past few years is expected to bring record numbers of butterflies back to the park this summer. There is also a wetland restoration and the formation of a pond for waterfowl. The park attracts over 170 species of birds, and bird boxes placed throughout the park provide homes for blue birds, tree swallows, wrens, and screech owls. The Troll Reading Forest teaches schoolchildren about nature.
The Merritt Trail is an 11-kilometre stonedust and packed earthen surface, multi-use trail. Begin your walk at Martindale Road and Lakeshore in west St. Catharines and continue to Bradley Street and Townline Road in south St. Catharines. Extend your walking distance to 45 kilometres by linking to the Bruce Trail, Participark Trail, Green Ribbon and Waterfront trails.
Ontario Street, downtown
This 6.5 acre park is unique and historically significant. Deeded by the Crown in 1796 to Robert Hamilton, who sold it in 1820 to William Hamilton Merritt, the founder of the Welland Canal. It passed through the hands of several generations of the Merritt family and was eventually named Monte Bello, meaning beautiful mountain. In 1887 the City of St. Catharines purchased the site for the city’s first public park. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, considered the founder of the landscape architecture, and was the planner of New York’s Central Park. . The 1904 covered circular bandstand was modelled after the one built for the Pan American Exhibition in Buffalo, and built by Edwin Nicholson, who also built the Henley Grandstand in Port Dalhousie, has been designated as a heritage structure. The park also has an ornamental fountain and a commemorative rose garden, with more than 1,300 bushes in 25 varieties. The park functions as a social and historical focal point within St. Catharines, and hosts many cultural and social activities, including Sunday and Tuesday evening summer band concerts.
Lake Gibson, adjacent to the DeCew Falls
The historic Morningstar Mill is a picturesque park area, ideal for a weekend picnic. This 1872 mill was built by Robert Chappel and was the first in Canada to be powered by a turbine rather than a waterwheel. The Mountain Mills Museum shows the mill working as it did a century ago, with nearly all original & restored equipment. The “Friends of Morningstar Mill” are beginning to replicate the timber frame sawmill which was part of the original site. There is a trail behind the Miller’s house leading to the Bruce Trail, which follows the ravine across the top of the escarpment. Open weekends & holiday Mondays from noon to 5 pm, from May 18 until Thanksgiving weekend.
Mountain Locks Park
South of Glendale Street, at Mountain Street, in Merritton
The park contains remnants and lock structures associated with the second Welland Canal as it climbed the mountainous Niagara Escarpment. The trails wind through a natural setting where the canal structures are visible. The park contains the Merritt Trail which traverses the city highlighting the former canal routes through the city from Merritton to Port Dalhousie.
Ontario Jaycee Gardens
Ontario Street, overlooking Martindale Pond
The city’s largest horticulture park has over 21 acres of floral displays and landscaped grounds, which was originally part of the Third Welland Canal. The land was purchased by the City in 1975, and used initially as a landfill,. It was then rezoned as a green belt area to take in the charm of Old Port Dalhousie, the calm waters of Martindale Pond and the Royal Canadian Henley Rowing Course, which are to the north of the park. See the remnants of the Third Welland Canal scattered throughout the park, including the original lock wall along with the wooden pilings from the first dock cribbing, in the northeast corner of the park.
Twelve Mile Creek between St. Paul Crescent & Glendale Avenue
This 2-kilometre stone dust path winds through St. Catharines along the west bank o Twelve Mile Creek f. A loop can be made along the eastern bank of the creek, along a rougher natural terrain path. Wheelchair access is available at all access points.
Port Dalhousie Harbour Walkway Waterfront Trail
Lake Ontario shoreline, Port Dalhousie
Explore the rich history and charm of Port Dalhousie along the Harbour Walkway. This 2 km pathway follows the shoreline, winding past historical sites and modern features, connecting Lakeside Park and the East and West Piers. This walkway is part of the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail. Dine and shop in the quaint harbourfront, watch the sunset from the pier, or ride the antique carousel.
Rye Heritage Park
This 7 acre park has 2 asphalt tennis courts, basketball pad, playground equipment and one soccer field.
Short Hills Provincial Park
This 688-hectare (1,700-acre) natural environment park includes the Niagara Escarpment and protected Carolinian Forests. Park activities include hiking, biking, fishing, bird watching, with horseback riding permitted on the appropriately marked trails. It is not advisable to use the park in wet weather, as this deteriorates the trails and causes environmental damage. The park is daily year-round, sunrise to 10 p.m., and visitors are asked to keep to the established trails.
Queen St at King Street
Simcoe Park offers a wading pool, bandshell, picnic tables, washrooms and playground equipment.
St. Catharines Recreational Trail System
Begin your walk in Port Weller and connect to all of the St. Catharines Trails system. A loop opportunity can be created using the abandoned rail line west of Bunting Road.
St. Davids Lions Park
on York Road
St. Davids Lions Park houses the St. Davids Lions Pool, two asphalt tennis courts, pavilion, picnic tables and limited playground equipment.
Stokes Seeds Flower Trial Gardens
Lakeshore Road, between Seventh Street and Fifth Street
Stokes Seeds Flower Trial Gardens are most beautiful during July and Augus, and are one of the official sites of All-American Trials. Take a walk through the Gardens and witness the abundant display of plant life, truly a site to behold.
Terry Fox Trail
The Terry Fox Trail is a 1.5-kilometre path in central St. Catharines that extends from Carlton Street to Geneva Street. Visit the six exercise stations to intensify your walk. Exercises with instructions are included at each station.
behind the Rodman Hall Arts Centre
In1862 Samuel Richardson, a landscape designer from England created this garden on the estate of Thomas Rodman Merritt, son of the builder of the Welland Canal. The hillside location is a distinct micro climate because of its slope, shelter and proximity to Twelve Mile Creek. Today the remnants of Richardson’s work have been woven into the fabric of what now is the Walker Arboretum. The garden includes over 200 plants and shrubs, 15 types of magnolias, a cedar from North Africa and one of the largest Empress trees in Canada.
Walker’s Creek Trail
A stonedust path begins on Linwell Road and follows the meandering waters of Walker’s Creek to Cindy Drive.
The Waterfront Trail is a 325-kilometre trail that winds along the Lake Ontario shoreline from Trenton to Niagara-on-the-Lake. In the Niagara Region, start your walk at Third Street Louth and Main Street in Port Dalhousie. Make your way towards Lakeshore Road and Read Road to experience a rich variety of natural settings.
Welland Canals Parkway Trail
The Welland Canal was built to link Lake Ontario and Lake Erie in order to circumnavigate Niagara Falls, and contributed to the historical development of St. Catharines and the upper Great Lakes. This multi-use trail provides an uninterrupted 9.0 kilometre walking, biking and in-line skating path. It makes its way from the Flight Locks in south St. Catharines, north to the St. Catharines Museum and Lacrosse Hall of Fame Museum at the Welland Canals Centre at Lock 3. (with a ship viewing platform, parking, washroom facilities, tourist information and refreshments). The trail then travels along the canal, under Queenston Street and on to Lock 2, where, the trail crosses Carlton Street and continues into north St. Catharines. The trail ends at Lock 1 with links to Malcolmson Park and the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail. As well, a rougher East Side Trail along a portion of the canal is planned.
St Catharines Wineries
There are a number of vineyards and wineries clustered around St Catharines, including the community of Thorold to the south, and Pelham to the southwest:
Cave Spring Cellars
3836 Main Street, Jordan, ON
Winery (905) 562-3581
On the Twenty Restaurant (905) 562-7313,
Inn on the Twenty (formerly Vintners Inn) (905) 562-5336.
Cave Spring wines are made from vitis vinifera, the classic grape varieties of Europe, using varieties native to regions with growing conditions similar to our own. By working with classic varieties which are well suited to Niagara’s cool climate, winemakers are able to capture the goût de terroir which makes the Beamsville Bench unique. The Cave Spring Estate was first planted in 1978, making it one of Niagara’s most mature vinifera vineyards.
Creekside Estate Winery
2170 Fourth Avenue
Jordan Station, Ontario, L0R 1S0
(905) 562-0035, 1 877 262-9463, Fax: 905 562-5493
Creekside Estate Winery is a beautiful 20 acre property nestled in Jordan Station, a village situated between the Bench and the Escarpment , due west of the city of St. Catharines. The thirteen acre vineyard is completely planted with 16,000 vines consisting of Creekside’s signature grape Sauvignon Blanc,and Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz which are used to produce 22,000-28,000 cases of finished VQA wine. Creekside boasts state-of-the-art equipment, and an underground barrel cellar with an inventory of over 400 barriques (predominantly French oak), a fully equipped tasting room, and a nature trail and picnic area open daily to the public.
Harbour Estates Winery
4362 Jordan Road
Jordan Station ON L0R 1S0
Phone: 905 562-6279 Fax: 905 562-3829, 1-877-439-9463
Dedicated to the production of fine VQA wines, with an emphasis on red viniferas. Our property is planted to 30 acres of red vinifera grapes including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. With 1800 feet fronting on Jordan Harbour, HEW is the most prominent point in Jordan Harbour as seen from the Queen Elizabeth Way. They have started to develop trail systems through the woods
Harvest Estate Wines
1179 Fourth Avenue
St. Catharines, Ontario
Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery
1469 Pelham Rd., R.R.#1
St. Catharines, ON Canada L2R 6P7
TEL 905.684.8423 fax 905.684.8444
Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery is a small 150-acre estate vineyard located on the Niagara Bench. Owned and operated by the Speck family since 1988, the land was first deeded to the family’s great, great, great grandfather in 1794. With small yields, they tend our with meticulous care, producing small volumes of handmade wines to ensure the highest standards of quality.
Hernder Estate Wines
1607 8th Avenue,
St. Catharines, ON, L2R 6P7
(905) 684-3300. Fax: (905) 684-3303
From a quiet country road beneath the brow of the Niagara Escarpment; turn down the lane, through a unique wooden covered bridge up to an immense, perfectly restored 1867 Victorian barn. From rolling vineyard to wine press, barrel cellar to bottling line, a tour of Hernder Estate is a fascinating excursion. Open Year Round, 7 days a week from 10am – 5pm. Complimentary Public Tours are available on weekends at 1:30 and 3:30 and our Tasting Room is open 7 days a week, year round (small charge for premium wines). Group tours, call ahead.
King’s Court Estate Winery
2083 Seventh Street
St. Catharines, Ontario
Rockway Glen Estate Winery
3290 Ninth Street Louth, R.R. #1
St. Catharines, Ontario
Trillium Hill Estate Winery
3420 Ninth Street Louth, R.R. #1