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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Niagara sparkles; Hornblower trips delayed and Ontario Parks' dogs

   One-Tank Trip for March 21/20
   (c) By Jim Fox

  They’re hoping to “add a bit of sparkle to the early days of spring” with a rescheduled “festival of fizz” touring event in Niagara wine country.
   Plans for the first Spring Sparkles Festival were all set to go this weekend – before the coronavirus outbreak reared its ugly head. 
   “The Niagara Grape & Wine Festival has been closely monitoring the evolving progress of the coronavirus COVID-19,” said Dorian Anderson, executive director.
  Enjoying the fizz in Niagara.

   It “remains a low-risk event (according to Health Canada assessment tools),” and organizers decided to postpone it until April 18-19 and April 25-26, she said.
   “We will continue to monitor the situation and consult with Niagara Public Health, Health Canada and other event experts daily, and will inform if further postponement or cancellation is required by April 10.”
   The event is similar to its popular Discovery Pass program and celebrates Ontario VQA sparkling wines in the traditional or charmat method of any varietal or style.
   The latter is a sparkling wine-making process that traps bubbles in wine via carbonation in large steel tanks.
   Discovery Passes (costing $45; designated Driver’s Pass, $35) entitle visitors to eight wine and culinary experiences designed by winemakers and chefs to celebrate the flavours of Niagara, Anderson said.
     They are redeemable at 34 participating wineries across Twenty Valley and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

   Other options include return Go Transit train service along the Toronto-Aldershot-Niagara line and four Twenty Valley wine pairings or four wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake with a designated tour guide. ($89.99).
Sampling at a Niagara Grape & Wine Festival event.
   There is also a “Bring on the Bubbles” sparkling dining series. niagarawinefestival.com/spring-sparkles

   Hornblower delays opening
   Still in Niagara, Hornblower was aiming to begin its cruises for the earliest opening ever on March 28 after a milder winter until the virus changed everything.
   They’re now looking at opening on April 6 “to ensure the health and safety of all staff and guests and following the recommendation of the Government of Ontario.”
   “Hornblower Niagara Cruises is committed to doing its part to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and continue to monitor ongoing events and undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts,” said vice-president Mory DiMaurizio.
Hornblower Niagara Cruises hopes to start its season next month.
   When the season does get under way, Hornblower offers Voyage to the Falls’ catamarans, Niagara Thunder and the Niagara Wonder on the Niagara River.
   The attraction didn’t open last year until May 15 because of excessive ice build-up in the upper Niagara River.
   The Hornblower Niagara Funicular, which opened for the first time in a generation last year, will be back for visitors to use with each cruise. niagaracruises.com

    Camping canines
   Fido wants to go along on that camping trip to Ontario Parks.
   Dogs are now welcome in select roofed accommodations, said spokesman Jeff Brown.
   When the park season resumes, dogs will be welcome in select yurts, cabins and trailers across the Ontario provincial parks system, he said.
Raven and Cisco are now welcome to stay in Ontario Parks’ roofed accommodations. (Jim Fox photo)
   “As some guests have allergies, only certain roofed accommodations will be open to four-legged friends.”
   There is an additional fee of $20 for a maximum of two dogs a night.
   For a list of dog-friendly accommodations: ontarioparks.com/parksblog/dogs-roofed-accommodations
   It was announced on Wednesday that all provincial parks are now closed and there’s a tentative opening date of April 30. ontarioparks.com/operatingdates/2020


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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