I love going out – selecting an outfit, getting dressed and smiling with satisfaction at myself in the mirror after all the bells and whistles are in place is something I find exciting. Staying out however is a whole different ball game. After two hours, I start itching for the comfort of my home. I long for the soft feel of my couch and the desire to rest my head on one of the cushions becomes really overwhelming. This feeling waxes stronger if I am outdoors on a cold day , in a social setting with too dull or too loud conversation, or if I am with people who are so particular about coming across as perfect, they are unable to state their truths in conversations.
So when I and my colleagues from the Young Water Professionals conference in Toronto got set to visit Niagara falls with an itinerary of about nine hours, I was very worried about the possibility of being overwhelmed by my desire to be home. I wanted to hang out with everyone, but I was also worried about finding out that we could not connect on anything more than our passion for functional and effective water services across the world. I got set anyway. Armed with my camera, I decided I was going to have an amazing day and fight that urge to be home after two hours. I would later come to realize that my resolution was not necessary.
We set off from Downtown Toronto and headed first for a water treatment plant tour in the Halton region. After about an hour of learning about how resident water technicians worked together to ensure the plant was effective in its water provision mandate, we headed for the Niagara region which was a little more than an hour’s drive from the water treatment plant.
Our first stop was the Tawse Winery in the area. This is a great place to stop for a tour if you are travelling as a group. The Tawse winery is set in the serene Niagara region surrounded by the beauty of trees with a water fountain in front of the building. Welcomed with glasses of Rosé, our tour guide passionately explained the process of wine-making, how different types of grapes birth different wines, and how even though they make champagne, they can’t call it champagne because the residents of Champagne in France would have a fit. We walked between the rows of different grapes, grown specifically for different kinds of wines and basked in the sun listening to reasons why the grapes were grown on slopes. Inside the winery, we were treated to a wine tasting session, surrounded by Tawse’s finest products.
Few glasses of wine and a lot of good information later, we set off for Niagara falls. This was the highlight of the trip and I really did not know what to expect. I had heard a lot about the falls. A colleague even described her visit there as a dream come true so I was really looking forward to it. As we pulled into the ‘city’, I could see why anyone would be excited to be there. Niagara is really where you cut loose, forget how old or heavy-laden you are and just have fun!
You can start by seeing the fall from the curb or even ziplining over it. Afterwards, get on the skywheel and get a good view of the city. I am terrified of heights but after one round on the wheel, I was able to start enjoying the view. Thankfully, the wheel is slow. I still have some childhood trauma from a hand-spun ferris wheel on the Bar-beach in Lagos. Some useful advice: Buy an adventurer ticket which allows you on to the skywheel as well as other select rides in the area, rather than a single ticket for the skywheel.
You will be spoiled for choice on what to do in Niagara, so don’t spend too much time thinking about it and just start with whatever is nearest to you. From laser-tagging to cart racing, there is a lot of action in Niagara and lots to see if you decide to simply take a stroll around. There are restaurants with live music in the area and great ice-cream stores. If I remember correctly, I got really delicious rocky road ice cream from ‘Sweet Jesus’. It was about ten dollars and I remember my friend frowning at the price. There are also shops to get touristy stuff like t-shirts, fridge magnets and even hoodies.
By the end of the day, as we drove back to Toronto, I had no urge to be in my bed. It felt like the child in me came out to play and I did not want to lock her back in. I ended the day with dinner at a Cantonese restaurant in Downtown Toronto, and as I laid my head to sleep later that night, I closed my eyes with the contentment of a day well spent.