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Dufferin Islands Free Park

Free Things to do this Summer in Niagara Falls

Hello there, readers.

Abraham Mortimer, back inside the mind of an unwitting social media intern to try to draw a few more of you into the Nightmares Fear Factory this summer.

Does that seem a little forward? Well, so am I, as the Nightmares Fear Factory's resident evil spirit. Certainly, you ought to come down into the Nightmares Fear Factory so we can talk about that.

In any case and without much further ado, I shall here list the Top 10 very best things that one might get up to in Niagara Falls this summer.

Viewing the Falls

Many do not realise, but there are actually three separate waterfalls in Niagara Falls. This little-known secret lends itself rather well to the casual summer vacationer, and the majestic waterfalls should serve well to draw you into the area.

In no particular order, these waterfalls are known as The American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls and, of course, the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. They flow day to night all the space in between and are free to watch. They are ever changing in dynamic, flow, and glint from day to night, from season to season. 

Dufferin Islands

The Dufferin Islands consists of four small islands and waterways. The tilting of a rock shelf on the top of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls directly replenishes the park's waterways daily. 

The area is maintained by the Niagara Parks Commission and is free to enjoy. It is natural habitat to a large variety of local wildlife, including ducks, geese and other samplings of large birds. Lush green grass and trees make this the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature—or enjoy others while they enjoy nature, as is rather my own preference.

Though I shall admit freely that my idea of nature, after having been dead for quite some time, could be a shade out of touch with your own.

Image Source:

Fireworks over the Falls

This year fireworks are scheduled to run Monday to Friday plus holiday weekends. You may think of these, should you like, as the type of surprise coupled with shock, awe, and delight which is an appetizer for the Nightmares Fear Factory.

Coloured for the occasion and resplendent against a night sky, the fireworks are scheduled to occur every night until September 2nd, 2019.

Earlier I referred to colourings for the occasion? Well, these will include most of the special days that occur across the summer. As an example, special displays will occur on long weekends, holidays, and days of note. As a more specific example, the Canada Day volley will be coloured, naturally, red and white. 

Fireworks typically start at 10 pm and are subject to weather conditions, as you might well expect. Wind and rain, as ever, put a bit of a dampener on atmospheric display (Do you see what I did there? Rather clever, I thought). 

In any case, one might view the fireworks from many locations along the Niagara Parkway. Consider the Skylon Tower or the many hotel rooms that face in that direction and provide the requisite elevation. There are also many restaurants that have views of the fireworks. If you’re looking for a completely free experience, then take a blanket and find your perfect spot on the grass near the Table Rock Welcome Centre.

Niagara Parks Concert Series

The Niagara Parks Concert Series is a series of live music displays which will occur just before the fireworks displays.

The Niagara Parks Commission has a bandstand near the Canadian Horseshoe Falls where musicians are planning to play live through the summer. Genres range from country to jazz, to pop. 

These shows will run Monday through Friday, and on holidays until August 31st. Bands perform from 8 – 10 pm at Queen Victoria Park which lets you off, conveniently, right before the fireworks start. Here is a schedule and the bands which have been booked for the various occasions.

Niagara Glen

A designated nature reserve since 1992, the Niagara Glen offers a great hike down to the Niagara Gorge where you can venture down to view the level six rapids at the Niagara River Whirlpool. A level six rapid, says this intern's trapped and panicking mind, are a set of rapids which are very fast, very unpredictable, and for whom the journey through is reserved for the best of the best. Who knows? Perhaps you will be able to witness such a momentous crossing.

You’ll burn some calories—which you may need to do after feasting at some of the fine establishments in Niagara Falls—as you follow the winding paths through the natural vegetation and forestry. Geocaching and birdwatching are free activities, but you can also sign up for paid activities such as bouldering; that is to say, a minor form of rock-climbing.

Floral Clock

The huge Floral Clock is maintained by Niagara Parks but is kept running by Ontario Hydro, the organization that originally built it. 16,000 bedding plants make up the clock, the plants are swapped out twice a year. 

Consider this clock a testament to the beauty of the Niagara Falls region, as it incorporates many local species of flower.

Image Source:  Niagara Parks

Botanical Gardens

Ten minutes north of Niagara Falls you’ll enjoy ninety-nine acres of beautifully maintained gardens. The Botanical Gardens are famous for their magnolias as well as their flowering cherry trees which are at their most attractive in the late spring. The Gardens also host rose gardens and perennials in the summer. You’ll love exploring the grounds and experience the beauty of a living environment—which I might point out serves as an excellent counter-point to the Nightmares Fear Factory.

Image Source:  Niagara Parks

Sarina Stupa Temple

The Sarina Stupa Temple, also known as the Ten Thousand Buddhas, is a spacious and completely authentic temple. It is free to explore, and you are at your leisure to meditate, to burn incense, and a place for a donation is readily accessible if you are feeling rather less fortunate than is the norm.

The temple is open on Saturdays during the summer. If you plan on going during the week you are still able to explore the building and the amazing architecture.

Image Source:  Wikepeida

Old Fort Erie Battle Re-enactments

If you’re a history buff then this 20-minute drive to Old Fort Erie will be worth it to see the battle re-enactments. 

The battles, fought in the original uniforms and with close facsimiles of the original arms, (and do please take my word for it) will this year simulate the Siege of Fort Erie, and will occur on August 11th and 12th.

The spectacle of a nineteenth-century battle is enough to set the spirit aflutter and the heart to pumping. Despite my lack of the required organs, I remember the feeling rather well...

... again, do please take my word for it.

Image Source:  WNY Papers

And so, dear reader? As I leave the cranium of this unfortunate intern, I also leave you with a single parting thought.

The majesty and the beauty of all these fine events and sights in the Niagara Region are best accompanied by the tension; yea, even the horror and madness which reside in my Nightmares Fear Factory. For what is the light, without the dark to illuminate? What is happiness, if one has never experienced heartbreak?

Tension and catharsis are elements which balance, and all the catharsis in this... this "blog post," as she refers to it, must have balance. You may depend upon your trip being more fulfilling, and more pleasing if you pay a visit to my own particular house of horrors.

Abraham Mortimer, curator of Nightmares in the Clifton Hill district of Niagara Falls.  



1.  Explore Clifton Hill 

2.  Halloween in Niagara Falls