Niagara Peninsula

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Map of Southern Ontario showing Niagara Peninsula in red NiagaraPeninsulaLocator.png
Map of Southern Ontario showing Niagara Peninsula in red

The Niagara Peninsula is the portion of Golden Horseshoe, Southern Ontario, Canada, lying between the southwestern shore of Lake Ontario and the northeastern shore of Lake Erie. Technically an isthmus rather than a peninsula, [1] it stretches from the Niagara River in the east to Hamilton, Ontario, in the west. The population of the peninsula is roughly 1,000,000 people. The region directly across the Niagara River and Lake Erie in New York State is known as the Niagara Frontier. The broader Buffalo Niagara Region includes the Niagara Peninsula, the Niagara Frontier, and the city of Buffalo, New York.

Golden Horseshoe Urban area and conurbation in Ontario, Canada

The Golden Horseshoe is a secondary region of Southern Ontario, Canada which lies at the western end of Lake Ontario, with outer boundaries stretching south to Lake Erie and north to Lake Scugog. The region is the most densely populated and industrialized in Canada. With a population of 7,826,367 people in its core and 9,245,438 in its greater area, the Golden Horseshoe accounts for over 21 per cent of the population of Canada and more than 55 per cent of Ontario's population. It is part of the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor and the Great Lakes Megalopolis.

Southern Ontario Primary region in Ontario, Canada

Southern Ontario is a primary region of the province of Ontario, Canada, the other primary region being Northern Ontario. It is the most densely populated and southernmost region in Canada. The exact northern boundary of Southern Ontario is disputed; however, the core region is situated south of Algonquin Park, the latter being in an area of transition between coniferous forest north of the French and Mattawa Rivers and southern deciduous forest. It covers between 14 and 15% of the province, depending on the inclusion of the Parry Sound and Muskoka districts which also lie in the transitional area between northern and southern forest regions. With more than 12.7 million people, the region is home to approximately one-third of Canada's population of 35.1 million.

Lake Ontario one of the Great Lakes in North America

Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is surrounded on the north, west, and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south and east by the American state of New York, whose water boundaries meet in the middle of the lake. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. Many of Ontario's most populous cities, including Toronto, Canada's most populous city, and Hamilton, are on the lake's northern or western shores. In the Huron language, the name Ontarí'io means "Lake of Shining Waters". Its primary inlet is the Niagara River from Lake Erie. The last in the Great Lakes chain, Lake Ontario serves as the outlet to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence River. It is the only Great Lake not to border the state of Michigan.



The greater part of the peninsula is incorporated as the Regional Municipality of Niagara. Cities in the region include St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Thorold, Port Colborne and Welland. Towns include Niagara-on-the-Lake, Lincoln, Pelham, Grimsby and Fort Erie, as well as the townships Wainfleet and West Lincoln. The remainder of the peninsula encompasses parts of the City of Hamilton and Haldimand County.

Regional Municipality of Niagara Regional municipality in Ontario, Canada

The Regional Municipality of Niagara, also colloquially known as the Niagara Region, is a regional municipality comprising twelve municipalities of Southern Ontario, Canada. The regional seat is in Thorold. It is the southern end of the Golden Horseshoe, the largest megalopolis in Canada.

St. Catharines City in Ontario, Canada

St. Catharines is the largest city in Canada's Niagara Region and the sixth largest urban area in Ontario, with 96.13 square kilometres of land and 133,113 residents in 2016. It lies in Southern Ontario, 51 kilometres (32 mi) south of Toronto across Lake Ontario, and is 19 kilometres (12 mi) inland from the international boundary with the United States along the Niagara River. It is the northern entrance of the Welland Canal. Residents of St. Catharines are known as St. Cathariners. St. Catharines carries the official nickname "The Garden City" due to its 1,000 acres (4 km2) of parks, gardens, and trails.

Niagara Falls, Ontario City in Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls is a city in Ontario, Canada. It is on the western bank of the Niagara River in the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario, with a population of 88,071 at the 2016 census. The municipality was incorporated on 12 June 1903. Across the Niagara River is Niagara Falls, New York.


The area was originally inhabited by a First Nations people called the "Neutrals", so named for their practice of trading goods such as flint arrowhead blanks with both of the feuding regional powers, the Wyandot and Iroquois.[ citation needed ] The Neutrals were wiped out by the Iroquois c. 1650 as the latter sought to expand their fur-trapping territory as part of the Beaver Wars. [2] From this point until the arrival of United Empire Loyalists following the American War of Independence, the region was only sporadically inhabited,[ citation needed ] as the Iroquois did not establish permanent settlements in the area.

In Canada, the First Nations are the predominant indigenous peoples in Canada south of the Arctic Circle. Those in the Arctic area are distinct and known as Inuit. The Métis, another distinct ethnicity, developed after European contact and relations primarily between First Nations people and Europeans. There are 634 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.

Wyandot people Native American ethnic group

The Wyandot people or Wendat, also called the Huron Nation and Huron people, are an Iroquoian-speaking peoples of North America who emerged as a tribe around the north shore of Lake Ontario. They traditionally spoke the Wyandot language, a Northern Iroquoian language, and were believed to number over 30,000 at the time of European encounter in the second decade of the 17th century.

Iroquois Northeast Native American confederacy

The Iroquois or Haudenosaunee are a historically powerful northeast Native American confederacy in North America. They were known during the colonial years to the French as the Iroquois League, and later as the Iroquois Confederacy, and to the English as the Five Nations, comprising the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca. After 1722, they accepted the Tuscarora people from the Southeast into their confederacy, as they were also Iroquoian-speaking, and became known as the Six Nations.

The Niagara Peninsula then became one of the first areas settled in Upper Canada by British Loyalists in the late 18th century. The capital of the new colony was established with the founding of Niagara-on-the-Lake, then called Newark. Many English and Irish immigrants settled in the peninsula, but by the 1800s, Italian and German immigrants heavily populated the peninsula and were the chief sources of immigrants followed by French, Polish, and other Central Europeans [ which? ].[ citation needed ]

Upper Canada 19th century British colony in present-day Ontario

The Province of Upper Canada was a part of British Canada established in 1791 by the Kingdom of Great Britain, to govern the central third of the lands in British North America, formerly part of the Province of Quebec since 1763. Upper Canada included all of modern-day Southern Ontario and all those areas of Northern Ontario in the Pays d'en Haut which had formed part of New France, essentially the watersheds of the Ottawa River or Lakes Huron and Superior, excluding any lands within the watershed of Hudson Bay. The "upper" prefix in the name reflects its geographic position along the Great Lakes, mostly above the headwaters of the Saint Lawrence River, contrasted with Lower Canada to the northeast.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Town in Ontario, Canada

Niagara-on-the-Lake is a town in Ontario, Canada. It is located on the Niagara Peninsula at the point where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario, across the river from New York, United States. Niagara-on-the-Lake is in the Niagara Region of Ontario, and is the only town in Canada that has a Lord Mayor. It has a population of 17,511 (2016)

English people Nation and ethnic group native to England

The English people are a nation and an ethnic group native to England who speak the English language. The English identity is of early medieval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Angelcynn. Their ethnonym is derived from the Angles, one of the Germanic peoples who migrated to Great Britain around the 5th century AD. England is one of the countries of the United Kingdom, and the majority of people living there are British citizens.

Following the agricultural period of European settlement, the Niagara area became an important industrial centre, with water-powered mills joined later by hydro-electric power generation in Niagara Falls and electricity-intensive industry in both Niagara Falls and St. Catharines. While agriculture – especially fruit farming along the shore of Lake Ontario – remains important to this day, it was joined in the 19th century by industrial developments. A succession of canals were built to connect the markets and mineral resources of the upper Great Lakes with the St. Lawrence Seaway (See also Welland Canal). General Motors built a considerable presence in St. Catharines with auto plants and a foundry, and a number of auto-parts manufacturers followed. Dry docks were also built at Port Weller on Lake Ontario.

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Asia to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Canal Man-made channel for water

Canals, or navigations, are human-made channels, or artificial waterways, for water conveyance, or to service water transport vehicles.

Great Lakes System of interconnected, large lakes in North America

The Great Lakes, also called the Laurentian Great Lakes and the Great Lakes of North America, are a series of interconnected freshwater lakes primarily in the upper mid-east region of North America, on the Canada–United States border, which connect to the Atlantic Ocean through the Saint Lawrence River. They consist of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. Hydrologically, there are only four lakes, because Lakes Michigan and Huron join at the Straits of Mackinac. The lakes form the Great Lakes Waterway.

Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls. Winter at The Falls., Niagara Falls, Canada.jpg
Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls.

21st century

Heavy industry has been diminishing for the past decade or more primarily due to the slow-down of the North American automotive manufacturers. Thousands of jobs have been lost at long-time area employers such as General Motors, Thompson Products, Deere & Company, Dana Canada Corp, Port Weller Drydocks, Domtar Papers and Gallagher Thorold Paper. Because of this, local municipalities have been forced to look at new and diversified opportunities to prevent an exodus of well trained staff.

General Motors American automotive manufacturing company

General Motors Company, commonly referred to as General Motors (GM), is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Detroit that designs, manufactures, markets, and distributes vehicles and vehicle parts, and sells financial services, with global headquarters in Detroit's Renaissance Center. It was originally founded by William C. Durant on September 16, 1908 as a holding company. The company is the largest American automobile manufacturer, and one of the world's largest. As of 2018, General Motors is ranked #10 on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.

TRW Inc. was an American corporation involved in a variety of businesses, mainly aerospace, automotive, and credit reporting. It was a pioneer in multiple fields including electronic components, integrated circuits, computers, software and systems engineering. TRW built many spacecraft, including Pioneer 1, Pioneer 10, and several space-based observatories. It was #57 on the 1986 Fortune 500 list, and had 122,258 employees. In 1958 the company was called Thompson Ramo Wooldridge, after three prominent leaders. This was later shortened to TRW.

John Deere American corporation

John Deere is the brand name of Deere & Company, an American corporation that manufactures agricultural, construction, and forestry machinery, diesel engines, drivetrains used in heavy equipment, and lawn care equipment. In 2018, it was listed as 102nd in the Fortune 500 America's ranking and was ranked 394th in the global ranking. The company also provides financial services and other related activities.


Hospitality and tourism has attracted numerous visitors to the area for more than 150 years primarily thanks to Niagara Falls. New development beginning during the mid-1990s has spun off an upscale hospitality boom throughout the whole Niagara Peninsula.

Today, more than 10 million guests[ citation needed ] visit the peninsula annually to see the beauty of the Falls and the Niagara Parks. Ecotourism has become more popular with more people finding and exploring out of the way places such as the Niagara Escarpment, named a world Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1990.

Niagara Peninsula wineries

Another area of major tourism growth in the past thirty years has been the expansion of the grape and wine industry. The Niagara Peninsula is one of four recognized viticultural areas by the VQA in the Ontario wine industry. The many European-style wineries and vineyards have played a major role in attracting visitors seeking a unique cultural experience. Most of the local wineries offer full tours of their facilities with a few offering onsite dining featuring unique Canadian cuisine paired with their own VQA vintages. It is common for many of these wineries' world-class chefs to use fresh ingredients that are grown or acquired from local farms in season. Some wineries also feature live music and theatrical performances in the vineyard during the summer months. Visitors come during the coldest months of the year (usually December to February) to watch some varieties of grapes being harvested and pressed outdoors in the vineyard as part of the process of creating the sweetest, and among the most expensive,[ citation needed ] wine on earth – ice wine. A few Niagara Peninsula wineries have won the most prestigious international awards[ citation needed ] for their ice wine products, many of which are only available from the vintner.

There is an official Wine Routes Guide for those that wish to self-drive while transportation companies offering wine tours operate out of major hotel and bed and breakfast establishments in Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Toronto. (Driving from downtown Toronto to the Niagara wine region is about two hours.)


Another major attraction for the well travelled looking for cultural activities is the famous Shaw Festival Theater (named for playwright George Bernard Shaw) located in the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. A resident repertory company of actors uses three theatres during a six-month season. Niagara-on-the-Lake is also the location of Fort George, a British-built and -occupied fort during the War of 1812. It was rebuilt for the public during the 1960s and is open during the summer months. Other key historical locations nearby include: Brock's Monument, the Laura Secord Monument and the battlefield sites of Battle of Queenston Heights, Battle of Lundy's Lane and Battle of Chippawa.


The region's moderate year-round climate, in addition to its close proximity to the United States for easy road and air access to the southern U.S., makes it a popular[ citation needed ] retirement destination. In fact, the Niagara Peninsula has both the highest density and growth rate of seniors for any region within Ontario.[ citation needed ] The highest percentage of seniors to the total population is located within the city of Port Colborne.[ citation needed ]

During the early 1990s a major telecommunications highway between metropolitan Toronto and the U.S. was upgraded to become one of North America's fastest fiber backbones.[ citation needed ] It passes through the heart of the Niagara Peninsula and enters the U.S. at Buffalo, New York. This gave Niagara the advantage of having direct access to the backbone and attracting many new professional call centers.

Compared with the cities of Toronto, Hamilton and most Ontario municipalities with populations similar in size to the whole of the Niagara Peninsula, the average cost of living is very reasonable.[ citation needed ] The cost of housing, both owned and rented, is lower.[ citation needed ] The three major cities, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Welland are mostly urban with most needed services available locally. The remainder of the peninsula, especially to the far west and south, is either partially urban or almost entirely rural.

Centres of higher education are Brock University and Niagara College, both offering undergraduate and post-graduate studies in many disciplines.


The major roadway bisecting the peninsula is the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW). This freeway connects Toronto and Buffalo, New York, in the United States. It is one of the major thoroughfares for the North American trucking industry and is responsible for supporting the carriage of nearly one third of all goods imported and exported.[ citation needed ] The second major roadway is Highway 406 which begins at the QEW in west St. Catharines and ends approximately 30 km south in the city of Welland. Another shorter freeway is Highway 405, named the General Isaac Brock Parkway in 2006. It begins at the QEW in Niagara-on-the-Lake, just east of St. Catharines, and ends about 9 km away at Queenston, Ontario, where it connects to an international bridge that crosses into the United States at Lewiston, New York. This is also a major travel zone for the Canada/US trucking industry.

All cities and some towns in the peninsula have taxi services while St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Welland all have a local transit commission. There is also one major airbus company that services Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo airports exclusively. Most cities and some towns also have very limited inter-city bus services operated mostly by Greyhound and Coach Canada. A specialized inter-city regional bus service, owned and operated by the Regional government, began operation in late 2006 but is restricted to those requiring transport to medical appointments throughout the region and have no other means of transportation. (Other restrictions apply.) The region hopes to have a fully integrated region-level transit system by the end of the decade.

Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and Grimsby are all connected to the CN railway line. Via Rail offers limited daily commuter and weekend service between these three peninsula municipalities and Toronto and many points between. Via Rail and Amtrak also offer daily southbound service from Toronto to New York City with stops at the same stations.

See also

Related Research Articles

Niagara Escarpment

The Niagara Escarpment is a long escarpment, or cuesta, in the United States and Canada that runs predominantly east/west from New York, through Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The escarpment is most famous as the cliff over which the Niagara River plunges at Niagara Falls, for which it is named.

Welland City in Ontario, Canada

Welland is a city in the Regional Municipality of Niagara in Southern Ontario, Canada. In 2016, it had a population of 52,293.

Queen Elizabeth Way highway in Ontario

The Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) is a 400-series highway in the Canadian province of Ontario linking Toronto with the Niagara Peninsula and Buffalo, New York. The freeway begins at the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie and travels 139.1 kilometres (86.4 mi) around the western shore of Lake Ontario, ending at Highway 427. The physical highway, however, continues as the Gardiner Expressway into downtown Toronto. The QEW is one of Ontario's busiest highways, with an average of close to 200,000 vehicles per day on some sections. Major highway junctions are at Highway 420 in Niagara Falls, Highway 405 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Highway 406 in St. Catharines, the Red Hill Valley Parkway in Hamilton, Highway 403 and Highway 407 in Burlington, Highway 403 at the Oakville–Mississauga boundary, and Highway 427 in Etobicoke. Within the Regional Municipality of Halton, between its two junctions with Highway 403, the QEW is signed concurrently with Highway 403.

Chippawa is a community located within the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Western New York Region in New York, United States

Western New York is the westernmost region of the state of New York. It includes the cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Niagara Falls, Jamestown and the surrounding suburbs, as well as the outlying rural areas of the Great Lakes lowlands, the Genesee Valley, and the Southern Tier. The historic beginnings of the region can be defined by its original eastern boundary of Preemption Line, created by the December 16, 1786 political settlement between the states of New York and Massachusetts, both of which claimed political dominion over the land. This eastern boundary shifted because of changing county borders in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Mid-Peninsula Highway

The Mid-Peninsula Highway is a proposed freeway across the Niagara Peninsula in the Canadian province of Ontario. Although plans for a highway connecting Hamilton to Fort Erie south of the Niagara Escarpment have surfaced for decades, it was not until The Niagara Frontier International Gateway Study was published by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) in 1998 that serious examination and planning began. The study called for an alternative route to the QEW, which runs through tender fruitlands and is not capable of expansion beyond its current configuration. The land on which studies are being performed for this future freeway is referred to as the Mid-Peninsula Corridor or the Niagara–GTA Corrdior.

Diocese of Niagara

The Diocese of Niagara is one of thirty regional divisions in the Anglican Church of Canada. The see city of the diocese is Hamilton with the Bishop's seat being located at Christ's Church Cathedral on James Street North. Located within the ecclesiastical province of Ontario, it borders the Dioceses of Huron and Toronto. The area enclosed by the Diocese of Niagara includes much of the Golden Horseshoe, and moves north to include Erin and Orangeville as far as Shelburne. Moving sharply south the line includes Mount Forest and widens, south-westerly to include Elora and Guelph. Skirting Brantford and the Territory of the Six Nations Confederacy, the line then travels, again, south-westerly to Nanticoke and Lake Erie to include the entire Niagara Peninsula. Major urban centres within its borders are St. Catharines, Hamilton, Guelph, Oakville, Burlington, and Orangeville.

Ontario Highway 55 former highway in Ontario

King's Highway 55, commonly referred to as Highway 55 and historically as the Niagara Stone Road and Black Swamp Road, was a provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario, which connected the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) with Niagara-on-the-Lake, following Niagara Stone Road. The route divided a swath of wineries at the foot of the Niagara Escarpment, passing at an oblique angle to the concession road grid.

Jordan, Ontario Unincorporated community in Ontario, Canada

Jordan, Ontario, is a community located on the eastern edge of the Town of Lincoln, in the Niagara Region. Jordan is bordered by the Twenty Mile Creek and Vineland to the west, Lake Ontario to the north, St. Catharines to the east, and Pelham to the south. Lying roughly 100 km from Toronto and 65 km from Buffalo by road, Jordan is located along a major transportation corridor between Canada and the United States. In January 2014 Jordan was brought to international attention when Al-Qaeda-directed terrorists were arrested for plotting to derail a passenger train traveling from Toronto to New York on a rail-bridge crossing the Jordan Harbour.

Ontario wine

Ontario wine is Canadian wine produced in the province of Ontario that is certified by VQA Ontario. Wines made from 100% Ontario grapes can qualify for classification under Ontario's appellation system, the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA), and must be certified by the provincial wine authority to use the descriptor "Ontario wine" and other regulated labelling terms. VQA regulates production standards including grape varietals, wine-making techniques employed, and other requirements and ensures label integrity for consumers. This has raised some issues with certain wineries that do not meet the VQA standard or are not eligible because they use Ontario grown winter-hardy hybrid grapes that are not recognized by VQA despite lobbying attempts to update their list of acceptable grape varieties.

The Short Hills Bench is a sub-appellation of the Niagara Peninsula.

COMPASS, also referred to as Freeway Traffic Management System, is a system run by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) to monitor and manage the flow of traffic on various roads in Ontario.

Twelve Mile Creek (Ontario)

Twelve Mile Creek is a waterway located on the Niagara Peninsula in the Regional Municipality of Niagara in Southern Ontario, Canada. Its headwaters are located in the town of Pelham, encompassing some of the most unspoiled and natural areas of Niagara area. The creek's lower reaches flow through urban areas of Thorold and St. Catharines, and have been heavily altered by human activity for almost two centuries.

Niagara District Junior B Hockey League

The Niagara District Junior B Hockey League was a Canadian Junior ice hockey league in the Golden Horseshoe of Ontario from 1954 until 1979. The league was a part of the Ontario Hockey Association of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association and was eligible for the Sutherland Cup.


  1. "Imagine Niagara" (PDF). Consolidated Official Plan. Niagara Region. August 2014. p. 1.4. Retrieved 22 June 2015. The "Niagara Peninsula" area is not a true peninsula but is a narrow neck of land stretching between Lakes Erie and Ontario.
  2. "History". Niagara Peninsula. Retrieved August 11, 2016.

Coordinates: 43°00′N79°30′W / 43.00°N 79.50°W / 43.00; -79.50