Lying in the heart of southwestern Ontario’s wine belt, St. Catharines [pop. 130,000] is located at the northern end of the Welland Canal. St. Catharines enjoys a unique climate because of the two Great Lakes which surround it, as well as the protective influence of the Niagara escarpment to its south. This has combined to create conditions which are excellent for growing grapes, and a variety of vineyards and wineries are sprinkled throughout the area. Moving to St. Catharines will afford you the ability to sample the region’s very well-known ice wines, as this is one of Canada’s two major areas of production.
St. Catharines-Niagara Falls
The city was first settled by Upper Canada Loyalists in the 1780s, and the area around St. Catherine’s was quite active during the war of 1812 with America. However, it was the construction of the Welland Canal which was begun in 1829 that brought economic prosperity to the city. The canal links Lakes Ontario and Erie, and allows for ship passage over the 100 m tall Niagara escarpment. It is 42 km long and has 8 locks in total, transiting from St. Catharines to Port Colburn.
After moving to St. Catharines, you will discover that you are close to the extremely quaint town of Niagara-on-the-lake, home to a variety of elegant English style homes as well as the much celebrated Shaw Festival. Also nearby is the world-famous Niagara Falls with its two aquatic attractions, one on each side of the border.
The American falls are 64 m high and 305 m wide, while Canada’s Horseshoe falls are 54 m high and 675 m wide. This thundering natural phenomenon is nothing short of awe-inspiring, and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.
As we are moving back to St. Catharines from Niagara Falls however, we can visit Rodman Hall,the year-round artistic exhibition featuring the works of a variety of local and international artists. This became a part of St. Catharines’ Brock University in 2003. If we move to St. Catharines’ downtown, we will find the Niagara Artist’s Center, the building dedicated to promoting and encouraging fine arts within the city. The city also hosts The Folk Arts Festival, which takes place in Montebello Park in St Catharines’ downtown every year throughout the month of May. There is also the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival which runs a series of seasonal wine festival’s in St. Catharines and throughout the Niagara region. The Niagara Icewine Festival, the Niagara New Vintage Festival, and the Niagara Wine Festival (the largest of the festivals) attract 100,000’s of visitors to the region each year.
Culturally, moving to St. Catharines will allow you to visit the St. Catharines Museum, located at Lock three on the Welland Canal. The Museum has a variety of exhibits dedicated to the city’s history as well as that of the various canals that have existed throughout the city’s history. Currently, the museum is also the home to the Ontario Lacrosse Hall Of Fame and Museum.
Economically speaking, St. Catharines is moving to a service economy from its previous manufacturing stance. While two major General Motors automotive manufacturing facilities were the main employers within the city, the title of the city’s largest single employer is now possessed by St. Catharines’ Brock University.