|Jurisdiction||Government of Ontario|
7400 Portage Road
Niagara Falls, Ontario
The Niagara Parks Commission, commonly shortened to Niagara Parks, is an agency of the Government of Ontario which maintains the Ontario shoreline of the Niagara River.
The Commission was founded in 1885 and charged with preserving and enhancing the natural beauty of Niagara Falls and the Niagara River corridor as a public greenspace and environmental heritage. The first commissioner was Casimir Gzowski. Other notable Commissioners have included Thomas McQuesten and James Allan. Current Commission Chair is Sandie Bellows, who was appointed in 2019.
In total, the Commission is in charge of about 16.19 square kilometres (6.25 sq mi) of parkland along the river, in addition to the Niagara Parkway which spans 56 kilometres (35 mi). In this corridor, the NPC manages numerous trails, historic sites, picnic areas, and attractions. The Commission formerly managed Navy Island National Historic Site under a lease agreement with the Parks Canada.
Niagara Parks also operated the People Mover, a shuttle bus system intended to aid transportation along the Niagara River and help reduce automobile crowding near the Falls. The buses were powered by propane and included a trailer unit during most popular hours. In the long term, the Commission is planning for a fixed track transit system along the Niagara Parkway, although no decision has been taken on the exact technology to be used. In the meantime, the Commission joined forces with Niagara Falls Transit to launch the fully accessible WEGO bus system in 2012, and in the process discontinued the People Mover service.
The Niagara Heritage Trail is a historic and scenic route running the entire 35 mile Canadian coastline of the Niagara River from Fort Erie northward to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Construction began in stages during the early 1980s, and was completed in 1995.
The trail makes its central heart in Queen Victoria Park near the main tourist area, and also passes by attractions such as the Whirlpool Golf Course, Niagara Botanical Gardens, the Butterfly Conservatory, and the Floral clock.