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Niagara Falls has two falls the Canadian Falls and the American Falls, I visited the Canadian Falls which are also described as the Horseshoe Falls due to the shape of them way back in 1721. At 52m (170ft high) they are slightly higher than the American Falls located on the Buffalo Side in America which are 56m (189ft high) and 12,000 years ago the Canadian falls were located 7miles downstream from their present location and less than 10% of the water flows over the American Falls with the blance flowing over the Horseshoe falls (Canadian Falls) and it is the massive volume of water that provides the fantastic green colour of the water.
***History Of Niagara*** Almost 12,000 years ago the first humans arrived in Niagara, which witnessed at the same time the birth of the falls. As you would expect the land was very different back then consisting of a spruce forest. During this time the Niagara was inhabited by the Clovis people who were nomadic hunters. By 9,500 years ago the forest covered most of Ontario and lasted between 3,000 to 300 years ago. At the beginning of the 17th century European explorers and missionaries arrived, in May 1535 Jacques Cartier set off on a Round The World trip departing from his home country of France but never reached the falls, Etienne Brule, the first European to see Lakes Ontario, Erie Huron and Superior, may also have been the first to behold the
Falls, in 1615.
In the 1820's, a stairway was built down the bank at Table Rock and the first ferry service across the lower River began. By 1827, a paved road had been built up from the ferry landing to the top of the bank on the Canadian side. This site became the prime location for hotel development and the Clifton was built there, after which the Clifton Hill is named.
Niagara has perhaps the most complex transportation history of any area in North America. The first Welland Canal was completed in 1829. Between 1849 and 1962, thirteen bridges were constructed across the Niagara River Gorge. Four of them remain.
Tourism began to the falls in the 1820s.
***Getting to Niagara Falls*** Niagara Falls is approximately 90 miles from down town Toronto and there are plenty of ways to get there I was fortunate enough to have a limo to take me around the sites of Toronto as I was there with work but the drive from my hotel, the Delta Chelsea was approximately 40-45minutes. Alternatively if you are feeling brave hire a car for the day (rates vary) Follow the QEW south in the direction of Fort Erie. Take the McLeod Rd. exit at Niagara Falls. Turn left on to McLeod Rd and follow it until it turns into Marineland Parkway. Turn left at Rapidsview. Follow this road along toward the Niagara River. Turn left onto the Niagara River Parkway. Continue driving past a large power station on your right. You will see another power station on your left. Turn left to find Fallsview Parking.
***The Maid of The Mist*** The Maid of The Mist is Niagra's most popular attraction since 1846 and has attracted millions of visitors, and to get the most out of Niagara falls a maid of the mist trip is a must.
Hear the thundering falls echo agaist the rocks located at the bottom and feel the mist as the Maid drives you closer to the falls that you would ever though possible and is the main advantage to purchasing a ticket for the steamboat.
Purchase tickets in advance from www.maidofthemist.com or alternatively purchase tickets from the ticket booth located at the bottom of Clifton Hill. They accept Cash, Visa, Mastercard but they do not accept cheques. You will receive a ticket, exclusive poncho and a Maid of the Mist postcard.
Adult $13cdn //GBP6.00 Children (6-12years)$8 cdn // GBP4.00 Children 5 and under are free of charge.
Open daily from 9.45am to 7.45pm times may vary due to seasons, check on their website before you set off to ensure that the service is operational during your visit.
I have to say that if you are going to go to Niagara Falls the Maid of the Mist is a must, it is an amazing experience and you also get and audio guide to tell you more about the history of niagara and some of the amazing survival stories of Niagara. There are plenty of people on the boat so you need to get to the front and stay there if you are as short as me or your pictures will have lots of blue ponchos in your view, the photographs that I got were out of this world and will provide me with a great memory and I hope to go back again soon.
Tel: 905 358 5781 Fax: 905 358 8527
***Niagara at Night*** Niagara Falls looks stunning at night time with their seasonal fireworks and illuminations.
Niagara Falls Fireworks and Illumination Schedule 2005. Jan 1-18 5pm - 10pm Jan 19-Feb 28 6.30pm - 10pm Mar 1-31 7pm - 10pm April 1-30 8.30pm - 11pm May 1-Aug18 9pm - Midnight Aug 19 - Sep 30 8.30pm -Midnight Oct 1-31 7pm - Midnight Nov 1-14 6.30pm - Midnight Nov 15-Dec 30 5pm - Midnight Dec 31 5pm - 1am
Niagara falls are illuminated nightly until at least 10pm Jan through to Apr and until midnight for the rest of the year. Free Fireworks are over the falls every friday, sunday and holidays May 20-Sep 4 and following the fireworks there is a free concert commencing at 8pm.
There are plenty of viewpoints around Niagara and some amazing photo opportunities, but for an even better view there is the Skylon Tower which was opened back in the Autumn of 1964 and is known to be the tallest structure in Niagara.
Niagara is one of the best places that I have seen and if in Toronto make it one of your must do's!! There are plenty of other sites to see within Niagara visit www.infoniagara.com.