Niagara Falls

Horseshoe Falls

One of the places that was on our bucket list from the beginning was seeing Niagara Falls and taking the night photos. When we looked on the map, it seemed to us that the falls are right next to Toronto. But actually it’s a distance of about 130 km… That’s why we reserved a whole day on this trip.

Niagara Falls

Although Niagara Falls are not the highest waterfalls – either in Canada or in the United States – they definitely are the most well-known. It’s even quite likely that if you’d ask random people to name a waterfall they know/heard of, almost everyone would have mentioned Niagara.

Located between lakes Erie and Ontario, Niagara River waterfalls are divided into two parts. US part consists of two cascades: American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, separated by Luna Island. Their width is about 320 m and height 30 m. More known is Canadian part – Horseshoe Falls, with height of 51 m and a width of 790 meters.

Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls.

In some way Niagara Falls are unique – each year Horseshoe “backs up” about 30 cm . The reason for this is continuous erosion of base of the waterfall caused by the huge amounts of water – each second an average of 2,400 m3 of water flows through Niagara Falls. If you’d want to brew a tea with such amount of water you could share it with nearly 10 million of people. But let’s put mathematics aside… 😉

If you want to get wet, best to do it next to the waterfall

When we reached the town of Niagara Falls and wandered a bit through the city, we finally found the right way to the falls. We had bought the tickets for a boat ride to the waterfalls and the cruise was scheduled at 12:30, so first we headed up to the marina.

Hornblower Cruise Ship
Hornblower Cruise Ship.

Sky looking peacefully at the beginning now started to be cloudy – and while we were waiting in the line to board the ship – dressed in raincoats – the clouds turned to a regular thunder-storm. Just in seconds it started to rain heavily, and most of the people left the queue and looked for a shelter. We decided to face the weather – and it turned to our profit, as we had much more space on the front of the boat.

The boat started cruising along the American Falls, and later sailed into the Horseshoe. The force of water falling from the waterfall rocked the boat, as we entered the cloud of water created by the same force – and it was just as intense as rain. The only difference was that the rain from the storm was cold, and “rain” from the waterfall very warm 😉 The whole trip did not last longer than 30 minutes, but it was really worth it to see one of the most famous waterfalls in the world from a completely different perspective.

The town of Niagara Falls

After the cruise, once it stopped raining, we went to explore the area. The town of Niagara Falls strongly benefits from tourism built around the waterfalls . We could see a lot of hotels, casinos and many other places of entertainment everywhere.

Tourist attractions in Niagara Falls town.
Tourist attractions in Niagara Falls town.

All very colorful and inviting – especially children, that were persuading their parents to stop and play at every each of the “fun” places. For example – mini-golf course themed in the style of Jurassic Park, with dinosaurs and a huge volcano, that was occasionally bursting with fire. Without any doubts – everything attracts the eye and invites you to give it a try.

Waterfalls at night

Finally the sky completely cleared up and there was no trace after an earlier storm. The falls in the sunshine look amazing. Almost all the time they’re decorated with rainbows from droplets of water hanging in the air. We spent most of our time just looking at them and listening to the flowing water. We specifically wanted to see the waterfalls at dusk when they are highlighted with various colors.

Niagara Falls at night.
Niagara Falls at night.

View as impressive as during the day, although a large number of water droplets in the air scattered light, and the effect was weaker than expected 😉 The first dream from our Canadian bucket list fulfilled,  so we could safely return to Toronto.

Practical tips:

  • Easy and fairly inexpensive way to get around Canada is carpooling (sharing a ride and gas cost) – some pages with offers are: www.kijiji.ca, www.kangaride.com or www.carpoolworld.com. Other ways of travelling (and much more expensive) are a train (www.viarail.ca or www.gotransit.com) or bus (www.ca.megabus.com or www.greyhound.ca).
  • Prices for a trip from Toronto to Niagara Falls in most of these carriers are quite similar and start from 20-25 CAD (16-20 USD) one-way .
  • You can get a cruise to both the Canadian and the American parts of the Niagara Falls. Canadian side service is called Hornblower. Ticket prices start from 26 CAD (20 USD, for more information visit www.niagarafallstourism.com). American side service is called Maid of the Mist. Price for adults is almost identical and is 19 USD (more information on http://store.maidofthemist.com/).
  • If you decide on a cruise ship, we recommend you wear quick-drying things and always check the weather forecast before buying the tickets. There is no place on board of the ship where you could take a shelter from the water. All the things that won’t fit under poncho (distributed prior to boarding) will get wet.

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