"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

June 28, 2012

June 27 - Niagara Falls, ON

Visiting Canada
Winter Harbor Marina

Yesterday we visited the eastern end of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Today we drove to Niagara Falls, which is close to the western end of Lake Ontario. We decided we'd spend the day visiting the American side and view the falls from the Canadian side tomorrow. We found a place to park very close to the official visitors center at Niagara Falls State Park. I say official because there are lots of tourist traps that say they are visitor centers. The falls are amazing, awe inspiring even and the park is a great place, but the area outside the park is full of businesses trying to convince you to spend a small fortune to see the falls. The falls are the main attraction and they are free to view. There are many viewing areas in the park that let you stand right next to the edge where the water rushes over the cliffs. The sound of the roaring water is all you can hear. When you stand and look at the falls and see the amount of water that flows over them, it's hard to believe this has been going on for thousands of years. The American Falls began forming about 900 years ago as the Horseshoe Falls continued to erode the Niagara River Gorge in the southward direction. The American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls separated from Horseshoe Falls at Goat Island about 700 years ago. Only 10% of the water from the upper Niagara River flows over the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.

We took the Maid of the Mist boat ride, which is a boat tour of Niagara Falls. The boat starts off at a calm part of the Niagara River, near the Rainbow Bridge, and takes its passengers past the American and Bridal Veil Falls, then into the dense mist of spray inside the curve of the Horseshoe Falls, also known as the Canadian Falls. The first Maid of the Mist was launched in 1846 as a ferry service between the Canadian and American sides, pre-dating by two years the construction of the first Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge at the site. However, with the opening of the suspension bridge, the ferry service lost business, and by 1854, became a tourist attraction. 

After viewing the falls we drove into Canada and along the Niagara River to Niagara on the Lake, which is located in Southern Ontario where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario. It’s a beautiful little town full of great little shops, B&Bs and restaurants. It would make a wonderful romantic weekend get away. We did look at staying at a B&B, but decided we’d drive back to Niagara Falls and stay closer to the falls…we want to see the view from Canada side in the morning.
View of the falls from the Observation Tower
Maid of the Mist going towards Horseshoe Falls
Looking at American Falls from the deck of Maid of the Mist
The top of American Falls
Looking back to the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls
Maid of the Mist getting close to Horseshoe Falls
Queens Street in Niagara on the Lake
Video of Niagara Falls

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