Niagara to Toronto fall drive: Wine, art and culture
Travel through the lush vineyards of Niagara to downtown cityscapes in Toronto, Canada on a gorgeous fall drive.
Unique soil conditions and a micro-climate between the Niagara Escarpment shield and Lake Ontario wind have created the ideal grape-growing terroir. With the brilliant bursts of fall colour as your backdrop, experience historic small-town charm in the heart of Ontario’s famous wine region.
Then experience the vibrant energy and excitement of the nation’s largest city in downtown Toronto. Discover top cuisine, local culture, boutique shopping and exceptional wine along the way.
And the best part? You’ll love how much further your dollar goes in Ontario, Canada.
Border crossing information:
Travellers to Canada must present a valid passport or NEXUS card. Find out what else you’ll need to know to cross the border into Canada.
Before travelling, check border wait times.
Border crossing locations from New York State into the Niagara region in Canada include:
The landmark attraction in the city of Niagara Falls is the spectacular set of three waterfalls; the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side and the American, and Bridal Veil Falls on the U.S. side.
Formed during the Ice Age, Niagara Falls has the highest waterfall flow rate in the world with approximately 3,000 tons (28 million litres) of water plunging over its edge every second. See the 170-foot-high (52 metres) Horseshoe Falls from a number of vantage points and perspectives.
Things to do in Niagara Falls
Journey Behind the Falls: A network of tunnels and viewing decks lead you to a unique perspective from below and behind the curtain of water. Entrance is inside the Table Rock Centre.
Location: 6650 Niagara River Parkway, Niagara Falls
White Water Walk: Ride an elevator 230 feet (70 metres) down into the Niagara Gorge and follow a ¼ mile long (0.4 kilometre) wooden boardwalk along the edge of the Niagara River’s roaring white water rapids. Several viewing platforms allow you to stop and take in the sights.
Location: 4330 River Road, Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls Power Station: This decommissioned facility has been transformed into an incredible landmark attraction with immersive exhibits, including the vast underground tunnel that leads to an observation deck at the river’s edge of the base of Horseshoe Falls.
Location: 7005 Niagara River Parkway, Niagara Falls
Niagara Helicopter Tours: Get a bird’s eye view of the falls and surrounding area bathed in fall foliage. On a clear day, you’ll see the outline of Toronto to the north, and the shores of Lake Erie to the south.
Location: 3731 Victoria Avenue, Niagara Falls
Where to eat and drink in Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls Revolving Restaurant: Continental cuisine served at over 750 feet (228 metres) above the falls in the Skylon Tower dining room that slowly revolves at one rotation per hour for maximum panoramic impact. Evening seating is extra special with the falls illuminated in colour.
Location: 52 Robinson Street, Niagara Falls
Wineries to visit nearby
Approximate distance and travel time from Niagara Falls: 15 miles (25 kilometres), 25 minutes
In 1792, Niagara-on-the-Lake became the first capital of Upper Canada (later the province of Ontario), after being settled by British Loyalists. The tree-lined Heritage District is home to boutique stores, antique shops, cafes and a cenotaph clock tower. Located at the foot of King Street, Queen’s Royal Beach and the Royal Gazebo offer great views of the Niagara River.
Places to stay in Niagara-on-the-Lake
124 Q Hotel & Spa: The perfect blend of modern luxuries and historic elements make this downtown boutique inn and spa one of the area’s finest.
Location: 124 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Riverbend Inn & Vineyard : A striking, Georgian-style mansion located along what many consider to be Ontario’s prettiest drive, the Niagara River Parkway, and surrounded by vineyards and gardens.
Location: 16104 Niagara Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Things to do in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Shaw Festival Theatre: Running strong since 1962, this theatre festival features works by George Bernard Shaw and more world-class plays on three different stages.
Location: 10 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Zoom Leisure Bikes: Rent traditional or electric bikes and set out on a scenic guided or self-guided tour along farmlands, vineyards and orchards.
Location: 431 Mississauga Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Botanical Gardens: Explore traditional landscaping, rose and herb beds and wild gardens at this floral oasis. Onsite, a butterfly conservatory features over 2,000 colourful tropical butterflies floating freely among lush, exotic blossoms and greenery. Hourly parking is available.
Location: 2565 Niagara River Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Where to eat and drink in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Queenston Heights Restaurant: Sunday brunch between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. includes Belgian waffles and eggs benedict with a breathtaking view of the Niagara River. Reservations online.
Location: 14184 Niagara River Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Treadwell Cuisine: Hailed as one of Canada’s Top 10 Wine Restaurants by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. For an extra treat, homemade fudge is made daily in small batches next door at Maple Leaf Fudge.
Location: 114 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Wineries to visit nearby
Peller Estates: Crafting quality wines for over 50 years, include Ontario’s famous Icewines, Peller offers a one-of-a-kind wine tasting experience in their underground, made of ice 10Below Icewine Lounge.
Location: 290 John Street East, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery: A 23,000-square-foot (approximately 2,127 hectares) facility founded by the Great One himself (hockey legend Wayne Gretzky). It also happens to be Ontario’s first combined winery and distillery.
Location: 1219 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Trius Winery: One of Canada’s pioneer winemakers, Trius offers traditional tastings as well as unconventional experiences like opening a bottle of bubbly with a saber, exploring Canada’s largest underground sparkling cellar and instagrammable wine-inspired art installations.
Location: 1249 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Approximate distance and travel time from Niagara-on-the-Lake: 24 miles (40 kilometres), 40 minutes
The Niagara Benchlands along the Niagara Escarpment is a sub-appellation of the Niagara Peninsula wine region.
Drive past lush vineyards and farm fields and experience small-town charm in the villages of Lincoln, Jordan and Beamsville. Treat your palate to a tasty adventure with world-class wine and fresh farm-to-table cuisine.
Places to stay in Niagara Benchlands
Inn on the Twenty: Elegant village inn with restaurant and spa conveniently located across the street from Cave Springs Winery, home to some of Canada’s finest Rieslings.
Location: 3845 Main Street, Jordan
Things to do in Niagara Benchlands
Balls Falls Conservation Area: Well-marked, one-mile hiking trail along a creek to a series of cascades and waterfalls. Note: this is a section of the Bruce Trail, one of the oldest and longest continuous trails in Canada.
Location: 3292 Sixth Avenue, Lincoln
Where to eat and drink in Niagara Benchlands
The Good Earth Food and Wine: The seasonal menu celebrates the bounty of local, farm-fresh ingredients and perfectly paired wine. Gardens, orchards and vineyards provide a scenic dining backdrop on a warm fall day.
Location: 4556 Lincoln Avenue, Beamsville
The Restaurant at Redstone Winery: Dine with fine wines, scenic views and live music (on select evenings) at this contemporary winery restaurant and outdoor terrace.
Location: 4245 King Street, Beamsville
The Restaurant and Pearl Morissette: Distinctive wines, a fine dining restaurant as well as bakery and garden tours make Pearl Morissette a foodie experience. Lunch is available on Saturdays and dinner on Thursday through Sunday evenings.
Location: 3953 Jordan Road, Jordan Station
Wineries to visit nearby
Rosewood Estates Winery and Meadery: Sample and shop for signature wines, plus mead seltzers, wine, bourbon and cognac from this honey, grapes and lavender farm. Walk-ins welcome or pre-book a private 45-minute tour.
Location: 4352 Mountainview Road, Lincoln
Hidden Bench Estate Winery: Organic vineyard producing outstanding chardonnays and pinot noirs tucked away on one of the prettiest country roads in the region. Book tastings and tours in advance.
Location: 4152 Locust Lane, Beamsville
Megalomaniac Wines: Pair wine tasting with panoramic fall views from one of the highest spots along the Niagara Escarpment in Vineland. Daily tasting experiences and guided vineyard walks are available for booking.
Location: 3930 Cherry Avenue, Vineland
13th Street Winery: Recently recognized as the top winery in Ontario by the National Wine Awards of Canada, you’ll want to sample their hand-crafted sparkling, red and white wines and famous butter tarts.
Location: 1776 Fourth Avenue, St. Catharines
Approximate distance and travel time from Niagara Benchlands: 70 miles (110 kilometres),1.5 hours
Canada’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, Toronto is a multicultural mosaic of art, heritage, cuisine and entertainment. From renowned art galleries to graffiti culture, haute couture to vintage shopping and fine dining to market food stalls, discover the best of Ontario’s trendiest city.
Places to stay in Toronto
1 Hotel Toronto: Strike the perfect balance between urban and cottage chic with reclaimed and upcycled materials, natural design elements and high-end perks filtered water taps, floor-to-ceiling windows and terraces.
Location: 550 Wellington Street West, Toronto
Bisha Hotel: A mix of hotel and residences in Toronto’s Entertainment District with select suites designed by artist Lenny Kravitz. And don’t forget to try KOST Restaurant, located on the 44th floor.
Location: 80 Blue Jays Way, Toronto
Things to do in Toronto
Toronto Shopping Guide: From high fashion to vintage markets, there’s a shopping experience for just about every whim and fancy.
CN Tower: Don’t miss Toronto’s most iconic attraction, featuring unmatched city views from observation platforms, a revolving 360 Restaurant 1,150 feet (350 metres) up and EdgeWalk, an exciting daredevil walk around the outside of the top needle of the tower.
Location: 290 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto
Events and entertainment in Toronto
Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF): Each September, Toronto hosts one of the largest and most prestigious film festivals in the world with 10 days of celebrity sightings and film viewing all over the city.
Dates: September 7-17, 2023
Nuit Blanche: Explore over 100 contemporary art installations and exhibits displayed across the city for one full night from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
Date: September 23, 2023
Just For Laughs Toronto: Some of today’s funniest comedians take to the stage during this famous festival of comedy.
Dates: September 21-24, 2023
Locations: various venues across the city
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair: The country comes to the city for almost two weeks every year, delivering the best in agricultural achievements, local food, crafts, entertainment and equestrian shows.
Dates: November 3-12, 2023
Location: Exhibition Place, Toronto
Where to eat and drink in Toronto
Toronto restaurants, cafes and eateries don’t disappoint: With over 7,500 restaurants and over a dozen craft breweries, you’ll never run out of great food and drink options in this city.
MICHELIN starred restaurants: Toronto is the first Canadian city to be recognized in the MICHELIN Guide with over a dozen restaurants starred.
The Distillery District: A pedestrian-only neighbourhood with Victorian industrial architecture, cobblestone streets and a cluster of bars, cafés, restaurants, bakeries, brewpubs and a chocolate maker. Naturally, there’s also a distillery in the district, enjoy a tour and tasting at Spirit of York Distillery.
Location: Parliament Street to Cherry Street, south of Front Street East, Toronto
Bloor and Yorkville: Once a bohemian hub, this neighbourhood is now known for its high-end retail shopping and some of Toronto’s finest restaurants, such as Sassafraz, Buca Osteria & Bar, Café Boulud and Alobar.
Location: East of Avenue Road and north of Bloor Street East, Toronto
St. Lawrence Market: A large, historic brick building bustling with organic groceries, bakeries, cheese and olive vendors, restaurants and food stalls. Try the famous peameal bacon sandwich from Carousel Bakery or Paddington’s Pump.
Location: 93 Front Street East, Toronto
Kensington Market: One of the city’s most eclectic, colourful and fiercely local neighborhoods is a mix of boho, vintage shops, fresh vegetable stalls, cheese and spice shops, bakeries and an array of fusion restaurants tucked into the historic Victorian architecture. You’ll find everything from Jamaican patties, Chilean empanadas and a pie shop called Wanda’s Pie In The Sky.
Locations: Bordered by Spadina Avenue, Dundas Street, Bathurst Street and College Street, Toronto
Ossington Strip: This west side street has flourished into a hip foodie destination with cool brewpubs, bars and bistros.
Location: Ossington Street
Little India: From tandoori barbeque, curries and thalis to chai shops and sari boutiques, the flavours and colours of Southeast Asia come alive in this exciting neighbourhood.
Location: Gerrard Street East
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Last updated: August 22, 2023