Student life gets hectic extremely fast once classes start up in September, which leaves very little time for students who are new to the city to experience it in its full early‐autumn glory. However, the brief time provided to students before classes start is the perfect opportunity to do some exploring and discover a few of the places around St. Catharines that will make it feel a little more like home.
For all those music lovers out there, St. Catharines has plenty of destinations that can scratch that lyrical itch. Mindbomb Records or Niagara Records may be good places to start. Both stores specialize in selling music in its most glorious form—vinyl. Niagara Records, located at 377 St. Paul Street, is a long-standing music store that focuses on the sale of used vinyl and other music paraphernalia of times long past. The new player in the vinyl selling game, Mindbomb Records, located at 27 James Street, tilts more towards the new production of vinyl records and also hosts musicians in store for shows. If shows are more of what you’re looking for, then look no further than Detour Music Hall at 88 St. Paul Street. It’s the place to go to see the up-and-coming bands from all over, not the least of which include those local to the Niagara area.
Also, nature-lovers will rejoice with the abundance of green space in St. Catharines – just minutes from the Brock University campus. The university itself backs onto a segment of the Bruce trail which travels along the Niagara Peninsula through the beauty that is nature, all the way from Queenston Heights Park to Tobermory, covering a distance of approximately 894 kilometres. Granted you likely won’t be able to see more than a fraction of the trails on a day trip, it’s well worth the time and energy to witness the beauty of the peninsula.
The stunning sight of Decew Falls is just what the tour guide ordered. Easily found on the other side of Morning Star Mill from Decew Road, this huge waterfall is a true example of natural power. Trails will take you down to the water’s edge where you can explore the falls and dip your feet, but be warned it’s a bit of a hike and shortcuts can prove extremely dangerous.
Everybody loves a good bite to eat. Foodies may rejoice in the fact that downtown St. Catharines is home to many good eating establishments. There is Beechwood Donuts, located on James street, who specialize in all vegan speciality donuts which are highly recommended and tend to go faster than hotcakes. Another place to try is The Guilty Burger. Located at 52 St. Paul Street, The Guilty Burger is, you guessed it, a burger joint. Not just any burger joint though, The Guilty Burger was the winner of last year’s Burger Master competition and their entirely homemade menu will make you a fan.
Proud members of Nerdom can rejoice in the many establishments catering to their specific needs. For table‐top games, you may wish to investigate Phoenix Rising or The Toy Trove, both located on St. Paul Street and both specialising in games. If comics are more your style, check out Mostly Comics on St. Paul Street. For a little bit of both, stop in at Sketchbook Comics & Games on Glenridge Avenue. Whatever your preference, let your nerd side run wild.
When in doubt, the downtown area of St. Catharines caters to many varying interests and style, so try taking a walk down St. Paul Street and see what you find. It’s more than just bars and cafes, and even those are unique and delightful in their own ways.
In earnest, it’s impossible to convey all of the amazing places worth visiting in St. Catharines. The hope is that you will not stop exploring this great city just because classes pick up. Your time spent at university can be a time of discovery and exploration if you let it. Get to know the city and regardless of how long you’re here in St. Catharines, ensure that you make the most of your time here.