Niagara Falls, ON

Niagara Falls has so much to offer for those needing accessibility, so we decided to plan a weekend away.  Typically our interests revolve around eating, drinking and just having a fun relaxed time–so that is what we did.

We decided to stay at the Four Points Sheraton Fallsview and I can’t say enough good things about this hotel.  The hotel offers either valet parking or off property parking but since we had a disabled permit we were offered valet at a discounted rate (about 50% off).  Our accessible room had 2 queen beds and a roll-in shower and the room was incredibly spacious.  The view was not a Fallsview but it was a city view that was decent enough.  The hotel had an indoor tunnel over to the Fallsview Casino however for wheelchair users you have to detour a bit through the parking garage.  The weather was warm but in the winter it would be chilly.  In addition there was no pedestrian walkway so you have to be mindful of the cars driving around.

It was our first time at Fallsview Casino and I found it disappointing for a wheelchair user.  It was very busy because it was Friday night so it was very difficult to navigate through all the people.  The slot machines all have stationary stools screwed in to the floor so there was no chance for Shawn to sit and play.  I could not find anything online regarding whether they had wheelchair accessible slot machines or not.  I tried to find an employee, to ask, but I couldn’t find one that was not working a table.  It was difficult to drive around–and very difficult to find an employee.  Next issue was the bathroom situation.  I tried to find a companion bathroom but after trying three of the bathroom areas I was about to give up and just go back to the hotel.  I was then told by a tables dealer that they had them in the mall area out front.  Shawn does not like to be brought in the women’s bathroom and I certainly do not want to go in the men’s so companion/family bathrooms are essential.  Once we were out of the casino we just decided to leave since there was no point in staying, so that was disappointing.

The next day we headed out to Niagara-on-the-lake and visited several wineries and a brewery downtown.  The brewery, The Exchange, did have a small step to get inside.  Luckily we always have a portable ramp in the van.  It was quite busy, being a Saturday, but we did find a small bar height table to sample a flight of beer.  Parking is very busy downtown so parking can be a challenge.  Fortunately we found a spot not far from the brewery.  Next stop were the wineries and we decided to stop at Peller Estates, Jackson Triggs and Wayne Gretzky’s.

Peller Estates is a beautiful winery and we really enjoyed their outdoor patio.  There was accessible parking and the majority of the grounds were accessible.   The tasting counters are all high tops and no lowered counters for wheelchair users that I could see. The patio is very nice but very busy so I would recommend reservations.

Jackson Triggs was a bit of a disappointed for wheelchair users.  There was accessible parking but not much else inside.  There was no indoor tasting area available, just an outside area.  The outside tasting area was all high tops so we went to sit on the patio that had standard height tables.  Seating was limited and we could not see their wall mounted menu from our table. Their ‘Samples List’ was also wall mounted and far from where we were sitting–and it was so busy there was not much chance of us getting close to read it.  I tried talking a picture on my cell phone and showing Shawn the options but it was just too sunny out.  The hot sun and lack of shade and overall inconvenience of the set-up was just too much so we decided to leave and try another winery.

Wayne Gretzky’s was our favourite winery.  It was very spacious and modern and easy to get around.  There was lots of accessible parking and they had automatic door openers, which the other 2 wineries did not.  The tasting area was inside and very roomy.  We were able to sit in an area with couches and a beautiful view–and have a server bring the samples to us!  We spent most of the time at this winery and really were impressed with the layout and accessibility.

Our day ended with an evening boat cruise on The Hornblower.  The boat is accessible to the main deck only.  There is an upper level but no access for wheelchair users.  The evening cruise around the falls lit up at night was a first for both of us.  It was about 40 minutes and you do get wet so make sure to get a few extra rain ponchos to cover up the wheelchair.

Overall we had a great visit to Niagara Falls and would love to go back again sometime soon!


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