Communiqué for NOTL Ambassadors and our Partners!

September 2023 - FINAL EDITION

The Leaders' Corner

A big hello to all Ambassadors!! WE DID IT!!

Thanks to you - our 56 amazing volunteers - the 2023 NOTL Ambassador season will be remembered as an outstanding success. Over 17 weeks, you made personal connections with more than 8,500 visitors from over 60 countries. Neither rain, nor heat, nor parking meters stopped you from welcoming them to our beautiful Town! You answered their questions and encouraged them to explore everything Niagara-on-the-Lake has to offer.  

Now it’s time to celebrate! On Monday, September 25, we will gather at The Barn, in the stunning Monet Gardens at the Pillar and Post!!

We will have time to mingle with our fellow Ambassadors, meet our Partners, share our favourite “stories from the street” and end the season with fun, food and refreshments – all thanks to our generous event sponsors, Vintage Hotels and Konzelmann Estate Winery.

We now turn our attention to the 2024 season and the feedback you have provided in the Ambassador Survey. It will be your comments that will guide us to create an even better program next year. Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete the survey. We will be sharing some high-level feedback at our Ambassador Recognition Event on the 25th.

This will be the last edition of The BEAT for this year. But you will still hear from us occasionally as volunteer opportunities become available. These opportunities include: helping with the Chamber of Commerce’ Candlelight Stroll (December 1st) and the 2024 Ice Wine Festival (weekends of January 20 and 27, 2024). And, before we say a final farewell to 2023, there are still a few shifts available to return for an Ambassador “encore performance” over the Thanksgiving weekend. Feel free to sign up in MAP as always.

From all of us to each and every one of you, thank you for your commitment, your enthusiasm and your special talent for reaching out to strangers and making them feel welcomed.

You are simply THE BEST!

Co-Leads: Vlad Haltigin & Laurie Harley

Leadership Team: Mike Carruthers, Lynne Hanna, Kim Mustill, Cheryl Yamamoto, Elena Morandi-Bonner

The Ambassador Link

A Thank you to Mike Carruthers!

The Ambassador team would like to offer our thanks to Mike for being our rock throughout this season. He was always a great ear when we had an issue or a question that stumped us. We are amazed by his exceptional knowledge base and understanding of how things work in our town. Mike’s help in setting up and taking down the kiosks and supporting all shifts really made a difference for us this summer. Thanks so much Mike!!

View from Mike at the Chamber

With the Ambassador Program virtually over for this year, I would like to commend all the Ambassador volunteers for being so friendly, helpful, flexible and polite, not only while on the street, but also in the Chamber offices.

The new ‘Box’ or storage bin outside has made the set-up and tear-down so much easier than previously when equipment had to be taken up the elevator and wheeled around the building for set-up and take-down. What a great addition to our cause!

We had guests in our town from virtually all around the world. From Asia, Europe, Britain, Alaska, as well as from every State in the United States and every Province in Canada. Our town really does attract people of all different backgrounds and tastes. What a great place to live!

I am sure there will be some minor changes for next season, particularly in reporting numbers, countries, comments, etc. If you have any ideas, please do not be shy and let our team know your suggestions.

Again, thank you for a wonderful season and I look forward to next year!


Don’t forget to sign up in MAP!


Another amazing month of service in the past month!! Take a look!! 


by  Vlad Haltigin

There is nothing like experiencing the vast array of things to do in NOTL for ourselves.
That’s what Ambassador site visits are all about. We not only learn a lot, but we have fun doing it!

To round off a busy summer of educational site visits during late July and early August, the NOTL Ambassadors experienced more delightful options that can be shared with visitors, including wineries, a cidery, a historic waterfront walk, and seeing the power of Niagara Falls in all its majesty.

Wineries & Cidery:

Pillitteri Winery

A really impressive winery operation built on ‘Family Quality and Tradition’ was perfect. Founded by Gary & Lina Pillitteri in 1993, Pillitteri has achieved many awards, nationally as well as internationally, including being the official winery of the Canadian Olympic Committee. There is a spectacular concrete barrel cellar which includes an immense concrete table with a terrazzo surface. It measures 500 inches in length and is arguably the longest concrete table in existence. There are the twenty-three stainless steel chairs which commemorate significant dates in the history of the winery.

Ambassadors were given an unexpected opportunity to meet and talk with the founder, Gary (Orazio) Pillitteri. What an impressive and knowledgeable gentleman! Their latest addition of their Barrel-Head Wine Pizza Patio is not to be missed by visitors and residents alike.

Ironwood Cider House

At Ironwood Cider House, formerly known as Sunnybrook Winery, Ambassadors experienced the personal touch and pride of owner, Richard Liu, while being guided around his impressive operation, which specializes in ciders and fruit wines. We learned how Ironwood sources and processes fruit for a unique mix of ciders and seasonal wine cocktails , including tempting fruit wines, such as Apple Sur Lie, Montmorency Cherry and Redhaven Peach. There were also ciders like Aranciata, Kirmizi and Yuja , as well as Iced Pear and Iced Apple icewines.

While enjoying sampling, visitors to Ironwood Cider House can enjoy tapas and view an impressive art collection.

Jackson Triggs

It was a memorable visit, not only to see Jackson Triggs’ impressive winery operation and stunning barrel room, but also to hear about how Jackson Triggs is committed to making the wine world accessible to everyone, especially to communities that have been underserved or underrepresented. It is helping to make change to foster a more welcoming, diverse and inclusive world for everyone, through their “Local Artist Series” concerts of recording artists, musicians, and bands. 

In addition, through the "You Should Know Program” Jackson Triggs is hosting gallery displays in their Great Hall. To reinforce what Ambassadors learned during their visit, the idea of a ‘Jeopardy’ game was brilliant. It helped promote more teamwork and fun for our Ambassadors. The generous prize of wine for the winners was so appreciated, too!  The visit was perfect as an addition to our Ambassadors’ knowledge base and to present as a most meaningful option for visitors to NOTL.

Lakeview Estates Winery

Warm hospitality was certainly on display at Lakeview Winery for the visit of the NOTL Ambassadors. Another impressive operation with a great array of different wines and ice wines. The Lakeview Estates "Cheese Please Match Maker" Tasting of wines and cheese pairings was outstanding in highlighting the options to choose from their sumptuous wines.

And that’s not all ….. Goat Yoga anyone? Lakeview offers a gentle yoga program Saturdays and Sundays, all topped off with a refreshing wine tasting! No Kidding! Visitors can experience other unique visits to their associated properties at Queenston Mile Winery and Shiny Apple Cider. Yet more wonderful options to offer visitors to NOTL.

Historic Waterfront Tour

Ambassadors were treated to an historic waterfront tour organized by the NOTL Museum and led by Tony Chisholm.  His passion for waterfront history, along with his talent for storytelling, created a unique learning experience.  From schooners, to steamships, to trains he walked us through an exciting period in the Town’s history, always focused on the important role the waterfront played in successive periods of economic “ups and downs”.  Ron Simkas joined us at the old railway turntable past Balls Beach, where we learned more about the turntable's history and ongoing restoration efforts.  Thanks to their amazing stories, we now have fascinating historical information to share with visitors.   

Niagara Falls Power Station

To round off the education season, Ambassadors had another thrilling experience at the magnificent Niagara Power Station & Tunnel. The historic Niagara Parks Power Station is located right by the mighty Rainbow Falls, with its great, big, hulking machines that just came to life with impressive interactive displays showing the power generation process. Yet, the newest attraction there, “the Tunnel”,  just opened in 2022 to the public. It was truly impactful! You descend 180 feet in a glass-paneled elevator, but be prepared for a walk through a historic 2,200-foot-long tunnel. To think that this remarkable tunnel was excavated years ago with only lanterns, rudimentary dynamite, pickaxes and shovels! It leads to a stunning observation deck at the river's edge and at the foot of the awesome Falls. Power indeed, and a fabulous conclusion!

It’s opportunities like all of these that really help our NOTL Ambassadors build their knowledge of all of Niagara, so that we can share our own actual experiences and encourage visitors to discover for themselves.

Davis cup

The most prestigious trophy in international men’s team tennis – which Canada won last fall for the first time ever – was in town on Thursday, August 3rd. The idea of the Davis Cup - originally known as the International Lawn Tennis Challenge - was conceived by Dwight Davis, who also designed the famous trophy. The Cup was seen on display this summer (accompanied by Team Canada Captain Frank Dancevic) near the site where the idea for the Davis Cup was first conceived, the historic Queens Royal Hotel right here in Niagara-on-the-Lake, once the epicentre of international tennis competitions, such as the Canadian Open.  The following video, available on the Niagara Tennis Club web site, charts the local history of the Davis Cup and is worth sharing with visitors:

In the Spotlight
Ambassador Recognition - Cheryl Yamamoto
We have been drawing names each month, to recognize our Ambassadors for their support!!
Last month's (July) lucky winners were Lita and Yvonne. They both received an Ambassador Hoodie. Although the weather hasn't required them to wear them yet for a shift we hope they enjoy wearing them when the weather turns cooler!
Our August lucky winners will be announced at our year end celebration! Good luck everyone!


Thanks to the Ambassador Leadership Team for arranging the well-orchestrated visits to 11 NOTL wineries this year. It was good to see that they were appreciated by the wineries and attended by a dozen or so Ambassadors on each visit.

  • Colaneri 

  • Château des Charmes

  • Ravine

  • Inniskillen

  • Rief

  • Peller

  • Konzelman

  • Lakeview

  • Ironwood [Cider]

  • Jackson Triggs

  • Pillitterri

As relative newcomers to NOTL, we found the visits imparted good knowledge and useful information. In terms of being ambassadors for NOTL - they were instructive and quite clear in terms of what each one does for visitors and how they engage with tourists to benefit them and show appreciation to those who come to spend some time in their winemaking ‘backyards & cellars’. To the point of being useful to suggest such events to NOTL visitors, each winery seems to represent good value and meaningful time spent for people interested in engaging with and knowing a bit more about the folks that go out of their way to present their passion and the means, methods and red, white and sparking products produced in this emerging wine-growing area of the world. 

If a person comes to NOTL – wineries are certainly one of the locations where they can have a great experience – regardless of their knowledge or background in winemaking. There are some impressive outcomes coming from the various winemakers’ efforts. Icewine naturally remains the key destination identity in terms of this region. Some Chards, Sav Blanc and Riesling are also notable. Cab Franc is improving and there is a plethora of other, albeit less well-known, blends and varietals [e.g. Meritage and Baco Noir] to try that surely add intrigue and diversity to a memorable visit to the NOTL region’s wineries. 

Thanks to all who arranged and participated and to the wonderful hosts who engaged so meaningfully. 

Keith and Paulette - NOTL Ambassadors