TORONTO TO NIAGARA
WHEN A HIGHWAY starts off with more bumper views than escarpment vistas, it may require a few deep-breath ohms to get you on your way. But a wintertime journey from Toronto to the Niagara region is no less worthy of the road-trip moniker: the cosy car, the playlist, the getaway! As you follow the QEW and the urban spread of the Greater Toronto Area toward the industrial skyline of Hamilton and the Burlington Skyway bridge, the relief of the regional roads and more intimate Lake Ontario moments are not far off. Plus, country calm awaits: local dinners with wine or craft beer pairings, cosy inns with fireplaces and seasonal events f rom the Shaw Festival’s A Christmas Carol (December) to the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights (Nov. 18, 2017, to Jan. 31, 2018). The Niagara Peninsula’s big coldweather draw, however, is the icewine festivities that take over the January weekend calendar to celebrate that sweet fruit of the winter vine. Niagara Falls kicks things off with a gala wine dinner at the Fallsview Casino Resort (Jan. 12, 2018), Twenty Valley is home to the artsy Winter Winefest (Jan. 12-14, 2018) in Jordan Village, and Niagara-on-the-lake takes the party outside with its long-running Icewine Festival (Jan. 19 to Jan. 28). You can experience notable chefs and VQA icewines in formal-wear finery, but you can also watch a raucous barrel rolling competition or join an underground wine cave after-party. A Niagara Icewine Festival Discovery Pass also allows you to pick and choose wine-and-culinary matchups at participating wineries over three weekends. And it’s here, while travelling country roads past frozen fields toward warmly-lit converted barns or tasting rooms with grand vistas of the Niagara Escarpment, that you’ll get the reward that only the very best road trips can offer: your next stop unknown but no less anticipated.
Snow blankets the trees along the Niagara River.