If you are on the American side of the Niagara Gorge, you look over and beside the Falls such as these visitors are doing in the photo. In this photo we’re looking North toward the Rainbow Bridge that connects Canada and the USA. The American Falls pours about 10% of the total water that goes over Niagara Falls. The other 90% goes over the Canadian-Horseshoe Falls which is to the left and out of the picture.
It’s a great view being right at the brink, hearing the roar of the water and enjoying the scene from this vantage point. But there is another view, that gives you perspective. It’s the view of the American Falls from the air, looking from the Canadian side of the Niagara Gorge (looking from west to east). This picture is a special photo where the shutter stayed open for an extended period causing the silky look of the water.
Wow, what a difference. All that rock you see at the bottom of the Falls fell July 28, 1954. About 100 feet of the Falls surface collapsed sending 185,000 tons of rock into the gorge. That was the second time in recent history that the American Falls rock sheared off. On January 17th, 1931 a huge chunk of the Falls fell into the gorge.
Many tourists to Niagara Falls miss this great view. This is on the American side of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. It’s wet from the mist rising from the Gorge but it is a real up close and personal view of the Falls.
See the green tower in the foreground? That the observation tower at the park in Niagara Falls, New York. About 450 years ago the first European saw the Falls and it didn’t look like it does today.
First the amount of water crashing over the crest of the Falls was about 5 times the amount. Imagine the thundering sound of the Falls. But maybe even more important, there was only one falls and it was located basically where that green tower is located. In the 450 years since first seen by a European, the Falls has gouged itself back to where it now is located.
Since 1969, we have controlled the flow, to decrease the erosion, so now the Falls moves back about a foot a year.
This tiny island sits at the brink of the American Falls in Niagara Falls New York. The buildings in the background are in Niagara Falls Canada, on the other side of the Niagara Gorge.
A hugely popular attraction is the old town of Niagara On The Lake. It was the first Capital of Canada (then called Upper Canada). Here you’ll find the new and the old. It had been mostly burned to the ground in the War of 1812 between the British and Americans, so most of the heritage building are dated after the war, 1814 to 1817 era. Worht wandering around the enjoying though.
This attraction at Niagara Falls is actually in Niagara Falls New York. It is almost immediately below the Bridal Veil Falls. It used to be that you could go behind the wall of water and explore the cave behind the Falls, but it is now considered too dangerous. But you sure can get wet.
The American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls are both fed from the same tributary of the Niagara River. This picture is not far from the brink of the Bridal Veil Falls as the water gets ready to plummet over and into the gorge below.
The Niagara Whirlpoo is mostly round, and this is one section of the land rising from the water. The colour are changing making the area extra inviting.
Most tourists who visit Niagara Falls really enjoy the “WOW” parts of their visit. What they don’t like is the high prices for a lot of things from restaurant to hotel prices. I guess it’s a case of charging what the market will accept.
But there is a charge that you don’t have to pay. Back in 2004, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism (government) introduced a voluntary fee that allowed businesses to add a percentage of your bill, to support tourism marketing and development. In theory, the money would be given to a third party marketing agency. However, businesses in Niagara Falls that charge the fee apparently keep the fee and use it as they wish.
The fee was supposed to be in the range of 3%, but it isn’t unusual for some businesses to charge a different rate, sometimes as much as 10%. Investigative reporting by television stations that dig into things like this haven’t embarrassed anyone yet into fixing the situation.
You may want to ask your hotel, restaurant or other venue if they add the Destination Marketing Fee, or DMF to the bill, and how much is the fee if there is one. Now you have a choice, you can use the facility and knowingly pay it with your bill, or you can go elsewhere where the fee isn’t being charged. It isn’t a tax, so it isn’t mandatory. However I encourage you not to get into a verbal battle over it, just don’t patronize the venue that insists on the tax.
The City of Niagara Falls can’t do anything about it because it is a Provincial Government problem and the city apparently has no jurisdiction. This is an issue that many people and businesses are fighting, while others are enjoying reaping the rewards.
Sometimes it can seem like the Falls at Niagara Falls is lost in the commercialization of the area.
With so many pictures of the Falls showing just the water, here’s one with a different perspective. It’s Murray Hill, which takes you down from the hotels, one of the casinos and many restaurants, to the gorge and the Falls. But what does it look like on a semi-quiet day from half way up the hill. That’s Niagara Falls New York in the background, and of course the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls peeking through the trees.
But what helps greatly to make Niagara Falls so popular is the accessibility to everyone. No long treks in the jungle, or drives through dense bush. A simple airplane ride to Buffalo or Toronto, a train ride from almost anywhere in North America or a car drive from anywhere in North America and you’re here. When you are in Niagara Falls you are in a safe environment surrounded by great restaurants, excellent hotels and many other attractions to make your stay truly worthwhile.
If I sound a bit like a tour guide, I am that and much more. Niagara Falls is an interesting place to live because it is constantly changing and taking on different cultures in your mind. I walk around the Falls and hear languages from all over the world. I see the dress of different countries and I enjoy the smiles and laughter of people from every corner of the world. When I set up the camera for pictures, it never fails that I get tourists stopping by and asking me questions and telling me where they came from.
Niagara Falls Ontario is not a large city. It’s about 88,000 people, many retired from Toronto, and it’s part of the Niagara Region with about half a million residents. But what makes us unique is the number of tourists that flock to Niagara Falls every year, and all year. Well over 12 million folks come to enjoy the Falls, and many of them take in our wineries (didn’t know that we have world class wineries?), Niagara on the Lake old town which was the first Capital of Canada in the 1700’s, the Welland Canal which moves the giant laker ships between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie (around Niagara Falls), and many other interesting things to see and enjoy.