Sunday, July 17, 2016

Niagara Falls

From the very first glimpse of The Falls all I could say was, "WOW!"

Connie drove us the 3  hours from Collingwood to spend the day playing tourist.

There are dozens of perfect spots to view the falls--and I took a picture at every one of them.  This is a view of the American Falls on the left, the smaller Bridal Veil Falls on the right and the US across the river.

Upper photo--Bridal Veil and American Falls from the right..

Lower photo--from the left.

Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between Canada and the United States.  With New York  State on one side and Ontario Province on the other they form the southern end of the Niagara Gorge

From largest to smallest, the three waterfalls are Horseshoe Falls (far right above), Bridal Veil Falls and   American Falls.  Horseshoe Falls lies mostly on the Canadian side and, separated by Goat Island, the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are entirely on the US side.

The international boundary line was originally drawn through horseshoe falls in 1819, but the boundary has long been in dispute due to natural erosion.  It is estimated that the three falls will completely disappear within the next 50,000 years--so hurry, you don't want to miss them.

The Niagara River drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario.  The combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world with a vertical drop of more than 165 feet.  Horseshoe Falls (above)  is the single most powerful waterfall in North America.

More than six million cubic feet of water falls over the crest line every minute during its highest flow.  

Watching the boats carrying tourists up close to the falls was irresistible.

For Connie it wasn't even a question--we were going!

The cruise line on the Canadian side is called Hornblower Cruises...
The US side is called Maid of the Mist.

There were so many people but the line moved very fast--in only 10 minutes we were on board.

It was interesting to see the variety of peoples that boarded...

and to hear the dozens of languages spoken.

The rainbow bridge with Ft Niagara on the US side in the background.

Observation deck on the US side.

In 1901a 63-year-old Michigan school teacher, Annie Edson Taylor, became the first person to go over the falls in a barrel as a publicity stunt. She survived, bleeding, but otherwise unharmed.  Soon after exiting the barrel, she said, "No one ought ever do that again."

Despite Taylor's advice,  14 people have intentionally gone over the falls in or on a device. 
Some survived, unharmed, but others drowned or were severely injured.  Survivors face charges and stiff fines, as it is illegal on both sides of the border, to attempt to go over the falls.

Two less adventurous females donned their classy plastic bag  raincoats and staked out a good spot on the hand rail of the Hornblower.

I liked this sign on the bulkhead.  I would like to see more like it on the US side.

  There is no describing the thundering roar of American Falls.

We were close enough to feel the spray.

WOW!  This must be incredible in the winter when ice begins to form.

There are walkways that take you behind the falls but the boat tour was enough for us.  Someday I may come back and do the walk.

Horseshoe falls was like reaching the mountaintop!  The roar was overwhelming and there was so much spray hitting us I couldn't hold my eyes open.

The glimpses as the boat drew closer were eerily unreal.

I was afraid my camera wouldn't survive this.  If this had been salt water it probably wouldn't have.

Did we enjoy it?  What do you think?

After our boat ride we did a car tour through the town of Niagara.  

I somehow had a preconceived idea that nothing but parkland surrounded the river and the Falls but I was very wrong...

There is a good size town full of tourist activities....

from a casino, 



exhausted tourists, 

And lots more photo opportunities.


The only thing we missed that I would love to do if I ever come back here--to go to the top of Skylon Tower and take a picture from there of the Falls.

Gate House
Ontario Power Company (Building no longer in operation)

The first known effort to harness the waters was in 1759 to power a sawmill.

Over the years the Falls have been used to power a number of gristmills, a tannery, and eventually to provide electricity to New York and to Ontario.

Many 1000's of gallons of water are diverted away from the Falls and channeled through conduits to power hydro-electric plants then it is returned to the river downstream well past the Falls.

To preserve the natural beauty of the Falls a 1950 treaty signed by the US and Canada limited water usage by the power plants.  The treaty allows higher summertime diversion at night when tourists are fewer and during the winter months when there are even fewer tourists.  This treaty, designed to ensure an unbroken curtain of water flowing over the falls, states that during daylight time (April to October--tourist season) there must be 100.000 cubic feet per second of water flowing over the falls but during the night and in the off-season there must be 50,000 cubic feet per second.

Niagara is an Iroquois word meaning 'Thunder of  the Waters'

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