Niagara Falls

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To celebrate the first big heat wave in Canada this year (yes, get over it — I’m Canadian. Half of the year, I complain about the cold, and I complain about the heat the rest of time. We call it the windchill/ humidex complaint here), we decided to drive to Niagara Falls thought the USA.

Last time I was there was 2005 but it was in early April and it was still cold (see… told you!) and it just wasn’t the same. This time, we drove across the State of New York and arrived in Niagara Falls on the US side. The park by the fall was open and we got very close to the Americans Falls.

Niagara Falls

The first big waterfalls I saw, a few years ago, were the Iguazu Falls, at the border of Argentina and Brazil. I had been told not to expect too much from Niagara after that but I still find the place amazing. Sure the waterfalls aren’t lost in the jungle but there’s the noise, the constant powerful water flow, the huge drop… I love it!

The first thing you can’t help noticing is the mist. It’s just amazing… water everywhere and on part of the promenade (mostly on the Canadian side), people are almost soaked. The mist hides part of the Canadian Niagara skyline when standing on the US side, as you can see below.

Arriving in Niagara (US Side) The US Falls

These are the American Falls. They drop about 21 meters and are wider than the Canadian falls (323 meters).

The Canadian Side Of The Falls The Casino District

There is a huge difference between Niagara in the US and Niagara in Canada. The US side, except for the park near the fall, is pretty shady. The once prosperous town seems now abandoned Most buildings spot broken windows and a lot are vacant, locals wander around and businesses are closed or bankrupted. On The other side, Niagara Ontario is like a mini-Vegas with its casinos, five-starts hotels, pricey restaurants, colorful neon billboards and advertisements minutes from the falls.

The Falls At Sunset The American And Canadian Falls

At sunset, the falls take this deep blue color… just beautiful.

The Skywheel Niagara By Night

We took a ride in the new Skywheel to take pictures from the top. At past 11pm, the night was just starting in Niagara Falls… People were already queuing at the local bars and discos, kids were playing video-games in the numerous arcades and the rest of us was just wandering between Ripley’s and IMAX theatres.

The following day, we headed to Toronto to attend the R.E.M concert.

Niagaras Main Street Niagara By Night
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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

25 Comments

  1. Beautiful!!! My goodness what a site that would be to see:) I absolutely love your photos chica:)

    Loris last great read…My New Makeover and More!

  2. Can never go wrong when we visited Niagara Falls. Love your beautiful shots and I must say that having been there in Summer & Winter I just love it even more.

    Did you do the lady in the mist?

  3. Oh wow, what beautiful shots! I love waterfalls, there’s something so natural and wondrous about them. I was there last ten years back!

    Did you go on a cruise on the ‘Maid of the Mist?’ I’ve still kept their water resistant blue coat as a souvenir.

    Celines last great read…Donation

  4. I go to university in Rochester, New York – minutes away from the falls. Maybe I will visit them when summer vacations end.

    Then again, it’s the US side…*shudder*

    Ulquiorras last great read…The Under Construction Rhyme

  5. Hi Zhu,
    I just loved it !
    I think that we would both be just as excited together… he he. I grew up in the US, as far away from these falls as you can imagine. I know it’s kind of a tourist trap, but I’am in awe about the natural part of the falls too.
    One day, I’ll see it.
    Great photos; thanks for sharing.

    Bises.

    barbaras last great read…Ups and downs

  6. Rayanne Langdon on

    I live so close to the Falls (relatively), but I’ve yet to go. Great shots, though! Canada has really marketed its side of the Falls pretty well.

    And, I’m with you on the heat/cold issue. I grew up in NL, so I didn’t have either. Ontario weather is crazy!

    Rayanne Langdons last great read…Amber Mac: Inspiring young women and marketers alike

  7. Ugh! I had no idea REM was in TO. Montreal however, is still the best place to see any show. I miss Montreal. 🙁

    I love going to the Falls we are only a few hours away. When I stand too close, the bottom of my feet start to tingle, some sort of strange fear response I guess.

    Coris last great read…First Day Of Work

  8. Froggywoogie on

    Awesome pictures. Never been there yet except 30 000 feet vertically over it but the view is different from that angle 🙂

  9. Beautiful pictures Zhu, I’m glad you had a great time, how was the REM concert? 😉

    I’m so sorry I couldn’t see you this weekend, but for sure I’ll meet you someday, please let me know when you are back!

    Aiglees last great read…Wonderland!

  10. SilverNeurotic on

    oh, how was the show?

    I haven’t been to the falls in so many years, but I kind of remember that strange Canadian building.

    SilverNeurotics last great read…Sure is quiet around these parts…

  11. I was just there last weekend and it was very hot. I like Niagara Falls and it’s pretty romantic. The casinos are nice too and there are plenty of stuff to do and see.

    bluefishs last great read…Food trip

  12. Hi Zhu,

    It’s wonderful really what Canada has done in relation to this magnificent natural wonder. It shows how much Canadians appreciate and respect nature’s gifts. The restaurants, stalls, shops, among others, provide tourists a totally packaged experience and a well organized trip, and gives the sight and sound of the falls the center stage for a pleasant and memorable journey.

    Contrast these with the US side and all you see are abandoned and decrepit buildings, no guides, no decent shops or diners. This is a reflection of their lack of concern and appreciation for this gift of nature.

    When profits fell, they packed up and left. Profit was their only concern. The Canadians continued and sustained their efforts. This is not to say that they are not profitable, but that the concern goes beyond financial matters. Therein lies the difference. You’re right in choosing to be a Canadian. That’s a good decision eh? 🙂 –Durano, done!

    durano lawayans last great read…Bare Bones Bank for the Boys

  13. Salut Zhu,

    Wow! Gorgeous photos, girl!
    It is a shame that the US side is shady, signs of the times, I guess *nodding*!
    I totally get you when you said that you love to listen to the power of the water running, falling…mamma mia; com’è bello!!

    Summer is also here, and it is hot as hell (thank heavens lol)! Our winter is mild but still I prefer summer time anytime lol…
    Perhaps the Portuguese are like Canadians, cause the Portuguese complain about their mild winter and then complain about their hot summer too LOL *nodding*!

    Lovely pictures, girl! Loved them!

    Cheers

    Max Coutinhos last great read…Pseudo-religious Leaders

  14. I’m sorry, but I have to laugh at durano lawayan’s comment. So, the way to embrace a natural wonder is to build a bunch of cheesy tourist traps around it? I like the falls (they are especially great on the Maid of the Mist boat) but I think the cities on both sides of them are extremely tacky and not worth spending time in.

    Jamess last great read…Ma belle panne de courant

  15. To continue, I really like what Quebec has done with Montmorency Falls. The natural setting has been preserved, with nothing more than a boardwalk around it. That’s how a great waterfall should be treated. All the casinos and other crap should be miles away.

    Jamess last great read…Ma belle panne de courant

  16. Hey, these pictures look familiar! I have my own set of these when I headed here a while ago! And this is just about 30 minutes away from where I live!

    I have to disagree with Durano’s comment above. Personally, I would not want artificial constructions around a sight. It makes the sight lose its originality. You’ve been to Machu Picchu, and I assume you passed by Aguascalientes. That was a bad town, all signage, the local flare is lost. I really do not understand why casinos would be built right next to the falls. Some people might appreciate casinos and pricey restaurants, building them next to sights as tourist traps, but one can find casinos and pricey restaurants everywhere. No need to go to a sight to find one. Building things around a sight is ok, as long as it contributes to its cultural value. I wonder what the cultural value of a casino is to Niagara Falls.

    Linguist-in-Waitings last great read…Mission Accomplished

  17. @Lori – Something different than Texas, isn’t it? 😉

    @expatraveler – We can exchange houses if you want, I’d love to visit BC!

    @shionge – I didn’t take the Maid Of Mist because it was too packed. I went behind the falls last time though. I’d love to see the falls mi-winter, with all the ice and snow…

    @Celine – Waterfalls are very soothing to me… I love them. I have yet to take the Maid of Mist, next time maybe!

    @Ulquiorra – But it’s easy to go on the Canadian side, minutes away. The American falls are quite good actually and you get a view view of the Horseshoe. Just the town is a bit shady.

    @barbara – The town itself is a tourist trap but I have seen worse… and at least, you can escape to the falls. I love them!

    @Rayanne Langdon – Glad to see I’m not the only one to think the weather here is crazy! Somehow, it makes me feel better 😆

    @Cori – I’m going to Montreal this summer to see Radiohead, never been there for a concert, we will see 😉

    I understand what you mean about the response to fear… did the same to em when walking in the glass ceiling on top of the CN Tower in TO!

    @Froggywoogie – You’re missing the water noise, that’s why 😉

    @Aiglee – No problem, we will meet next time! It was kind of a last minute thing!

    @johnada – We were very lucky, I think it was the first nice we this year. It got really hot in Toronto on Sunday though!

    @SilverNeurotic – The show was awesome, I’ll post pictures! Niagara Fall’s skyline is unforgettable… in good and bad.

    @bluefish – “The honeymoon capital of the world”! A bit too tacky for me but it’s nice for a WE. Lovely food blog you have by the way!

    @Shantanu – Ooops, sorry about the comment thing… I changed theme last week and spent a few days tweaking the result!

    @durano lawayan – I see your point and I see why some disagree on your comment. 😉 Niagara Falls is a bit weird because it’s so… mini Vegas. Great for tourists because it caters to everybody and it’s kind of a party town. Wouldn’t live there though… I guess it’s just different.

    @Shantanu – I only went behind the falls in 2005, I have yet to take the Maid ferry!

    @Max Coutinho – Nah, Europeans just like to complain about mild weather 😉

    Waterfalls are very soothing, aren’t they? I’m a water person ad I could spend hours looking at them!

    @James – I totally understand both his and your comment. I loved Iguazy as I said in my post because the falls are just lost in the jungle. Niagara is a different atmosphere… not always my kind but it’s pretty unique in a weird kind of way and fun for a couple of days. I visited Montmorency a few years ago (middle of the winter though…) and it’s different, I agree.

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – I understand your point. I guess Niagara Falls has been marketed for a long time and I wasn’t surprised the first time I went there. Was I disappointed? No, because I could still see the wonder and enjoy it. I don’t have to go to the casinos etc. I basically turn a blind eye. I felt the same way in Paris with Montmartre… nice place but a tourist trap and I was sad to see it this way.

  18. I loved my trip to Niagara falls and the pictures here reminded me how beautiful the falls are. Unfortunately when I went to Niagara, it was in December and it was freezing! *cough* Not the waters… but I was freezing because it was so cold! *lol*

    Angeles last great read…Road trip

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    • I’d say the Canadian side is much better (and I’m not being patriotic!).

      The US side is a bit dodgy, plus you are missing a good close-up of the horseshoes fall.

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