The Niagara Region is one of Canada's prime agricultural areas. Rich mineral soils and the moderating effects of Lakes Erie and Ontario are two factors contributing to the excellent growing conditions for both roses and vineyards.
The Niagara Escarpment begins south of Rochester, New York and extends westward, parallel to and south of the shores of Lake Ontario. It crosses into Canada at Queenston, Ontario in the Niagara Peninsula, where it is breached by the Niagara River.
The forests in the Niagara Region are some of the most beautiful anywhere along the Escarpment’s length. This is the Carolinian vegetation zone, where tulip trees, sassafras,
black cherry, paw paw, and shagbark hickory are scattered throughout the forests. Black Cherry dominates, rising tall and straight to a lush canopy high overhead. Some are more than a metre in diameter.
The Niagara Escarpment also creates a microclimate that allows the growing of vinifera grapes (including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling). This area is also home to some of Canada’s finest nursery stock.
As the ground warms up in spring, cool air is drawn inland from Lake Ontario. Flowing in a circular pattern down the Escarpment and along the ground, this cool air delays bud burst on the vines, preventing potential damage by late spring frosts. In fall, the air circulation works in reverse. Air is warmed over the lake and moves inland along the ground. When it reaches the Escarpment it rises, drawing more warm air in behind it, and giving the region long, warm fall days that allow the plants in the nursery to harden off naturally and be harvested.
With its annual sunshine hours and rainfall, the Niagara Peninsula enjoys a climate during the growing season that cannot be found elsewhere in Canada.