Why Niagara Falls Is the Perfect Place for Your Corporate Retreat

CPblog20.jpegCompany-wide vacations are usually pretty tricky to plan. You need to make sure to choose a budget-friendly place with plenty of activities to excite a whole group of different types of people. You need to be sure that the location is full of team-building experiences that are engaging and interesting rather than awkward or boring.

If you want to organize a corporate retreat that’s effective and educational but still enjoyable, you should seriously consider organizing your retreat in Niagara Falls. With all the amenities to make your experience both fun and functional, Niagara is the idea location, and here’s why.

Affordable Rates and Convention Spaces

Company retreats can get costly, especially when you factor in renting out space for activities like seminars and speeches. However, Niagara has plenty of both outdoor and indoor spaces for you to host your events. If you want you experience to be more private, you can easily rent the meeting space at your hotel — and scale it to the size of your party.

The upside to this is the customer service and amenities you’ll receive from your hotel, like catering or decoration. Alternatively, if you dare to venture on the wild side, see if other attractions around Niagara are available to rent for groups. The Butterfly Conservatory can be reserved for special parties if your employees appreciate beautiful tropical flora and fauna.

Team Building Experiences

One of the most important aspects of corporate retreats is the growing together as a group. You want your employees to get to know one another and learn to work with each other, not just alongside each other. Niagara is full of attractions that will help your team become closer.

For simple activities, try taking a group hike on one of the popular trails through Niagara’s parks; the Bruce Trail is a popular choice for its scenic views and varying levels of difficulty. For something a little more challenging, invite your employees to come see the falls up close with either a ride on the Maid of the Mist or the Journey Behind the Falls. These activities test their courage and curiosity while creating memorable shared experiences.

Wealth of Outside Activities

CPblog21.jpegWhen your employees go on vacation for work, they are probably going to set aside some time to relax and explore outside of the planned group events. Niagara is a hub of culture, and there are plenty of places and activities worth seeing and doing, even if they don’t have an important business lesson to accompany them.

The Greg Frewin Theatre offers a fantastic magic show from one of the foremost magicians in the world, and the Daredevil Hall of Fame offers unbelievable stories of when foolhardy bravery happened at the falls. It is possible to spin these activities into corporate events, and you may find value in taking your employees to them as a group, but know that you shouldn’t force your employees to stay with the company during the whole of their stay. Niagara is a wonderful place for a corporate retreat, but it’s also an amazing place to take a regular old invigorating vacation.

Outdoor Activities in Niagara

cpblog5.jpegThe city of Niagara Falls, Ontario is placed immediately next to one of the great natural wonders of the world — and not by chance. This has brought nature enthusiasts to the city since its foundation. However, many nature lovers would enjoy further ways to experience the outdoors than seeing the waterfall itself. This is easy to remedy as the nature of the place is frankly all around. Perhaps the best part is that you can get an experience in nature and go home to one of the luxurious Canadian hotels near the falls for the night.

Hiking

There are 15 kilometers of footpaths through six different nature areas within the city of Niagara Falls, the guide to which is accessible here. Further, there is the 56-kilometer paved Niagara River Recreation Trail that passes by the Laura Secord Homestead, Olde Fort Erie, MacKenzie Printery and Chippawa Battlefield Park. Devil’s Hole Rapids and Giant Rock and Whirpool Rapids adventure hike provide moderate to strenuous hikes that will take from three to five hours for more experienced hikers. Both of these hikes have age minimums of 8 years old in place.

War of 1812 Battle Site

There are a few War of 1812 battle sites within close proximity of Niagara Falls. The Battle of Chippawa was on July 5, 1814 and between British and American forces. The battle led to an American victory that would eventually lead to the battle of Lundy Lane. However, both of these battles would pale in comparison to the battle at Old Fort Erie which was the bloodiest battle ever fought on Canadian soil: the Siege of Fort Erie. The besieged Americans, having taken and expanded the fort a year earlier, would successfully defend the fort against the British by inflicting approximately equal casualties and wounded while capturing 508 more men than the Brits. The British would lift the siege and retire shortly thereafter but the Americans abandoned and demolished the fort after learning of the British attack on Washington D.C.

Golfing

There are a grand total of at least 15 courses within a 20-mile radius of Niagara Falls, three of which are on the American side. One of the most scenic courses is Oak Hall Golf Club. Like the rest of the courses in the area, it features dense forests, crisp greens and an incredible view of Niagara Falls from the seventh green. Other courses in the area provide a variety of pricing and difficulty that will challenge any golfer.

Niagara Botanical Gardens

cpblog6.jpegThe Niagara Botanical Gardens and Horticultural School sit on a plot of land 99 acres in size. Within its limits is the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory which is a self-sustaining tropical greenhouse that houses more than 2,000 butterflies of 60 species. It is run by the Niagara parks commission and located about 5.6 miles north of the Falls. The botanical gardens promise a fulfilling outdoors experience due to its size, its close proximity to the other attractions of the city for those who want to experience nature and its fine dining within a short time.

The Fantastic Flora of Niagara Falls

CPblog10.jpegFor budding botanists, a trip anywhere means new discoveries and excitement. Though to the untrained eye a tree is a tree and a bush is a bush, those even just slightly more educated about plants and the environment can identify the myriad unique species in a region and find joy in their existence.

Niagara is one of the most fertile regions in North America — and thus it is a botanist’s dream. Niagara claims some of the most diverse forest land in all of Canada, with more than 40 percent of rare plants taking root in the region. Explore some of the plants you’ll see on your trip so you can start your adventure into botany as soon as you step foot on the clay Niagara soils.

Terrific Trees

The lush forests around the Niagara region are a continuation of the Carolinian Forest, which has plants similar to those you might spy further south of the Great Lakes. Some of the more identifiable and unique of these include:

  • Sassafras
  • Flowering dogwood
  • Red mulberry
  • Black walnut
  • Sycamore
  • Hop-hornbeam
  • Tulip tree

In fact, there are over 70 unique species of trees in Niagara Falls and the surrounding areas. Since the last ice age, spruce trees have been particularly dominant, so when you venture out of your luxurious hotel in the city, you’ll definitely see some of these. Other common trees include evergreen pines and cedars, and you’ll recognize the deciduous trees oak, maple and beech as well.

Fabulous Flowers

CPblog11.jpegThe flowers native to Niagara Falls are, if you can believe it, more varied than the tree species. Literally countless varieties of wildflowers pop up from the fertile soil in the spring and summer, coating the hills and valleys in bright and cheery colors. Most of the flowers that are naturally occurring in the forest appear late spring well after the last snowfall and die out toward the middle of the summer when temperatures are reaching their maximums, so if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of Niagara in bloom, plan your trip accordingly.

Many of the trees themselves produce gorgeous and unique flowers worth investigating. The tulip tree, though failing to sprout actual tulips, has one-of-a-kind yellow and white buds that look like starbursts. The small white flowers that adorn the flowering dogwood are also particularly impressive in the spring, as are the hundreds of pink buds on the eastern redbud, or “Judas tree.”

Additionally, if you exhaust your explorations of the regions flora in the parks and forests around Niagara Falls, the park system has built an astounding Floral Showhouse full of fantastic tropical flowers, like delicate orchids. You can wander around the Showhouse for a taste of the tropics, or if you come during summer, you can experience the exquisitely tended gardens in the surrounding park. You’ll get the chance to see huge roses, fields of daffodils and organized beds full of chrysanthemums, violas, mayflowers and thousands upon thousands of wildflowers.

Plenty of guidebooks will be able to give interested travelers a more in-depth explanation of the native and introduced flora of the Niagara region. If you’re interested in taking a walk through lush land, Niagara is one of the most desirable locations in the hemisphere.

Get Out and Smell the Roses at Fabulous Niagara Falls Parks

cpblog3.jpegEstablished in 1885, Niagara Falls State Park is America’s oldest state park. But it’s far from the only outdoor space visitors and locals alike can enjoy on either side of the border. Niagara Falls and the surrounding villages offer a variety of lush, beautiful parks where you can get some fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of the falls themselves.

When you book a hotel room in Niagara Falls, you’ll be a stone’s throw away from Queen Victoria Park, the beating heart of the Niagara Park system. Don’t miss the Centennial Lilac Garden, Dufferin Islands or the Niagara River Recreation Trail. At Queenston Heights Park you can find the terminus of the Bruce Trail, which passes over the Niagara Escarpment.

Queen Victoria Park

With the Niagara Gorge on one side and the Fallsview moraine on the other, Queen Victoria Park is a long, thin strip of carefully cultivated gardens in the center of it all. Here you can see unique flowers and plants from the Niagara region as well as around the world. Don’t miss the gardens in springtime, when half a million daffodils greet visitors cheerfully. No matter what time of the year you visit, you’ll find delightful hanging baskets, a hybrid tea rose garden and attractive displays of fuchsia, cannas, lantana, coleus and more. Even in the winter, the frozen mist of the falls clings to the trees and shrubs, for a stunning show of nature’s majesty.

Centennial Lilac Garden

If you’re visiting the Floral Clock, you’ll find the lilac garden waiting invitingly on its north side. The Centennial Lilac Garden, which was established in 1967 to honor Canada’s centennial, features more than 1,200 individual plants of more than 200 varieties. Visit the garden in May or early June to get the full experience of fragrance and color.

Dufferin Islands

Dufferin Islands is an excellent location if you’re looking to take a relaxing afternoon picnic. This 10-acre park consists of several islands connected by quaint footbridges and paths. Catch and release fishing is allowed here. During the winter, animated light displays liven up this free park.

Niagara River Recreation Trail

This 35-mile, paved path on the Canadian side of the Niagara River brings you to some of the world’s most scenic countryside between Fort Erie and Niagara-on-the-Lake. The trail is divided into four segments, each of which takes one to two hours to talk at a comfortable pace. More than 100 plaques and monuments relate the extensive history of the trail, which was strategically important to British troops during the War of 1812.

Queenston Heights Park

cpblog4.jpegIn nearby Queenston Heights at the top of the Niagara Escarpment, you’ll find Queenston Heights Park. Generations of nature lovers and hikers have enjoyed this historic outdoor space. Queenston Heights Park is also a terminus of the Bruce Trail, a 550-mile hiking trail that follows the edge of the Niagara Escarpment.

If you love the great outdoors, the countryside around Niagara Falls is some of the world’s most beautiful. You won’t regret taking the time to unwind in the area’s beautiful cultivated gardens and parks, or on the Niagara River Recreation Trail.

Queen Victoria Park image by Dirk Ingo Franke at Wikimedia Commons.

Decew Falls image by Suvit Sivanand at Wikimedia Commons.

Museums and Arts In Niagara

Niagara is as historically and culturally rich a place as you could hope to find in Canada, you only need to know where to look. There are a plethora of small museums and art galleries to satisfy any amateur historian or art appreciator. However, not all things are created equal, so I’ve decided to list a few of the best for your next trip to Niagara.

Daredevils of Niagara Falls Museum

cpblog1.jpegThis display houses memorabilia from daredevils who have plunged over the falls. The first person to do so was Annie Edson Taylor. She was a former schoolteacher and dance instructor who, in 1901, made the journey over the falls in a custom barrel that was airtight and constructed from wood reinforced with iron bands and housing a mattress. Previous to the plunge the barrel was pumped up to 30 psi using a bicycle pump. Of the incident she said, “If it was with my dying breath, I would caution anyone against attempting the feat… I would sooner walk up to the mouth of a cannon, knowing it was going to blow me to pieces than make another trip over the fall.” Many others have done so since, some successfully but others weren’t so lucky.

Another interesting story is that of Bobby Leach pictured here. He went over the falls in a steel barrel and broke his jaw and both kneecaps in the fall. Years later while touring in New Zealand he slipped on an orange peel and died of complications from gangrene.

Old Fort Erie & Fort George

cpblog2.jpegAmateur war historians will naturally be drawn to these two sites which were prominent during the War of 1812. Old Fort Erie was the site of the bloodiest battle ever fought on Canadian soil. It took place between British and American forces from 13 July 1814 to 5 November 1814 when American forces mined and demolished the fort before retiring.

Fort George was a British stronghold in Canada that was the site of the Battle of Fort George in May 1813 when American forces captured the fort. The Americans used the fort as a base of operations to invade Upper Canada but were repelled at the Battles of Stoney Creek and Beaver dams. The site was also used as a training base during World Wars I and II

Rodman Hall Art Center

Rodman Hall is affiliated with Brock University and while in the city of St. Catharine’s, serving the greater Niagara Falls region. Rodman Hall maintains a collection of over 850 works of art including paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings. The primary focus is contemporary Canadian art but there are also pieces by American and European artists from the 19th and 20th century. Several outdoor sculptures are on display in Walker Botanical Gardens, which is adjacent to the historic house of Rodman Hall.

You’re planning to visit Niagara Falls, no doubt, for the natural wonder of the falls, so you must be one to appreciate beauty and culture in other ways as well. Stop by some of these locations near the falls to fill up on culture during your vacation.

Attractions to Visit When You Stay With Us At The Crowne Plaza

DSCF5172Staying at the Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls Fallsview Hotel means you can have the comfort of feeling at home while being close to the action of Niagara Falls. Visit these top attractions when you stay with us and you won’t have to go very far to have some fun!

Falls Avenue Resort: This massive resort spans more than 20 acres and has everything you could ever need for an amazing vacation. Find attractions for all ages at the resort and dining options that will leave everyone satisfied. Located on Clifton Hill and a close walk from the hotel is the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark, Adventure City and Casino Niagara for the adults.

Fallsview Indoor Waterpark: If you plan on visiting Niagara Falls then you must check out one of the largest indoor waterparks in North America. The Fallsview Indoor Waterpark is three acres of family fun that includes 16 slides, outdoor and indoor pool areas, a wave pool and the famous tipping bucket. The park was also recently ranked the best Amusement Park & Water Park in Canada by TripAdvisor for the second year in a row!

Casino Niagara: A great spot for the adults on the trip to test their luck, Casino Niagara has all the entertainment you can imagine. The casino is filled with slot machines, tables games, electronic games and many more gaming options. Choose to have dinner at the casino and you won’t have to go very far for a satisfying meal. Don’t let the fun stop there with entertainment such as Yuk Yuk’s and Free Live Music found right inside!

Niagara Parks: Niagara Parks has created many attractions that allow you to see the natural beauty of the Niagara Falls area. Choose from adventurous attractions to more relaxing options with Niagara Parks. Get up close to the Falls on Hornblower Niagara Cruises or take a hike through the Niagara Glen.

Staying at the Crowne Plaza gives you and your family tons of options to explore the city located right at its doorstep. With dining options found in the hotel and many attractions nearby, staying with us means you won’t have to go far to enjoy the city.

Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls hits New York City Times Square

CP_NEWExterior2012.530x360On Thursday July 24th, 2014, photographs captured last August at the Crowne Plaza in Niagara Falls will be displayed on a huge video screen overlooking New York City’s Time Square as part of a display by See.Me, an international web-based arts organization.

“This coming Thursday July 24th for one hour from 8 to 9 p.m., See.Me purchased the huge display screen. The billboard will show the work of 500 artists from around the world. Two of the pictures being included in the display were taken a year ago at the Crowne Plaza in Niagara Falls.

The pictures snapped during the Crowne photo shoot also went on to garner inclusion on the website of a prestigious fashion magazine, Vogue Italia. See.Me also featured the pictures in art galleries in New York City and Paris, France.

Crowne Plaza Ultimate Niagara Winery Experience

CP_NEWExterior2012.530x360Over the past few decades the Niagara Region has exploded into North America’s hot spot for wine enthusiasts to visit. If you’re looking to learn more or want to check out one of the many vineyards that call Niagara home, make your way to Niagara Falls for your next wine vacation.

The wineries offer tons of events throughout the year but during the summer guests are given the chance to visit the vineyard in more intimate settings.

Here are a few upcoming events to schedule into your Niagara Falls travel itinerary:

Kitchen Table Dinner: Get a behind the scene look of what is happening inside the restaurant found at Peller Estates. The Kitchen Table Dinner tasks Chef Parsons with creating a 7-course menu for guests to enjoy under the evening sun accompanied with their award-winning wine.

PopUp Patio: Choose from five menu items at this lunch themed series at Pillitteri Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The price conscious menu paired with wine choices that you won’t forget makes this a great chance to find out why everyone is raving about Niagara.

Trius Jazz at the Winery: Hillebrand will be offering a unique evening full of blues and jazz in Canada’s wine country this summer. Enjoy an evening filled with live music, food and wine as you relax well into the summer evening.

Make sure you reserve our Ultimate Niagara Winery Experience Package for a great deal filled with winery tours and tastings. Get to know the vineyards and the wine they produce that has recognized Niagara as one of the world’s most acclaimed wine regions.

The Ultimate Niagara Winery Experience Package includes:

One Night Hotel Accommodations

Winery Tour and Tastings for two at four wineries including transportation & guided tour
with Magnificent Tours ($178 value)

Three Fallsview Dining Gift Cards:

$40.00 at Windows by Jamie Kennedy

$40.00 at Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra

$20.00 at Fallsview Buffet

$40 Credit at the Fallsview Christienne Spa

Special Hershey’s Chocolate World Gift

Have Fun and Learn at the Same Time in Niagara Falls !

1812_logo_blank11Let your stay in Niagara Falls turn educational with these fun attractions that offer an inside look at the rich history and culture found in the city.

Battleground Museum

The museum offers a journey through history during the War of 1812. With furnishings and artifacts present in the museum, visitors can learn about the many important moments and people of the war. The museum is located at Lundy’s Lane Battlefield and allows visitors a chance to visit many of the originally restored rooms throughout the building. Guided tours offer an exciting educational look at the War of 1812 and the history behind the region.

Butterfly Conservatory

Whether you love butterflies or want to learn more about them, the conservatory presents a one-of-a-kind educational trip featuring hundreds of species of these wonderful insects. The conservatory is home to more than 2,000 butterflies that fly freely over the ponds, waterfalls and paths found in this rainforest like setting. The self-guided tour packed with educational videos and information allows you to roam the conservatory while learning at the same time.

Fort George

Fort George was the headquarters of the British Army during the War of 1812, a hidden gem found in Niagara. Featuring site tours, day programs and overnight programs, there are many opportunities to learn throughout your visit. Make sure to check out the musket, artillery and military demonstrations that happen on-site every day.

Niagara’s Fury

If you want to see what it really is like to be in the falls, Niagara’s Fury offers a simulated experience of the sights and sounds of this amazing wonder. With mist, snow and visuals, this attraction will keep you on your toes while you learn about how the falls were formed thousands of years ago.

Floral Showhouse

All through the year enjoy the beautiful scents and sights of the colourful flowers showcased at the Floral Showhouse. With the changing seasons comes a change of the thousands of different flowers that you can see at the showhouse and the summer season is one of the best times to visit. With free flying birds inside the gardens and eight different flower shows taking place per year there is always something new to see and learn about at the showhouse.

Make your next trip to Niagara Falls educational and fun with these unique attractions found in the region.

Tips For A First Time Traveller To Niagara Falls

daffodilIf you’re traveling to Niagara Falls for the first time its important to keep a few things in mind. Always make sure that you do your research beforehand and know what exactly you’ll need!

Passport and Proper Identification: Remember to bring all of your proper identification for admittance into your hotel and attractions. Having your identification will make it easier when checking in to ensure everything goes smoothly. Also, if you’re coming from the US, don’t forget your passport – it will also be needed if you plan on making a side trip to New York State.

Proper Clothing: The falls can affect the local weather so it’s important to pack the proper clothing. To cover yourself from mist, especially during windy weather, carry a light raincoat or a sweater to keep you warm. During the summer it can get very hot and humid in the daytime so dress lightly. In the evening the temperature can sometimes drop so you may want to have a sweater or light jacket on hand if you plan to be out all day and night.

Currency Exchange: Visitors are encouraged to use Canadian currency when purchasing in Niagara Falls. This will make it easier when buying items at stores for both the vendors and yourself. Get your money changed at a Currency Exchange Centre or the bank beforehand.

WEGO Transportation: Getting around the city is a breeze with WEGO Transportation which offers full service transportation for tourists. Linking hotels to tourist attractions makes it easy to get around the city on the buses. Take the stress of transportation off your shoulders and find the nearest WEGO to take you where you need to go. For more information on the routes, please visit http://www.wegoniagarafalls.com/.

If you’re visiting the city for your first time make sure you keep these tips in mind for a smooth trip without the stress of forgetting something or getting lost!

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