The Niagara Parkway, formerly known as Niagara Boulevard and historically as the Niagara Road, is a scenic road in the province of Ontario that travels on the Canadian side of the Niagara River from the town of Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake. The portion north of Table Rock in Niagara Falls is designated as an Ontario Scenic Highway.
The Niagara Parkway begins at Fort Erie in the south. It passes through several villages along the river before passing through the tourist district of Niagara Falls. North of the city it provides access to several attractions, including the Whirlpool Rapids, Butterfly Conservatory, and Brock’s Monument at Queenston Heights. The route ends at Fort George, southeast of the urban centre of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Construction on the modern Niagara Parkway began in 1908; it was completed from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario in 1931 as a scenic road with gardens and manicured lawns throughout its length. The parkway was referred to by Sir Winston Churchill, having been driven down it, as “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world.”
The Niagara Parkway is one of the oldest roads in Ontario. Predating it, an aboriginal trail along the west side of the Niagara River existed before the arrival of Europeans. The first survey along the length of the river was done by Augustus Jones in 1786. The survey set aside a one chain reserve along the bank of the river for military purposes; one chain being equivalent to 20 metres (66 ft). Despite this reserve, early settlers extended their fences to the river. In 1791, the Land Board ordered that the fences be removed to permit the reserve’s use as a public road. The Niagara Road quickly became the primary route between Fort Erie and Fort George. Its importance grew with the declaration of war against the Americans in June 1812. During the war, the road became vital for the movement of militia and supplies, and accordingly it was one of the primary frontiers of the war.
While the road and riverfront trail are man made, the beautiful views of the Niagara River are 100 per cent natural. And yes, Sir Winston Churchill did say it was the “prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world.” So we highly recommend that you get off the highway and follow its winding course from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Queenston and continue on to Niagara Falls, Chippawa and Fort Erie. We love it in any season but the sight of blossoms with their promise of summer does give spring the edge, especially after a typically Canadian winter!