Sometime last week I decided that I should finally pay an extended visit to St. Catharines, ON and eat some donuts straight from the source at Rise Above. Sure I was meeting some friends there (in theory), but we all know why I really went.
It’s surprisingly easy to get down to St. Catharines from Toronto and there are multiple but since I was trying to keep costs to a minimum I took the regional GoTransit (which is a little over 30 dollars round-trip) but the greyhound is 40 round-trip.
Being able to jump on a GoBus or Train, to get to almost anywhere (fun/interesting/random) in Ontario, is awesome. I think my excitement is definitely influenced by growing up on the prairies and not being in easily connected cities, we’re not kidding about the wide open prairies.
There is something soothing about riding on the train. I know people that commute on it daily don’t necessarily feel the same way, but I enjoy it every time I’m on there. I’d do it more often if it wasn’t so expensive.
I had to snap a random picture of one of the transit stations in Burlington, ON where I had to transfer from the Train to the Niagara/St.Catherines Bus. Is it just me or does it look like a space station? For some reason the moment I saw it, I thought of a Pogo Ball.
First stop in St.Catherines is a Mall in the middle of nowhere, and unfortunately, St.Catharines Transit is not connected to Google maps (I’m so spoiled!), and it doesn’t have a trip planner, so I had to go old school(ish) and look at their PDF map on the web (ha ha ha… old school…) and figure out what I was doing. (In case you’re wondering, I jumped on the #5 Downtown. $2.50 gets you on the bus.)
I was meeting up with The Vegan Police (and escaped with all of my special vegan powers intact) at Bella Noella Pizzeria (11 Summer St, St Catherines, ON), which is conveniently located right downtown and quite close to the main transit station. I walked in just as the pizza chef was making a vegan one. He asked me what kind I’d like, now I’m kicking myself for not asking for a cheeseburger one. It’s got diaya cheese and veggie ground round on it. But as usual, my love of olives won out.
After stuffing myself on a giant slice of pizza, and getting a list of the where and what in St. Catharines from Dylan, it was time to tread off into the snow and catch a fresh bite of Rise Above Donuts from Pan Café (120 Saint Paul Street, St. Catharines, ON). Yes. They really are better fresh.
I was planning on meeting up with someone else while in St.Catharines, but they flaked out so I figured since I was close by, I’d head over to Niagara Falls again. It’s easy to get to Niagara Falls from St.Catharines (there is info on the St.Catharines Transit Site). First step is to get on a bus to Brock University or Niagara College’s Glendale Campus (pay 4$ and ask for a special transfer), next catch a Niagara Transit bus. Easy peasy. It went close enough to the falls (for me), but there are connecting buses that’ll take you even closer.
There was something eerie about being in Niagara Falls on a Thursday in the middle of winter. Clifton Hills, normally packed with tourists, was EMPTY, and the falls were quiet and peaceful. I took a few shaky videos saying hi to my parents and then one in an attempt to capture the quiet half frozen falls.
I had a few hours before the next GoBus so I halfheartedly went in search of food. Lucky me, it wasn’t very hard to find. Mide Bistro (4337 Queen Street, Niagara Falls, ON) was within a couple of blocks. I looked at the menu posted outside and opted to go in. They were totally empty, and had run out of vegan chili (the primary reason I went in there), but the server suggested an ancient grains salad instead. I tried it, and it wasn’t bad. Quinoa, amaranth and some other grain I can’t remember, maybe kamut. Good flavour combination with diced dried fruits, and a bed of spinach. They also have a daily raw food option, and an oxygen bar if you feel like getting a little extra air.
I had hoped to check out The Guru (5705 Victoria Avenue, Niagara Falls, ON), which is an East Indian restaraunt right near Clifton Hills, but they were closed for a few weeks. They have a separate vegan section on their menu which has some great options. Next time!
By the end of the night, I was so happy to be heading home. It had been a long day.