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Summer Sizzles in Port Colborne

© By A.G. Luke
  Port Colborne Fireworks Display On the north shore of Lake Erie, Port Colborne's lakefront city normally offers a laid-back environment as a terminus along the historic Welland Canal, a 27 mile (43 km) important stretch of waterway that links two Great Lakes. That is, until summer!
     Located parallel to the historic canal in the district of West Street, several attractive structures that dot the street also contain hidden passages to old canal walls used for "rum running" during Prohibition. Celebrated structures include the Classical Revival architecture of the Imperial Bank of Canada (1911) and a former brothel, the Lakeview Hotel, (circa 1840) just south of Lock 8 as well as the Clarence Street Lift Bridge (Bridge # 21). It replaced a wooden swing bridge and acts as one of four "lift" bridges in operation on the Welland Canal, part of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Officially open in 1932, the present-day canal is the fourth passage to be constructed.
     For some liquid sustenance, venture into the venerable King George Inn (on King Street, naturally) which houses the Winchester Arms restaurant, a delightful British pub. Then, driving south on Cement Plant Road to Lakeshore Road, head east to witness an optical illusion, definitely not due to the suds consumed at the pub; rather, a local phenomenon. The "incredible shrinking mill" occurs through interplay of light, land and water. Look straight ahead to the end of the road. The mill seems close enough to touch, but as one approaches Gravel Bay, it strangely recedes.

Canal Bridge  Lock 8  Port Colborne - Clarence Street Lift Bridge over Welland Canal  Port Colborne - King George Inn & Winchester Arms restaurant 

     While touring the area, relax along more than a one mile sandy stretch named Nickel Beach. Or, engage in a little horseplay. Horseplay Niagara, 3 miles (5 km) west of Port Colborne, is a horseback riding facility that occupies 550 acres in Wainfleet's Wetlands Conservation Area. A stable of 15 horses transports one along any of 15 trails. Public trail rides lead down wooded paths and around a fossil-laden quarry. An open fire cookout and trail ride is available, as are sunset trail rides coordinated by a congenial couple, Tony and Kathy Buttigieg. Horseplay Niagara also provides riding classes, an interactive barnyard nursery, hay loft playground and an adventure day camp, Niagara's best kept secret since opening in 1996.
     In contrast, not such a big secret is the annual Canal Days Heritage Festival August 1st to 4th with tall ships in the harbour that draw commensurate huge crowds. Port Colborne's summer festivities include concerts, entertainment, a kite festival, fireworks, carnival rides and games galore!
     For the fitness oriented, cycling opportunities abound in Niagara. In Port Colborne, a 5 mile (8 km) multi-use trail is linked to the West Street Promenade along the Welland Canal. In the summer, you encounter lots of action in Port Colborne.

Port Colborne - Sugarloaf Harbour Marina  Elevated View  Tall and Ordinary Ships  Tall Ship Rigging 

Alan Luke is an Ajax based freelance writer who has been published in the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Boston Globe and many other North American newspapers and magazines.

Photo Credits
Alan Luke
Mike Keenan
Port Colborne Tourism

If you go
Port Colborne, Summer  and 
Port Colborne, Canal Days
as seen on YouTube
Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival: http://www.canaldays.ca/
Port Colborne: http://city.portcolborne.on.ca/
Horseplay Niagara: www.horseplayniagara.com Open daily. Children's Farm Adventures and Day Camp are available. 1.800.871.1141
King George Inn: 905.834.8096
Wikitravel: http://wikitravel.org/en/Niagara_Region

What's happening, money, distance, time?
Media Guide: http://www.abyznewslinks.com/
Currency conversion: http://www.xe.com/ucc/
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Time zone converter: http://www.timezoneconverter.com/

Transportation, visas, health, maps and temperature
Airlines (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines
Embassies/Consulates (Embassy World): http://www.embassyworld.com/
Health precautions (WHO): http://www.who.int/ith/en/
Google interactive map: http://maps.google.com/
Temperature (Temperature World): http://www.temperatureworld.com/


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