Edit Blog Post
Published: November 6th 2012
Following a simply stunning scenic train journey, even if at nine and half hours it got slightly repetitive, we arrived in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Having heard from several sources the Canadian side was better we were eager to go and face the thunderous Falls sooner rather than later. We cleared customs fairly quickly and hopped in a taxi to our hotel. Back in the UK we made the decision with Ben's folks to get a great view of the Falls from our hotel room even with this the room was considerably cheaper than any room you can get in NYC! We arrived at our 33rd floor room and gaped at the view before us! We had barely seen the Falls as we arrived as our taxi driver turned uphill away from the river just as they came into sight. This really was our virgin view! We longingly looked at the few tourists and with the speediest change we exited- "To the Falls!"
The hotel appeared to be over the Falls but it was a five minute walk down to the river, aptly named, Niagara River. From here you heard the American and Horseshoe Falls before you saw anything!
We were lucky to arrive just before sun set as we appreciated the blue sky turning dark on this natural phenomenon. The American Falls were before us immediately, and we were surprised, having seen few pictures, that although a clear wide drop, rocks nestled at the base and water rumbled over these. We amazed at the clarity of the water and the clear splashes the Fall created. We moved to our right, heading West and were slightly covered in a water spray even from a five minute walk to the main Horseshoe Falls! We thought naively is must be rain until we realised it was sheer mist created by the force of the Falls crashing into the river! Obligatory photos and we were in full view of these incredible Falls, mist rose out from the centre of the Horseshoe and we wandered if this ever ceased! From here we headed East to the main tourist centre aside from our road, the area called Clifton Hill. It was an easy fifteen minute walk although we weren't entirely dressed appropriately!
We dined at Rainforest Cafe, a firm favourite among the three of us. Ben particularly enjoyed this one as
it featured a shark among the normal aquariums and also a red turtle and a snake currently shedding its skin which freaked Lauren out, of course! The food was huge as we had come to expect and no room at all for their famous "Volcano" dessert. We left to be greeted by pitch black, although the area completely lit up like the Las Vegas strip, complete with a host of casinos and movie type museums. We wandered back along the river snapping away as the Falls were illuminated in white light. We had read there were coloured filters to light the Falls but appeared not to be the case. We returned to the hotel and Lauren was treated to a jacuzzi bath expertly drawn by Ben! At this time though the coloured filters had been switched on, much later than we would have expected at 10pm despite being dark by seven. We again got snapping from the comfort of our room mesmerised by the changing colour schemes every five minutes! We eventually drew the curtains saying goodnight excited about our day ahead.
The first shock of the day was that when we drew the curtains we no
longer saw the Falls, nor the viewing tower, a tourist attraction! There was a huge mist that completely drowned out any view, we couldn't even see the illuminated "Casino" sign across the street! We were pretty gutted but headed out early anyway to try and see if we could do the tourist attractions! Our second shock came when Starbucks had no wifi and despite Canadian and US dollar being exactly the same and everywhere thus far had exchanged exactly they charged a hefty 5%! Slightly peeved we drank up and headed into the rain. (Yes actual drizzle, not created from the Falls!) Our third shock was that yes we could do the four attraction package that had an attractive price too, but that had we been here one day later it would all be closed for the season- what sheer luck! We headed to the first item on the agenda, "Niagara's Fury: A Journey Behind The Falls" this was a 4D film featuring a short story of how the Falls were created, some seven kilometres away from where we see them now! The story was initially shown on a screen as we sat and watched before moving through to a
big room surrounded by screens and as we experienced the Falls we got drenched and the floor rumbled beneath us, both enjoyable and informative!
From here we took a lift down and headed to "Journey of the Falls", no matter what the weather was outside from here you were in for a soaking! Kitted with sexy blue ponchos we headed out to stand amongst the Horseshoe Falls. It was incredibly loud as you can imagine, we walked out and pretty much stood in front of these magnificent Falls, more famous for their sheer straight drop and how wide they are than their height. From here a tunnel had been created and you could literally walk behind the Falls, coming out at two exit points to see the water cascading, it was incredible and as said the weather could never affect this! We headed out to our next attraction, which we caught the bus for, included in the attraction package, after Sheila attracted a crazy lady with more rouge than a clown and a plastic bag on her head, we shook her off making our way to the "White Water Walk" this is the closest you can walk
to grade VI water in the world. Admittedly it probably wasn't as impressive as we hoped, it was simply put, a wooden walkway along the rapids with a huge cliff facing us across the river. It still created some great photographs and more importantly taught us quite a bit about the area and we saw the link bridge to the USA and learnt about previous ways people would travel and dangerous expeditions that had been performed in the area, most recently the tight rope walker in June this year. Still the rain had subsided and as it was a fairly quick walk it meant we had time to use the free bus to go and see the whirlpool some 5km away where the original Falls were and the official entrance to the Falls. Again this was impressive as the water surged and swirled with a cable car crossing overhead. Something we may have done but as it wasn't included in the package and time was of the essence we passed. Being here also showed the complex jigsaw of the USA and Canadian borders.
We returned on the free bus to our last attraction, still only at about
2pm so we were working though very efficiently. This was the most anticipated and the most wet part of the day! The rain had subsided, but as we say it wouldn't matter the weather you will get drenched on this one- "Maid of the Mist" you can do this from either side of the border but the rest had been Canadian only. We boarded our boat, Sheila now demonstrating a fetching outfit comprising three ponchos, Lauren in two and Ben being Ben wearing only one! We set out to journey as close as is possible to the Falls commercially. That said a young boy did get closer, having kayaked over the Falls mistakenly and actually rescued by one of these boats some years ago! We got very close to both Falls, and turned the boat directly into the Horseshoe Falls getting completely soaked, to the point where we no longer tried to hold the poncho in place, we were just soaked through!
We returned to the hotel not long after 3pm grabbing a light lunch along the way, and we all settled to dry off in the room. Chilling on the sofa Sheila read the complimentary paper,
Ben playing games on the iPad and Lauren catching some shut eye! We dried out and of course hit the pool naturally! Still this one had to be done, for it featured a full length slide! Ben and Lauren had a couple of go's as Sheila hadn't wanted her hair wetting, and we all rested in the oversize hot tub which was thoroughly enjoyable.
We got ready for dinner which we decided to have at the hotel at their rooftop restaurant which as the weather hadn't cleared wasn't ideal to appreciate the Falls view! However, we did get lucky as it cleared up during dessert after all three of us enjoyed a delicious vegetarian meal! We headed over the indoor walkway to the casino opposite to see if they were worth all the fuss! We were amazed at how big the floor was, one of the biggest in the world. We also noted how resort like it was, just like Vegas with designer shops in the mall etc. You could only use Canadian here though and again they took a 5% cut so we decided to quit before we started just watching a few people throw money
on tables like it was rubbish and barely flinch as hundreds of chips were thrown down the dealers hole! We retired to the room again about 10pm and Lauren had already made the decision to go back to the Falls to take pictures up close perfecting the long exposure setting of the camera! Ben and Sheila politely refused to go out in the drizzle and Lauren claimed to be back in half an hour. Some hundred photos and an hour and a half of waiting for the colours to start (it was more like 10.45pm this night) she wandered back in as Ben was ready to send a search party!
We awoke to another misty day and decided against the miniature CN Tower as the view would no doubt be pointless, so instead we rang Mike and miraculously it cleared for about two minutes- enough to show him the view! We then checked out and had a leisurely lunch at IHOP although Sheila unfortunately had Canadian coffee the night before and she felt slightly worse for wear, as it had done this to her in a previous visit. We had an hour to spare before our bus
and train combo to Toronto so we headed to a view point overlooking the start of the Horseshoe Falls and marvelled in the rich reds of the maple trees along a grove of sorts. We made our way via taxi to the train station where our bus awaited us to take us a nice three hour journey to Toronto.
Things of note:
The water produced by these Falls equate to one fifth of the worlds fresh water supply!
Don't arrive after October 24th this is the cut off date and the place then becomes a sheet of ice and nothing is running.
Drinking age is 19, but we have been informed it stays as 21 if you are a USA resident!
There is enough to do to last a few days but no more than that, aside from what we did there is a water park and aquarium place plus a nice garden with floral clock but that's your lot aside from a discount shopping mall and wineries but they are a little way out.
We recommend getting a hotel room with
glass windows to see the Falls but make you sure you take photographs when you see them just in case they don't appear again!
What would we do differently:
If we could control the weather then prevented the mist, but the rain did not matter!
Near Misses: 0
Tot: 3.12s; Tpl: 0.091s; cc: 9; qc: 48; dbt: 0.0699s; 3; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb