NOW YOU KNOW – CLIFTON HILL: ITS ORIGIN AND NATURE

Clifton Hill is a major tourist promenade of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. It offers an amusement area and center for every member of the family, day and night, with its gift and souvenir shops, wax museums, haunted houses, video arcades, restaurants, and themed attractions.

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Today, the Clifton Hill Tourist District includes Clifton Hill – “the Street of Fun by the Falls”, Falls Avenue, Victoria Avenue, Center Street and Bender Street. This area is the vibrant and colorful heart of the amusement and entertainment center of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. It consists of many museums, restaurants, attractions and activities for all ages. It is the second busiest tourist sector, next to the awesome Niagara Falls.

At night, The Hill, as it is known to Canadians and visitors, becomes a hub of nightlife activities consisting of pulsating sounds of music as well as a magical world of sparkling and glittering lights.

Its main street, also called Clifton Hill, leads to Niagara Falls and the Niagara River. It stretches from the River Road on the Niagara Parkway and intersects with Victoria Avenue. You definitely have to spend at least one night in this district, along with your visit to the Falls.Clifton Hill-to the Falls-titas.jpg

Here is the layout of Clifton Hill.1-fun pass-map-clifton hillThe photo was taken from the Clifton Hill Fun Pass brochure.

It looks like a fun, fun, fun place, right? I will make a post regarding a description of each attraction.

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But for now, here is an alphabetical list of exciting attractions that you and your family and friends can go to in Clifton Hill district:

  1. Big Top Amazing Mirror and Lazer Maze
  2. Bronto’s Adventure Playland
  3. Captain Jack’s Fun Centre
  4. Crystal Caves Mirror Maze Adventure
  5. Dinosaur Adventure Mini Golf
  6. Dracula’s Haunted Castle
  7. Fun House
  8. Ghost Blasters Dark Ride (part of Great Canadian Midway)
  9. Great Canadian Midway
  10. Guinness World Records Museum
  11. Haunted House
  12. House of Frankenstein Haunted House
  13. Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum
  14. Movieland Wax Museum
  15. Niagara SkyWheel Ferris Wheel
  16. Niagara Speedway
  17. Nightmares Fear Factory
  18. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum
  19. Ripley’s 4D Moving Theatre Ride
  20. Rock Legends Wax Museum
  21. Strike! Rock and Bowl
  22. Upside Down House
  23. Wizard’s Golf
  24. XD Theatre 6D Motion Ride
  25. Zombie Attack!

You will definitely get hungry or thirsty with all the walking, and the exciting attractions you and your companions will visit, not to mention your trek to and from the Niagara Falls.

Collage-Clifton Hill-restos.jpgSome picture inserts came from the Clifton Hill Fun Pass brochure.

So, here is a list of restaurants in Clifton Hill, alphabetically arranged, which I will feature in another post:

  1. Antica Pizzeria & Ristorante
  2. BeaverTails
  3. Boston Pizza
  4. Burger King
  5. Clifton Hill Family Restaurant
  6. Club Mardi Gras Niagara
  7. Dairy Queen
  8. Downhill Ice Cream
  9. Fallsview Buffet Restaurant
  10. Fudge Factory
  11. Guru Fine Indian Cuisine
  12. Hard Rock Cafe
  13. IHOP
  14. Kelsey’s Original Roadhouse
  15. Mama Mia’sItalian Eatery
  16. Maharaja Grand Indian Fine Dining
  17. Montana’s
  18. Niagara Brewing Company
  19. Pizza Pizza
  20. Rainforest Cafe
  21. Ruby Tuesday
  22. Starbucks
  23. Subway
  24. Sweet Jesus Niagara
  25. Sweets & Treats
  26. The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro
  27. Tim Hortons
  28. Wendy’s
  29. Yank’s Old Niagara Bar and Grill

collage-clifton hill nightlife.jpgA collage of Clifton Hill’s nightlife; photos taken from www.cliftonhill.com

Now, dearest Seniors and family, this destination is very much alive even at night featuring the following nightlife and entertainment options, in alphabetical order:

  1. Kelsey’s Bar and Grill
  2. Beer Garden Karaoke Patio
  3. Casino Niagara
  4. Hard Rock Night Club
  5. Greg Frewin Theatre
  6. Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort
  7. Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club Niagara Falls
  8. Seneca Queen Theatre
  9. Oh Canada Eh Dinner Show

Do you know how Clifton Hill became a popular tourist attraction? Who owned this Niagara Falls attraction through the years, till the present? Let Tita S tell you.

Initially, the land was acquired by the Philip Bender family in 1782 as part of a United Empire Loyalist land grant. This land is currently called “the Center” because it encompasses a major portion of the primary tourist core in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

In 1832, it was purchased by British Army officer Captain Ogden Creighton who served with the 70th and 81st Regiments in various parts of the world, including the Far East. He acquired a sizeable tract of land on what is now the south side of Clifton Hill as well as the area just beyond the top of the hill.

Creighton had this land surveyed, then made an urban plan for his town. He laid out the streets and building lots, naming the future settlement “Clifton Place”, presumably after Clifton, an inner suburb of the English port city of Bristol, located on the gorge of the River Avon.

In 1834, he called the primary street Ferry Road (now Clifton Hill) as the main street, named after the small rowboats which were utilized to transport people across the Niagara River between Canada and the USA at that time, approximately where the Hornblower Niagara Cruises loading dock now sits.

On the edge of the high bank facing the American Falls, Captain Creighton built his own residence, naming it Clifton Cottage. It stood where the Great Canadian Midway is now located.

The Creighton family left Niagara Falls in the early 1840s, moving first to Toronto and then to Brantford, Ontario.

In 1833, the first Clifton Hotel was built at the base of Ferry Road by Harmanus Crysler and became the best hotel available at that time, and there were very few buildings along Ferry Road.  A small school house occupied the south side of the road for a brief period of time.

In 1842, the American contractor from Pennsylvania named Samuel Zimmerman came to Niagara, and made his fortune on projects like the Second Welland Canal and the Great Western Railroad from Hamilton to Niagara Falls.

Ferry Road provided the primary access route to the edge of the Niagara Gorge and the ferry service below, until 1848, when the first International Suspension Bridge was completed and this became the new form of travel between Canada and the USA.

Upon Creighton’s death in 1850, his wife sold the property to Samuel Zimmerman, who, in turn had the Erie and Niagara Railway routed through this town.

He created an estate property along the south side of Ferry Road, that he called “Clifton Place”. While building his estate, Samuel Zimmerman lived in Captain Creighton’s tiny Clifton cottage which stood near Ferry Road leading to the current Maid of the Mist dock.

He planned to build a mansion to live in, once it was completed. On his estate, he undertook to create many gardens and several large fountains, including the Zimmerman Fountain which still exists down in Queen Victoria Park.

The estate of Samuel Zimmerman occupied the entire south side of Ferry Hill and was bounded by the river, Murray Hill and Ferry Road (now Victoria Avenue). Today, this property is owned by HOCO (Harry Oakes Company).

He then purchased land in the Village of Elgin, now the area of Queen Street, Park Street, Huron Street and Morrison Street, and in 1856, the boundaries expanded to include the area of the Table Rock, and the newly formed town which then had enough residents, and was renamed the town of Clifton.

In 1856, the Village of Clifton became large enough to warrant a post office. In the same year, the Village of Clifton and the north end Village of Elgin were amalgamated to become the Town of Clifton.

The only buildings in the area of “the Center” on Ferry Road were the Clifton House Hotel and the Erie & Niagara Railroad Station; currently, they would have been located at the bottom of the hill and top of the hill, respectively.

Zimmerman created an estate property along the south side of Ferry Hill, now Clifton Hill, with many gardens and fountains.

The first structures that Zimmerman built on his estate were four gatehouses. Each gatehouse, which was large enough to be a house, was located at each of the four entrances to the 52-acre estate. The Clifton Gate House was the last of four such gatehouses built in 1856.

Zimmerman built a large stable for his horses and carriages. The stable was constructed of imported English yellow brick, which cost $18,000. The stables continued to exist until the mid-1950’s when the new Park Motor Hotel (Comfort Inn-Clifton Hill) complex incorporated a section of the stable wall into the hotel structure.

After the construction of the gatehouses and the stable, Zimmerman began working on plans for his mansion which he called “Clifton Place”, and was estimated to cost $175,000.

Alas, Zimmerman saw only the foundations of his mansion built before he was killed on March 12, 1857 in the Desjardins Canal Railway accident and did not see the completion of his mansion.

Following Zimmerman’s death, the estate was taken over by the Bank of Upper Canada. The Bank went bankrupt several years later and his estate was put up for sale. United States Senator John T. Bush of Buffalo, New York, bought Zimmerman’s estate at the bargain price of 25 cents on the dollar. Bush bought Clifton Place and the Clifton House along with the adjoining properties.

Senator Bush fixed up the estate and completed the mansion that Samuel Zimmerman imagined. The Bush mansion contained a great hall, measuring 4.9 meters (16 feet) wide and 27.4 meters (90 feet) long ran through the center of the main floor. The main floor consisted of five huge rooms and a kitchen. The second floor consisted of five larger bedrooms and the third floor consisted of a theatre, complete with a stage. A winding staircase, made with 1,829 board meters (6,000 board feet) of solid black walnut, allowed access to the various floors. The doors were 3 meters (10 feet) high. 300,000 kilograms (300 tons) of flat stone were used for the walls and hand cut limestone was used for the stone trim.

The view of the Niagara Falls was available from the many windows on the upper floors, the various balconies, and from a little stone turret built into one wing of the mansion. To reach the turret, one had to climb out of the nearby window and walk across the slate roof.

Originally, the mansion was heated by large fireplaces, however it changed to two large furnaces. Lighting was through oil lamps, but was eventually converted to electricity.

Senator Bush and his family lived in the mansion for the next 50 years. Following his death, Josephine, his daughter, continued to live in the mansion until 1927. In 1928, Josephine sold the estate to Sir Harry Oakes (Welland Securities) who eventually tore down the mansion in 1937, to give way to the booming tourism industry in the area, with the whole property catering to tourism.

In October of 1881, upon the request of its residents, the town received permission from the government to change its name to the town of Niagara Falls.

In 1898, fire destroyed the Clifton Hotel. It was replaced by the new Clifton Hotel in 1905.

The boom of tourism in the1920’s in Niagara Falls led to the creation of various camps and hotels on Clifton Hill. Niagara Falls Tourist Camp was opened by Charles Burland. It was located on the north side of Clifton Hill between the Foxhead Inn (currently the Sheraton on the Falls) and the Alexandra Hotel (currently the Comfort Inn).

Earl McIntosh opened two campgrounds; the Clifton Touring Camp and the Clifton Camp. The Clifton Touring Camp was located on the south side of Clifton Hill (currently the Comfort Inn). McIntosh also opened his Clifton Camp located on the north side of Clifton Hill.

In 1925, Howard Fox opened his famous Foxhead Inn on the corner of Clifton Hill and Falls Avenue. The Inn was a subsidiary of the Clifton Hotel and was located on the current site of the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel.

Reinhart’s Riverhurst Inn was located on the north side of Clifton Hill between the Niagara Falls Tourist Camp and the Foxhead Inn.

For several years after Welland Securities (Harry Oakes) purchased the Bush estate, two of the gatehouses were used as private residences. In 1937, Welland Securities began using the Clifton Gate House as their general office. As the years passed, the Clifton Gate House was utilized as an antique gun museum and later became a souvenir store.

The mansion was left vacant for 10 years until Harry Oakes announced it would be torn down. Despite a public outcry to preserve the mansion, it was completely demolished by June 1, 1937.

Of the four gatehouses, the Queen Victoria Park house and Robinson Street house were the first to be removed. By 1937, only two gatehouses and the stable remained standing, but by the 1950’s, the Victoria Avenue gatehouse was demolished.

In the 1950’s, the land on the south side of Clifton Hill nearest Queen Victoria was offered to the American Government to build a new American Consulate, however this offer was never acted upon. The land was later sold.

In the late 1950’s, the Park Motor Hotel (currently the Comfort Inn – Clifton Hill) and the Fallsway Hotel (currently the Quality Inn, and now the site of the Niagara SkyWheel) were built on a large portion of the former Bush estate. Harry Oakes owned the Park Motor Hotel, but the Fallsway Motel was separately owned until Harry Oakes bought it.

In November 1965, the 109-year-old Clifton Gate House, located on the south side, was demolished to make way for a two-storey building (today known as the Hollywood Wax Museum) worth $170,000.

Oakes was a Parks Commissioner who donated the piece of land in which the Oakes Garden Theatre currently resides to the Niagara Parks Commission, in exchange for another plot of land located just above the park, which is today the south side of Clifton Hill, with the current large chains of attractions and retail outlets still owned and operated by the Oakes family.

Today, the property is owned by HOCO (Sir Harry Oakes Company). The only memory today of Zimmerman is the Zimmerman Fountain, a large stone fountain-pond built by Samuel below the moraine, now Queen Victoria Park.

Clifton Hill continued to evolve and was transformed into the hub of the tourist district, second only to Niagara Falls. It was from approximately the mid-60’s that Clifton Hill really became known as the “Street of Fun by the Falls” with all its hotels, attractions, souvenir shops, and restaurants popping up.

Clifton Hill Tourist District is definitely the heart of tourist entertainment at Niagara Falls, not only during daytime but nighttime as well. So why not stay, at least overnight!

Here are the online contact sites for you to explore:

Website: www.cliftonhill.com

Facebook: www.CliftonHill.com/fb

Instagram: @cliftonhillfun

Twitter: www.CliftonHill.com/twt

Google+: www.CliftonHill.com/gplus

Pinterest: www.CliftonHill.com/pin

The information was obtained from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifton_Hill,_Niagara_Falls1 , https://www.niagarafallsinfo.com/niagara-falls-history/niagara-falls-tourism-history/the-history-of-clifton-hill/, http://www.niagarafrontier.com/clifton.html, https://www.cliftonhill.com and https://www.niagarafallstourism.com.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you regarding Clifton Hill, the attractions you enjoyed the most, the food and beverage establishments you went to, and retail stores you patronized. 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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1“Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls” accessed August 6, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifton_Hill,_Niagara_Falls

 

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!

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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/

 

NOW YOU KNOW: NIAGARA FALLS

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-1                         Niagara Falls, picture taken from the Canadian side

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. It is open 24 hours, seven days a week, year round. However, park attractions are seasonal and have their own schedules.

I was able to visit the Canadian side on July 2019, and it is indeed an awesome beauty of nature. See my personal experience in my post: NIAGARA FALLS, THE CANADIAN SIDE: AN AWESOME SIGHT TO BEHOLD.

For more information about the falls, visit www.niagarafallsstatepark.com.

Before you go to my personal visit to the falls, here are 18 interesting facts about Niagara Falls:

1. 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.67926969_347169562860893_1535789689829588992_n

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.American Falls-Bridal Falls

The falls are 27 km (17 miles) north-northwest of Buffalo, New York, and 121 km (75 miles) south-southeast of Toronto, between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York.

The height of the American Falls ranges between 21-34 meters (70-110 feet), taken from the top of the falls to the top of the rock pile at the base, called the talus slope. The height of the falls from the top of the falls to the river is 57 meters (188 feet). Its crest line is approximately 260 meters (850 feet) wide.

The crest line of the Canadian Falls is approximately 670 meters (2,200 feet) wide. The plunge pool beneath the falls is 35 meters (100 feet) deep.

2. Now what is the thing called the Whirpool in Niagara Falls?

The huge volume of water rushing from the falls is crushed into the narrow Great Gorge, creating the Whirpool Rapids that stretch for 1.6 km (1 mile). The water surface here drops 15 meters (50 feet) and the rushing waters can reach speeds as high as 9 meters per second (30 feet per second)!

Whirlpool_aerial_view-Zwergelstern-wikiNiagara River: Whirlpool (aerial view). The outskirts of Niagara Falls and the Niagara Glen-View Park is in the lower left, and the Whirlpool Golf Course is in the upper right – own work, Zwergelstern – commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Niagara_Falls_Whirlpool_aerial_view.jpg

The Whirlpool is a basin 518 meters (1.700 feet) long by 365 meters (1,200 feet) wide, with depths up to 38 meters (125 feet). This is the elbow, where the river makes a sharp right-angled turn.

In the Whirlpool, you can see the “reversal phenomenon“. When the Niagara River is at full flow, the waters travel over the rapids and enter the pool, then travel counter-clockwise around the pool past the natural outlet. Pressure builds up when the water tries to cut across itself to reach the outlet, and this pressure forces the water under the incoming stream.

Whirlpool_Spanish_Aero_Car-CmgleeThe Niagara Whirlpool with an approaching Spanish Aero Car – own work, Cmglee – en.wikimedia.org/wiki/Niagara_Whirlpool#/media/File:Niagara_Whirlpool_Spanish_Aero_Car.jpg

The swirling waters create a vortex, or whirpool. The,n the waters continue their journey to Lake Ontario. If the water flow is low (water is diverted for hydroelectric purposes after 10pm every night), the reversal does not take place; the water merely moves clockwise through the pool and passes to the outlet.

3. Can you believe that Niagara Falls is not the tallest waterfall in the world, although it looks so huge? Nonetheless, what is so impressive and breathtaking is the combination of height and the volume of flowing water.

Just imagine that the combined falls have the highest flow rate of any waterfall in North America that has a vertical drop of more than 50 meters (160 feet).

Horseshoe Falls-1

More than 168,000 cubic meters (6 million cubic feet) of water go over the crestine of the falls every minute during peak daytime tourist hours!

The rapids above the falls reach a maximum speed of 40 km/hr or 25 mph, with the fastest speeds which occur at the falls themselves reaching 68 mph.

The water through the Whirlpool Rapids below the falls reaches 48 km/hr or 30 mph, and at Devil’s Hole Rapids 36 km/hr.

The International Boundary Waters Treaty stipulates the minimum amount of flow over the falls during daytime, nighttime, and the tourist season.

4. Now, where do you think all the water comes from? Let Tita S tell you. The Great Lakes is the world’s largest surface freshwater system, containing about 18% of the world’s supply. If spread out, the volume of water in the Great Lakes would cover North America in  about 1 meter (3.5 feet) of water,

The water flows from streams and rivers that empty into the Great Lakes, from Lake Superior, down through Niagara to Lake Ontario, then into the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. Water always flows down to the sea, and the land slopes downward through the Great Lakes Basin, from west to east, but the Niagara River actually flows north!

Today, less than 1% of the water of the Great Lakes is renewable on an annual basis (precipitation and groundwater). The rest is a legacy from the last ice age, or “fossil“ water. There is still water in the Great Lakes because they rely heavily on replenishment or renewal from precipitation (rain, sheet, snow and hail) and groundwater.

5. Did you know that there is a brown foam below Niagara Falls? What causes it?

The brown foam below Niagara Falls is a natural result of tons of water plummeting into the depths below but it is not dangerous! The brown color is clay, which contains suspended particles of decayed vegetative matter, mostly from the shallow eastern basin of Lake Erie.

6. With such a large amount of flowing water, one cannot help but ask how the water is used.

The waters of the Niagara Rover are used by a combined Canada-USA population of more than a million people, for a wide range of purposes, such as drinking water, recreation (boating, swimming, bird-watching), fishing, industrial cooling water supply, receiver of municipal and industrial effluents, and hydro-power generation (Sir Adam Beck Station in Ontario and New York State Power Authority).

7. So, how much water from the Falls is diverted?

The level of water flow from Lake Erie into the Niagara River has been regulated by the International Joint Commission (USA and Canada) since 1910, based on the 1950 Niagara Treaty. The treaty requires that during the daylight hours of the tourist season (8am-10pm local time, April 1-September 15) and 8am-9pm local time from September 16-October 31, the flow over Niagara Falls must not be less than 2,832 cubic meters per second (100,000 cubic feet per second). At other times, the flow must not be less than 1,416 cubic meters per second (50,000 cubic feet per second).

The treaty specifies that all water in excess of that required for domestic and sanitary purposes, navigation and the falls‘ flow may be diverted for power generation.

8. Boat cruises are available for tourists to be ferried to the falls. The American side offers the Maid of the Mist Boat Cruise, while the Hornblower Niagara Cruises services the Canadian side.

ships2-2Maid of the Mist (American boat – to the left, with passengers wearing blue raincoats) and the Hornblower (Canadian boat – to the right, with passengers wearing red raincoats)

9. There is a part of the pedestrian walkway at the brink of the falls of the Canadian side which is wet due to the mild mist or drizzle from the falls so many miles away! I experienced this when we were walking near the Horseshoe Falls. For those of you who went to the American side, is there such a part of the viewing walkway too?

pedestrian walkway-1                     Part of the pedestrian walkway, Canadian side, summer 2019

10. I was told that Niagara Falls ices up and the most recent occurrences were in 2014 and 2017. I could not imagine that such a large body of water could be frozen.

11. On the Canadian side, you can access the falls through Queen Victoria Park which features manicured gardens and walkways offering views of both the American and Horseshoe Falls.

Queen Victoria Park is the main parkland in Niagara Falls Canada, considered the centerpiece of the Niagara Falls recreational tourist area. It is opposite the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls, established by a Provincial Park Act in 1885 and opened in 1888. It is operated by the Niagara Parks Commission.

It is known for its outstanding flower displays of daffodils and roses in-season. It is also the focal point for the annual winter Festival of Lights.

Tesla-1The Nikola Tesla Monument, Queen Victoria Park, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada – I was too tired to cross the street so I just zoomed to take this statue. I salute Tesla for the electrification of the world through his modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system design. This statue shows Tesla standing atop an AC motor by sculptor Les Drysdale, unveiled  on July 9, 2006. You might ask, why this tribute? Well, Tesla designed the first hydro-electric power plant at Niagara Falls and, with George Westinghouse, started the electrification of the world.1

12. Clifton Hill is a major tourist promenade, with its main road leading to Niagara Falls and the Niagara River. It stretches from the River Road on the Niagara Parkway and intersects with Victoria Avenue. It offers a major amusement area and center for day and night life for all ages, with its gift shops, wax museums, haunted houses, video arcades, restaurants, and themed attractions. See a related post: Clifton Hill, Niagara: A Mecca of Fun.

13. The Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge, commonly known as the Rainbow Bridge, is an arch bridge across the Niagara River gorge which connects the cities of Niagara Falls, New York, USA (to the east), and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (to the west). It was designed by architect Richard (Su Min) Lee, constructed at a cost of US$4 million, and officially opened on November 1, 1941 (77 years ago). It has a total length of 1,450 feet (440 meters) with a height of 202 feet (62 meters). It is maintained by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission.

Rainbow Bridge-Collage                                 Rainbow Bridge, different perspectives, July 2019

14. The first time you actually see this wonderful natural attraction, you wonder how it was formed and how old it is.

Well, it was formed when glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation (the last Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago), and when the ice melted, the water from the newly formed Great Lakes carved a path through the Niagara Escarpment, en route to the Atlantic Ocean.

Southern Ontario, 18,000 years ago, was covered by 2-3 km thick of ice sheets and the latter advanced southward and gouged out the basins of the Great Lakes. They then melted northward for the last time and released vast quantities of melt water or fossil water into these basins.

The Niagara Peninsula became free of the ice about 12,500 years ago. The ice retreated northward, its melt waters began to flow down through what became Lake Erie, the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, originally with 5 spillways, at the escarpment at Queenston-Lewiston, and from there, the falls began its steady erosion through the bedrock.

Through time, the glacial melt waters were rerouted, but about 5,500 years ago, it once again routed through Southern Ontario, restoring the river and falls to their full power, and the falls reached the whirpool. A geological phenomenon occurred which left behind a 90-degree turn in the river we know today as the Whirlpool, and North America’s largest series of standing waves called the Whirlpool Rapids.

15. The Falls has moved back 7 miles in 12,500 years, and may be the fastest moving waterfalls in the world.

16. If you go close to the water you will see that it is green. Now, I wonder why it is so?

The green color of the Niagara River is proof of the erosive power of water. An estimated 60   tons of dissolved minerals are swept over Niagara Falls every minute! The green color comes from the dissolved salts and “rock flour“, i.e.,  very finely ground rock, picked up primarily from the limestone bed, but probably also from the shales and sandstones under the limestone cap at the falls.

17. Did this thought ever cross your mind while sitting at the edge of, or taking a picture along, the pedestrian walkway of the falls: What if I fall past the guardrails, can I swim and survive Niagara Falls?

Basically, you cannot survive, that is why some people atempt (and succeed) in committing suicide by falling there. Remember, 6 million cubic feet of water rush over the falls every minute during peak daytime hours, at 25-68 mph (above the falls-over the brink), and chances are, you will hit rocks!

If you do miss the rocks, your next threat are the bubbles. You see, the plunge pool under the waterfall is like a big surf and there is so much air mixed with the water so you cannot swim in it. Everything goes black in big surf because the sunlight is blocked out by the bubbles.

However, if you are so lucky and you survive the bubbles, the turbulence and darkness underwater would probably disorient you, and just hope and pray that you get pushed up! You also have to reckon with the debris around you; you will definitely get bashed underwater.

Well, if it is still not your time to go to heaven and manage to surface and float in a bruising current, the cold will hit you. Niagara’s waters are around 30ºF and it takes about 3 minutes before you black out, or the shock of cold water can trigger a heart attack.

The task force gives you less than 15 minutes in water that is freezing or below, and 15-30 minutes in water up to 40ºF. Pray that they rescue you before that!

Need I say more? Be careful, will you?!

18. With such a strong and powerful water flow every second 24/7, one cannot help but think of erosion and the future of Niagara Falls!

It seems that below the hard-rock formation, comprising about two-thirds of the cliff, lay the weaker, softer, sloping Rochester Formation (Lower Silurian). This formation was composed mainly of shale though it has some thin limestone layers and ancient fossils.

In time, the river eroded the soft layer that supported the hard layers, undercutting the hard caprock, which gave way in great chunks. This process, repeated countless times, eventually carved out the falls.

Alas, nothing lasts forever and the falls continues to erode but the rate has been greatly reduced due to flow control and diversion for hydro-power generation. Recession for at least the last 560 years has been estimated at 1-1.5 meters per year.

Its current rate of erosion is estimated at 30 cm (1 foot) per year, and could possibly be reduced to 1 foot per 10 years, a difficult responsibility of the International Joint Commission. Some major factors to reckon with include, among others: the abrasive action of the softer shales by fallen limestone boulders and no one knows when the next major rock falls will occur; climate change which may dry up the Great Lakes Basin and affect the water flow through the Niagara River; and, the action of frost from the spray and the dissolving action of the spray itself.

All things considered, scientists speculate that perhaps 2,000 years from now, the American Falls could dry up. The Canadian Falls will notch back for about 15,000 years, traveling back about 4  miles to a softer riverbed, after which the rate of erosion will change significantly, and the falls could be replaced by a series of rapids.

Fifty thousand years from now, at the present rate of erosion, the remaining 20 miles to Lake Erie will have been undermined. There will not be a falls anymore, but there will still be a river at work.

Let us all pray that the plans of the institutions responsible for the falls will succeed in this regard. Thank God it will not happen in our lifetime so, dearest Seniors, if you have not yet seen Niagara Falls, visit it soon and marvel at its beauty and power!

The information was obtained from the following Wikipedia pages: Niagara Falls, Ontario2; Rainbow Bridge (Niagara Falls) 3; Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls4; Skylon Tower5, and Queen Victoria Park6, as well as the websites – https://www.niagaraparks.com/visit-niagara-parks/plan-your-visit/niagara-falls-geology-facts-figures/, www.popularmechanics.com/adventure/outdoors/tips/a6960/how-to-survive-an-accidental-plunge-over-niagara-falls/ and www.cliftonhill.com

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re other facts you might want to add to this post, or comment on the above facts. 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. Do visit my post: NIAGARA FALLS, THE CANADIAN SIDE: AN AWESOME SIGHT TO BEHOLD. Thank you.

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1www.teslasociety.com/victoria.htm

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

3Rainbow Bridge (Niagara Falls),“ accessed August 6, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_Bridge_(Niagara_Falls)

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

5Skylon Tower,“ accessed August 6, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skylon_Tower

6Queen Victoria Park,“ accessed August 6, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Victoria_Park