Top Ten St. Catharines Hot Spots for Ridleians

Ridley College is located in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. It is a beautiful city with lots to explore. As a former Ridley College day student, our summer student Liz has an insiders view on the top ten places to hang out in St. Catharines- enjoy getting to know the city!

  1. Pen Centre

The Pen Centre is the largest mall in the Niagara region and is about a 10 minute drive away from Ridley. It has 180 different stores and services – everything from American Eagle to HMV to L’Attitudes Salon. There’s also a food court and movie theatre (Landmark Cinemas) in the Pen Centre. Since it’s such a popular weekend destination for Ridley students, the school sends a movie/Pen Centre shuttle bus on Saturday evenings.

Ridley College independent school in St. Catharines
Shopping at the Pen Centre
  1. Mahtay Cafe

Located on St. Paul Street in downtown St. Catharines, Mahtay Cafe is a great place to grab a coffee or bite to eat and relax with friends. It offers organic, fair-trade coffee and tea as well as vegan and gluten free options. In addition to its gallery featuring local artists, Mahtay often hosts local bands and other performers in the afternoons and evenings, making it a dynamic destination for the St. Catharines community.

Mahtay Cafe in St. Catharines - Ridley College boarding school top ten places in St. Catharines
Mahtay Cafe
  1. Beechwood Doughnuts

Beechwoods Doughnuts is a relatively new business to the St. Catharines area but has already proved to be a hit with students and staff alike. They serve a variety of fresh, tasty doughnuts – from the standard glazed and cinnamon sugar to more unique flavours like strawberry basil and samoa. Every doughnut is so decadent that it’s hard to believe they’re vegan!

Ridley College boarding school
Doughnuts – need we say more?
  1. Wind Sushi

Another downtown hot spot, Wind Sushi is a Japanese and Thai restaurant and a popular choice for Ridley students to enjoy a nice dinner. It features take-out a la carte options in addition to the dine-in all-you-can-eat menu. There are tons of options for vegetarians and the place is always buzzing with happy diners.

Liz ordering sushi on an iPad
Liz ordering sushi on an iPad
  1. Port Dalhousie

Port Dalhousie is a historic community in the north end of St. Catharines, about a 10 minute drive away from Ridley. The city’s most popular beach is located in Port at Lakeside Park, which also includes a marina and a beautiful antique carousel that is still only 5 cents a ride. Port is also home to Martindale Pond, the renowned Royal Canadian Henley Regatta course. Rowers will become very familiar with Henley Island, the location of the boathouse, and Ridley spectators will also enjoy watching races from the grandstands on Main Street.

Port Dalhousie Marina
Port Dalhousie Marina
  1. Fourth Avenue Plaza

The Fourth Avenue Plaza is the closest major shopping centre to Ridley. Since it’s within easy walking distance from campus, the shops at Fourth Avenue and Martindale are frequent after school destinations for Ridley students. This area has several large multi-purpose stores including Walmart, the Superstore, Canadian Tire, Homesense, Best Buy and Dollar Tree as well as specialty stores like Hallmark, Ardene, Outdoor’s Oriented, and EB Games. There are also a number of coffee shops and restaurants in the plaza such as Tim Horton’s (a Canadian classic!), Starbucks, and McDonald’s.

Liz at the Great Canadian Superstore trying on some Joe Fresh sunglasses
Liz at the Great Canadian Superstore trying on some Joe Fresh sunglasses
Ridley College starbucks
Liz holding a Canadian mug at Starbucks
Tim Hortons
Liz getting ready to order at Tim Horton’s – a Canadian staple – try a Timbit!
  1. IceDogs

The newly-built Meridian Centre arena downtown is home to our local Ontario Hockey League (OHL) team, the Niagara IceDogs. Tickets are around $15 and the team plays Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights (and some Sunday afternoons) from September to March. Taking in an IceDogs game is a fun way for Ridley students to relax and unwind at the end of the week.

Meridian Centre2
The Meridian Centre – home of the Ice Dogs
  1. St. Catharines Market

Another unique and interesting downtown destination is the St. Catharines Market. In addition to high-quality local produce, shoppers will find baked goods and fresh bread, European meats, seafood, chicken, beef, Lebanese and Mexican foods, honey, fresh cut and potted flowers, gourmet spices, homemade jams, preserves and jewelry. It’s open year round on Saturdays (as well as Tuesdays and Thursdays) from 6am to 2pm, making it a great place for Ridley students to grab lunch and shop around when they have some free time on the weekend.

St Catharines Market
Liz checking out the freshly picked cherries at the St. Catharines Market
  1. Garden City Productions

Garden City productions is the longest running, non-profit community theatre organization in Niagara and we’re lucky to host their musical productions right here at Ridley! GCP uses the Mandeville Theatre in the Second Century Building to present their shows, and tickets are only $5 for high school students. For any Ridleian interested in theatre, GCP productions are an excellent way to enjoy a show without even leaving campus.

Garden City Productions 'Annie' at Ridley College Mandeville Theatre
Garden City Productions ‘Annie’ at Ridley College Mandeville Theatre
  1. Frescos

Another great place to eat within walking distance of Ridley is Frescos, a local restaurant featuring a variety of European food. There’s something for everyone, so it’s a popular destination for boarders to bring their families for a meal when they come to visit. Additionally, Ridley houses, sports teams, and the cast and crew from dramatic productions will often hold celebratory dinners at Frescos.

Ridley College is a co-ed boarding and day school for students in JK to Grade 12. Since 1889, Ridley has shaped the lives and futures of students living around the globe with a strong focus on academics, arts and athletics.  Recognized as one of Canada’s premiere independent schools, Ridley offers students individualized learning, enrichment activities, university prep and the International Baccalaureate programme.  Scholastic excellence is balanced by a broad choice of athletics, pastoral care, and exploration of all the creative arts, to fully develop the potential of every student.  To learn more about Ridley College, please click here