Niagara Falls is a memorable and unique destination for anyone who loves to see waterfalls from close quarters. It is unique because of the beautiful, picturesque surrounding Falls and loads of entertainment available in the surrounding areas of the Falls. Here are some crucial facts you should know before visiting Niagara Falls.
“Meaning of the word Niagara”. It is believed that Niagara is a derivative of the Iroquoian word “Onguiaahra,” which was anglicized by missionaries. The name appears on maps as early as 1641. The generally accepted meaning is “The Strait.” Some think it was derived from the narrow waterway that flows north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. Let’s talk about the erosion of the falls. It is estimated to have taken 10,000 to 12,000 years for the falls to recede through the gorge. Its original location was on the Queenston Heights escarpment, 11 kilometres (7 miles) downstream from where it is now at Table Rock. Grand Niagara. Niagara Falls stopped flowing in March 1848. High winds forced millions of tonnes of ice to clog the river’s source in March 1848. Locals walked and rode horses over the exposed basin until a shift allowed the weight of water to break through, approximately 30 hours after it stopped. Afterwards, to clean and reshape the American Falls, the US Army Corps of Engineers built a dam at Goat Island to access the waterfalls in 1969.
Before 1964, ice would float each winter from Lake Erie along the Niagara River, seriously impeding power diversions and damaging shoreline installations and bridges. Since 1964, the potential damage caused by floating ice has been controlled by an ice boom at the source of the river.
Let’s talk about whirlpools. Flowing at a speed of 40 kilometres per hour, Niagara Whirlpool is a Class 6 rapid.
is in the Niagara Gorge and was created by water rushing through a sharp 90-degree turn.
Let us discuss the ice bridge. The phenomenon occurs when there are a majority of days below zero each winter, leading to the ice bridge formation. Sometimes during January, when the mild weather is followed by a strong southwest wind, the ice breaks up and travels up the Niagara River and over the falls. Wet ice from the water below the falls is then forcefully pushed upward, forming a massive mass that resembles a glacier, potentially growing to the height of ten stories.
The Rainbow Bridge
The Rainbow Bridge connects the tourist districts of Niagara Falls, America with Niagara Falls, Ontario. It was opened in 1941, approximately 168 metres (550 feet) downstream of the original site of the Upper Steel Arch (“Honeymoon Bridge”), which was pushed off its moorings and destroyed by a massive ice jam in 1938.
There is an iron scow in the Niagara River. This is small wreckage that can be seen on the upper Niagara River. On August 6, 1918, a dumping scow broke loose from its towing tug about 1.6 km upriver with Gustav F. Lofberg and James H. Harris aboard. The men opened the barge’s bottom dumping doors to let water in, grounding the barge on the river bottom where it has remained ever since.
Niagara Falls’ Nightly Illuminations
Who does not know about Niagara Falls’ nightly illuminations? Every evening, beginning at dusk, Niagara Falls is transformed into incredible, multi-coloured water and light masterpiece. The breathtaking light effect is created by high-power, purpose-designed and built multi-coloured LED lights located on the Illumination Tower, next to Queen Victoria Place; on the roof of Table Rock Centre, at the brink of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls; and deep in the Niagara Gorge, across from the American Falls. The nightly illuminations are paid for and controlled by the Niagara Falls Illumination Board, which consists of representatives from the City of Niagara Falls, Ontario; the City of Niagara Falls, New York; Niagara Parks; New York State Parks, Recreations, and Historic Preservation – Niagara Falls State Park; Ontario Power Generation; and the New York Power Authority. Special requests for colour illuminations can be made for charitable or non-profit purposes only.
The Daredevils Of The Niagara Falls
Let’s discuss the people who intentionally risked their lives to challenge the falls. Annie Edson Taylor was the first recorded person to go over the falls and survive. David Munday and Steven Trotter went over twice and survived both attempts. People have used barrels, inner tubes, kayaks, and jet skis to go over the falls. Five people have died on the 16 recorded trips over the falls. “Stunting” in this form carries a fine of CAD 10,000.
A Miracle At Niagara Falls
The summer of 1960 brought a miracle at Niagara Falls when Jim Honeycutt took his co-workers’ children, Deanne (17 years old) and Roger Woodward (7 years old), for a boat ride on the Upper Niagara River. Due to mechanical failure, the boat drifted toward the brink of the falls. As a result, the boat capsized and the three passengers fell into the water. Jim was not wearing a life jacket, but the children were. While Deanne was rescued in the shallows of the American side of the Horseshoe Falls, Roger and Jim were swept over the falls. While Jim died in the accident, Roger was rescued by the Maid of the Mist tour boat. Roger Woodward is the first and only person known to have gone over the falls unintentionally and survived without a protective capsule or any equipment.
Hydroelectric Power Stations In Niagara Parks
If we talk about Hydroelectric Power Stations in Niagara Parks, Niagara Parks owns and maintains three retired power generating stations that are currently undergoing assessments to be considered for refurbishment and reuse in the future. The first one is the Canadian Niagara Power Generating Station. The second is the Toronto Power Generating Station, and the third one is the Ontario Power Generating Station. There are two active power generating stations owned and operated by Ontario Power Generation.
Sir Adam Beck Generating Stations 1 and 2, which are located in Queenston.
Sir Adam Beck 1 was built in 1917, and Sir Adam Beck 2 was built in 1950.
Natural Areas Of Niagara Falls
The incredible natural areas of Niagara Falls are an ideal place to spend some time if you are a nature lover. With 56 kilometres of preserved parkland along the Niagara River, there’s an abundance of green space for Niagara Parks visitors to explore. There is a lot to do in Niagara Glen, from hiking through rugged trails to cycling along the Niagara River Recreation Path to experience nature away from the hustle and bustle of the main Falls area.
Tourists and locals alike enjoy visiting the Duffin Islands. This secluded and quiet area is composed of ten acres of paradise with many small islands connected by footpaths. If we talk about the recreational trail at Niagara Falls, it was created in 1986, offering 56 kilometres of cycling along the Niagara Parkway past historical sites, wineries, restaurants, shops, and fruit stands.
Niagara Falls’ historical and cultural sites
Niagara Falls’ historical and cultural sites are well worth exploring. The ribbon of land along the Niagara River has witnessed several monumental moments in Canada’s history. The Niagara Parks’ heritage sites offer visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in the Niagara region’s rich history and discover a variety of hidden architectural gems.
Chippawa Battlefield Park
Visitors to the 300-acre Chippawa Battlefield Park, owned by the Niagara Parks Commission, can use the self-guided walking tour to retrace the Battle of Chippawa, fought on July 5, 1814.
Laura Secord Homestead
Laura Secord was Canada’s heroine. During the War of 1812, she began a perilous 32-kilometre journey to warn the British of an impending American surprise attack from this point. The home has been beautifully restored and now hosts guided tours that tell the stories of Secord’s brave adventures through costumed guides.
Old Fort Erie
Visit Old Fort Erie, located on the Niagara River, to witness the sights and sounds of a fort under siege during the War of 1812. During a visit to Old Fort Erie, visitors will have the opportunity to observe military and civilian life in the same way British, Canadian, and Haudenosaunee forces did at the time.
Next is Mackenzie Printery. It is a historic building that once functioned as a printery and now houses the Mackenzie Printery & Newspaper Museum. The museum presents printing techniques from the 18th to the 20th century. The facility provides hand-on demonstrations and has a wide variety of equipment.
The next one is McFarland House. This house is in a beautiful park near the Niagara River Recreation Trail. There is a baseball diamond and a playground facility. Additionally, there is a covered pavilion at McFarland Park that can accommodate up to 250 people, including water and restroom facilities. Both the Americans and the British used the home as a military hospital during the War of 1812. It is the oldest property owned by Niagara Parks.
Attractions In Niagara Falls
If we talk about attractions, Niagara Falls showcases some of Canada’s most desired natural sights and travel destinations. Whether standing in awe under the roar of the falls or soaring over a rushing whirlpool, these iconic Canadian experiences offer visitors a thrilling, unforgettable adventure. Here are some of the attractions you should visit on your next trip to Niagara Falls.
Explore one of the largest glass-enclosed butterfly conservatories in Niagara Falls. The butterfly conservatory at Niagara Falls boasts over 2000 vibrantly coloured butterflies fluttering freely throughout winding pathways decorated with lush vegetation and trickling waterfalls.
Journey Behind The Falls
The view is worth the effort if you don’t mind getting wet and feeling the thunderous vibration of Horseshoe Falls around you. It is a year-round attraction that offers a unique view of the Falls from below and behind. The journey behind the Falls is a great way for visitors to witness Niagara Falls’ massive power up close.
Niagara City Cruises
You can embark on a 20-minute boat voyage that takes you through the Niagara Gorge, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls, eventually coming face-to-face with the monstrous Horseshoe Falls. Feel the thundering roar, awesome power, and amazing mist that come along with these natural wonders. You can view it from either the interior or exterior decks.
The next one is Niagara’s Fury. In Niagara’s Fury, you can experience the power of Niagara Falls in a 4D movie that explains the creation of the falls. There will be tremors under your feet, as water will spit at you and evoke mist and snow. Ride on the waters of Niagara Falls as you experience Mother Nature’s wrath. You’ll be able to experience the motion and sensations of history as you stand on a platform. You will see and feel the thunder, rain, lightning, wind, and everything that nature has to throw at you
Niagara Falls Power Station
The next attraction is the Niagara Falls power station. It is one of the newest attractions by Niagara Parks. From the tallest turbines to the most intricate details, you will discover fascinating stories about the Niagara Parks Power Station’s history. You will get the opportunity to discover the first major power plant on the Canadian side of the Niagara River with immersive exhibits, restored artifacts, and interactive storytelling.
Whirlpool Aero Car
Experience the thrill of riding high in the air and watching the great hawks’ surf thermals rising from the gorge. Embark on an unforgettable experience as you ride over the vibrant, teal-coloured waters of the Niagara River. The aerial cable car travels safely between two different points on the Canadian shore of the Niagara River over the spectacular Whirlpool.
Zipline To The Falls
The next one is Zipline To The Falls. Experience the thrill of adventure and get a bird’s eye view of Niagara Falls in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. At Grand View Marketplace, a zipline ride will take you into the gorge to the base of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.
White Water Walk
Feel the thrill of being at the river’s edge. One of Niagara’s treasures, the White Water Walk is a boardwalk situated on the very edge of Niagara’s whitewater. It provides a glimpse of where the water begins its journey over the Falls.
Niagara Parks’ Gardens
Niagara Parks’ manicured gardens give visitors an opportunity to discover
World-renowned rose collections; magnificent flowering trees and shrubs; blooming annual baskets; and much more. From the historic Queen Victoria Park and Botanical Gardens to the Niagara Escarpment, there is something for everyone. Niagara Glen’s peaceful winding trails and Niagara Parks’ green spaces offer an abundance of natural beauty that guests of all ages and varying interests can enjoy.
This park has a picturesque garden setting that provides a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of Niagara’s tourist district. In just ten minutes from Clifton Hill, you will find close to 100 acres of meticulously tended gardens, which are home to the charming Butterfly Conservatory as well as the outdoor classroom for the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture. Make sure you visit its world-famous rose garden, which features over 2,400 roses.
The next attraction is the Floral Showhouse. This lush oasis is just a short walk from the Falls, and visitors to the Floral Showhouse will discover paradise there. Throughout the year, visitors to the Floral Showhouse can experience some of the largest and rarest collections of orchids, lilies, cyclamen, succulents, and other exotic plants. In addition to the colourful variety of tropical birds, you may hear them singing for your enjoyment. There is always something new to discover at Floral Showhouse.
The next one is the floral clock. Travel along the scenic Niagara Parkway, towards Niagara-on-the-Lake, to visit Niagara Parks’ famous Floral Clock. The intricate designs on the face of the Floral Clock are created with thousands of carpet bedding plants and changed twice each year.
Dine-in at Niagara Falls
If you are looking to dine in Niagara Falls, we have a few suggestions.
Table Rock House Restaurant
The first is Table Rock House Restaurant. It really is the closest you can dine to the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Enjoy our locally sourced and internationally inspired menu with the breathtaking Niagara Falls as your backdrop.
Queen Victoria Place Restaurant
The next one is Queen Victoria Place Restaurant. Located in a beautiful park setting, you can enjoy panoramic views of both American and Horseshoe Falls. Enjoy casual pub fare prepared with fresh local ingredients and in a fun and relaxed environment at this restaurant.
Legends on the Niagara Restaurant
In a beautiful stone and timber clubhouse setting, Legends of the Niagara Restaurant offers a warm, casual dining experience. Whether you’re dining in the dining room or on the covered patio with lakeside views, you’re sure to be impressed by Chef Dan Willick’s pub-style menu.
The next one is the Whirlpool Restaurant. This restaurant is located on the grounds of the Whirlpool Golf Course, north of the Whirlpool Aero Car. From Whirlpool Restaurant’s dining room, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the tree-lined Niagara Parkway and the 18th hole of Whirlpool Golf Course. Throughout the golf season, you can enjoy the pub-style cuisine of Chef Tim VandeLaar paired with Niagara VQA wines.
Niagara Parks ‘Golf
If we talk about Niagara Parks Golf, golfers of all levels can enjoy Niagara Parks’ three championship golf courses. The impressive Legends on the Niagara complex features two golf courses; Battlefield and Ussher’s Creek. With views of the Niagara Whirlpool and Gorge in the background, the historic Whirlpool Golf Course is just minutes away from Niagara Falls.
If you are seeking quick food options in Niagara Falls, we have some suggestions for you.
Aero Car Café
Grand View Restaurant
Table Rock Market
Queen Victoria Place, All of them are open seasonally from spring to fall, with the exception of Table Rock Market, which is open year-round but closed on December 25.
For picnickers seeking picnic sites near Niagara Falls
Along the Niagara River’s entire length, picnickers will find several parkettes and scenic lookouts close to parking, benches, and picnic tables. Covered picnic pavilions are available at five locations: McFarland Point Park, Queenston Heights Park, Niagara Glen, Kingsbridge Park, and Old Fort Erie. These areas may be reserved for a nominal fee.
There are a number of transportation options available for visitors to get around Niagara Falls. There is a fully accessible WEGO bus system and special shuttles that provide access to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Visitors can explore all that Niagara Falls has to offer with convenient transportation.
In terms of parking, There are plenty of parking options available, so it’s not hard to find a parking space in Niagara Falls. At the north and south ends of Niagara Parks, there are many small, free parking lots. Niagara Parks offers daily parking passes for most of its parking lots, either gated or meter-controlled. Almost all lots allow re-entry within one calendar day. Niagara Parks does not provide overnight parking.
Clifton Hill Parking Lot
Additional parking is available at the Clifton Hill Parking Lot. The Clifton Hill lot has 700 parking spaces and is guarded by security at 4960 Clifton Hill. There are two entries and three exits. The Skylon Tower, located at 5200 Robinson Street, is equipped with a fairly large parking lot that can also accommodate overnight parking and bus parking in addition to day parking.
Casino Niagara’s Parking
We also have plenty of self-parking spaces available in both the Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casinos’ covered parking garages. The parking is paid. However, you can sign up for a Momentum card and use it so that you can earn free parking when playing slot machines or table games.
The 2,500-space parking garage at Fallsview Casino Resort is accessible from two directions: Fallsview Blvd and Murray St. There is also valet parking available at the Fallsview Blvd entrance.