After the first thaw of spring and the chill of winter has dissipated, our minds immediately jump to thoughts of spring. With the warmer weather comes blossom season! While they only stay for a short period of time, cherry blossoms make up for it with their natural beauty. There are a number of places you can find cherry blossoms in Ontario like the ever-popular High Park in Toronto, but you might not realize you can find cherry blossoms across the province! Ditch the Toronto crowds and check out the Niagara cherry blossoms at these top spots across the region.
Cherry Blossoms in Niagara-on-the-Lake
If you’re thinking of planning a visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake, you may want to do so in the spring. Niagara-on-the-Lake is hands down the best spot to find cherry blossoms in Niagara.
RELATED: Be sure to check out my guide to Niagara-on-the-Lake as I outline all of the incredible things to do in not just the heritage district but across wine country!
The Niagara Parkway
Connecting Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, the Niagara Parkway follows the Niagara River from Niagara-on-the-Lake, through Niagara Falls and all the way to Fort Erie. Along it, you’ll find a number of popular Niagara Falls attractions including the Whirlpool Aerocar, White Water Walk, and, of course, some of Niagara’s beautiful cherry blossoms!
NOTE: While you’ll want to pull over so you can stop and take photos of the trees, the Niagara Parkway is narrow with a lot of bends. Parking on the shoulder is only permitted in certain areas so it’s best to park at one of the lots along the route and walk towards the trees.
Since the Niagara Parkway spans 55 kilometres, you might be wondering where exactly to find cherry trees along the route. Most are located in the stretch within Niagara-on-the-Lake. You’ll find some scattered along the edge of the parkway near the Fort George Historic Site so I recommend starting there and then slowly make your way south. Following the Niagara Parkway will take you all the way to Niagara Falls so you can hit up a number of different spots in one go!
Just south of where East and West Line meets the Niagara Parkway, you’ll find McFarland Park. This is where you’ll find the McFarland House, a historic abode built in 1800 by John McFarland himself and his sons. It’s actually one of the few buildings in Niagara-on-the-Lake that predates the War of 1812! While it costs $6.75 for a tour ($4.50 for children 6-12 years of age), the grounds are free to explore.
McFarland Park offers some walking trails, a covered picnic pavilion as well as water and washroom facilities nearby. While there is a paid parking lot right beside the McFarland House, if you travel a little further north on the eastern side of the parkway you’ll find a free lot.
Queenston Heights Park
Just a few hundred metres from the Canada-USA border, you’ll find Queenston Heights Park. It offers incredible views of the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and it’s said you can even spot Toronto off in the distance if the day is clear enough! While this park is now a beautiful spot that will steal the hearts of hikers, picnickers and nature enthusiasts, it is the site of the famous Battle of Queenston Heights during the War of 1812. You’ll find monuments to both Sir Issac Brock (you really can’t miss this one as it towers above you) as well as Laura Secord for the parts they played during the war.
The newest addition to the park is the Landscape of Nations, a beautiful memorial commemorating the contribution and sacrifice the Six Nations and First Nations allies made during the War of 1812. This memorial is filled to the brim with symbolism, including the two statues, one of Teyoninhokarawen (John Norton) and Ahyouwa’ehs (John Brant), who were both pivotal people in turning the tide of the battle. You can learn more about this memorial with this virtual tour from Niagara Parks.
As for the cherry trees, you can find them scattered throughout the park. However, the best spot is close to the Queenston Heights Restaurant. You’ll find a cluster of cherry trees just to the left of the path as well as a tree in front of the Laura Secord Monument to the right of the building.
Cherry Blossoms in Niagara Falls
Move over Horseshoe Falls, we’re here for the cherry blossoms this time around! Many people don’t realize that you can snag a peek at the cherry blossoms in this iconic Ontario destination. Where exactly can you find them? I’ve got you covered!
RELATED: Niagara Falls is one of the top destinations in Ontario and even Canada. Check out my insider tips for visiting Niagara Falls as this local spills the beans on ways to save money, where to stay and more.
Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens
While Niagara-on-the-Lake takes the cake for the best cherry blossom destination in Niagara, the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens is my favourite place to view them in the region. Established in 1936, you’ll be treated beautiful gardens scattered across 99 acres. Inside you’ll find azaleas, perennials, rhododendrons, and more including their world-famous rose garden – oh, and cherry trees of course!
RELATED: This is also where you’ll find the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory, an amazing attraction and the perfect spot to warm up on a chilly winter day or hide from the rain in the warmer months.
I highly recommend spending some time exploring the grounds as they truly are beautiful. However, if you’re looking to make a beeline for the cherry blossoms, follow the path to your right when you’re facing the Butterfly Conservatory. You’ll see a few smaller trees first on your left but keep following the path and you’ll quickly see the gorgeous, towering cherry trees and all their blossoming glory!
Parking costs $3.00 per hour, however you really won’t need much more than that to walk the grounds and take photos.
Head to the historic community of Chippewa where you’ll find Kingsbridge Park. The area was first settled in 1783 by Thomas Cummings, a United Empire Loyalist from Albany, New York. Shortly afterwards, John Burch settled in the area and built saw and grist mills along the Niagara River just a few years later. Fast forward to 1850 and this is officially when the village of Chippewa was founded, though it was amalgamated into Niagara Falls in 1970.
Located at the confluence of the Niagara and Welland Rivers, Kingsbridge Park is the site of Fort Chippewa. It was built in 1791 to defend Fort Welland and what is now Portage Road. This road originally was the overland route for the transportation of goods prior to the creation of the Welland Canal and became the site of the Battle of Chippewa during the War of 1812.
Nowadays, Kingsbridge Park is a peaceful place to enjoy an afternoon outdoors. You’ll find a walking trail that follows the edge of the park as you enjoy views of the Niagara River. A children’s playground, picnic tables and washrooms are available, making it a perfect spot for a family outing to enjoy the cherry blossoms. There is parking on-site at a rate of $2.50 per hour.
There are a few other places where you can see cherry blossoms in Niagara Falls. First is the Centennial Lilac Garden, just up the Niagara Parkway from the Floral Clock. There is a small free parking lot here but you can also park at the Floral Clock and walk over to the Lilac Garden.
Next, you’ll find a cluster of cherry trees near the middle of the first row of the Whirlpool Aerocar’s parking lot. It’s not quite as picturesque as the other destinations on this list but they’re still a beautiful sight to see! Parking at the Whirlpool Aerocar is free of charge.
Lastly, you’ll see a small cluster of cherry blossoms in Queen Victoria Park. They can be found just to the left of the Niagara Parks Police Building. There is a parking lot here however fees do apply.
Cherry Blossoms in St Catharines
St Catharines isn’t just home to some great hiking trails but it has a number of gorgeous natural spots across the city. Some of which even have cherry blossoms to enjoy!
Head to the patch of green sandwiched between Sir Issac Brock Way and the roundabout where you’ll find a patch of beautiful cherry trees. The Sakura Project donated 200 of these trees to Brock University on November 3rd, 2003. These trees symbolize the friendship between Canada and Japan as they honour the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between us.
St Catharines is a big city with lots of ground to cover. While Brock University is the best spot to find cherry blossoms in St Catharines, you can also find some near the corner of Niagara Street and Linwell Road in front of the Greek Orthodox Church. You’ll also be able to spot some trees along the western side of the Welland Canal Parkway between Lock 2 and Lock 3. Lastly, you can find some trees dotted along the Waterfront Trail, especially behind Cherie Road Park.
Cherry Blossoms in Thorold
Thorold is a lesser-known town in the heart of the region. Originally the Township of Thorold (established in 1798) and the Town of Thorold (1875), they amalgamated to become what is now the City of Thorold in 1975. Nestled between St Catharines and Niagara Falls, head to where “the ships climb the mountain” for our next Niagara cherry blossom destination.
Established in 1886, Lakeview Cemetery is tucked away in a wooded area close to the Niagara Escarpment. This historic cemetery sits on the eastern side of the Welland Canal and offers amazing views of the transport ships as they make their descent from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. You might even catch a glimpse of Toronto’s skyline across the lake if the day is clear enough!
Here you’ll find 60 cherry trees donated by the Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin School in Azabu, Minato, Tokyo in honour of Martha Cartmell. Born and raised in Thorold, she became the first female Canadian Methodist missionary and later travelled to Japan as an educator. She established this private girls academy in 1884 at a time when Japanese women and girls were not permitted to pursue higher education. Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin School wanted these trees to commemorate the cemetery where Martha Cartmell has been laid to rest. The trees, planted in 2013, can be found between the Old and New Lakeview Cemeteries. Lakeview Cemetery’s trees were donated at the same time as those found in Dundas’ Centennial Park.
Where to Find More Niagara Cherry Blossoms
Covering an area of 1,854 km², there are certainly a number of places to find more cherry blossoms in the Niagara Region. If you like the sound of enjoying a glass of wine with your Niagara cherry blossoms, you’ll want to plan a visit to these two spots!
First, let’s head to Foreign Affair Winery in Vineland. Here you’ll find wines made using the Appassimento process which refers to the Italian technique of drying grapes before they’re pressed. Founders Len and Marisa Crispino learned about it while living as expats in Italy and brought this method to Ontario. You’ll find a number of bold reds in their repertoire so grab a glass and then head out front to enjoy the beautiful cherry trees on the property.
Looking for round two? Well, you’re in luck so head to Legends Estate Winery in Beamsville! This fruit farm turned winery has been in the Lizak Family since the 1940s. Due to their location on the edge of Lake Ontario, they grow regionally rare varietals like Semillon, Malbec, Merlot and Petite Verdot grapes due to their unique microclimate. They offer a wide variety of wines including blends like their Legends Truth and Dare. Enjoy a tasting or pick up a bottle then enjoy some of their beautiful Lake Ontario views… and the blossoms, of course!
SOMETHING TO NOTE: While typically wineries don’t mind too much if you explore the grounds, don’t just show up to take your photos and bugger off. Enjoy a tasting or grab a bottle to help support these businesses!
Niagara is a major fruit producer for the province from apricots to peaches to, well, cherries, with many allowing you to pick your own. And if there’s fruit, that means the blossoms have to come first, right? Some farms where you can pick your own cherries across the region include 20 Valley Harvest Farm in Jordan, Cherry Avenue Farms in Vineland, Duffin Farms in Welland and Weiland’s Cherry Farm in Font Hill.
However, these blooms are on farms and private land. Be respectful and do NOT trespass in order to see these blossoms, no matter how gorgeous they are. If some of the aforementioned farms or others in the region choose to open up their property for visitors to enjoy the blossoms, then by all means. However, most grow these trees as a part of their livelihood and an influx of visitors can severely damage their crops. Instead, head to one of the destinations above where you can explore until your heart is content.
Be sure to save this post for later or keep checking back since I’ll continue to update it as I find more locations for cherry blossoms in Niagara! Also, I’m no botanist by any means so if I’m incorrect in identifying some destinations as cherry blossoms when they’re actually another fruit tree then I apologize. I guarantee the blooms will still be pretty though so enjoy!
Things to Know About the Cherry Blossoms in Niagara
Whether you’re looking for these flowers in Toronto, Hamilton or here in Niagara, these are some of the things to know before planning your visit to enjoy these ephemeral flowers.
When do cherry blossoms bloom in Niagara?
Typically cherry blossoms bloom in early May but it can vary from late April until mid-May depending on the weather each year. When cherry blossoms do start to bloom, you only have about two weeks to enjoy the peak blooming season before the flowers start to fade away. However, if we get a cold snap in the Niagara Region during this time, this season can be cut even shorter. I’m talking like less than a week short. Mother Nature can be a cruel mistress sometimes. That being said, if you want to make sure you see them, it’s best to go as quickly as possible once you hear they’re in full bloom!
Where can I find cherry blossoms in Niagara?
To recap this post, here’s the full list of the seven best spots to check out the beautiful cherry blossoms in Niagara:
- The Niagara Parkway
- McFarland Park in Niagara-on-the-Lake
- Queenston Heights Park in Niagara-on-the-Lake
- Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens in Niagara Falls
- Kingsbridge Park in Niagara Falls
- Brock University in St Catharines
- Lakeview Cemetery in Thorold
Where can I find cherry blossoms in Ontario?
If you don’t live in the Niagara Region and you’re wondering if there are any blooms near you, I’ve got you covered! Head on over to my cherry blossoms in Ontario post where I’ve compiled the full list of places to find them.
What if I missed cherry blossom season?
Well, you’ll just have to wait until next year! Luckily there are a number of beautiful blooms that follow as well as other flowers. You can always check out some of the sunflower fields in the province or these lavender farms in Ontario!
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