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Port Dalhousie, St. Catharine's attractive harbour

© By Al Luke
  Old Port Dalhousie Welcoming Sign In the heart of Niagara's grape growing region, the Port Mansion Hotel, a multi-purpose landmark erected during the U.S. Civil War and following the construction of the original Welland Canal, provides an ideal view of the Port Dalhousie harbour. It's attractive oak and walnut woodwork interior is accented by beautiful stained glass and Tiffany lamps throughout. Following a fine dining experience, one may enjoy live theatre including established performers in a variety of shows throughout the year. The nearby Jailhouse Café, formerly Ontario's smallest jail, was built in 1845.
     Across from these two establishments, Lakeside Park, a turn-of-the-century attraction, offers a handsomely carved and colourfully painted carousel, circa 1895, attracting young and old alike. For the original 5¢ fee, enjoy childhood memories on this delightful merry-go-round. And, for an equally engaging ride, take a cruise aboard the 102 foot Dalhousie Princess, a 300 passenger cruise ship that passes a pair of lighthouses dating from the late 1800s. With two enclosed decks, walkout balconies and an open-air third deck, one can enjoy a 2.5 hour sightseeing cruise or a 1.5 hour sunset cruise into Lake Ontario and Lock #1.
     Port Dalhousie is the terminus of the first three Welland canals, built in 1820, 1845 and 1889, and for almost 100 years, home to the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, inviting rowers from all over the world to compete on Martindale Pond, site of the "1999 World Rowing Games."
     By bicycle or car, from here, one can tour the Niagara wine region. Acquire a map or simply follow the blue and white "Wine Route" signs. Numerous wineries dot the region and properties offer wine tours and tastings to savour the indigenous fruit of the vine.
     Niagara District Airport is a nearby bargain where one can experience a spectacular aerial tour of vineyards, waterways and Niagara Falls, only twenty minutes from Port Dalhousie. Niagara Air Tours provide an informative in-flight commentary highlighting the region's history and geography as you skim a few thousand feet above ground.

Dalhousie Princess Cruises  Port Dalhousie Carousel Ride  Port Dalhousie Harbourfront  Regional Vineyard 

     If more comfortable with feet closer to ground, a waterfront biking trail which is slightly under 5 miles (7.5 km) in length runs east from Port Dalhousie's Lakeside Park to Port Weller and it is well signed. The nearly 3 mile (45 km) paved or stone dust Multi-use Merritt Trail stretches from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie with links to the extensive Bruce and the Waterfront Trails.
     Summer in Port Dalhousie offers adventure and fun on the ground, in the air and on the water.

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

If you go
Port Dalhousie, Ontario
as seen on
Niagara Economic & Tourism Corporation: www.tourismniagara.com, 800.263.2988
Port Dalhousie: http://www.portdalhousie.com/
Port Mansion Theatre Restaurant www.portmansion.com 905.934.0575
Dalhousie Princess Boat Cruises: http://www.portdalhousie.com/default.asp/id/36
Niagara Air Tours: http://www.niagaraairtours.com/ daily, 9:00 am to sunset, 905.688.9000
Wikitravel: http://wikitravel.org/en/Niagara_Region

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