Toronto - Niagara and Back on a Bicycle

29 Apr - 02 May 2005

Andrew Smith

I've got a week off from work and school and decided to use the time to get away from computers (my career) and get back into shape after a winter of laziness. The idea I got was to go to Niagara Falls and back on my trusty mountain bike.

I managed to figure out how to set exposure and shutter time manually on my digital camera, so this time the pictures are a bit better. Click on them for a larger version (the originals are 1600x1200 but i figured that's too big for the web).

I also tried to keep a journal. The entries are probably not interesting to you (maybe only if you plan to do this also).


09:30 Bathurst and Finch, that's around where I live. It's a beautifull sunny day with no clouds and little wind.
11:00 Bathurst and Bloor, Cyclepath. I asked the very good mechanic there whose name I will have to ask next time to straightn my rear wheel and adjust the gear shifter. He did that and even oiled the chain for me for 15$. Bike ran like new.

This is taken from the pedestrian bridge across the QEW looking south:

Toronto, looking

11:30 Stopped for a tea, weather is still perfect.
13:00 Stopped at a subway to get lunch, ate it in a park on the lake. Realized i don't have my U-lock for the bike. The dude at the bike shop must have taken it off and forgot. Bought a padlock (which I lost later that day, must have fallen out of my pocket).

These two are different places somewhere in Missisauga:

Missisauga looking

Note the path in this one. The Lakeshore trail, which I think goes from Ottawa to Niagara often goes off road and onto a cycle/pedestrian path. It's quite nice but don't expect too much of it. The trail is poorly marked (not enough signs) so even when there is a path through a park you may very well miss it.

Missisauga looking

Some beutifull tulips on the east side of Oakville:


Lakeshore going through Burlington is very pretty; lots of big, well groomed houses.

18:00 Am at Brant and Lakeshore. Want to go across to Hamilton tomorrow because I'm tired. Went up and around and back down looking for a motel but no luck. The price at Travelodge doesn't suit my pocket (150$ for the night). Instead of circling around some more I went forward towards Hamilton.

What do you know, that bridge going over the lake is just for the QEW, pedestrians go on land. I was hoping to make a picture or two from up there. I just went over a little bridge which I think can (or once could) lift to let ships through.

19:00 Looks like about an hour of daylight left. Am seriously planning to sleep outside. The wind will be terrible at night.

19:30 I can't believe my eyes, just as I lost all hope, there is a motel in this middle of nowhere. That was 55$ happily spent. The place is all run down but it's amazing they stay in business at all, there can't be many nutters like me going around and there's no high-traffic road nearby.

Later I figured this must be somewhere not far north of QEW's interchange 89 on Beach blvd.

20:00 (looking in the mirror) Oh my god, I am an indian. The sun burned me well, looks nice actually.


08:00 I'm on the road again. Looks cloudy, hope it won't rain.
08:30 Decent breakfast at QEW and Centennial.
10:00 All of my muscles hurt but I think I'm making good speed.
12:00 Ontario street (Beamsville). I've been really lucky with the weather so far.
13:00 Lunch at a Subway, it's getting windy.

Most of the way on N Service road is really dull with the highway on one side and a concrete barrier on the other.

These are two horses (beind a wooden fence) quietly eating grass. I talked to them a little and they came close and let me touch them. Nice animals. One of them kept trying to eat my coat:


14:00 Very annoying wind right in my face. Can't wait to turn south.

Heey, look here. This is a real wooden ship, in one piece. Even the sails are still on. Amazing. I should have recorded where this place is:

Old ship (side)

Old ship (front)

Got to the Wellend canal on Lakeshore. Went south from there. The canal looks abandoned, no constructions on the side, no ships. but abandoned it is not.

Decided to go across on Queenston Taylor road. Just started crossing the bridge when some bells went off. Huh? I quickly realize it's a raising bridge, then see a huge ship approaching. I am on a bridge that's about to go up. I am honestly not making this up. Went back a little, a little more, then saw where the crack in the bridge was and went behind that. Bridge went up. Wow, I've never even seen a bridge being raised, never mind be on one when it happens. Made some pictures:

Lifting bridge

Ship closing in

Ship under bridge

When the ship passed, someone asked me over a loudspeaker to go behind the gates so the bridge can go down. Yeah, now they tell me :) This was the coolest adventure on this trip.

Despite the proximity of Niagara Falls, this part of Ontario is all a big middle of nowhere. Lots of vines, some industrial complexes but generally speaking just long stretches of nothing.

Made this picture just to remember about climbing this hill for 15 minutes:


18:30 Found a motel. 'Northway' on the QEW and Mountainview road. This place is cheap and really nice. For 57$ (incl. tax) I got the cleanest motel room I've seen in my life with the usual TV, fridge and clean towels, but also a coffee maker, tea bags, coffee, sugar and even a hair drier :) I fullheartedly recommend this place. It's on the east side of the highway.


Went out early. Breakfast at a bus drivers' restaurant in the north of Niagara Falls. The clouds in the pictures went away after an hour or so.

American falls:

American falls 1

American falls 2

And the Horseshoe falls:

Horseshoe falls 1

I wanted to capture the awesome quantity of water falling down here, unfortunately it's not so impressive in a static photo:

Horseshoe falls 2

This is some alley starting from the Niagara parkway:


Stopped for tea. I consider this the point where I tured back. Looking north from a bridge across the Welland river at the intersection of Niagara parkway and Portage road:


From here I took small and medium highways back to Victoria street (highway 24) and South Service road. This is some place on the way:


S. Service road is a little better then N. Service road but only because it doesn't have a concrete barrier on the side opposite to the QEW. This is the last photo I made since there was nothing else worthy there, my good mountain bike:


The rest was pretty uneventfull anyway. By the end of the day was at QEW and Centennial, arrived home at about 16:00.

General points of interest:
In conclusion: I had fun, used a lot of my muscles and little of my brain, got away from everyday life troubles and returned perfectly relaxed. Everyone should do something like this once a year.

If you have questions for me, please use this form.

Other trips of mine.