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When you’re new to Niagara, it can seem like a daunting place to try to get around. I can’t count the number of times a newcomer has said to me, “It’s great here, but there isn’t a fast way to get anywhere!”
But being born and raised here, I can tell you that we can get pretty resourceful and find those shortcuts, no matter how hidden they be. So, whether you’ve lived here all your life or are moving to Niagara from another city, here are some of my favourite shortcuts to help you get around a little faster.
Ontario Street to Martindale Road
Trying to get from Ontario Street to Martindale Road in St. Catharines? Avoid the busy drive along Fourth Avenue by cutting down Welland Vale Road, along the Twelve Mile Creek. Once you come out on Martindale, it’s a quick zip north and you’re in Port Dalhousie!
Port Dalhousie to Fourth Avenue
Speaking of Port Dalhousie and Fourth Avenue, if you’re not feeling Martindale Road, go a little further west and hop onto Third Street Louth. This is the perfect shortcut to get from Lake Ontario to the hospital in no time.
North End St. Catharines to The Pen Centre
When you live in North End St. Catharines or Walker’s Creek, it can feel like nothing is very close. It gets even worse when you’re trying to make your way to the South End through countless intersections. I suggest heading over to the Welland Canal and following Canal Road all the way to Glendale Road. The best part is that most of Canal Road has a speed limit of 60 km per hour, so it’s that much faster.
Oakdale Avenue to Merritton
Hartzel Road can be a bit of a nightmare, with all of the traffic lights and occasional pothole — so avoid it! Head into Merritton via Oakdale Avenue, you’ll come out after most of the traffic lights, just a stone’s throw from Johnny Rocco’s or The Keg.
Nihan Drive and Wood Street (and other North End side streets)
The trouble with the North End is that there are lots of intersections and it can get pretty busy every now and then. No one likes sitting and waiting for the light to turn green, so skip them by cutting down streets like Nihan Drive, Wood Street and Secord Drive to get where you need to go.
QEW to Old Niagara-on-the-Lake
There are a dozen ways to get from St. Catharines to Niagara-on-the-Lake, but my favourite by far is to hop on the QEW to York Road. Most people will turn left and take Niagara Stone Road all the way down, but I like to turn right instead. Take Concession 6 Road and you’ll have a nice country drive into Old Niagara-on-the-Lake — it will save you at least 5 minutes. Bonus: the roundabout lets you sneak into Virgil, too!
Lucky for us, our best shortcut goes right through the centre of the city. The QEW is a fast way to get around, with exits at Niagara Street, Lake Street, Ontario Street and Martindale Road and Highway 406. Anyone from St. Catharines will tell you that if you need to get anywhere quickly, hopping between exits is your best bet.