Heartland Forest Nature Experience

My Trip +

Detailed wood carvings are displayed throughout the park. Photo: Angela Vangoolen

Fully accessible treehouse, one of the few in Canada. Photo: Angela Vangoolen

A bridge along Trillium Trail. Photo: Angela Vangoolen


Heartland Forest, a fully accessible privately owned park, has joined with the Friends of Laura Secord to host a Laura Secord Legacy Walk. On the anniversary of her historic walk the 2.5 km of trails within the park are presented as a miniature version of the full Laura Secord Legacy Trail, allowing visitors to get a sense ofthe full experience while walking a representative version of the route.

Heartland Forest Nature Experience is a 93 acre privately owned park in the City of Niagara Falls. Designed to be fully accessible as well as aesthetically pleasing, the park offers visitors unique experiences including access to two fully accessible trails, playgrounds, fishing ponds, a butterfly garden, mini putt and a host of other attractions. The park is home to 20 species of trees, 50 species of birds, 10 species of amphibians and many other creatures. Established in 2002, founder Dan Bouwman enlisted funding from the provincial government and charitable organizations for the construction of different components of the park.

The park boasts a number of accessible attractions for the entire family to enjoy. Two trails, both 177 cm wide, log lined and of fine gravel, circle the Carolinian forest, with interpretive signs identifying different plants and animals found in the park. Within the forest visitors can find one of the largest tree houses in Canada with a 219 foot ramp and seating inside for use in guided or school tours. Life sized or larger than life wood carvings line the paths and many of the other attractions found in the park. A railroad station was completed in 2011 with a train and wagons built to accommodate wheelchairs and scooters, providing visitors with many options for activities. Annual special events attract a lot of visitors and day and summer camps are held throughout the year, bringing hundreds of visitors to the park.

A nature centre was built in 2013, costing over 2 million dollars and allowing visitors to have access to the park and park facilities during the winter months as well as the summer. The interpretive centre is a 14,000 square foot structure containing a large theatre used as a forest discovery centre, a woodworking shop, an art studio, different exhibits, seminar and workshop space, and a nature store and snack bar. The nature centre and Heartland Forest Nature Experience overall gives visitors both from Niagara and tourists a chance to enjoy recreational activities with minimal barriers and a high level of community.

From Toronto:

(approximately 1 hour, 40 minutes)

Take the ON-403 West then merge onto the Queen Elizabeth Way East toward Niagara/East Hamilton/Fort Erie

Take exit 27 for McLeod Road (after 73.1 km)

Turn right (west) onto McLeod Road toward Regional Road 49

Take the first left onto Montrose Road (Regional Road 98)

After 1.4 km turn right onto Brown Road

Take the first left onto Kalar Road, travel 450 m

Destination will be on the right

From Niagara Falls:

(approx. 15 minutes from the Rainbow Bridge)

Head northwest on Falls Avenue (Regional Road 420)

Continue onto ON-420 West (signs for Queen Elizabeth Way/Ontario 420 W)

After 3.4 km take exit 27 for McLeod Road toward Regional Road 49

Turn right (west) onto McLeod Road toward Regional Road 49

Take the first left onto Montrose Road (Regional Road 98)

After 1.4 km turn right (west) onto Brown Road

Take the first left onto Kalar Road, travel 450 m

Destination will be on the right

From Fort Erie:

(approx. 20 minutes from the Peace Bridge)

Head west on the Queen Elizabeth Way toward Toronto

After 13.4 km take exit 21 for Regional Road 47/Lyons Creek Road

Turn left (west) onto Lyons Creek Road, travel 270 m

Continue onto Biggar Road

Turn right (north) onto Montrose Road (Regional Road 98)

After 2.1 km turn left onto Chippawa Creek Road (Regional Road 63)

Take the first right onto Kalar Road, travel 500 m

Destination will be on the left]

Dan Bouwman, the founder of Heartland Forest Nature Experience purchased the land in 1999, transforming part of the property to the current parkland. The park officially opened in 2004 and new facilities were added over time. In 2010 Mario's Mini-Putt was built as collaboration between Special Olympics and the March of the Dimes and in honor of the late Mario Petraroia, a man who courageously battled injuries that left him a quadriplegic in 2005. In 2011 Dan Bouwman completed construction on a railway station and received a number of awards for his efforts in the creation of the park.

The natural areas included in Heartland Forest are an interesting example of a rich Carolinian forest which features a diverse inventory of bird, tree, and amphibian species. The park occupies 93 acres of the 296 acre property which is composed of protected forest land and wetlands. Dan Bouwman and the sponsors and contributors to the park emphasize the importance of stewardship towards the environment and the life that is contained within them.



Heartland Forest Nature Experience

- Trails
- Nature Centre
- Restrooms
- Accessible Merry-go-round
- Accessible Swing
- Classroom
- Boardwalk
- Treehouse
- Railway Station
- Mini-putt

Fully Accessible: Trails, Restrooms, Merry-go-round, Swing, Boardwalk, Treehouse, Train, Mini-putt

8215 Kalar Rd
Niagara Falls, Ontario
L2H 0L5 Municipality Niagara Falls


(905) 356-7384



Latitude: 43.054872
Longitude: -79.132045
UTM easting: 652124.84
UTM northing: 4768602.84

Dan Bowman
Heartland Forest Nature Experience
7202 Beechwood Road (office and mailing address)
Niagara Falls, Ontario
L2E 6S5
Tel (905) 356-7384

Length: 2.5 km
Difficulty: Minimum
Walking Time: 45 minutes
Surface Features: Fine gravel