With Toronto weekends jam-packed with weddings and assorted commitments, it’s hard to find the time along with a convenient way to get away. Rest assured, the dilemma is shrinking as GOTransit has begun to roll out their summer services to all of the nearby must-see destinations: Niagara-On-The-Lake (think of the wine + nature times), Niagara Falls (one of the seven natural wonders of the world AND Vegas-style casino gambling) and Barrie (shout out to WayHome’s inaugural music festival, July 24-26).
Challenging the idea that you can be in and out of the city within the same day, we took a press trip on the GO train and GO bus to experience the ease that is a jaunt to Niagara-On-The-Lake. Wine tasting is no longer a spectator sport for one member of your crew since assigning a designated drive is now a non-issue. You don’t have to break the bank either – save it to rent a stretch limo upon arrival (or you can just bring your bike along). The ride itself was a pleasurable enough three hours and we were happy and full with our Oliver & Bonancini breakfast.
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed from our early departure, our first stop was Inniskillin Winery. This is one of the oldest winemakers in Canada. We started off by sampling their sparkling wine and wandering around the property. When you hit the right spots, you could smell the barbecue, drink wine and watch fresh oysters being shucked at the same damn time! Better yet, we were treated to a local and sustainable three-course meal in a wine cellar chamber.
With each course, the extremely enthusiastic chef Tim MacKiddie would come out and share what was so unique and fist-bump-worthy about each dish. For the first course, it was the freshly picked ramps from around the corner. For the second, it was the finely tuned brining of the hen with wild mushroom risotto. And for the last course, he highlighted the ease of making beet ice cream – an earthy, yet sweet flavour that I would love to pitch to Ben & Jerry’s. The excitement was contagious and each course came with a wine pairing, which allowed us to dabble into Inneskillin’s Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc Icewine.
Our last stop was at Jackson Triggs. Many of the wines that we tasted could only be sampled and bought out there, so the tease was pretty real. We took an in-depth tour of the facilities and sampled their grand reserve collection along the way. It is safe to say that we didn’t have many spitters in the crowd, because the bus back to Toronto was silent from all the quality napping. Wine-tasting to deep slumber…available to you in moments. As promised, we were back in the heart of the city by before 6PM, as if the dream of a day never even happened.
Looking for summer jam inspiration? Check out your #GOGetaway options! Find out more about how you can jet off to Niagara Falls, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Barrie and more with GoTransit’s summer schedule.