In Niagara, the Falls are just part of the appeal
When people think Niagara, they often think only of the Falls themselves, those natural wonders to which a visit never seems to grow old.
But beyond the awe-inspiring beauty and power of the Falls and the Niagara River, Niagara Region offers a lot more that’s worthy of just a weekend getaway.
Encompassing towns such as Grimsby, Lincoln, Niagara-on-the-Lake, St. Catharines, Thorold and Welland, the Niagara Region is blessed with a great natural location. It occupies most of the Niagara Peninsula, bounded by the U.S. to the south and on the north by Lake Ontario, and of course the Niagara Escarpment – all of which offers strong potential for business and lifestyle choices.
These natural landscapes and climate make the Niagara Region perfect for agri-business such as winemaking – a key economic sector. The Niagara Wine Route, connecting dozens of wineries, is a growing tourism draw to complement cultural events such as the Shaw Festival.
Indeed, a visit to the area can involve a stop at the Falls, winery tours, the quaint town of Niagara-on-the- Lake, the Botanical Gardens with its Floral Clock and Butterfly Conservatory, several championship golf course and a growing casino industry in downtown Niagara Falls.
But this is all for play. To live and work in the region is another matter.
Again, a blessing of location, Niagara is within 800 km of two provinces, nine states and 130 million people on both sides of the border. This means opportunities for business. The trade that flows across Niagara’s borders totals more than $100 billion annually, and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across Canada and the U.S. The infrastructure network to support this trade activity comprises five international bridges, multiple railways and the Welland Canal, linking Lake Erie into the St. Lawrence Seaway system.
All of this is conducive to growth potential for the region’s manufacturing and transportation and logistics sectors, to complement the historical strength in agriculture and tourism.
Niagara’s economy has shown steady growth in a number of areas, particularly in job creation and new investment, but still lags slightly behind Ontario averages. The Niagara economic development department confirms the area still has challenges in higher unemployment, lower participation rate and lower household income per capita.
But that’s changing. In 2018 alone, Niagara had $1.7 billion in construction investment. From 2015 to 2018, such investment grew by 56 per cent in Niagara, compared to 19 per cent for Ontario overall.
New home development
As the economy grows and affords people more opportunity to live and work in Niagara – or close by – new-home development is following.
Much of the housing growth is in the lowrise category, as buyers from the GTA find the lot sizes and price points far more appealing and affordable.
According to the latest Royal LePage House Price Survey, aggregate home prices in St. Catharines-Niagara were $418,673 in the second quarter of 2019. This is up 3.2 per cent per cent from the same period last year.
Given the popularity of condominiums as a lifestyle choice, growth in this category is on its way. Homes by DeSantis, for example, has condo projects underway in both Grimsby and Stoney Creek. And Urbane Communities is building Marbella Condominium in Niagara Falls.
Location, location, location
A regional municipality in Southern Ontario comprising 12 municipalities such as Grimsby, Lincoln, Niagara-on-the-Lake, St. Catharines, Thorold and Welland; 130 kms from Toronto; 86 kms from Hamilton.
- Botanical Gardens
- Casino Niagara
- Clifton Hill
- Niagara Falls
- The Niagara Wine Route
- Welland Canal