Day 7: Welland Canal & Wine Tours

We’re off on a mini-road trip to day and the destination is Niagra-on-the-lake for some wine tours. As with the rest of the trip, this is not the best season for wine tours, the vines are bare, there are no leaves and there is not much happening. However, there are wine tastings!

En route, we pass the Welland Canal, and on a whim I turn in at Lock #3 for a look around. This is a structure that I’d heard of but never experienced in person. With the visitor centre & museum it was well worth the small detour to check it out.

Here we are on the edge of Lock #3 just 9km from Lake Ontario. We’re going to Chicago 782km later in the week but New York is only 478km. Hmmmm

The centre is quite nice and we explore the museum while waiting for the arrival of a ship.

Shirley & Leslie also walk around outside and explore the elevated viewing platform, from where I took this photo.

The lock is empty when we arrive, but is being filled in anticipation of the arriving ship.

The lock is now full and the upstream gate can be opened. The yellow device on the far wall is an automatic docking system which pushes and hold the ship against the near wall. No ropes involved.

Here she comes! The vertical lift road bridge in the background has opened to let the ship pass and it’s creeping along slowly towards the lock.

It’s a tight fit with only a few feet to spare! We’re told that the captain that actually slides the ship along the wall of the canal to ease it into the lock.

After observing the ship come fully into the lock and the gate at the back close we decide to move along to the original destination without waiting around to see the ship lowered into the next section of the canal. Back in the car and off to Niagra-on-the-lake. (why to they have the hyphens in the name anyway?)

We drive around “downtown” for a bit and then locate a restaurant for lunch. It was just adequate (barely) and service was so-so, not the best visitor experience. However, next we’re off to the wineries and some sampling. There are so many to choose from and we randomly pick Reif Estate Winery for out 1st stop.

Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures but we had a great server there which made our time together fun as we sampled 5 different wines. We all ended up buying the one we liked the best. After we left there I was officially the designated driver for the remainder of the day.

Out 2nd stop is the Château des Charmes, an impressive building to be sure. Again a little more sampling for Shirley & Leslie, I amused myself by looking around the building and grounds.

Nothing happening yet, but I’m sure the grapes are coming! My fav.

Mean while back in the tasting room these two are having a great time!

After some more driving around the area and a brief look around St. Catherines we head back to Toronto and another day is done.

All the pictures from the day on Flickr.

Toronto Route 66 - Day 7

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