Sunday, October 30, 2016

Niagara Falls

I felt the need of another little adventure, and Mrs. F.G. was heading away for a Quilting Retreat.  So I headed out too, to visit my cousins in Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL as they write it).  And I asked them if they'd take me over to the falls to get some pictures.  I don't think I've been there for 40 years!  We had a great two days exploring, and in mid-week, late October, there were no big crowds.

Here's the Horseshoe Falls, widely known as the Canadian Falls.  We didn't visit things in this order, but it seems best to start with the falls themselves.  Simply spectacular!  When you visit the falls though, you have to take the weather you get, unless you're visiting for longer.  That day the wind was blowing a bit from the east, carrying the huge cloud of mist up and over the Canadian side, leaving everyone close to the falls viewpoint soaked!  We stuck to drier views this time.  Notice the Maid of the Mist tour boat approaching on the left.

This is the closest full view of the falls I could get; it's huge!  The Maid of the Mist passengers were getting their money's worth this trip, assuming that they came for the mist!  The international border goes down the middle of the river, so the left 1/3 of the Horseshoe Falls is in the United States.

Next time, I'd like to get closer pictures of the lip of the falls, but we'll have to choose the day we visit carefully.  Here you get at least some impression of the incredible power of the water dropping over the brink.  Imagine riding over that sealed in a barrel, or walking across on a tightrope!

The closer you get, the more you get that sense of the power of the water.  In the background here you can see one of the old power plant buildings, this one no longer in use.  The water would be several metres deeper if a lot wasn't diverted to power plants on both sides of the border, and a treaty agreement regulates how much water must be left to flow over the falls during the daytime hours.

I really enjoyed the chance to get these photos, but I'm now thinking of this as just a 'reconaisance visit', there's so much more to see and photograph.  I feel the need to take many more pictures!

Turning to the left without moving much, you view the American Falls, as well as Bridal Veil Falls, the smaller separate stream on the right.  I never even knew it was considered a separate waterfall, but it is divided from the bigger falls by Luna Island.  So there are 3 falls to see here in Niagara.  The tower on the left is the observation tower on the American side, and the access for the American Maid of the Mist tour.

Some years ago the Corps of Engineers stopped all water flow to the American Falls because of fear that it would eventually become just a series of rapids.  But the decision in the end was to let nature take its course.

Obviously the view of the falls from the American side is very different, so many American visitors come to Canada for better views of all three falls.  But on the American side a series of access points and boardwalks allow very close access to the base of the falls on both sides, giving you a view that doesn't exist on the Canadian side.  Can you see the people in the lower right?

Even though only 10% of the river flows over this falls, and a lot is diverted on the U.S. side for power generation as well, it looks very powerful to me!

We did watch the Maid of the Mist sail past the American Falls and up to Horseshoe Falls while we were there.  I have a vague memory of riding that boat as a child, but I'm not sure I'd go for it now.  What I would like is getting as close to the edge of the falls as possible.  Maybe I should even visit the American side.

As I noted above, the Maid of the Mist passengers got their money's worth of mist on these trips.

I feel like I've just scratched the surface of the story here.  The history, the power generation, the 19th Century daredevils, it's all fascinating.  Now that I've seen it again, I'm going to have to plan a more extended visit.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing is the parkland all along the riverbank.  From Niagara-on-the-Lake all the way south and past the falls, the shoreline is entirely public park, and completely accessible to visitors.  It's remarkable that we have saved that open space the way we have when you consider the industry that was along here in the late 19th Century.


  1. Wow! Very spectacular and I'd love to take that mist trip myself. I hope you do a reconnaissance return trip. :-)

  2. So cool! This is one place I'd love to visit someday! I can't imagine how huge this waterfall would be if so much of it wasn't diverted for power generation. Thanks for the photos.

  3. you may remember that the hubs and i just recently visited. it is remarkable as are all of your images. i felt the same way even though we stayed for several days, there was a lot more to see. did you take the white water walk?? that was beautiful and very natural, they were some of my favorite pictures!!!

    1. Yes we did, just wait a day or two. Actually I think you partly inspired me to do this.

  4. Great pictures. I haven't been there in quite a while, myself.

  5. Red raincoats, people right down below, and superb settings for the falls. What a wonderful place to visit. And I hope Mrs F.G. had a super time at the retreat.

  6. Have never been. Thank you for showing it through your eyes.

    I had read it was wearing down. Nature should take its course more often than its allowed.

    Absolutely beautiful. Thank you.

  7. I have not been there in maybe 20 years. I am taking my granddaughter to New York this maybe we will go north.

  8. It's been years since I've been to the Falls. I've been on the Maid of the Mist, as well as the tunnels behind the Horseshoe Falls. I've never seen it from the American side though.

    Niagara On The Lake is, I'd think, one of the prettiest towns in the entire country.

  9. Like you, I've not been to the falls in many years. I do remember the park on the Canadian side and the trashy tourist traps, which I hope are gone now, on the U.S. side.

  10. We visited in 2005, did the boat, did the close up, and did the landing by the American Falls. That evening we went up into the Canadian observation tower! Such beauty and such power. But I always think of the old vaudevillian skit about Niagara Falls.

  11. Lovely set of photo's ...

    All the best Jan

  12. Impressive pictures on both posts. I've been there a few times. Pictures just don't do it justice. The sound of the water is incredible. I'd love to go back again some time.

  13. We always enjoy visiting the falls for the falls and all the beautiful gardens and parkway all along the river. There's a huge greenhouse far up from the falls that's worth a visit too. If you go down behind the falls you are directly beside the bottom of Horseshoe Falls. So impressive! Actually I believe Horseshoe Falls is entirely within the Canadian border as the American side runs right beside Goat Island at the top. Correct me if I'm wrong.