“Breathtaking Spectacle” Niagara Falls

Posted On November 25, 2009 

Rising from the Niagara River, the Niagara Falls gushes a set of gigantic waterfalls. Flowing from Eastern North America, Niagara Falls bequeaths its charm spanning between the international borders of United States’ province of New York and Canadian province of Ontario. It is characterized by three distinct waterfalls namely Horseshoe Waterfalls or Canadian Falls, American Falls and neighboring Bridal Veil Falls. Niagara Falls is perched at a lower elevation of 51 meters; however it has a stupendous width of 1.2 km. It releases more than 6 million cubic feet of water in every minute i.e. 85,000 cubic feet per second. Basking glory worldwide, Niagara Falls leaves its impression as the most predominant waterfall of North America. Because of its influence, it has been winning hearts worldwide from more than a century. Popular for its breathtaking beauty, the immense and stunning Niagara Falls is one of the most renowned tourist attractions. It records massive tourist visits round the year. Niagara Falls is nature’s extraordinary creation well-known as a precious resource not only for generating hydroelectric power, but also as a recreational spot. Though not the highest, Niagara Falls is the widest.

Origin of Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls came into existence past the glaciers deterioration at the end of the Wisconsin Glaciation (marked as the last ice age), that took place about 10 millenniums years ago. North American Great Lakes and Niagara River’s formulation can also be traced to this powerful force. When the glaciers started receding, the ice sheets drove across the area digging allover. Ice sheets dug several river channels and led way for the creation of small lakes, while some other spots were blocked beneath the burden of wreckages. At present, scientists are of the view that an ancient valley located nearby today’s Welland Canal is buried beneath the glacier drifts. Water flow from Great Lakes passed through the Niagara Escarpment along the way to the Atlantic Ocean and gave birth to the Niagara Waterfalls. In the past, the Niagara Falls was founded, where today stand the town of Queenston, Ontario and Lewiston, New York. Not only did the glacier retreat changed the position of waterfalls, but also affected their shapes as the erosion shrunk it approximately by 6.8 miles or 11 kms towards the south.

Niagara falls attractions

Inspiration behind the name

People have opposing ideas behind the formulation of the name ‘Nigeria.’ One proficient Iroquoian known as Bruce Trigger suggests that Nigeria attained its name from a branch of locals who had colonized indigenous Neutral Confederacy. These people have been referred to as “Niagagarega” in the local ancient 17th century French maps.

Exploration still under-wraps

Yeah, it’s true. Who were the pioneering people to explore the falls first is still posing big controversies. There are differing views regarding this issue, for instance: there are numerous figures that propound as first eyewitnesses that have discovered Niagara Falls. Literally, there is a complex queue of suggestions that claim to be the first eyewitness for discovering the waterfalls. It starts with a French individual Samuel de Champlain; it is believed that he toured in this area back in 1604, while he had pursued an expedition for exploring Canada. Meanwhile, his party members suggested him the stunning waterfalls, as he says in his old journals. Later, came in the Finnish-Swedish naturalist Pehr Kalm who is reported to visit the area in the early 1700’s.

Actual honorable persona worthy of celebrated position is Belgian Father Louis Hennepin who is believed to visit this falls in 1677, which is previous to Pehr Kalm. His tour along with the explorers Rene Robert Cavelier and Sieur de la Salle successfully brought the Niagara Falls to the notice of Europeans. However, there are some other issues which are still obscure and have managed to maintain dark. There are plausible proofs supporting French Jesuit Reverend Paul Ragueneau’s visit, while he was working under the project Huron First Nation in Canada. The evidences back his claim of visiting the falls, around 35 years before Hennepin’s visit. Other personalities which are suspected to visit the falls include Jean de Brebeuf, while he was working with the Neutral Nation.

Eye-popping facts about Niagara Falls
  1. It was in 1969 that the tourist crowds were stopped totally from visiting the American Falls for few months. The thinking behind this was to remove the loose rock accumulated in the base of the Falls, eventually augmenting the natural beauty. However, all the plans were in vain as the end result at which they arrived was that the expense of the project would cost a lot.
  2. Niagara derived its name from the Iroquois Indian term known as “Onguiaahra” whose literal meaning is strait.
  3. Between the two major countries of United States and Canada is an international Boundary.
  4. This flow has fascinated people from different parts of the world, before they could be entertained by movies. They would come to the falls and sketch beautiful portraits of the falls.
  5. Due to the severe ice jam over the upper river, the flow of both waterfalls got stopped on March 30th 1848.
  6. Popular movies such as Superman and Niagara were shot in this waterfall.
  7. Many people have tried to cross the Niagara Falls; some have succeeded in their endeavors while others have lost their precious lives in this attempt. In the last decade, it has been recorded that two people’s curtain fell down for the final time; while they tried to vanquish the giant Niagara Falls.
  8. The pioneering person to be victorious over the great Niagara Falls was a sixty-three year old female school teacher; she crossed the falls in a barrel.
  9. Remarkable persona deserving citation includes the ‘Great Blondin.’ Blondin actually carried his manager Harry Colcord on his back and crossed the Niagara Falls. It is this valor and high-minded spirit which brought the term ‘Great’ in Blondin’s kitty.
  10. According to the universal fact, it is believed that 20% of the world’s freshwater flows in the Great Lakes, amidst which most water flows over Niagara Falls.
Grabbing the limelight

Niagara was already a greater fascination and shined in the eyes of the tourists, however Niagara’s popularity burgeoned even more after the movie ‘Niagara’ released in the year 1953. The movie featured Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotten and gained favorable critic reviews. Its release brought admiration to the film, if not to the acting from ‘The New York Times’ by citing “Obviously ignoring the idea that there are Seven Wonders of the World, Twentieth Century-Fox has discovered two more and enhanced them with Technicolor in Niagara …For the producers are making full use of both the grandeur of the Falls and its adjacent areas as well as the grandeur that is Marilyn Monroe..” The grandeur of the falls was glorified by quoting “The natural phenomena have been magnificently photographed on location”

In the 20th century, several movies namely Superman II and the popular IMAX flick ‘Niagara: Miracles, Myths and Magic’ came up featuring the falls. An animated television series “Return of the Technodrome” which premiered in 1987 was a cartoon series on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the entire backdrop set behind was the Niagara Falls and its overwhelming hydroelectric power. Even, the falls and the tourist complex adjacent to the falls, have been used as a background setting for the Canadian soap opera ‘Wonderfalls’ in the 2004 inception. The most popular and the most recent movie picturized here was ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.’

Bizarre moments on Niagara Falls

The voluminous flow of water released from the Niagara Falls is ever-flowing. The gentle roars and sprinkling of the gushing waters is truly soothing to the senses, it feels as if real nature comes close and playfully murmurs in the ears. However, this experience sometimes comes to a standstill, when the garrulous flow of waterfall and haze wrought up ice formations on the banks of river and falls. The ice sheet formulated sometimes turns as thick as fifty feet, and if the winters are too cold, then the ice sheet can sprawl throughout the river in the form of “Ice Bridge.” When the winters come takes up its relentless form, then the ice bridge can run up to miles as far as the river, and sometimes can stretch until it dives on the lower rapids.

In the past, people had become accustomed to this icy phenomenon; it was until 1912 where tourists could actually stroll across the ice bridge and behold the spectacular falls from downwards. February 24th 1888 turned to be an incredible day, when local newspaper Ontario reported that 20,000 tourists walked over the ice bridge. It was a magnificent day when plenty of keen tourists captured there sweet memories by taking photographs, even shacks sold liquor. However, numerous years later i.e. on 4th February 1912, the ice bridge broke up taking the lives of three people.

frozen niagara falls

Essential care adopted to avert mishaps

To prevent any mishaps from the mini-icebergs, great deal of activities has come into form. There is a yearly installation of an ice-boom over the Erie Lake. The aim behind it is to condense the ice flow. It is done by bedding in a long floating chain of ice-boom that stretches up to 2 miles (3.2kms) across the River Niagara from Buffalo New York to Fort Erie Ontario. Installed in the month of December, the bridge is detached during the month of March or April by the New York State Power Authority. Ultimately, people are bestowed sufficient time for enjoying there holidaying.

Riding the waves of adulation

Beholding the authentic embodiment of nature standing besides the breathtaking Niagara Falls, when the water falls down creating thunderous sounds, cool water showers gently, scenic vistas sprawl around to embrace you. The enchanting moment is so wonderful, that it can’t be expressed in words. The entire ambiance is exceptional and bewitches its magical spell to make a person fall in love with it. No one can resist the intoxicating magnificence of the majestic falls. Not only does the fall possess a mesmerizing spell, but also it has the potent to produce hydroelectric power to repleteness. Since 1800’s, it is Niagara Falls that is the underlying cause behind the prosperity of commercial, recreational and industrial purposes.

niagara falls hydroelectric dam

Connecting terzetto

The Niagara Falls spans in three international cities of Ontario, Canada and Niagara Falls, New York, USA. The cities have been connected by three bridges namely The Rainbow Bridge: which lies downriver from the falls. This bridge is open to non-commercial vehicle traffic and pedestrians; even this bridge offers the closest view of the falls. Another bridge is Whirlpool Rapids Bridge which is the oldest amidst all. It stretches one mile (1.5 km) over the Niagara River, down from the Rainbow Bridge. And last but not the least i.e. the Lewiston Queenston Bridge. It is the recent one built nearby the escarpment.

Niagara Falls

American vantage point

Get to the US side and behold the American Falls from the passageway. Adjacent to the Prospect Point Park, it affords magnificent views of the American Falls. It also boasts Prospect Point Park Observation Tower and a boat dock of very famous Maid of the Midst. Get to the Goat Island as it affords beautiful views of the falls, also reaching there is easy as it can be accessed by foot. Also, available is a bridge above the American falls that is open for vehicular traffic. Even, Goat Islands offers an elevator which helps in reaching the Cave of the Winds. It leads hikers to a point beneath Bridal Veil Falls. On the Goat Islands are the Three Sisters Islands, the Power Portal and a walking path. The Power Portal shelters massive statue of Nikola Tesla, while the walking path affords scenic views of the rapids, Niagara River, gorge and falls. Mainly, most of all the tourists’ eye-candy lies inside the Niagara Falls State Park.

niagara falls tourism

The Niagara Scenic Trolley offers great guided tour alongside the American Falls and Goat Island. So, in spite of roaming here and there for attaining scenic views of the natural wonder, get along with them as they provide guided tours. Catch the Flight of Angels Helium Balloon Ride or a helicopter for beholding bird’s eye views of the impressive waterfalls and surroundings. Also, if you are interested in exploring the legendary past, then step in the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center. It features natural and local history of Niagara Gorge and Niagara Falls. Also, Seneca Indian Tribe has established a casino and plush hotel in Niagara Falls of New York. Even, the previous Niagara Falls Convention Center has been occupied by the Seneca Niagara Casino. After the establishment of United Office Building in the 20’s, the city has added up a new hotel to its architectural outline.

Canadian vantage point

Gaze the spectacular natural marvel Canadian Horseshoe Falls by the Canadian side as it offers the best views. Also, there is the magnanimous Queen Victoria Park in Canada, which features manicured gardens and platforms. Make sure you move to the platforms as it offers stunning vistas of both American and Horseshoe Falls. There is an interesting underground walkway that leads to observation rooms, being there conjures up a feeling as if one is inside the falling waters. However, the observation deck situated nearby the Skylon Tower provides majestically colossal views of the falls, and to its opposing direction, one gets to behold views as far as Toronto.

The Minolta Tower (previously called as Seagrams Tower and today known as Konica Minolta Tower) is one of the two towers of Canada which provides mesmerizing views of the falls. Tourists who have a keen desire to enlighten there senses with historical description should definitely visit the Niagara River Recreational Trail. Lying alongside the Niagara River, this trail stretches 35 miles (56kms) right from Fort Erie to Fort George. This trail encompasses legendary sites from the 1812 War.

Legendary Whirlpool Aero Car was instituted in 1916 by Spanish Engineer Leonardo Torres y Quevedo’s design. The cable car takes the tourists for a fantasy ride over the whirlpool on the Canadian side. “The Journey Behind the Falls” is approachable by elevators from the street level entrance. The entire thing comprises of an observation platform, series of tunnels, located near the bottom of the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side. Over the Canadian part of Niagara Falls are two casinos namely Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara. Niagara Fallsview sits in the Fallsview Tourist Area, besides string of hotels. Another casino is located on Falls Avenue, which is a popular tourist boulevard located next to Clifton Hill.


The Maid of the Mist cruise boat is the oldest and the most famous tourist attraction of Niagara Falls. The boat was named after the legendary Ongiara Indian mythical character. Since 1846, the boat has been taking for a ride into the rapids, down the Falls. So, if you want to catch the exciting ride, move on to either side of boat docks located on both sides of the falls. Don’t overwhelm your emotions merely by an enthralling cruise ride as there are more fascinations left for exploring.

niagara falls

Explore the Botanical Gardens and the Horse and Carriage rides. Don’t miss the exhilarating whirlpool aero car, which takes you high above the racing Niagara River wherein one is transmitted through the air in an antique cable car. Animal lovers should definitely visit the Butterfly conservatory, truly all this wild combinations are sure to remain as once in a lifetime experience. After indulging in the rollicking excitements, head to the city to savor great tastes. The city is lined up with profuse finesse restaurants to quench the wishes of tourists. So, overall it would be an enchanting experience to visit in Niagara Falls.

Tourism- a booming industry

The construction of the third crossing in Niagara Falls adjacent to the Rainbow Bridge was completed by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission in 1941. This bridge had the potent to carry both strider crowds and vehicular mishmash between the two countries by enabling to follow both Canadian and US’ customs. Even the end of First World War brought in good news as tourism sector marked a flourishing high. This was because the rise of automobiles helped for reaching the Falls easily.

Best time to visit

Glimpse the Niagara Falls when it is at its best. The falls spell their enchanting magic round the year, but the titivating glitter is more captivating during the summer season, when every view of it possesses a mesmerizing spell, be it in morning or the evening. The evenings drape up a seducing charm, when the floodlights from the Canadian region enlighten both the sides of the falls, until the midnight. Watch this moment when Niagara poises the shimmering bright lights, the whole spectacle is simply out of the world. Surely, people will have their jaws dropping.

The beautification of Niagara Falls is simply awe-inspiring, the entire stunning sight comes in front of my eyes while I remember the moment, however I can’t weave it in my words as the golden moments are indescribable. The only thing that can do justice with the sight is beholding the grandeur magnificence by being there. The tourist crowd is at the max during the peak season, which falls between June and August. Niagara Falls is one of the most highly visited tourist attractions. It is clearly apparent in the figures of the number of tourists visiting annually, the 2008 figures round up approximately to 20 million and the ongoing 2009 year is estimated to go at the crest of about 28 million tourists.

Related Posts

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

CommentLuv badge