I bet when you hear “Niagara” your mind immediately jumps ahead to its most popular attraction: Niagara Falls is known for its tourism, BUT there are places to live in and around the Niagara Region that offer more than just a view of the falls.
From an abundance of historical sites and natural beauty, there’s a place for everyone to call home. Let’s take a look at my top 5 suggestions – and stick around until the end – my favourite place might really surprise you.
With a population of 50,000 and known as the Rose City, Welland is located in the middle of the region. As a community with access to a host of amenities and an easy commute to anywhere in the Region, it was recently ranked as the 15th best place to live and work in Canada.
When I returned to my Niagara roots in 2015, my husband and I chose Welland as the location to purchase our home. Truth be told, we chose Welland as we were able to get more house for our money but were pleasantly surprised at what else this City had to offer.
Fun fact – there are two canals that run through Welland – one that is used for lake freighters, but the original “old canal” now known as the recreational canal is home to some pretty awesome events. One of our favourite Summer pastimes is the Concerts on the Canal series. A floating stage positioned in the canal where musicians entertain fans who are seated in the stone amphitheater.
Floatfest is another great event that is like the “ultimate lazy river”. Thousands take part in a parade of inflatable crafts with the only objective being to spend a truly relaxing day of leisure, floating on the water.
The downtown core has some unique shops and a year round Farmers Market for all your fresh produce, baked goods and so much more.
The Municipality of Lincoln that includes various communities including Beamsville, Jordan and Vineland, Lincoln is the perfect spot to live if you have to commute to the GTA given its close proximity along the QEW.
Home to about 24,000 residents situated between Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment in both rural and urban landscapes, Lincoln is known for its fruit production, greenhouses and conservation areas.
When you picture Sunday drives, Lincoln comes to mind and it’s hard to resist stopping at stands lining area roads for fresh fruit and homemade baked goods.
It’s also grape growing territory – and you know what that means…YUP – Wineries. Known as The Bench for it’s position below the ridge of the Niagara Escarpment, upwards of 50 wineries produce some of Ontario’s finest wines and amazing culinary delights.
Other highlights include the Balls Falls Conservation Area that offers spectacular scenery and natural beauty, maintaining its mid 19th century hamlet atmosphere and even has an operating flour mill. It’s a photographer’s dream or the perfect backdrop for a wedding.
Hands down the heart of the Niagara Region, The Garden City is the largest with a population of nearly 420,000 residents.
With beautiful waterfront homes along the banks of Lake Ontario or historical houses in Old Glenridge, St. Catharines has created a diverse architectural landscape.
From beaches, walking trails, museums and live entertainment, shopping and hip culinary scenes, this city has it all. And don’t forget our beloved Niagara Icedogs OHL hockey team that excites a crowd at their home games.
We’ll wrap up the highlights of St. Catharines with a mention of the State of the Art hospital including the Walker Family Cancer Centre and Brock University which has a strong academic pull to the Region.
This charming historical town is sought after and ranks high on the list of best luxury places to live in the Niagara Region. With a population of just over 17,000, this number rapidly increases during the tourist season as people flock to the lakeside village to visit the beautiful wineries and brew houses, quaint shops in the downtown core and enjoy a pampered stay at one of many boutique hotels.
But there is so much more to NOTL than just it’s famous food and drink. It’s home to rolling hills and beautiful trails along the mighty Niagara River. There’s golf courses, parks, yacht clubs and marinas to enhance your outdoor experience year round. NOTL also exudes culture with its world renowned live entertainment at Shaw Festivals.
All this beauty does come at a price, with it being the most expensive place to live in the Region and has become an ideal location for empty nesters and retirees.
While this might surprise many – especially over NOTL, Port Colborne has so much to offer for a fraction of the cost. Nestled on the shores of Lake Erie with a population just over 18,000, this beach town is rich in marine heritage, boutique shops and a boardwalk along the canal that is perfect for watching ships go by.
The soft sandy shores of Nickel Beach are a popular draw to the area in the Summer months – perfect for water sports or relaxing and it’s one of the last remaining beaches that allows beachgoers to park their vehicles directly on the beachfront – great for tailgate parties.
Whether you are looking for a historic home, waterfront property or a newly developed subdivision, Port Colborne offers it all and is the Region’s most affordable place to live.
So that’s just a few of my favourite places to live in the Region, but honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of the great municipalities in the area. If some of these piqued your interest but you still have questions about the potential to call Niagara home, be sure to check out my next video where I answer the top questions people ask about the Niagara area.