Monthly Archives: March 2016

Home Decorating Tips

Our homes are our havens, the place where most people withdraw into their own space so it is only fitting that that space should reflect individual taste and personality.  Decorating a home is easy and even inexpensive.   Any budget can stretch to finance a little home decorating.

Whether it is a first home, a new home, or just a re-do of the same old surroundings, home decorating is easy.   Begin with one room.    First, choose two things: a color scheme and a theme.

The choice of color comes first because matching other decorative items depends on the color.   Bright colors like vivid reds or rich, deep blue are ideal to build a modern theme with or a Native American southwestern look.    Cooler shades like lavender, peach, or aqua lend themselves toward romantic themes, softer, seasonal themes or ocean themes.  New trends allow a single wall to be painted one shade while the other three are painted in another complimentary color.  Paneling on a single wall can work well with a rustic theme and some paneling today comes pre-printed with designs that range from deer and forest styles to nautical themes with anchors.

Children’s’ rooms can be painted with traditional blue for boys or pink for girls or done in a contemporary theme that suits the individual kids style.   One wall or the entire room can be devoted to a favorite character or them, whether it may be Disney princesses or Lightning McQueen.

Once the color and theme have been selected, it is time for a shopping trip.   Look for items that compliment the theme.    For example, an ocean themed bathroom can begin with light aqua walls.   To compliment the ocean theme, look for items like a dolphin shaped night light, mermaid styled cups or toothbrush holders, shower curtains with sea life (fish, dolphins, etc) prints or even a palm tree print.   Rugs can accentuate the theme by blending into the color or coordinating with it.  For a seashore bathroom motif, cool blue rugs could mimic the look of ocean water or soft yellow rugs could look like the sandy shore.

Borders can intensify the look of the theme.  Most home improvement and discount stores offer a variety of borders ranging from simple floral designs to borders with 1950’s rock and roll themes or favorite movie character themes.   Another item also available is wall decals.   These can be used to add to the décor by adding images or collages that suit the theme.

Framed paintings, family pictures, or posters can also enhance the theme of a particular room.

Budget conscious consumers can find that many accent items can be found in “dollar shops” (where everything is sold for a dollar or less), discount stores,  resale shops, flea markets, rummage sales, and on close out racks.   Last year’s popular theme may suit an individual fancy but if the current “in” items change, buyers can often pick up everything they need for a theme at marked down savings.

Don’t forget the floor.   Flooring today comes in many different forms.  Carpeting, room rugs, accent rugs, and tile are just a few of the many choices.

Although rugs can add color or style to a small space – such as Native American print rugs lending to a Native American theme – flooring can truly augment a style.  A retro look is simple to achieve with new hardwood look floorings that offer the beauty of a traditional hard wood floor without the expense or fuss.    Room size rugs in many shapes and sizes can change a simple room from mundane to spectacular.  Bold colors, floral prints, decorative patterns, or traditional hues can all make a statement about the room.  Floor tiles are another versatile way to change the look and mood of any room.  Black and white squares summon up images of a 1950’s diner or malt shop while faux stone tiles can recreate the atmosphere of anything from a medieval castle to a Spanish hacienda.

In addition, while it may seem outdated, vinyl floor covering, often called “linoleum” is another option.  Many of today’s vinyl floor coverings are not your grandmother’s linoleum.  Today’s vinyl is easy to install, simple to clean, require little care, and have the durability that lasts for years.

Window treatments are another way to express a room’s style.  Whether consumers opt for traditional drapes in solid colors, window toppers with bright prints, or simply mini-blinds in a matching shade that coordinates with the room, it is simpler than ever to use window dressings to match any look.

Combine the elements – color scheme, theme, and the decorating accessories – to make home decorating simple and easy, without breaking the budget!

Christmas Home Decorating Tips

Christmas Decorating Tips for Those on a Budget

A home that is decorated for the Christmas holidays is one that is warm and welcoming to both visitors and to those that live there. You may be thinking that you need fat pockets in order to stylishly decorate your home, but you need not break the bank when you are looking for budget Christmas decorations to enhance the atmosphere of your home.

Don’t Forget the Dollar Store!

Shops known as dollar stores have a vast array of decorations geared for the budget minded consumer. There are ornaments for the tree, stick-ems for window decoration along with Santas, snowmen and angel figurines to spruce up any room in your home. Target is another discount store where you will find a host of products at affordable prices.

Don’t Just Read Your Christmas Cards!

Setting aside a wall to hang all the Christmas cards you receive is a nice touch and is completely free. You can use garland to hang them or place them around doorways where guests to your home can see the beautiful cards that others have sent you. A wall with a tree, wreath or other decoration can be a place where you can tape your cards from either this year or last that will make a lovely display.

Go Outside!

 If you live in a rural area or an urban area that has a park, go out with your children and some baskets and look for branches of evergreen, perhaps even with red berries on them. You can find pinecones as well and take them home and spray them with fake snow. You can make a centerpiece using the materials you gathered on your quest along with holiday colored candles in hurricane glasses or votives for extra safety.

Cranberries for a Splash of Color

 If you have clear vases, they can be filled with cranberries to add a splash of color to any room. If you don’t have vases, use clear wine bottles or any other attractive, clear, household container. You can tie ribbons of red, green and gold around them or use some of the glasses to fill up with water and add colorful beads that reflect the hues of the season.

A Wreath for Your Door

Buying a decorated Christmas wreath to hang on your front door can be quite expensive. Use some of the greens from your walk for pinecones and evergreens to fashion a wreath. Use colored ribbon, Christmas balls and other holiday inspired do-dads you buy at a discount store to create your own, customized wreath. If you have a live Christmas tree, you can take the culled branches and use them for this purpose. You will be surprised at how easy it is to do and be quite impressed with yourself at the outcome.

More Great Ideas

Holiday colored ribbons can be cut to glue or pin around the bottom of your lampshades. This will truly bring a festive look to the room and is an affordable decorating idea you will simply love. Get yourself some attractive branches from the outdoors and with silver, white or gold paint, dress them up and set them in a vase for an attractive centerpiece for your mantle or coffee table. Your bathroom can sport towels that are red, green and gold and you can even tie a ribbon around them so that they appear to be gifts. A dish filled with holiday inspired soaps will brighten the room as well.

Don’t Forget The Christmas Tree!

Colored lights add so much to a home when they are twinkling on the Christmas tree. Again, you can find excellent prices for strings of colored, clear or solid lights for your tree and outside your home. Kids will love stringing popcorn to hang on a tree either indoors or out. For the animals, you could decorate an outdoor tree with strings of popcorn and a touch of peanut butter. This is a lovely way to share the bounty of the holiday season with the creatures that don’t hibernate in the winter.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your home festive and bright for the holidays. Use your imagination to make your own holiday decorations that will have your home a warm and inviting place to be during the Christmas season.

Cheap Decorating Tips

Cheap Decorating Tips Can Enrich Your Home Living Space

Whether you’re just getting started decorating your home or you feel like you need a change, a few cheap decorating tips could be just what you need.

Chelsey Gardner, an interior and exterior home design expert based in Dallas says you don’t have to have a big budget to decorate with flair.  Imagination, smart shopping, and the use of color can go a long way toward sprucing up a tired living space.

To start, Gardner offers a few basic tips that she says are key to cheap decorating success:

  1. Buy smart in the first place. People who are just starting out or who are on tight budgets often make the mistake of buying entire rooms full of furniture at once, Gardner They see something on the showroom floor that looks great, the store pushes affordable financing, so they buy it.  Although affordability is key, beware of program details that could end up costing you two to three times the value of what you’ve bought.  Buying individual pieces as you can afford them may be a better idea.
  1. Buy what you love. Since most people keep their furniture for decades, be sure you really love it before you buy it.  You’re going to have to live with it for a long time.  Also make sure the furniture pieces are comfortable and they fit your family.
  1. Keep basic pieces basic. Bold prints and “wild” colors will go out of style sooner than basic neutral colors or leather furniture.  Keeping your big pieces simple gives you the chance to change your room’s look with throw pillows and accessories without having to buy new furniture all over again.


Wiih the above tips in mind and the basics covered, it can be fun to try a few cheap decorating tips to help you freshen up your house with the different seasons.

“Color is one of the easiest ways to change the look and feel of a living space, and color can come from paint, fabrics, or accessories.  I like lighter colors in the summer and warm ones in the winter, and you can do that with accessories,” Gardner says.

Kim Forrester and her partner Cinda Smith are “Re-decorators” who work with clients who want a change. Their clients typically have tight budgets and aren’t interested in buying anything new.

“When we go to a home, we get permission from our clients to ‘re-purpose’ their furniture and accessories.  It’s not unusual for us to find a chair in a bedroom that we move to the living room, or accessories in one area that we think would look better in another,” Forrester says.

“Color is one of the key things we use to bring unity to a room,” says Cinda Smith.  “We’ll find accessories in different rooms from the same color family and group them together.  It makes a much bigger impact,” she says.

“It’s also important to find something in the room that you can build from or use as inspiration.  Often it’s a piece of art or a fabric on a pillow or the colors in a rug.  If something you own gives you inspiration, consider using it as the focal point of a room and decorate around it,” Gardner says.

If you don’t have anything in your house right now that “inspires” you, or if you need to add some accessories in a particular color group, one cheap decorating tip is to shop at garage sales or flea markets.

“I like to make a list of things I’m looking for and head to the nearest flea market.  They can be treasure troves for inexpensive accessories like vases, dried flower arrangements, pillows, wicker baskets, or art,” Gardner says.

Bedroom Decorating Tips

Have the Perfect Bedroom: Tips for Doing It Right

For many persons, the look of their bedroom is conducive to getting a good night’s sleep. While this room is the one least likely to be seen by visitors, the way it is decorated is still important. The first thing to decide on is the look you want for your bedroom, whether it is romantic or homely. It is also important to pay attention to who will be using the room, for example a child’s bedroom would be decorated differently than a teenager’s bedroom.

Creating the Bedroom Decorating Plan

Once you know what type of look and who will be the primary user of that bedroom, you need to create a plan. This plan will include:

  • Deciding on the theme you want.
  • A listing of colors to use. Bear in mind that light colors tend to give the illusion of space. The reverse is also true, darker, vibrant colors can help make a room seem cozier.
  • The type of fixtures and furniture you want based on the size of the bedroom and the décor you want. Antique furnishing can add style and allure to many bedrooms, while lacy curtains can give a whimsical look – decide what you are going for and write it down.
  • Make sure to measure the room beforehand so that you get only the right sized furniture.
  • Make a list of what items you want to keep or replace.
  • Make a drawing of where you want to place each item of furniture. Keep changing things around until you have what you want. You can always change things around once you actually start working on the bedroom itself.
  • Go shopping to get the items you need.

Decorating Tips

Here are some tips to help make your bedroom your own:

  • If you are re-painting do not forget the ceiling. Variations of the wall colors can be added to the ceiling or designs can be stenciled on depending on the material used. Depending on taste you may consider a bed with a canopy which hangs from the ceiling.
  • Apart from a bed, other pieces of furniture to consider are a night table/stand and a dresser or chest. The night stand should be placed close to your bed for things such as glasses and purse or wallet. The design and color of the furniture should match or complement the color of the walls.
  • Add mirrors to the wall. Mirrors can be of varying sizes and placed so as to add to the overall décor. Mirrors are especially great for small bedrooms as they give an illusion of space.
  • Place a basket or small stand in the room for magazines.
  • Lighting is important and if you can afford it get lighting that can be adjusted for various needs. Some of us read in bed, so the light could be adjusted for this purpose or dimmed for relaxation or romance.
  • Transform your bed by adding pillows of various sizes.
  • Depending on the type of floor, you may place a small carpet or two on the floor beside the bed.

Another important factor to take into consideration when decorating a bedroom is to make the room conducive to sleep by:

  • Choosing the right colors for walls, curtains and bedroom furnishings. Some colors are calming such as blues, greens and white. Find colors that work for you.
  • Removing TVs and computers. There will always be temptation to use these items rather than going to sleep.
  • Keeping it tidy – a disorganized bedroom can be confusing and even stressful. Some persons find it difficult to fall asleep as they keep thinking about the messy bedroom.

It is normally fun to decorate a bedroom because here the personality of the person can shine through. While turning your bedroom into your own personal space, make sure not to over decorate. Over decorating will only create clutter and will not result in an attractive space.

Apartment Decorating Tips

How To Call Your Apartment, “Home”

Given our country’s current economic status, the housing market is not doing too well. More and more people across the country are opting to rent, giving the multi-family industry and nice favorable boom! There are many advantages of owning rather than renting. There normally isn’t that much of an ability to express your own personal “decorative freedom” when it comes to customizing your apartment, whereas homeowners can do all sorts of things to the interior and exterior of their home. Although most landlords and property managers have certain restrictions on how tenants can alter the appearance of their apartment (which are usually explained in the tenants’ lease), there are several ways you can turn your apartment into your home. Here are some apartment decorating tips to help you in your quest to make your living space the best it can be!

  1. Color Your World: Most likely, you must keep the walls the color that they are painted. It doesn’t hurt to ask, however, and some landlords will allow you to paint, so long as you paint the walls back to their original color before vacating the apartment. Some property managers or landlords will let you make any improvement to the unit, so long as it improves the unit’s value. Open communication between you and your landlord will allow you to explore what opportunities you have. If painting isn’t an option, one idea would be to lay fabric on your walls like you would with wallpaper. You can do the whole room, or just one wall as an “accent wall”. All that is needed is the fabric of your choosing, a bit of starch or stiffener, some push pins, and a roller. Clean the wall first, to remove and dirt or debris. Roll or Spray the starch onto the wall. Smooth the fabric onto the wall, making sure that there are no air bubbles between the fabric and the wall.  Carefully pin the fabric to the wall temporarily so the starch dries. Make sure that the fabric you use is several inches taller than the wall itself allowing a bit of extra at both the ceiling and floor, and that if you are using a patterned fabric, the pattern will line up when you place the fabric on the wall itself. Trim the fabric at the floor and ceiling once it’s completely dried. To remove the fabric, gently pull at the corners. If the fabric isn’t pulling off as nicely as it should, dampen the fabric with a sponge. This is the best way to add a splash to your rooms, even if it’s just one wall.
  2. The Tools You Use: The right job cannot be done without the right tools. A basic toolkit including a hammer, screwdrivers, level (can’t stress the importance of a level enough), and a drill (which is optional) are important. You must also have the right hardware. Hanging up framed pictures with thumbtacks is a risk best not taken. Depending on the construction of your apartment, wall anchors and screws may be in order, otherwise picture hooks are suitable. If your landlord is firm on not allowing you to drill or make any holes in their walls, 3M makes a wide variety of products to suit your hanging needs. Most of those products include removable “strips” that attach to the wall. With a gentle pull on the tab at the bottom of the strip, it safely removes itself leaving all of the paint on the wall where it should be – not on the strip!
  3. Shed a Little Light: Does your apartment have limited lighting? A great way to expand the light in any room is to add mirrors. Small decorative mirrors can be purchased at many craft stores and in home furnishing stores like IKEA for only a few dollars for a set of 4. When strategically placed on a wall, they will enhance what little light may be provided in the apartment already. Not only that, it will prevent you from having to buy another light, which could mean a small addition to your electric bill. Adding mirrors will also add depth to any small room. If real candles aren’t allowed, small battery powered votive candles are available at most home furnishing stores and home improvement stores. These are also safer for apartments with children or very curious cats!
  4. The Battle for Space: Not all apartments offer an abundance of closet space, making storage an obstacle that needs to be overcome. This is a good time to make use of the space below your bed or sofa. Storage bins for these types of spaces can be found at many stores, including Target, WalMart and Kmart. Not enough space for under-bed storage? Bed risers can give your bed a small “lift”, adding a few extra inches underneath for a box or two. Another way to combat the storage issue is to use decorative boxes. The same stores mentioned above sell both the risers, and the boxes. The boxes usually require a bit of assembly and are made of either cloth or cardboard, or a combination of both. They can be used to store tapes, DVDs, “brick-a-brack”, sewing items, or even tools. For your out-of-season clothes, vacuum packs are great. They won’t take up as much space as boxes, and can be stored in a shelf in your closet.
  5. One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure: Although “dumpster diving” isn’t exactly a safe activity for many reasons, sometimes using a bit of creativity can help you find that one item that can tie the room together. Looking on websites such as Craigslist may help you find that missing item. One creative idea is to look for wooden window frames that are being discarded due to home renovation. With a bit of paint or stain, it can be a new way to display your photos or artwork. Another idea would be to replace the glass in the window with a mirror. Older homes that are going through some exterior changes usually have beautiful and odd-shaped window frames. Since they will most likely be throwing these out, why not take advantage of the situation?
  6. We’re Not In Kansas Anymore: Moreover, most people want to refer to their apartment as their “home”. Before moving into an apartment, get a good idea of the floorplan and room dimensions. Visually “place” your furniture and make sure there’s enough room for you to move around safely. Whatever décor you choose for your apartment, whether it is minimalist, country, modern, or retro, make sure it’s comfortable for you, and that you will enjoy it. The worst feeling in the world is to go home to an apartment you don’t like. Make your home your place of respite. Then you too can utter Dorothy’s infamous words, “There’s no place like home.”

Where is Niagara Falls?

Niagara Falls is one of the most popular tourist destinations in North America and has been for almost two hundred years.  The natural beauty of the multi-faceted water falls and gorge are an attraction that remain on many people’s “bucket list”.

Niagara Falls is both Canadian and American and they have been called “twin cities”.  The border between the two countries lies in between the collection of three water falls that comprise “Niagara Falls”.  If you are traveling by car, you will need to cross at the Rainbow Bridge from one side to the other and remember that you will need to go through a border check and customs on either side (you ARE traveling between two different countries!).  Commercial traffic generally uses a different bridge (The Whirlpool Bridge) and anyone who subscribes to Nexus can use this bridge for quicker access back and forth.

Niagara Falls, Canada

On the Canadian side of the Falls is Horseshoe Falls which is the largest of the three water falls.  It is also the most photographed and most universally recognized vision of what Niagara Falls is.  Horseshoe Falls is also often called the “Canadian Falls” as it is on the Canadian side.  It is thought that approximately 90% of the water that flows over Niagara Falls comes down at Horseshoe Falls.

On the Canadian side of the Falls, you will find numerous hotels to suit all budgets, as well as some hotels and restaurants with spectacular views of Horseshoe Falls.  There is plentiful shopping, and within a short drive up the Niagara Parkway, you can visit botanical gardens with butterfly conservatory, or continue a little further to visit Niagara-on-the-Lake which is an historical town where much of the War of 1912 is commemorated.  In fact, if you are a lover of the Victorian era, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a must-see.

The famous “Maid of the Mist” boat tours which take visitors directly into the falls and under the mist of the falls is available from the Canadian side as well as from the American side, so don’t worry about missing out on that even if you are not able to visit both sides!

So, where is Niagara Falls if you are coming from a Canadian destination?  The Falls are 75 miles South/Southeast from Toronto – approximately an hour and a half’s drive.  If you have flown to Toronto, your options will include a car rental or an organized bus trip/tour to and from Niagara Falls.  You may walk across the Rainbow Bridge during your visit if you would like to also see the American side of the Falls.

Niagara Falls, United States

On the American side of the Falls, are the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.  The American Falls have a viewing spot that comes close to the edge and the view is a very steep angle.   Bridal Veil Falls is the smallest of the three waterfalls at Niagara.  There are walkways between the small islands of Goat Island and Luna Island on the American side, where visitors may view the Falls and ascend an elevator at “Cave of the Winds” for an even better glimpse.  At that point you will be within twenty feet of the Bridal Veil Falls.  The Cave of the Winds was originally a cave behind the Falls, but is no longer accessible due to rockslides in the 1950’s.

On the U.S. side of Niagara Falls, there are also numerous hotels to suit all budgets, many restaurants and attractions.  One of the most popular destinations is the Aquarium of Niagara Falls where you can view a vast range of aquatic species and take in some shows.  Gaming and casino options are also available on the American side and as mentioned, Maid of the Mist tours launch from this side of the Falls as well.  If you can only visit the American side of the Falls, you may want to take the Maid of the Mist tour as it is your best option at seeing Horseshoe Falls without going over to the Canadian side.

Now, where is Niagara Falls when visiting from the U.S.?  It is approximately 17 miles North/Northwest of the Buffalo, New York.  From Buffalo, you may drive or as mentioned from Toronto, there are Niagara Falls bus tours which can be arranged.

Where is Niagara Falls for you? 

A trip to Niagara Falls for you may involve one side or both sides.  It may involve planes, trains and automobiles depending how far you have to travel.  No matter what you want to see most at the Falls, both sides have much to offer and experience.  Both sides have views, shopping, restaurants and casinos.  If Niagara Falls is indeed on your bucket list, do a little reading about both sides so you get the most out of your visit. You can read the other articles on this site or you can also check out for the Canadian side.

Restaurants in Niagara Falls (Canada)

Niagara Falls, Canada remains one of the most popular destination spots in North America.  People have been travelling to the Falls since the early 1800’s and the appeal of this natural wonder remains high to this day.  The best views of both the Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls are on the Canadian side.  Therefore, the restaurants in Niagara Falls (Canada) also have the very best views!

One of the most recognizable landmarks (besides the Falls themselves!) is the Skylon Tower.  At the top of the tower is you will find the Revolving Dining Room where you will get the most spectacular view of both of the Falls and the entire Niagara area.  A full 360 degree view awaits diners with this restaurant on their itinerary. You will need reservations for this dining experience and the prices are on the high side but the experience is priceless.  Diners have free access to the spectacular observation deck while dining.  On the menu here you will find the best wines (including of course, the local Niagara region wines) and a first class menu.

Within the Skylon Tower, you will also find the Summit Suite Buffet Dining Room.  This restaurant is affordable and appropriate for families.  It also has a stunning view of the falls – just less so than the revolving full view up at the top of the Tower.  The observation deck is free for diners as well.  The menu here includes carved beef, seafood, and large selections of salads – a full range of menu options so the whole family will be sure to find something to their taste.

Remember that when you are making reservations for dinner at any of the restaurants with views of the Falls, you may want to book for the times in the evening when the Falls are illuminated.  Just ask the reservation agent about the times when making your dining arrangements.

For more choices of restaurants with views, take a look at The Watermark.  This venue sports windows that are over five metres tall and present a spectacular view for diners.  This restaurant is known best for its amazing breakfast buffet, so you may want to plan this as the way to start your day off beautifully while visiting Niagara Falls.

Sometimes, visitors don’t mind getting away from the spectacular vistas when looking for restaurants in Niagara Falls (Canada) after a long day of sight seeing.  In that case, there are also some great options for eating that are simply about the food rather than the view.  Off the beaten path, you might like to check out Carpaccio Ristorante and Bar.  This spot offers a casual Mediterranean atmosphere where diners can relax, unwind and enjoy some excellent and authentic Italian cuisine.

If your vacation includes visiting the Fallsview Casino, you will find several dining options right on site there.  You can choose from steak and seafood, Italian food, buffets and pub food.

If you are travelling with kids, the restaurants in Niagara Falls (Canada) that you will want to check out must include Dave & Buster’s.  The place is an “entertainment complex” that offers up all sorts of gaming (mini golf, laser tag, arcade games) and entertainment options that are family oriented.  They also serve up what many consider to be the best hamburger in the region.  Of all the restaurants in Niagara Falls (Canada), this is truly the most family oriented and it is an adventure in its own right.

If touring and sightseeing all day leave you craving the familiar, then head to one of the chain restaurants in Niagara Falls (Canada) for some comfort food while you rest your aching feet!  You’ll find The Keg, Boston Pizza, Outback Steakhouse, Tony Roma’s, Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Café and many other familiar restaurants to help you unwind and enjoy the area.

You can be sure of one thing as you enjoy your stay in Niagara Falls – your dining options are unlimited.  No matter your taste, your budget or your need for entertainment while dining.  Bon Appetit to you!

Niagara Falls Attractions

Although Niagara Falls is best known as a romantic destination for newly-weds, Niagara Falls has much more to offer visitors than the two majestic falls.

There is no doubt that visitors should view the two falls, the Canadian or Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls.  Tucked nearby the American falls, the Bridal Veil Falls are another must-see.   However, although these are the original and natural attractions that first brought visitors to the city that straddles the US and Canadian border, there is much more in Niagara Falls today.  Be sure to return at night to see the Falls illuminated as they are each night since 1925.

One way to get current on the history and details of the famous Niagara Falls is to visit the IMAX Theater.  In addition to the full line up of amazing movies, visitors here can watch the Niagara Falls movie, a 45 minute long venture in “Niagara: Miracles, Myths, and Magic”.

One of the newest and most exciting attractions found today in Niagara Falls is the Bird Kingdom.  This indoor free flying aviary features a multi-storied rain forest atmosphere with hundreds of free flying tropical birds, a four-story waterfall, and the opportunity to handle tropical birds up close and personal.  This attraction ranks as the most popular in Niagara Falls for three years running.

Visitors who remember Robert Ripley, creator of the long running “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” will want to visit the local Ripley’s Believe It Or Not in Niagara Falls.  This attraction is more than a museum featuring the strange and wonderful finds from Mr. Ripley but a full-scale family entertainment center with much, much more.

On the Canadian side, the Willoughby Historical Museum offers an in-depth look into local history, numerous genealogical resources, and the chance to step back into time.  Located near Navy Island, a visit to the museum offers the chance to view one of the most scenic areas outside the falls in the region.

Adventure loving visitors will not be disappointed.  Climb aboard the Whirlpool Aero Car for the best view of the famous whirlpool, the rapids, and the hydroelectric plants.  Built by Leonardo Torres Quevado back in 1916, this attraction has been popular with visitors of all ages for many years.

Another attraction that offers both a bird’s eye view of the Falls as well as offers excitement is the National Helicopter’s Niagara Falls tours! Not only can visitors fly over the famous Falls, they can also hightail off to other destinations if necessary!  Another helicopter company, Niagara Helicopters, also offers flight tours.

Visitors with even more nerve can take the plunge with indoor skydiving at the Niagara Freefall and Interactive Center.  In a safe, controlled environment, visitors can live their fantasy by sky diving at speeds up to 120 miles per hour!

Brave souls may want to venture inside the Nightmare Fear Factory in the Clifton Hill tourist district.  Located on the site of a former coffin factory, this world-class haunted house has been scaring the daylights out of visitors for more than twenty-five years!

For those who prefer tamer and less adventuresome activities, Niagara Falls has much, much more.  The young and young at heart will delight in the Safari Niagara ZooZ located in Ontario just ten minutes away from the central location of the Falls.  From the petting zoo to the Zooversity and the outdoor concerts, this zoo has it all and more.

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture has delighted visitors since the mid-1930’s with beautiful, lush gardens and educational opportunities.  While away the hours strolling through the paths, visiting the rose garden, herbal garden, or the Arboretum. Guided tours are also available for those who want more information.

The Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory is another delightful place to visit.  Many varieties of butterflies flit inside and more fill the outdoor grounds.  Stroll along the paths and marvel at the beautiful butterflies in graceful flight.

Another outdoor venue sure to please is the Queen Victoria Park adjacent to Horseshoe Falls.  This free open-air park has fabulous views and many blooming gardens during the summer season.  Don’t miss the chance to visit the Skylon Tour next door – it offers a view of the falls from above from 520 feet high, the tallest structure in Niagara Falls.

These are just some of the many Niagara Falls attractions awaiting the visitor to Niagara Falls on both sides of the border.  Many other fun spots are waiting along with a full selection of hotels and dining establishments.

There is something for every age and every taste in beautiful Niagara Falls, a place that isn’t just for lovers anymore!

Hotels in Niagara Falls (Canada)

Niagara Falls has been a popular holiday destination for around 200 years already.  The allure of this marvel of nature has not waned and it still attracts thousands upon thousands of tourists every year.  Because of the consistent influx of these tourists, the variety of hotels in Niagara Falls Canada have grown and visitors have a quite a number of options for their holidays there.

Everyone’s holiday plans are different. A little thought as to what you want from your hotel stay will help you sort through all the choices in Niagara Falls.  Whether a hotel with a view is top priority or whether budget is top priority, there is a hotel for everyone, so no-one need miss out on this destination!

First of all, many hotels in Niagara Falls (Canada) claim they have the best view of the Falls, so you may want to investigate each hotel’s website and check their photo gallery for a better idea of what can be seen and what cannot.  You’ll also want to make sure at booking time that you are actually booking a room with a view of the Falls before you give out your credit card number.  With such a room, you can look down on the Niagara Falls as well as the fireworks and light shows there in the evenings.

The Embassy Suites by Hilton is situated right next to the Falls and does offer spectacular views from their “Fallsview Suites”.  There are views of the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls and within the building are several chain restaurants. The Sheraton on the Falls is another hotel with a view.  It is the closest hotel to the Falls and boasts floor to ceiling windows from which to take in the spectacular view.  This hotel is on a 20 acre resort which includes an indoor waterpark and of course, restaurant options.  The Tower Hotel is also a good choice for rooms with a view.  They too have floor to ceiling windows – be sure to ask for a room with a view of the Falls if that is what you want though – other rooms have a lovely view of the countryside.

For those whose holidays are aimed at casino time, hotels in Niagara Falls Canada that cater to the casino crowd include the Four Points by Sheraton.  It has an indoor connecting walkway that takes you directly to the Fallsview Casino.  The Best Western is directly across the street from the Fallsview Casino as well and is very reasonably priced.   Both of these hotels are near the hub of Niagara Falls activities and restaurants.   Close to Casino Niagara is the new Country Inn & Suites which is a moderate hotel option without views or a lot of extras.

Visitors looking for a quaint, historical atmosphere may prefer to stay at The Crowne Plaza Hotel (originally named the General Brock Hotel).  It was built in the 1920’s and is a sophisticatedly appointed Victorian style hotel featuring all the modern amenities and conveniences.  It is also centrally located due to being the oldest hotel there!  Another option is The Olde Stone Inn which was originally a flour mill dating back to the early 1900’s.  If you prefer the rustic feel, you may enjoy the Great Wolf Resort which offers cabin style rooms and its own waterpark facilities.

If you are planning on being out and about most of your days during your holiday, then hotels in Niagara Falls that offer the basics where you can rest up and get back out to the sights include the Ramada (Niagara Falls), The Peninsula Inn, The Super 8 Hotel and The Hampton Inn North of the Falls.  These options may not be right at the Falls but offer clean, comfortable accommodations at a lower price point.  These are good options for families who plan on taking in the sights and entertainment but don’t need the luxury of a view every night.

Whatever style holiday you plan for, there are hotels in Niagara Falls to suit your style, your activities and your budget.  Now……get packing!

Pet Insurance Companies in Canada

The basic information you need to know when choosing pet insurance for your beloved companion.

Is pet insurance a viable option for most Canadians?  More than ever, veterinary bills are rising because of all the advances in veterinary technology.  Today, if your pet has a major health crisis or even a routine check up, it could cost you dearly.  If you are a pet owner and are considering pet insurance, you will need an informational guide to follow for choosing the right insurance company.  This guide will give you basic information along with comparatives on the top pet insurance companies in Canada so you make an informed decision.

Do I need pet insurance?

Ten years ago, many people would have said that pet insurance was frivolous and unnecessary but times have changed and so have the needs of our furry friends.  Today, our pet’s medical care costs can rival our own!  Many surgical procedures can start around $900 and quickly escalate to over $5000.  There is no question that veterinary bills are on the rise.

So the question becomes, “Is it worth it?”  The answer really depends on you.  For some pet owners, insurance is an invaluable service that gives you the ability to provide your pet the best possible care at an affordable rate.  And, if a serious condition should arise, it keeps you from having to make a painful decision based on finances.  Yet, other pet owners are not willing to spend the money for medicines and surgical procedures.  Ultimately, only you can decide if pet insurance is worthwhile.

Does my pet qualify for insurance?

You have decided to insure your pet.  Now, you will need to find out if your pet is eligible for insurance.  Here are the basic requirements of most insurers:

  • Own a cat or dog between 8 weeks and 14 years of age.
  • You are a Canadian or U.S. resident
  • You have a valid e-mail address

If you are able to meet these requirements, you are eligible for pet insurance.  Keep in mind that some pet insurers do not have an upper limit on the age of your pet.

Pet insurance providers – basic information and advantages/disadvantages


PetCare is a leader in providing accident and illness insurance for cats and dogs in Canada.  They offer a unique variety of services and products to meet the needs of your pet.


PetCare provides several benefits to pet owners:  Unlimited lifetime accident coverage, coverage for hereditary conditions, premiums do not increase for older pets and exceptional service standards.


You plan can become quite pricey if you are not careful.  You need to make sure you understand the type of coverage you will need for your pet and make sure you aren’t signing up for coverage you don’t need.


Trupanion is a leader in medical insurance for pets.  As a founding member of the North American Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), Trupanion is a well-respected provider of pet insurance.  Trupanion was also the 1st pet insurance company in Canada to earn the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Seal of Acceptance.  The AAHA Seal of Acceptance program was created to help inform pet owners about quality pet health care.


Trupanion offers several advantages to their plan:

  • One simple plan. Trupanion offers one comprehensive policy that covers surgeries, diagnostic tests, medications, treatments and hospital stays.
  • 90% coverage. Trupanion will cover 90% of veterinary costs for any accident or illness claims that are approved (minus exam fees and optional deductible). This 90% deductible is available at any specialty hospital, veterinary clinic and emergency care center.
  • No payout limit. Another advantage is the unlimited lifetime insurance coverage that Trupanion offers. What that means for you is no per accident limits, annual limits or lifetime care limits.


Watch out for the pre-existing conditions and circumstances around the policy.  The plan may not allow for pets that are older or already ill.  And, the plan may not cover the costs upfront.


Petsecure is a leading provider of innovative insurance coverage and boasts as 100% Canadian-owned and operated.  They are also one of Canada’s oldest and largest per insurance providers.


Petsecure offers many benefits to their innovative pet insurance plans:

  • Secure for LifeTM is a coverage designed for pet owners who have concerns for their pets long-term health. This plan will cover a broad range of illnesses.
  • You can renew benefits each year. Basically, this means that if you have $2,500 of illness coverage, you will receive $2,500 towards each illness that occurs that year.
  • Secure for LifeTM gives you no limits on your coverage for life. So as long as your pet is insured with Petsecure, you will receive renewed annual coverage year after year.


There may be a delay of coverage before the policy kicks in.  In these instances, you will need to cover the cost of any services provided until the insurance coverage takes effect.  In most cases, this can be anywhere from a few days to two-weeks.

When you’re ready to choose a pet insurance company, make sure you know the type of coverage your pet needs and you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.  As with any type of insurance, it is important to do your homework so your best friend isn’t left in the doghouse.