Dufferin Islands

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Overview

The Dufferin Islands are located a short distance away from Niagara’s famous waterfalls. The Islands are connected by wooden footbridges and span over 10 acres. You’ll be surprised by the peaceful serenity of the Islands, given their close proximity to Niagara’s famous waterfalls. <br><br>Here you will find many walking trails, benches and picnic tables. For those who love exploring the outdoors in a relaxed setting, we would definitely recommend a visit to the Dufferin Islands. The Dufferin Islands are family friendly as well. Most of the wa ...see more

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Quietly tucked a short distance away from Niagara’s scenic Horseshoe Falls along the bank of the Niagara River are the pristine Dufferin Islands, connected by wooden footbridges and spanning over 10 acres. You’ll be awestruck by the tranquillity this secluded greenspace provides, given its proximity to Niagara’s famous waterfalls.

Here you will find many walking trails, benches, and picnic tables, all ready for you to have the most perfect outing you could ever imagine! For those who love exploring the outdoors in a relaxed setting, we would definitely recommend a visit to the Dufferin Islands. The Dufferin Islands are family-friendly as well. Most of the walking trails are flat so it is easily accessible to those with strollers and/or wheelchairs.

You can visit these man-made islands throughout the year. From November to January, this idyllic space houses brilliant animated lights and life-sized displays in the Winter Festival of Lights! The perfect way to get the most out of this tourist spot and its nearby attractions is by booking a guided tour that features walking, driving, and a helicopter ride as well, to see the dazzling lights from all angles!

See The Holiday Lights On A Helicopter Ride!


What to Know

Dufferin Islands is a small archipelago located in the Niagara River in Niagara Falls, Ontario. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, offering a peaceful and natural escape from the bustling city. The islands are connected by a series of bridges and pathways, allowing visitors to explore 10 acres of natural beauty! 

 

How to Get There

The Dufferin Islands are tucked between the gorgeous Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse and the Rapidsview Parking Lot, just south of the Falls along the famous Niagara Parkway. You can locate these secluded islands while walking a short distance south of Table Rock Centre. 

Best Time to Visit

The picturesque Dufferin Islands are open year-round, 24/7, so you can plan a visit here whenever you want! If you're more of a summer person, you should definitely visit this site between April and October for its famous loop trail where you can hike, bike, and do so much more! If you want to bask in the holiday glow of the cold season, however, do come by during winter to see the brilliant lighting displays and larger-than-life sparkling exhibits in the Winter Festival of Lights!

 

Highlights

Take a tranquil walk through ten acres of these picturesque islands while taking in the beauty of the beautiful flora and fauna of the park. Hike, bike, birdwatch, and do much more at the Dufferin Islands Loop Trail! Have an idyllic picnic with your family while it's still warm outside. Bathe in the wonderful glow of holiday lights during the Winter Festival of Lights!

Features

A quiet stroll in the scenic Dufferin Islands is always a good idea to get away from the bustling Niagara Falls for a while. Explore 10 acres of walking trails, feed the birds in the bird feeding stations, take in the beauty of colorful fish quietly swirling in the tranquil ponds, and explore indigenous flora while you're there! Dufferin Islands Loop Trail is a famous spot for hiking and biking enthusiasts. Birding aficionados can quietly observe birds interacting and being one with nature! 

Come by between April and October to do outdoor activities while it's still warm!

For a wonderful picnic with your family, do visit the Table Rock Market to pick up some grab-and-go snacks before you tuck yourself away in a quiet corner in the Dufferin Islands. You'll find lots of lush spots and picnic tables spread out for you to have the most wonderful outing with your family that you could ever imagine! After all, an idyllic picnic is an ideal picnic. 

Winter turns the Dufferin Islands into something truly special when the whole of Niagara Parkway and its nearby tourist spots are transformed into a winter wonderland. You guessed it…it's the Winter Festival of Lights! From November to January, you'll see sparkling wildlife displays and over fifty trees gorgeously wrapped up in lights. Look at the twinkling lights reflecting off the waters of the ponds. Marvel at the size of 3-D displays of Bison, Geese, Deer, Polar Bears, Moose, and much more! Be dazzled by the color-changing water fountain spraying water twenty-five feet in the air! You'll also see a Gingerbread House and 2-D lighting exhibits that will spread holiday cheer! What's not to love?

History

The scenic Dufferin Islands were not always a site that enticed tourists. History tells us that these islands (then known as Cynthia Islands and Clark Hill Islands) housed both an iron ore foundry and a grain mill, which were knocked down during the War of 1812. But the site's tourism potential went unnoticed until the nineteenth century when a natural gas well was unearthed along the shoreline of these islands, with gas bubbling and frothing to the water's surface.

The owner at that time realized that he could make capital out of it by turning the site into a tourist attraction. So he capped the place with a barrel with a pipe coming out of the top. The pipe was corked to allow the gas to collect there. When tourists came over to see the attraction, the pipe was uncorked and the gas ignited. 

The result was nothing short of spectacular, dubbed aptly the "Burning Springs". This was the very first tourist attraction of Niagara Falls which continued to draw lots and lots of tourists until it ran out of gas in 1884. In 1886, the Province of Ontario took over these islands during the construction of Queen Victoria Park and this site got its new name which remains famous to this day — the Dufferin Islands. 

The islands remained mostly unaltered and natural until, in 1902, the Ontario Power Company underwent construction on their lower hydropower base which necessitated drawing river water from an end just east of the islands. The result was drastic: the rerouting of water current almost diminished the flow through the islands. The power company had to compensate, and compensate they did by forging a string of artificial islands and cascades through negotiation with the Parks Commission. The work wasn't completed until the islands achieved a "natural" look. 

Now the Dufferin Islands are preserved by the Niagara Parks Commission which has transformed this scenic spot into a tourist destination consisting of four islands inter-laced with each other through walking trails joined by bridges. Water flowing through these idyllic islands runs towards the Toronto Power Station for the generation of electricity! The islands have their very own swimming area which is maintained for tourists to cool down during summer.