Episode 1: Welcome to Check In Niagara

August 5th, 2010Posted by admin

Welcome to Check In Niagara: One local’s journey to rediscover the incredible and often overlooked spots in the Niagara Region.

I was born in Niagara Falls but I never intended to come back here after University. Despite having been raised to appreciate the historical and natural beauty of the region the stigma of Niagara as a cheap tourist trap mired with small town shortcomings had overtaken my perception of the place. I was Toronto bound, I was sure of it.

Yet that’s not the path my life took and I found myself living back in Niagara Falls. It took me a few years but I soon came to realize what a wonderful place this really is. We in the Niagara Region tend to get caught up in artificial silos. It takes no more time to travel between St. Catharines, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Welland than it does to go from one neighborhood of Toronto to another, and yet we tend to mentally isolate them. I had to learn that living in Niagara Falls did not mean I was somehow chained to the two or three blocks that make up the Fallsview tourist sector. From my home in the Falls I could reach Queenston Heights in mere minutes on a bicycle. Niagara-on-the-Lake wine country was just as close and brimming with sensory banquet to discover. I fell back in love with the Bruce Trail and all the fascinating spots it reaches before it departs Niagara on its long walk to Tobermory. Niagara had all the cultural, natural, gastronomical and historic wonder I could ask for, I just had to open my eyes and realize it was there.

Check In Niagara is a video journal of some of these places. It’s a tribute to the spots locals come to appreciate, the spots that (quite understandably in some cases) don’t see many tourism dollars coming their way. You often can’t find information on Shaeffe’s Path to Victory, Vrooman’s Point, the Queenston limestone kilns, or the Wetland Ridge Trail on YouTube. This site will change that.

Each video on Check In Niagara will be a short report in from one of these sites, providing a few facts and details on how to get there and why its interesting. Along with the text under each video a fully interactive Google Map will provide more context. Furthermore each spot will be tied to its virtual representation in location based social networks such as Gowalla and FourSquare. These applications allow visitors to “check in” at the spots via their GPS-enabled smart phones, creating a shared experience with their friends and opening up further opportunities to explore. As Check In Niagara develops expect further integration with those services.

This site can’t just be about me though. I want to hear from other locals in the Niagara Region. Where have you been? What have to learned to love in the area? What places do we need to turn the bright lights of the Internet on to and expose to the world? Let’s show the world there’s more to Niagara than high rise hotels, wax museums and that big wet misty thing.

16 Responses to “Episode 1: Welcome to Check In Niagara”

  1. Adam White says:

    For this initial post I just linked up Gowalla and FourSquare to stuff near the falls. Nothing in particular I just wanted to show how it would work. For real episodes they'll be linked to the actual location I'm talking about.

    Sorry for the noise in this video as well, there was more river noise and insects than I thought there would be.

  2. Adam – what a fabulous way to showcase our Niagara Region. I kind of reminds me of the Canada Tourism http://www.localsknow.ca concept but with the geolinks putting it on social media steroids! I take it you are looking for submission ideas. How best to do this? Latitude & longitude, gps coordinates, google mapping location code, satelite photo, 4 square log in? I am a newby on this geo stuff 🙂

  3. Adam White says:

    Thanks for the complement!

    Just let me know the spots and I'll do the research to figure out the rest (at least for now). I'm counting on you for stuff in Pelham!

  4. Chris Ennest says:

    I wouldn't worry to much about the noise man. The message gets through every time, and the noise is all part of it.

  5. Natalie Lowe says:

    Adam – this is GREAT stuff – would love to chat with you one day – I was doing all this research on my own, (poorly, I might add) – you are a find! yeah!! Natalie

  6. Adam White says:

    Thanks Natalie! I’m glad you like it. I can’t wait to really get this site rolling.

  7. Browne2002ca says:

    This is fine if you drive. There is nothing for people that don’t drive. I AM Toronto Bound.

  8. Adam White says:

    Unfortunately the Niagara Region is a quite spread out. I’m not sure how I’d operate around here without a car. It’s pretty much a fact of life when you live here.

    Hopefully as we build up a list of spots though the places you could get to on foot or via one of the train / bus terminals will become apparent. There’s plenty of stuff grouped together.

  9. Mike Garrett says:

    As a local amateur photographer i look forward to seeing your vids and the places you go as I’m always looking for new spots to check out and the history behind them. Good luck with the site Adam, looks good.

  10. Mike Garrett says:

    As a local amateur photographer i look forward to seeing your vids and the places you go as I’m always looking for new spots to check out and the history behind them. Good luck with the site Adam, looks good.

  11. Karen's Mom says:

    Congratulations, Adam! Just the type of website frequent visitors to the Falls is looking for!!!!

    Just added you to my “Favorites” right under “AccessNiagara!”

  12. Jerry Bhoolai says:

    Adam, this is fantastic! As a Wine Country Host, I look forward to reading about your new found sites and sharing them with my guests. For folks who just want to explore the region other than the Falls, you have just given them the tool they need.
    Great idea and good luck.

  13. Dan M. says:

    Congratulation Adam on the launch of your website and the story in the paper.

    I’d love to see an episode on Port Dalhousie before it’s all gone.

  14. Bonny Hicks says:

    Adam: I have put you on my facebook page and hope my friends from afar will look at it and consider a trip to the wonderful Niagara Region. WOW what a job.
    Personally I love the history of the Oakes family in Niagara. Oakes Park and Oakes Estate are two that come to mind. All the best success, Bonny Hicks (article sent to me by Mary L.)

  15. Beth says:

    Hey Adam, this is perfect for many of us who like to get out and do things but are somewhat time limited. You bring to light the fact that our grass is green! good work

  16. Brian Tedlock says:

    Thanks for putting this up–very helpful and interesting.