Destination: St. Catharines, Ontario | OUTVisions for LGBT Professionals

Destination: St. Catharines, Ontario

top notch destination for visitors

Destination: St. Catharines, Ontario

St. Catharines, Ontario is undergoing a renaissance and is quickly becoming known as a top notch destination for visitors from all over the world and all walks of life. Located between Lake Ontario, the Niagara Escarpment, and Wine Country (Beamsville Bench and N-O-T-L) it truly is one of Niagara’s best kept secrets.

Visit St. Catharines for its arts scene, a vibrant university culture, the best that the outdoors has to offer, plus one of the finest food, wine, beer offerings in southern Ontario.

St. Catharines has it all.

Arts, Culture and Downtown

Downtown St. Catharines has become a top notch entertainment destination. Its recently opened First Ontario Performing Arts Center ( and Meridian Center ( bring the best to Niagara. (Editor's Note: All links referenced are clickable in the Links below the article.) Whether it is a fun summer flick at the First Performing Arts Center’s new Film House or live streaming of Tragically Hip’s August 20th performance at the Meridian Center, there is always something playing at one of these two downtown venues. Both are conveniently located on either end of St. Paul Street which is part of Niagara’s urban wine route linking the Beamsville Bench to Niagara-On-The-Lake.


St. Catharines downtown core has lots of restaurants to choose from. Some are participating in this month’s Downtown D’Lish with special lunch and dinner menus from August 12 to 27, 2016 ( offering great value and fantastic food.

Going direct to the farmer is easy at St. Catharines Farmer’s market. It is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 6am – 2pm year all year-round. Located at the corner of James and King and close to City Hall and the Old Court House you will find the best produce Niagara has to offer, along with meats and cheese, flowers, baked goods and crafts. Visit for the full list of vendors.

St. Catharines History and Geography!

St. Catharines was shaped by its geography. The Niagara escarpment gave it access to power. The Morningstar Mill, located on top of the escarpment, is a great family destination to learn about St. Catharines industrial history. It all began here with the power of water.

The Welland Canal is another part of St. Catharines industrial heritage and a part of Canada’s nation building efforts. The canal has been built and rebuilt 4 times since the early 1800’s and is now at St. Catharines at its eastern edge, bordering Niagara-on-the-Lake. It provides a vital link between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, enabling a route around Niagara Falls! Visit to learn more.  Everyone should take the time to visit Lock 3, which has a wonderful viewing station to see the “Lakers” and “Salties” work their way up and down the escarpment. These massive ships and the way they move through the locks are an impressive site. While you’re there, check out, the St. Catharines museum which is also located at the Lock 3 site.

Underground Railroad

St. Catharines was also a stop on the underground railroad. The British Methodist Episcopal Church, Church at 92 Geneva Street, is an important landmark in this historic network of secret routes and safe houses. (

Montebello Park

If you haven’t made it to NYC’s Central Park, the same architect Frederick Law Olmstead designed St. Catharines’ Montebello Park in 1887. There are many events held throughout the summer at its famous pavilion and band shell. If you are planning ahead to September, this is “Command Central” for the 65th Niagara Wine Festival. It runs September 16-18 & 23-25, 2016. (

Outdoors, Recreation + Leisure

St. Catharines is home to some of the best hiking trails in Ontario. The Bruce Trail /Niagara Escarpment runs along St. Catharines southern border. The mountain biking is excellent! See how many times your legs can get you up the famous Power Glen Hill!

Lakeside Park, Port Dalhousie

Port Dalhousie is a wonderful little town and offers many family friendly attractions. Carousel rides are still a nickel at Lakeside Park in Port Dalhousie. It’s easy to spend an afternoon visiting the antique carousel along the Lake Ontario waterfront. The park also has a beach and playground with picnic areas. There are quaint shops and good food along Port’s main street. In the lazy last days of summer, it doesn’t get any better than this!

So if you’re looking for a mini get away, and you like to eat, be entertained, relax, and just have a good time in a beautiful setting, visiting St. Catharines is a great choice!

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