RIPLEY’S AQUARIUM OF CANADA

Ripley’s Aquarium Canada is a public aquarium in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is owned and operated by Ripley Entertainment.

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It is located on Bremner Boulevard, to the east of the Rogers Centre, just southeast of the CN Tower, and across the street from the Roundhouse Railway Museum. It is accessible from the Union subway station using the SkyWalk pedestrian pathway.img004-3-location map

The building does not have parking of its own, but parking is available in several underground parking garages, and surface parking lots nearby. The nearest highway access is the Gardiner Expressway through the York Street exit.

It is open daily from 9AM till 11PM. It features 4-5 live diving shows daily, with a diver who feeds sea animals, while visitors watch through a glass wall and a specialist talks over a sound system about some “fin-teresting” facts!

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Here are the ticket prices* (in CAD):

Senior (65+) Adult (14+) Youth (6-13) Child (3-5)
Timed Tickets 23 33 23 10
Express Anytime Tickets  

26

 

39

 

26

 

13

Sharks After Dark 21 32 21 8

NOTE: Yes, dearest Filipino seniors, you need to be 65 years old to avail of the senior discounts in Canada. Use 1CAD = 40PHP to approximately convert to PHP.                            *HST1 is not included.

This aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Museums and Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA). It is also designated as a Certified Autism Center by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).

Here are 7 trivia about Ripley’s Aquarium Canada:

1. It has 7 million liters (1.25 million gallons) of marine and freshwater habitats from across the world.

2. It holds more than 16,000 exotic sea and freshwater specimens from more than 450 species.

3. Construction started in August 2011 with a cost of almost $130 million, and opened to the public in October 16, 2013, with a floor space of 12,500 m2 (135,000 sq. ft.).

This was a joint project of the federal government’s Canada Lands Company (which contributed $10 million to develop the John Street Corridor to link Front Street with the Aquarium, CN Tower and the Rogers Centre), the Government of Ontario (contributing $11 million), and the City of Toronto government (which provided property-tax incentives of $8-12 million for the first 12 years of operation).

4. The building: (a) features a multi-faceted shell clad in large aluminum panels, with the roof of the main entrance giving the illusion of the earth’s crust peeling away to reveal a window into the aquatic world; (b) was designed with special shielding so that sharks would not be disturbed by its electrical systems; and, (c) has colored surfaces that juxtapose reflective aluminum soffits.

5. It has 9 galleries:

a. Canadian Waters – This gallery features animals from all the bodies of water surrounding Canada.

It has 17 habitats with 665,000 liters of water. Its Great Lakes Exhibit has over 100,000 liters, and the Pacific Kelp has almost 360,000 liters.

It features, among others: alewife, American lobster, china rockfish, cod, giant pacific octopus, paddlefish, largemouth bass, lump fish, sturgeon, and wolf eel.

b. Dangerous Lagoon – The largest tank in the Aquarium with 2.9 million liters of water, the Dangerous Lagoon features a breathtaking underwater tunnel with a moving conveyor belt (the longest moving sidewalk in North America). Visitors will be amazed by all the sea animals swimming overhead and on each side. You will take non-stop videos and photos, for sure!img005-Dangerous Lagoon

Some of the featured animals are green moray eel, green sea turtle, green sawfish, longcomb sawfish, lookdown, Queensland grouper, roughtail stingray, sandbar shark, and sand tiger shark.

c. Discovery Centre – This gallery features various interactive exhibits and hands-on activities like the two unique, cylindrical underwater viewing bubbles, a pop-up research submarine (where you can enjoy the sensation of a deep-sea dive without getting wet), and a touch pool which allows visitors to touch living fossils.img005-Discovery Centre

The touch pool allows visitors to touch the skins of various animals like sharks and stingrays, with the expert assistance and guidance of aquarium employees. In fact, it holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest horseshoe crab touch tank, covering 37.9 m2 (407.9 sq. ft.).

Young visitors can have fun with a trip down the iconic clownfish slide, or play with a water table that replicates the complex lock system of the Great Lakes.

It is home to the blacktip reef shark, brown banded bamboo sharks, clownfish, cownose rays, horseshoe crab, palette surgeonfish, southern stingray, white spotted bamboo shark, wobbegong, and zebra shark.

d. Planet Jellies – This gallery offers a colorful display of 5 species of jellyfish, like the moon jelly, pacific sea nettle, spotted jelly, and upside-down jelly, exhibited in backlit kreisel tanks2 and color-changing displays.img005-Planet Jellies

It is one of the largest of this kind of gallery and one of the largest kreisel tanks2 in the world. It also has a ceiling exhibit so visitors can get another angle to view the jellyfish.

Our Life Cycles Exhibit showcases moon jellies at all stages of their life, from “polyp” (the stalked phase, when, as tubular shapes, they are attached to coastal reefs) to “medusa” (the reproductive phase, when they are adults and umbrella-shaped — called a “bell” — with tentacles hanging down, and floating among the planktons).3

e. Rainbow Reef – This is the most colorful gallery, and features animals from the Indo-Pacific water regions, with 200,000 liters of water, and over 100 species of fish, making it the most bio-diverse exhibit at this Aquarium. It also offers daily interactive dive shows.img005-Rainbow Reef

Examples of species in this gallery are emperor angelfish, humbug dascyllus, pajama cardinalfish, Picasso triggerfish, and unicorn surgeonfish.

f. Ray Bay – This gallery exhibits 4 distinct species of stingrays and one species of shark.img005-Ray Bay

If you get to visit during the daily interactive dive shows, you can witness aquarium divers feeding the stingrays, including the cownose ray, ocellate river stingray, roughtail ray, southern stingray, and spotted eagle ray, plus the bonnethead shark.

g. Shoreline Gallery – This gallery is located at the top of the Ray Bay gallery (see above). Visitors get to closely observe, interact and gently touch four species of stingrays – cownose stingray, roughtail ray, southern stingray, and spotted eagle ray.

It also features real shark eggs in the egg case, to allow guests to witness baby sharks swimming around within the “mermaid purse”4.

The adventuresome visitor can use the stingray barb interactive to learn more about how their stings work.

h. The Gallery – Also called Mother Nature’s Art Gallery, this gallery features 6 saltwater and 3 freshwater exhibits, with 50,000 liters of water, and some of the most delicate underwater species worldwide like the archerfish, electric eel, lined seahorse, lionfish, mudskipper, pipefish, piranha, and red lionfish.

It contains only live coral, grown on site.

You can feel the shock of an electric eel at the Electric Eel Interactive Exhibit.

i. Life Support Systems – This exhibit gives the visitors a behind the scenes look at the Aquarium’s life support systems room, especially the equipment for the Dangerous Reef and Ray Bay.

A significant number of pumping and filtration equipment is intentionally displayed in the public areas so that visitors can have a unique opportunity to see the complex environment of the Aquarium.

Sixty-eight thousand liters of water are pumped every minute in the Aquarium, using 10 pumps to deliver water to all the larger exhibits. Gosh, that is approximately 98 million liters of water every day!

Can you imagine that 95% of the water used throughout the building is recycled? Furthermore, the Aquarium has 5.2 million liters of Toronto municipal water running through carbon filters to remove the impurities. After this process is complete, the water is either circulated through the building for the Aquarium’s freshwater systems, or moved to a holding basin where salt and minerals are mixed in to create saltwater. Once mixed, the water must pass through water chemistry testing before it can be moved to any exhibit in the Aquarium.

Hmmm, you might ask, where did the 5% water loss go? Well, this loss is due to evaporation and human use in the washrooms and kitchens!

The foam fractionators use ozone gas to kill all of the microscopic bacteria. The clean water is then recycled out the bottom of the fractionator.

6. The Aquarium also features limited time exhibits like:

  • Curious Creatures, from the travels of Robert Ripley – showcasing, among others, the frogfish, giant isopod, goldfish, polka-dot batfish, peacock mantis shrimp, and sarcastic fringehead; and,
  • Swarm: Nature by Numbers– highlighting, among others, the blue bladder jellyfish, coral catfish, flashlight fish, and Halloween crab.

7. It offers 11 regular/seasonal programs: https://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/programs/

a. Aquarist for a Day

b. Day Camps

c. Discovery Dive, a 30-minute guided dive so you can swim with the sharks!

d. Dive Shows + Aquarist Talks

e. Morning Yoga, in front of the colorful Rainbow Reef

f. Paint Nite

g. PD Day Camp

h. Photography Classes

i. Sea Squirts

j. Sleep with the Sharks

k. Stingray Experience

For more information, ticket pricing and annual passes, promotions, hours of operation and events calendar, weekly Aquarist Talks, galleries, programs, groups and events (group sales for more than 10 persons, request for an event, birthday parties, and Friday night jazz), field trips, sea scholars, teacher resources, meet our team, conservation, Deep Sea Diary blog, FAQs, parking and directions, hotel packages, dine and shop, accessibility bill of rights, tips for the best visit, preferred partner program, etc., visit https://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/.

You can also: (1) download and print sensory guides, and (2) sign up for the “Scales & Tales” email newsletter with exclusive offers, news and behind-the-scenes information, in the said website.

Other contact information are: telephone – (647) 351-FISH (3474); toll free – 1 (877) 773-1497; TGServices@ripleysaquariumofcanada.com

The information was obtained from the following sites: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripley’s_Aquarium_of_Canada, https://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/ as well as the brochure given upon admission.

First, here are some tips before you visit this Aquarium during summertime:

1. Schedule your visit during weekdays.

2. Check the official website for tickets and promotions, especially for groups of more than 10 persons.

3. Fully charge your cell phones, power banks and GoPros.

4. Bring only essential things since you will do a lot of walking and might easily get tired.

If you have kids in the group who tend to be excited seeing all the wonderful creatures, be sure to assign an adult for each of them, especially in the interactive sites.

An adult can bring a foldable chair, just in case a senior might need to rest somewhere where there are no seating provisions.

5. Bring water, drinks, snacks, and special food/drinks for kids, although there is a café within the building.

6. Bring CAD (cash) or your credit card for souvenir photos and shopping for souvenir items.

7. Educate kids before the visit to respect all sea creatures, not to tap on glass surfaces, to gently touch sea creatures, and observe silence so all visitors will have a memorable experience.

8. Encourage kids to actively participate in all interactive sites to maximize their learning experience. Bring 2 sets of extra clothing, just in case they get wet.

9. Check beforehand special events like the live dive shows (there are 4-5 daily) so you can time your visit to a particular gallery during such schedules to maximize your viewing experience. You can see the gallery-live dive schedule flashed on the wide screen at the lobby upon arrival.

Now for my July 2019 experience at Ripley’s Aquarium Canada: (I will insert pics in between)

The facade is so impressive.Ripleys-facade

My group just walked in to buy admission tickets. We did not avail of the online offer. However, this was not a problem since we easily got tickets.

It was a weekday during summertime but there were still so many groups and families all over the place. I was with my family, including a 7-yo grandchild so we definitely had to visit this attraction in downtown Toronto.

The lobby was spacious, despite the number of visitors that day. The ventilation was very comfortable, and we found ourselves going from one exhibit to another.

All exhibits were captivating, but I enjoyed the Dangerous Lagoon the most. As a senior, I appreciated the moving conveyor belt and the underwater tunnel. I could not have enough of the manta rays and sharks overhead, and the varied sea life all around!

I also got to admire the creative presentation of the different species of jellyfish in the Planet Jellies gallery, enhanced with the use of backlit kreisel tanks2 and color-changing displays.

upside-down jellies-collage-labelled

My 7-year-old grandchild availed of almost all the interactive features of the Aquarium.

He patiently fell in line to touch baby sharks and sting rays at the Discovery Centre and Shoreline Gallery.

Holding shark-labelled

He got wet in the Great Lakes Locks while playing with other kids. Great Lakes Lock

People tend to simply pass through the Life Support Systems exhibit but I shortly stayed there to know its importance to this Aquarium. Then, I looked up and saw a very unique and interesting work of art using plastics. It is called “Over Our Heads”, a sculpture using over 12,000 used plastic bottles from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)5, symbolizing the same number of plastic bottles thrown away every 4 minutes in Ontario!6 The artist is Rebecca Jane Houston7.Over Our Heads

My group watched a diver feed manta rays while a specialist talked about these sea creatures. We learned a lot, and every time the rays opened their mouths to feed, the kids and kids-at-heart always shouted.

The seniors in my group were tired so we went to the café, and had coffee and fries.ripleys-cafe - ripleyaquariums-com

The last stop was the souvenir shop, with various items, all so tempting to buy.Dine and Shop-ripleyaquariums-com

Overall, this Aquarium is definitely a place to visit in downtown Toronto for the whole family with kids who are curious and science-oriented.

RAC-conserve etc

Why not proceed to the CN Tower for dinner? Watch out for my post re this attraction.

I paid for my visit to this Aquarium and all comments are personal, based on my personal experience as of July 2019.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re your visit to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post. Thank you.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Canadians, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1The harmonized sales tax (HST) is a consumption tax in Canada. It is used in provinces where both the federal goods and services tax (GST) and the regional provincial sales tax (PST) have been combined into a single value added sales tax. This tax is in effect in five of the ten Canadian provinces: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island.  The HST is 13% in Ontario.8 & 9

2kreisel tank is a special horizontal cylindrical tank designed specifically to keep jellyfish. It was created to eliminate elements in a regular tank that could compromise the life of a jellyfish, like corners and bubbles. You see, jellyfish are poor swimmers and they can easily be trapped in corners and bubbles which can tear through their bells.

3http://www.differencebetween.net/science/nature/difference-between-polyp-and-medusa/

4A mermaid purse is an egg case or egg capsule (the casing that surrounds the eggs of oviparous sharks), and typically contains one embryo.

5The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is the most populous metropolitan area in Canada. It consists of the central city, Toronto, along with 25 surrounding municipalities distributed among four regional municipalities: Durham, Halton, Peel and York.

6Over 1 billion plastic bottles are not recycled in Ontario and end up in landfills or the environment every year.10

7Rebecca Jane Houston is a Toronto-based artist who works on sculpture, installation, metal work, wood work, and oil painting. She is a faculty member of the Toronto School of Art.11

8https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonized_sales_tax

9https://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/tax/hst/

10https://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/galleries/life-support-systems/

11https://rebeccajanehouston.carbonmade.com/about

NIAGARA FALLS, THE CANADIAN SIDE: AN AWESOME SIGHT TO BEHOLD

Niagara Falls is the collective name given to a group of three spectacular waterfalls at the southern end of Niagara Forge, between the Canadian province of Ontario and the US state of New York. It is located on the Niagara River which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario.1

Niagara Falls - labelled-1I was able to visit the Canadian side on July 2019, and it is indeed an awesome beauty of nature.

The largest of the three waterfalls is Horseshoe Falls, or Canadian Falls. It is the most powerful waterfall in North America, as measured by flow rate, and drops an average of 57 meters (188 feet) into the Lower Niagara River. It straddles the international border between Canada and the USA.

The smaller American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls lie entirely within the USA. Bridal Falls are separated from Horseshoe Falls by Goat Island, and from the American Falls by Luna Island.

For interesting trivia about Niagara Falls, visit a related post: NOW YOU KNOW: NIAGARA FALLS

By the way, it does not cost anything to see Niagara Falls. It is open 24 hours, seven days a week, year round. However, park attractions are seasonal and have their own schedules. For more information, visit www.niagarafallsstatepark.com.

Niagara Falls is located in a public place and you can take all the pictures and videos you want along the pedestrian walkway at the brink of the falls. However, if you so desire, you can enjoy any of the following with the corresponding fees:

1. Clifton Hill parking lot – If you want to enjoy the different attractions of Clifton Hill before or after visiting the falls, then why not park here? The area can accommodate 700 vehicles, with two entrances and three exits, as well as easy access to Clifton Hill (see a related post), Niagara Falls, and Hornblower Cruise (for your cruise along the falls, Canadian side). Parking fee is about CAD10 (about PHP390).

2. Hornblower Niagara Cruises– Are you game enough to ride a state-of-the-art 700-passenger catamaran or a 150-passenger jet-boat available for private functions called the Hornblower Guardian? Either vessel will take you as close as possible to the three falls.

All boarding is located at the Hornblower Lower Landing in the Great Gorge and entrance is at 5920 River Road (Niagara Parkway).

Hornblower Niagara Cruises is located on the Niagara Parkway, at the north end of Queen Victoria Park, close to the Rainbow Bridge and Oakes Garden Theatre, at the foot of the Clifton Hill tourist area.

Visit www.niagaraparks.com for more details, prices, packages, and discounts. To give you an idea about prices, adults (13+) with funicular – CAD28.95 (PHP1,135), children (5-12 years old) – CAD18.95 (PHP743), and 4-years old and under are free.

3. Journey Behind the Falls –  Why not go under the Horseshoe Falls to feel its thunderous vibrations and to experience what it feels to be behind the falls? You only need to descend 125 feet and explore 130-year-old tunnels through the bedrock.

The observation deck at the foot of this 13-storey-tall wonder will leave you breathless (and a bit wet too). But what the heck! Viewing portals were cut straight through the rock for your once-in-a-lifetime view of one-fifth of the world’s fresh water, crashing down in front of you!

An added treat from June 28 till September 1, 2019 is the night experience of the Journey Behind the Falls, with all the lights and fireworks. You can also have exclusive after-hours access at the base of the Horseshoe Falls and be fascinated by its illumination and fireworks!

4. Helicopter ride – A family vacation in Niagara Falls Canada would be so memorable if you take the  grand helicopter tour, costing a little more than CAD$100 (PHP3,920) each for a maximum of 7 passengers per 12-minute trip. Ask for family and group rates. The ride offers a taped commentary available in 12 languages. Helicopters have large panoramic-view windows, ideal for unlimited and spectacular photos and videos. Flights depart daily from 9am till sunset, weather permitting. I visited https://www.niagarahelicopters.com/our-classic-tour

5. Aside from taking the expensive helicopter tour, there are two tall structures you can also visit to appreciate the grandeur of the Falls, Canada side:

a. The observation deck of Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls, Ontario – This offers the highest view of the Horseshoe Falls (Ontario) and American Falls (New York), as well as the Toronto Tower in the opposite direction, from the Canadian side of the Niagara River, a 360-degree view.Skylon Tower-Ilievaart-wikiSkylon Tower at night, Niagara Falls, Ontario, own work of Ingelbert Lievaart II, 30 August 2005. See:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ilievaart-falls0805_7584smaller.jpg

The Skylon Tower was constructed by Pigott Construction of Hamilton, Ontario, on May 1964 at a cost of US$7 million, and opened on October 6, 1965. It stands at 160 meters (520 feet) from street level and 236 meters (775 feet) from the bottom of the falls.

Skylon Tower-collage                                          The Skylon Tower, different perspectives

It has 3 outside mounted “Yellow Bug” elevators which can carry passengers to the top of the tower in 52 seconds. An observation deck sits at the tower’s summit. Its colorful lights at night in recent years is also a sight to behold!

If you just want to go up the top and visit the observation deck, you will pay CAD16.24 (PHP637) for adults (13+) and CAD10.44 (PHP410) for children (4-12 years old); kids under 4 years of age are free. Special discounts may be offered for online tickets like CAD14.50 (PHP569) for adults and CAD8.50 (PHP333) for children. Be updated, visit: https://store.skylon.com/

You can enjoy lunch or dinner in its two restaurants at the top, and you can then have complimentary entry to the tower and observation deck – the lower Revolving Dining Room that seats 276 people and revolves once every hour (so be sure to reserve a table window side), and the upper Summit Suite Buffet.  Or try the fast food restaurants at the base of the tower, and stroll through the large amusement arcade and gift shops.

Visit the revolving Dining Room’s website for its menu. Prices are subject to H.S.T.1, and a 3% Attractions and Promotions Fee. Gratuities are left to the discretion of guests. For a complimentary elevation, a main course must be purchased, and the minimum charge per guest is CAD43 (PHP1,686). Anyway, if you do not go for such food, the breathtaking view of the Falls and surrounding areas will be worth it! It is open for lunch (11:30am-3pm), early dinner (4:30-5pm), and dinner (5pm onwards); savor the sunset and the awesome 360-degree view! Watch out for seasonal price changes and special offers at https://www.skylon.com/skylon-tower-menu/dinner/

For the Summit Suite Buffet menu, visit https://www.skylon.com/niagara-falls-dining/summit-suite-buffet/, the cost is CAD44.95 (PHP1,762) for adults and CAD17.95 (PHP703) for children. There are the special pricing for early bird (5-5:30pm) with reservations – CAD39.95 (PHP1,566) for adults and CAD15.95 (PHP625) for children.

b. The 175-foot (53.3 meter) ferris wheel called Niagara SkyWheel, is located in the middle of Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls, and opened on June 17, 2006, at a cost of US$10 million.

Its 42 Swiss-manufactured, fully enclosed passenger cars can carry 9 people each, heated in the winter, and air-conditioned in the warmer months. It is open all year, from 9:00 am – 1:00 am, giving passengers wonderful views of the Niagara River and the Horseshoe Falls and American Falls.

SkyWheel-collage       SkyWheel, Cliftton Hill, Niagara Falls, Ontario – different perspectives, July 2019

Adults (12 years and above) need to pay CAD12.99 (PHP510) and kids 3-12 years old, CAD6.99 (PHP274). Savor every minute of the 12-15 minute long ride! Get updates from https://www.cliftonhill.com/tickets/individual-ticket-prices

 

 

 

The information was obtained from the following Wikipedia pages: Niagara Falls, Ontario2; Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls3; Skylon Tower4, as well as the websites – https://www.niagaraparks.com/visit-niagara-parks/plan-your-visit/niagara-falls-geology-facts-figures/, and www.cliftonhill.com

I purposely converted CAD to PHP for the benefit of my Filipino readers, at an exchange rate of 1:30.2, rounding off PHP figures.

Here are a few tips for tourists, especially seniors, who plan to visit Niagara Falls:

1. Be prepared to walk all day. It was good that at 63-years old, I walk 4-5 km almost daily with my husband. However, we still got so tired with all the walking from the parking lot, around and along Clifton Hill, all the way almost to the end of the pedestrian walkway along the Canadian side of the falls, then back to Clifton Hill and the parking lot!

img006

img008The map above was obtained from the brochure of CitySightseeing Niagara. Visit    www.citysightseeingniagara.com

You might ask, is Niagara Falls Canada accessible? Absolutely! You have the following options, on a first-come first-serve basis: (a) some Niagara Falls hotels have their own wheelchairs and scooters available for guests so better inquire at the time of your booking to ensure that one will be available for you upon arrival and for use for the Falls; (b) a few Niagara Parks Canada attractions and other establishments offer free wheelchair rentals like: Table Rock Welcome Centre which has 8 wheelchairs available for rent with a credit card imprint  or other form of acceptable identification, Marineland (in the Aquarium Dome building adjacent to the right of the admission area), Floral Showhouse, Butterfly Conservatory, RentMe Niagara Falls offers mobility equipment rentals (wheelchairs, power wheelchairs and walkers) with same day delivery, Motion Specialities (located in St. Catherines, about 20 minutes away from Niagara Falls, which offers accessibility rentals but please book in advance, for pickup or delivery for a fee), Pharmashield Dispensary and Queen Street Pharmacy (just book at least one week in advance; delivery is available), and eSkoot Niagara (which provides mobility scooter rentals, with delivery and pickup from your Niagara accommodation for a fee only from March 31-November 1, 2019).

If you visit during winter months, inquire if wheelchairs can be taken outside their building locations.

#ExploreNiagara! Visit this website for related information on accessibility: https://www.niagarafallstourism.com/plan/accessibility/

2. Bring water because you need to hydrate yourself. Besides, bottled water is expensive there. You can also bring snacks, if desired. But do try the surrounding dining outlets, stalls and bars with your companions.

3. Bring CAD cash and/or your credit card. Going to Niagara falls is free but of course, you need to eat somewhere, proceed to Clifton Hill (see a related post) or nearby attractions, or buy souvenir items.

4. Fully charge your cellphones, GoPro, and power banks to get all the photos and videos you want.

5. Travel light and bring only essential items for your walk.

6. I recommend that you spend at least an overnight stay in the Niagara Falls area to see more of the falls and enjoy other activities nearby like gaming, wine tasting, and shopping in outlets and souvenir shops.

7. It is fascinating that daylight goes on till around 9:00 pm during summer. Experience Niagara Falls at night, i.e.,10 pm onwards during summertime, and witness its nightly illuminations and fireworks!

8. Bring your whole family. There is something somewhere for every age. In fact, make this a memorable bonding time for the whole family!

9. Definitely, do not go on a weekend during summertime to avoid the influx of so many tourists!

Now for my short, but very memorable, visit to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. We arrived before lunch, parked in the very spacious Clifton Hill parking lot.

We came from a long drive from Scarborough and shopped at nearby Niagara outlet shops, so we decided to dine at the Niagara Brewing Company for a quick bite and tasted their beer samplers. As expected, the place was full. We were ushered to a wooden table in the patio. We ordered Chicken Wings and Chicken Fingers; both were tasty and served at the right temperature. We enjoyed them with fries as well as samples of 8 brews. The rest rooms were clean and well supplied.

We then walked along the main road, going towards the falls. Not much to say since I did not enter any attraction, just took pictures of whatever we saw, due to the limited time we could stay. See a related post for my comments regarding Clifton Hill.

Our mistake, if you can call it, is that we visited the Niagara Falls area on a Sunday during summertime so the place was teeming with tourists. The elevated border of the pedestrian walkway, as well as the walkway itself, was crammed with tourists who seemed to stay so long and/or endlessly walk in various directions. More than once, I needed to ask for space to be able to take videos and photos.

The lines for the Voyage to the Falls (Hornblower Cruises on the Canadian side) and the Journey Behind the Falls (which takes about 45 minutes) were so long that my group opted to skip these adventures.

Hornblower-3Hornblower Voyage to the Falls dock and boat, July 2019

Hornblower-Horseshoe Falls-rainbowThe Hornblower nearing the Horseshoe Falls, July 2019

The helicopter tour was expensive. The seniors in the group were tired walking around so we also did not go to the Skylon Tower either. Surrounding restaurants were full and food/refreshment stalls also have long lines but we somehow found an ice cream stall.

We left around 9pm (but there was still daylight, can you believe that?) so we were not able to see Niagara by night, which we were told was a sight to see! Perhaps, this is one reason to return to this place and stay longer to visit the casinos and other surrounding attractions.

Now that I have seen the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, I am more keen on seeing it from the American side. Perhaps, someday soon. For those who have seen both sides, pray tell which is more beautiful and tell me why, will you?

We paid for our Niagara Falls visit and all comments are personal, based on my July 2019 experience.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re your visit to Niagara Falls, not only during summertime but other seasons as well. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post. Thank you.

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1The harmonized sales tax (HST) is a consumption tax in Canada. It is used in provinces where both the federal goods and services tax (GST) and the regional provincial sales tax (PST) have been combined into a single value added sales tax. This tax is in effect in five of the ten Canadian provincesNew BrunswickNewfoundland and LabradorNova ScotiaOntario and Prince Edward Island. The HST is 13% in Ontario.5 & 6

2“Niagara Falls, Ontario,” accessed August 6, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naiagara_Falls,_Ontario

3“Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls,“ accessed August 6, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifton_Hill,)Niagara_Falls

4“Skylon Tower,“ accessed August 6, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skylon_Tower

5https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonized_sales_tax

6https://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/tax/hst/