It’s kind of nice to think that amid all the hustle and bustle of a tourist city like Niagara Falls – right in the centre of it, actually – there’s a lively little place that harkens back to the old days.
Every Saturday of the year from 6 a.m. to noon, the Niagara Falls farmers market is open for shoppers and browsers looking for fresh vegetables, meats and farm products, and local crafts and live entertainment.
Outside, there are 15 vendors and indoors as many as four more, all of them local from the Niagara region. Depending on the season, they’re offering items like fresh peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, honey, flowers and berries.
It’s a place for casual shopping, where you can chat with the people who grew the food you’ll be eating. And the location is ideal – the market is on Sylvia Place, tucked in behind the Niagara Falls History Museum on Lundy’s Lane near Main Street.
There is plenty of parking, and plenty more to do in the neighbourhood while you’re there.
Keeping with the theme of a fun but low-key day at the market, why not tour the Drummond Hill cemetery and battlefield site that’s just a short walk from the market?
Possibly the most famous military confrontation on Canadian soil took place there July 25, 1814, in a War of 1812 nighttime battle on the cemetery grounds that saw about 3,500 men fighting for Britain face approximately 1,000 American soldiers, led by Brig. Gen. Winfield Scott.
It’s estimated both sides lost 900 men killed, wounded or missing amid the tombstones and woods.
Fighting in darkness – a rarity in those days – made the combat especially savage.
The conflict stopped the advance by the American side, which retreated to Fort Erie.
Laura Secord, a heroine of the War of 1812, is buried in the Drummond Hill cemetery. Across the street from the cemetery and battlefield, Fralick’s Tavern has been restored and acts as a visitors centre for the battlefield.
And take time to visit the Niagara Falls History Museum, too, since you’re right there. It features exhibits on local history – and few Canadian cities have such a fascinating past as Niagara Falls, what with its War of 1812 connection, its proximity to the border that made it an important stop on the Underground Railroad, and its colourful history of tourism and daredevils who challenged the waters of Niagara Falls (and frequently lost their lives doing so).