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That was how Winston Churchill described the Niagara Parkway.

Most folks going to Niagara Falls are content to admire the Falls. Most acknowledge that the view from the Canadian side is most worth the trip.

But beyond the Falls, the cliffs, the river and the “Maid of the Mist”, there is beauty on the Canadian side as well (though much less in recent decades as the character of Clifton Hill and surrounded environs changed into honky-tonk).

The Niagara Parkway, formerly known as Niagara Boulevard and historically as the Niagara Road, is truly a scenic road. It 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 Boulevard was originally the section only from Fort Erie to Chippawa and the northern portion was referred to as the Niagara Parkway.

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. It was this beauty that prompted Churchill, after a drive to characterize it as “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world.”

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