St. Catharines is a city in the Niagara Region. It has the Welland Canal, a dry-dock for ships, and automotive plants. Two World Rowing Championships have been held here, first in 1970, and the most recent being in 1999.
The QEW Highway runs right through the city which runs from Toronto to the Niagara Falls border crossing.
Greyhound and Coach Canada operate a bus service from the MTO building downtown located at 301 St. Paul Street. Frequent trips to Toronto, Niagara Falls, and beyond can be arranged.
GO transit train station located just off of St. Paul Street West, not far outside downtown. Most trains are scheduled for a couple of trips Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There are services West to Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Toronto and beyond. There is service East to Niagara Falls. See gotransit.ca for more details.
There is also a GO bus pickup and drop off which may now be operating daily but the schedule varies. The stop is located at the corner of Dawsco Drive and YMCA Drive which is surrounded by Costco, PetsMart and the Fairview Mall. Services East to Niagara Falls or West to the Burlington Go Station for connecting trains. See gotransit.ca for more details.
Via Rail Canada and AMTRAK train station is located with the GO station not far outside of Downtown. Located on Ambrose Street, not far off of St. Paul West. There are services West to Toronto and Beyond and East for Niagara Falls and beyond into Buffalo USA for AMTRAK. Check viarail.ca or amtrak.com for more information.
St. Catharines has a public transit system of buses that service most of the city. Maps and schedules can be viewed online at www.yourbus.com. Fare is $2.75 per ride including a transfer. You can view maps, schedules and purchase passes at the MTO building Downtown located at 301 St. Paul Street. Tickets for multiple rides can also be purchased at the PEN Centre shopping mall located at 221 Glendale Avenue.
It is a shame that St. Catharines is overlooked by most tourists visiting Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake as it has a lot to offer. St. Catharines offers better value and quality for food and accommodation than the nearby tourist destinations which are only about 10-20 minutes away.
One of the world's best rowing courses, and is home to the annual Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, named after the original regatta in Henley-on-Thames.
Fantastic scenery can be enjoyed in Shorthills Provincial Park which can be access within minutes of the downtown core. The main entrance on Pelham Road is surrounded by vineyards and forests while the trails themselves wind themselves up and down the escarpment. All trails are suitable for hiking and There are some fantastic mountain biking trails, trails for horseback riding, and in the winter snowshoeing and cross country skiing are also popular activities. There is no shortage of wildlife, a couple waterfalls, rivers, valleys, cliffs. There is great scenery on every trail all waiting to be explored. Dogs are welcome.
The Welland Canal runs along the east side of the city. From late spring to fall it is possible to watch ships go in and out of the locks and be raised or lowered through gravity.
Port Dalhousie (pronounced Da-loo-zee) is, as the name suggests, at the mouth of Twelve Mile Creek on Lake Ontario. Not far away is Henley Rowing course. It is the home of Lakeside Park, made famous by the Rush song of the same name. It is a small area, basically one square block, but it hosts more than 10 bars, almost all of which have patio areas. One popular attraction is the old-fashioned carousel, which costs only 5 cents a ride. A very popular place for locals and tourists in the summer time.
There are world class vineyards in St. Catharines located in the rural west end of the city. Tours can be arranged and there is much available for tasting at every stop. A word of advice, Ontario can produce some fantastic white wines and ice wines which is what the region is known for. Although most vineyards produce red wine, most wine enthusiasts do not enjoy it since the climate for growing grapes just simply doesn't produce good red wine. There are few wineries that can produce good red wine in this region.
In the Corner Billiards & Lounge, 448 Welland Ave. A pool hall with 12 billiards tables, 2 snooker, food, beer and fun. All ages welcome.
Romby's, 488 Lake Street, ☎ (905) 937-0331. Restaurant & Tavern
Pen Centre, Hwy. 406 & Glendale Ave., ☎ 905-687-6622/1-800-582-8202. M–F 10AM–9PM, Sa 9AM–6PM, Su 11AM–6PM. A shopping mall. You can get anything.
Papa Vince Pizza Thorold (905) 227-9394. Papa Vince has great pizza and wings, but where it really stands out is with their steak sub. Everyone should try a fatty!
Da Pizza Joint Port Dalhousie. Da Pizza Joint is one of the number one pizza places in St. Catharines, with multiple styles and the famous Bianco. After a remodeling of the upstairs in 2005, Da Pizza Joint is now the perfect place to eat and drink while spending a night in Port Dalhousie.
Heavy Duty Pizza Downtown
Pizza Pizza Downtown
Pita Pit Downtown. very cheap, good.
Jak's Subs Downtown
Fresco's West End
Buona Pizza North End (905) 935-5353 Incredible, enormous, saucy chicken wings. Must be seen to be believed, and must be tasted no matter what. The pizza is tasty too.
Amakara Japan, 19 Geneva St., ☎ (905) 684-0612. This is a Japanese reataurant. The owner is Japanese, so you can enjoy real Japanese food: sushi, teriyaki beef/chicken, tempura and so on.
EAST Downtown. One of Japanese restaurants. It's the latest.
Duru Korean restaurant
Sahla Thai, 270 St. Paul St. (downtown), ☎ (905) 984-4482. M-F 11AM–10PM, Sa 5PM–10PM, Su 5PM–9PM. Thai restaurant.
Merchant Ale House, 98 St. Paul Street, . The food is almost as good as their beers. It is made from scratch and fantastic value. Great budget pub food. The chicken wings are the best in the area and they have some very hot and even some usual sauces you can try. Try the shoestring fries as well but just about anything on the menu is as good as it sounds. For details on beers see the drink section below.$5-$10.
Toi, 12 Queen Street, ☎ 905.988.9111, . South East Asian/French and Western Fusion food. Originally intended as a tapas bar they expanded into full meals as well. This is dining done right. Run by a very friendly vietnamese family that has incredible knowledge in food and restaurant service. The atmosphere is modern and relaxing. The prices can be described as mid to slightly higher range however no one has ever been disappointed by the food. Overall a great value considering the experience you will have. Great wine list and good cocktail and beer selection. A fantastic, well rounded dining experience will keep you going back.
UNeedAPita, 116 St. Paul Street, ☎ 905-682-PITA, . Open early for breakfast to extremely late for the bar crowd to get a munchie fix before they go home. This place has much better value, flavour, and selection than the other pita places downtown. They also have burgers, fresh cut fries, smoothies, frozen yogurt, sliders and other goodies prepared fresh. A popular take-out lunch destination as well.$3-$5.
Mai Vi, 55 St. Paul Street, ☎ 905-988-1426, . A popular and less expensive than their new sister restaurant Toi around the corner. This place makes amazing vietnamese food. Try the crispy chicken or duck dishes. Also a good size vegetarian/vegan menu. Not a large wine or beer selection but what there is, is good. The main attraction is the food and the value. Relatively inexpensive casual dining.$10.
Chang Noi, 225 Queenston Street, ☎ 905-228-6067, . The best Thai food in the Niagara Region, possibly the best Thai food outside of Thailand. The most authentic as well. Unfortunately, they have a shortfall. Slow service and a language barrier that results in a high probability that you will not get what you ordered. Most often they will correct it if you are willing to put up with a longer wait. BUT it is worth it and if you aren't picky any meal they put in front of you will be very delicious. They have a good vegetarian and vegan selection and the prices are reasonable. They also have the coldest beer in town served to you in an ice frosted mug. Strangely, despite the slow service and frequent mix-ups, regulars keep coming back to this restaurant because they know it would be very difficult to find Thai food better than this outside of Thailand.$10-$15.
There are two primary bar areas in the city: Port Dalhousie and downtown. Generally, Port Dalhousie is the active bar scene during the warm summer months, and downtown is the prime location for nightlife in the winter.
The downtown area also has its fill of bars, likely more than twenty. Everything from small pubs to large dance clubs fill the area, although almost every bar has a laid back feel (with matching laid-back clothing requirements.) There has been a bit of an upscale trend lately, with the addition of a few martini bars. It's a bigger area to cover than up in Port, but even still it's quite easy to walk from a bar at one end of downtown to another at the opposite end.
Merchant Ale House, 98 St. Paul Street, . Possibly the best hang out pub in the city. Most of the beer is brewed on premises and is home to their famous Drunken Monkey Oatmeal Stout. Some other honorable mentions go to the blueberry wheat, strawberry blonde, IPA, Hockey Ale, and their seasonal pumpkin ale and holiday skullcrusher. There is some interesting live music most Saturday's. The type of music never seems to be the same. This is a pub for all ages and is thankfully not frequented by immature college crowds.$4-$12.