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What defined the River Road Neighbourhood from the 1880s on was two barriers: the Great Gorge on the east (with River Road hugging its lip) and the tracks of the Michigan Central Railroad on the west (parallel to Ontario Avenue). The neighbourhood consisted of the homes built between these barriers. Those fronting on River Road were mostly grand. Those backing onto the tracks were modest. For rich and poor alike in this district, the tracks were a curse. The rumble of freight trains could be heard at all hours of day and night.

The curse turned into a blessing in the first decade of this century. The railroad tracks were removed and in their place was built a long, wide, smooth, quiet, level trail for walking and cycling. The trail opened in 2009, in time to be used for relaying the torch of the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver and Whistler, BC. That is how the trail shown above got its official name: the Olympic Torch Run Legacy Trail. Residents go for strolls along it. Some walk their dogs. Tourists appreciate that wheeled suitcases roll smoothly on the asphalt surface, since this trail is the shortest route from hotels in the tourist districts to the transit hub on Bridge Street.

People in this district could hardly complain if the Olympic Torch Trail were its only recreational amenity. Walking along River Road, they can enjoy in any season and at any hour the most spectacular vistas the city has to offer, like this one:

In addition, just south of this district are the world-class horticultural attractions maintained by Niagara Parks: the Rainbow Garden, Oakes Garden Theatre, and then the 150 acres of Victoria Park. These cultural wonders, almost a match for the falls themselves, are free to all comers, and in walking distance of the River Road Neighbourhood. Indeed, the 80-year-old stone wall along the gorge makes for a seamless connection between the public recreational area directly at the falls and the adjacent residential area.

As if all these parks and trails at the edge of the River Road Neighbourhood were not enough, there is also a park within its boundaries: Ontario Park, shown in the two photos below, along the street of the same name. The city completely refurbished it in 2018. Spanking new playground equipment and artificial turf signals that this is a family-friendly neighbourhood, serving children as well as adults. The tennis and basketball courts have also been redone.

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