We arrived at Niagara Falls yesterday in the mid-morning. The city is a rather tacky place and reminiscent of 1960’s Las Vegas with fun parlours, ghost train rides and, of course, Ripley’s Believe it or not Museum. Our first activity of the day was to see the falls from the top of a big Ferris Wheel which enabled us see over the town and the Falls.
While the town on the Canadian side of the border is very tacky, the falls, however, are spectacular. All of the four upper Great Lakes empty down the Niagara River and over the two parts of the waterfall – The American Falls and the spectacular Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side of the river. The falls are 50 metres high and were formed when glaciers receded about 10,000 years ago. Over 168,000 cubic metres of water flows over the falls every minute.
A sure way to get drenched is to take the ride on one of the ‘Maids of the Mist’; the little boats that take you upstream to the base of the falls and nose into the mist that sprays into a high cloud of spray that rises many hundreds of feet into the air. The boat people provide passengers with blue coloured plastic ponchos but at my height they are very short, however it did manage to keep my camera dry.
I had a helicopter ride over the falls and, as I found at Victoria Falls in Africa, once you get above the spray, you can get a good unimpeded view of the wider area. It was a fun ride!
After seeing the falls from the land and the air, we travelled downstream along the river to the nearby town of Niagara on the Lake for lunch. it was a very pretty drive past many luxurious homes and vineyards, Apparently Winston Churchill once described it as the ‘best Sunday afternoon drive in the world’. It is a cute town and has a great number of spectacular floral displays in the main street.
We were able to check into our hotel by late afternoon and found that our room on the 36th floor gave us a great view over the falls. From the side window in the room, we could look back across Lake Ontario to the skyscrapers of Toronto from where we had started our day’s trip in the morning.