I am now going to make a suggestion as to where you should take your summer vacation. It’s a place I hadn’t seen in about 30 years, that is until a month ago. It’s Niagara Falls Canada, as opposed to Niagara Falls, New York.
As I approached what would be called downtown, I was struck by the many high rises. I know they weren’t there last time. But then again, as I mentioned, that was about 30 years ago.
I arrived in town via the Peace Bridge; so named because of the friendly relations between our two countries. There’s more than one way to get in. Another popular way is via the Rainbow Bridge; so named because there seems to be a constant rainbow close by. This is mainly caused by the continual mist and the sun. Either way a passport is required. I did ask if a driver’s license is adequate and the border guard said not really. You might get in but it will take you much longer.
And here’s a major tip, no jokes about guns or anything really. Just let the guards do their job, something they take very seriously.
There are basically three falls, the Horseshoe, the biggest and best, the American, nice but a distant second, and the very small Bridal Veil. They are located on the border between Canada (Ontario Province) and New York State.
The border between the two countries was established in 1819 and there seems to be no conflict today as to who has what. The water rushes down the Horseshoe from Lake Erie. If you stay with the flow long enough, you’ll wind up in the St. Lawrence and eventually in the Atlantic.
The great majestic chasm that separates the water through a good part of its journey was carved by mighty big glaciers millions of years ago. Just looking at the granite walls is a wondrous sight. In case you’re interested the drop to the lake from Horseshoe is 165 feet. As you might know, there have been lunatics, I mean daredevils, who attempted to go over the falls in a barrel. Some actually survived.
The government of both New York and the province of Ontario frown upon that practice. Heavy fines are imposed, assuming of course the person lives. Trust me, it’s enough to stand along the sides and marvel at the speed, volume, and strength of the water.
Niagara Falls is located about 17 miles from Buffalo and about 60 miles from Toronto.
Okay here comes another startling fact, six million cubic feet of water flows over Horseshoe every minute. Because of the constant supply of all this water the falls is a great source of hydroelectric power. Also the falls erodes about one foot every 10 years. It has been estimated the Horseshoe Falls might be totally gone in 50,000 years. I know I don’t want to be around to see that.
As spectacular a sight as it is during the day, well at night I think it is even more so. That’s because strong lights shine on the cascading waters to both of the major falls. As I recall the lights are red, yellow, and blue. Maybe not, it really doesn’t matter what the colors are. The point is it makes for terrific photos and a picture you’ll take home as a memory, both in your camera and in your mind.
One of the more popular things to do is hop a ride on the Maid of the Mist or the Hornblower. Both of these boats will take you up close to the Falls. Whenever I say Falls, unless stated differently, I mean Horseshoe.
Okay back to the boats. You’ll have a great feel for the intensity of the falls. You’ll hear it clearly and you will get wet. Fortunately slickers are provided. For many a visit here is not complete without a ride to the falls.
There are so many other things to do besides staring at the falls all day, though that should be your first stop. You can get more information, and they will send you brochures on their website.
Wait a minute, I can’t leave without leaving you with three startling facts, four of the five great lakes empty into the falls, 20% of the world’s fresh water flows over all the Falls and in 1969 the American Falls was actually turned off for a brief period, and now they are considering doing it again. Here’s how they are planning to do it.