Niagara Falls Attractions
The Niagara Falls are in the extreme south of the province of Ontario where the waters of Lake Erie plummet down almost 60 m (197 ft) into Lake Ontario below.
Niagara Falls are amongst the largest, most beautiful and certainly most famous waterfalls in the world. They were first chronicled in 1678 by Jesuit missionary Louis Hennepin, who followed the sound of the rushing waters upstream along Lake Ontario to discover this great body of falling water, nowadays seen by over 12 million visitors a year.The falls are in two parts, the concave Horseshoe Falls, 640 m (2100 ft) across, which are Canadian, and in the Province of Ontario, and the American Falls, about 330 m (1083 ft) across, in the State of New York, so the national boundary between Canada and the States runs through the middle.Before the waters were used for hydro-electric power almost six million liters of water a second hurtled over the rocky rim. A Canadian/American agreement in 1951 for joint use guaranteed close on 3 million liters a second in summer and 1.4 million in winter. The spray rising from the foaming cauldron at the foot of the falls has beautiful rainbows when the sun shines.Below the falls the Niagara River flows through the deep walls of the gorge, between 80 and 300 m (263 and 985 ft) across, forming the Whirlpool Rapids as the gorge narrows to the north-west.Just 6 km (4 mi.) below the Horseshoe Falls the river changes course and turns north-east, and at that point swirls around in another seething cauldron, this time known as the Whirlpool, before plunging down through the Lower Rapids into Lake Ontario.The falls came into being during the last Ice Age, when the river ran over a chalk plateau, part of the Niagara Escarpment, before dropping to the level of Lake Ontario where the city of Lewiston stands today. As the water undercut and wore away its rim, the falls moved upstream relatively quickly, and in the last 3000 years have moved from the point of Rainbow Bridge to where they are today. The pace of erosion depends on the volume of water rushing over the crest. At present the cut-back in the area of the Horseshoe Falls is from 6-10 cm (2-4 in.) a year. It can thus be estimated that in a few hundred thousand years they will be level with the American city of Buffalo.At present hydro-electric stations with a total capacity of 3 million kw are installed at the Niagara Falls. Plans for extension have been strongly opposed.There are wonderful views of Niagara from the viewing platforms on the Canadian side. There are also a number of towers, open day and night, such as the Skylon and the Minolta Tower, which are amongst the best points for night viewing, since the falls are floodlit at night.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is a quaint town, full of aarly 19th C architecture. Located on the shores of Lake Ontario, not far from Niagara Falls, this is an extremely popular tourist town with boutiques and restaurants.
The southern Niagara Parkway leads to Dufferin Island which has a superb park where the Niagara becomes a broad gently flowing stream. There is a fine view here of the American shore and Grand Island. At Fort Erie the Peace Bridge crosses to the huge U.S. city of Buffalo.From November to January the park features a fabulous display of Christmas lights.
Niagara - Table Rock Scenic Tunnels (Journey Behind the Falls)
A walk along the river front from Rainbow Bridge, through Queen Victoria Park, gives a good view of the American Falls, while it is even possible to take a trip under the falls, through the Table Rock Scenic Tunnels, starting beneath Table Rock House, near the lip of the Horseshoe Falls.
The Niagara Parkway from the falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake, where the river enters Lake Ontario, is administered by the Niagara Park Commission, who are responsible for the gardens and viewing points along the way. From the waterfalls the path leads under the Rainbow Bridge through an attractive residential area.
Niagara - Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture
Students of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture raise flowers, bushes and trees. In June the rose garden is particularly attractive. About 1.5 km / 1 mi further on the Canadian side of the river is the Robert Moses and Sir Adam Becket Generator Stations and nearby can be seen a large floral clock.
This cluster of lovely homes and gardens at the foot of the escarpment contains the Laura Secord homesteads. Laura Secord was responsible for the British winning the Battle of Beaver Dam, since she warned them of the Americans' planned attack.
Laura Secord Homestead
Laura Secord was recognized as a heroine for warning the British of an impending US attack during the War of 1812. The frame cottage of the Laura Secord Homestead has been restored and furnished in period.
Mackenzie Heritage Printery Museum
The restored home of William Lyon Mackenzie in Queenston is now devoted to the Mackenzie Heritage Printery Museum. Mackenzie's life and times are highlighted along with the history of printing.
Niagara - Gorge Trail
A lift down to the bottom of the Niagara Gorge gives access to a breathtaking walk past the foaming rapids along the Gorge Trail.