Tours (Self Guided & Guided)
Niagara Nature, Wine & Garden Tours
Niagara Nature Tours offers Wine, Garden, History, Agriculture & Nature Tours and Hikes based on the geology of the Niagara Peninsula. Owned by a well known environmentalist and naturalist, they offer unique programming and tours for conferences, tourists and locals which combines the arts, sciences and nature. They utilize local talent and experts who will delight, entertain and educate.
From couples to bus tours, Niagara Nature Tours offer outings for all ages and experience levels, including some tours which are wheelchair accessiblle. Tours can last from one hour to one week or longer.
In 1997 Carla "accidently" bought the home of Dr. James Gibson, the first President of Brock University. With his blessing she opened her home as Bonnybank Bed and Breakfast, next door to Mrs. Kay McKeever's Owl Foundation.
One of the guidelines in Ecotourism is to support your local culture. When Carla was forming her company she decided that supporting the "starving artists" in the Peninsula was important, and they became an integral part of her programme development. Tying the arts & science together with Mother Nature as the inspiration, her programming and tours were cutting edge when she hung out her shingle on April Fool's Day 1996. Nature and art continue to inform the educational tours and events she designs.
2010 will see the 11th annual Solstice Drumming Down the Sun event that started with the help of a local drumming group. A chagrined Carla tells the story of how they decided to hold the first celebration at the end of the Port Dalhousie West pier, drumming up the sun at daybreak. Too sleepy to get out of bed that morning at 5:00 am she decided that she'd see the drummers that night when they all gathered to drum down the sun. That evening she learned that as the intrepid drummers joyfully beat their salute to the sun rising out of Lake Ontario that morning, heads came popping out of the boats moored along the edge of the nearby marina; angry heads! Ten years have passed and the grassroots community Solstice drumming has grown to a gathering now moved to the Lakeside Park Port Dalhousie beach, because numbers have grown to two hundred or more. It's only held in the evening now, by the way!
For nine years local artists, musicians, poets, storytellers and naturalists supported Carla's annual Mother's Day Woodland Wildflower Celebration. Combining arts and nature together in a beautiful woodland, volunteers showed families how to make paper from flowers, baskets from natural materials and how to draw wildflowers. Everything was interactive and fun. Everyone hoped those magic moments would inspire those that attended in to carrying about their own natural communities, and to care for Mother Earth. Carla hopes to bring this event back to the Vineland sugar bush in the future.
Native American catering, teachings, drum making workshops, drumming & singing are available with Carla's Native friends. An important part of Niagara's culture, local Native families have touched the hearts of many through Niagara Nature Tours, whether drumming an honour song, explaining the importance of the smudging ceremony being conducted, or showing someone how to make a drum to take home with them.
Accessible Niagara. Niagara Nature Tours, Outdoor/Sports
Bonnybank en francais
Carla's 2006 Election Brochure
Carlson, Carla. Naturaly Niagara. Niagara Farmers' Monthly News. Nature column right side of cover page.
Carolinian Canada The Big Picture Network: Niagara Region. "Land Care Niagara: Partnerships for Nature" : scroll to the 11th item
Fraser, Don. The Sound of Nature. The St. Catharines Standard, 18 June 2008: page B4.
Niagara Nature Tours, guide officiel pour le Circuit Agrotoutistique Niagara - scroll half-way down the page
Niagara Nature Tours - official tour company for the Niagara Agritourism Circuit
Nichol, Jenny. "Tourism in WA: In Touch with a Sustainable Future: Sustainable Tourism: The Opportunities." Journal of Ecotourism Vol. 1, Nos. 2 & 3, 2002.