Toronto 2017: Niagara Falls

In the 2017, one of my best friends since childhood was living in Toronto. During his time out there I made a few trips to visit him. It was both for spending time hanging out together and also for seeing some of the sights of Toronto as prior to visiting him I only have been through the airport. One day we rented a car a made the drive down to Niagara Falls. We ended parking fairly close to the falls themselves and when we got out of the car we decided to hop across the street to the viewing area right next to the falls. The first thing you notice when you get closer up to the falls like in the picture above is the sound. Millions of liters at a time pouring over the edge and splashing on rocks nearly one hundred meters below can get fairly loud.

From the observation area we stood at, you could get surprisingly close to the edge of Horseshoe Falls here.

The area itself contains three waterfalls. The biggest being Horseshoe Falls while there are two smaller ones opposite of the Canadian side called American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. You’ll see them a few pictures further down.

After getting our fill of the observation area, we wandered into town to get some food and such. Niagara Falls is a big tourist trap as one might imagine, but we weren’t really interested in visiting much of the amenities offered. However, to get a nice bird’s eye view of the falls, we did shell out a few dollars to get on the Ferris wheel. We did this despite both of us being quite afraid of heights.

In this picture you can see the Skylon Tower on the right. It’s two restaurants and the tower rotates 360 degrees every hour. We had just eaten a bit earlier so we never went up, although they do have an observation area that we maybe should have checked out instead of the Ferris wheel.

Here are the other two falls viewed from the Ferris wheel. On the left is American Falls, and that thin little strip on the right is Bridal Veil Falls. Splitting up the falls and the Niagara River is Goat Island to the right.

On both the American and Canadian sides, there are boat tours that get up close and personal with Horseshoe Falls. Here you can see the Canadian tour boat, called the Hornblower, making its way into the falls. The US side also has a boat tour that essentially does the same trip for US visitors and their boat is called the Maid of the Mist.

My friend and I decided it would be worth taking this ride as it was relatively inexpensive. So we hopped on and donned the light red raincoats we were given, which was essentially a red garbage bag with arm holes and a hood. On the American side they got blue ones.

Getting onto the Hornblower here, not sure if you call this ground level or water level though.

Here you can see American Falls and the Maid of the Mist is heading out before we did. It looks like for safety purposes only one of the two boats heads into the Horsehoe Falls at a time. Which is probably for the best.

This was the last picture I got before we entered the mist around the falls, after that all the pictures were just white with water drops on the lens. Just as it was above the falls, it was quite noisy and my friend and I had to yell to hear each other.

After we got back out of the falls we were soaked despite wearing our highly sophisticated water proof garbage bags. I tried to recommend that we do the zip line pictured here to dry off quicker, however my friend was not having any of it. So we found a grassy spot in a nearby park and laid under the warm sun to dry off for a bit before calling it and day and making the drive back to Toronto.

Without doing much research on a destination you plan to visit and just winging it, you always run the risk of missing out on something. Unfortunately there are two things that we missed that I feel we really would have enjoyed. First one is the Niagara Parks Power Station tour which lets you explore the now decommission hydroelectric station and take a trip back in time to explore the engineering feats that started back in 1905. Second is a tour called the Journey Behind the Falls. Similar to the Hornblower ride, this will get you close to the falls but in a different sense. This is a walking tour over 100’ down in tunnels and caverns next to Horseshoe Falls where there are openings allowing you to view the falls from behind and get extremely close to them.

As mentioned, much of Niagara Falls is a tourist trap, but if you’re ever in Toronto and have time to spend, I would highly recommend making the trip. Waterfalls of this magnitude aren’t very common around the world so you never know when you’ll get another chance to see one.