The Niagara Region, spreading over nearly 1,900 square kilometres of some of Southern Ontario's most beautiful land, is part of a vast geological landmass, with a diverse and eye-catching landscape.
Although called a peninsula, Niagara is actually an isthmus - a relatively narrow tract of land joining two larger pieces. Located between two Great Lakes - Erie and Ontario - it boasts beaches, rivers, highlands, lowlands and the Niagara Escarpment - all part of the region's spectacular and unique profile.
Niagara is, in many respects, divided and defined by the Niagara Escarpment, an internationally recognized biosphere reserve, stretching 1,600 kilometres from Watertown, New York, to Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario. Without this 245 million-year-old natural phenomenon, there would be no Niagara Falls, and no microclimate, that makes the region's modern wine industry possible.
But the Escarpment remains a living thing, changing annually through natural erosion, as it creeps southerly toward Lake Erie. The Escarpment reaches 76 metres at Lewiston, New York. Five kilometres west of there, the escarpment is so steep, that it rises 73 metres in only 400 metres. The eastern portion of the Niagara Escarpment is higher than in the west. The escarpment at Watertown, New York is 147 meters (483 feet) above sea level while at Hamilton, Ontario, the escarpment is 35 meters (116 feet) above sea level.
Rich soils and a unique climate, which has been constant for more than 5,000 years, contribute to its success as prime agricultural land, ideal for tender fruit, including grapes, for which the Region has garnered international recognition.