The majestic rumble of the falls can be heard from miles away, but the sight itself never fails to cause the viewer to pause and gaze in wonder at the 600,000 gallon per second mass of hissing, frothing water crashing over a 170 foot cliff amid huge clouds of spray and mist.
The Canadian Falls, is also called the Horseshoe Falls (because of its shape). A small body of land known as Goat Island divides the river into two channels. On one side is the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, and on the far side across the border is the smaller, American Falls. On sunny days rainbows rise just above the mists.
The Rainbow Bridge, the Queenston Bridge and the Bridge Street Bridge each span the distance between the cities of Niagara Falls, New York, USA and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada: two totally different worlds. Across the Canadian border in New York State, the area beyond Niagara Falls is filled with the charm and beauty of small rural towns. A State Park and a large industrial area of Niagara Falls, New York border the American Falls.
In the City of Niagara Falls, Ontario (the Canadian side) can be found acre after acre of meticulously landscaped lawns and a profusion of colorful flower beds, all open at no charge to the public. There has been a tremendous building boom in recent years especially in the Oakes Drive and Fallsview area. Hotels have been constructed, existing facilities modernized, and emphasis placed on esthetically pleasing architecture that blends with the incredibly beautiful natural features. One street, Clifton Avenue, retains a carnival midway atmosphere, but there is a definite advantage to having all of the congestion and glitz confined to one minute area. Controlled and planned growth has prevented the proliferation of this type of attraction elsewhere.
Throughout the area, historical sites have been preserved. The Oakes mansion now serves as the headquarters of the Niagara Parks Commission, but its first floor remains as it was in the lifetime of philanthropist Sir Harry Oakes. Fort Erie has been restored and welcomes visitors to reenactments of military life in the early 19th century.
The Niagara Parks Commission operates a School of Horticulture on the grounds of its Botanical Gardens. Established in 1936, this is one of the few residential schools for apprentice gardeners. A greenhouse that is second to none is open year round with free admission and outstanding floral exhibits that change with the seasons. A family oriented vacation destination, Niagara Falls Ontario offers hundreds of acres of parks with broad lawns and shade trees; free boat launching areas; covered pavilions with picnic tables along the Niagara Parkway.
A recreation trail runs parallel to the Niagara River from Lake Erie ( site of Historic Fort Erie) in the south, to Lake Ontario (Fort George) and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. This popular trail is used for jogging, biking, and walking, and has historic interpretative plaques placed along its length. The Falls are illuminated year round as an international project. The beautiful display of the various colors lighting the Falls is viewed nightly by many visitors. Friday night fireworks at the Falls are also a favorite.
Casino Niagara has become popular with thousands. Its attractive interior, excellent restaurants and interesting shops, combined with a wide variety of games of chance and a comedy club, have attracted patrons from the United States, Canada, and from other countries as well. June, 2004 marked the eagerly anticipated opening of a second casino in the Fallsview area. Named Niagara Fallsview, the casino is part of a luxury Resort complex which is lavishly appointed. The huge entry courtyard features three bridges to the front door, representing the three local bridges connecting Canada with the United States. An extensive Galleria showcases a street-long expanse of exclusive boutiques. The casino portion of Niagara Fallsview spans 200,000 square feet on one floor. A 1500 seat theater adjoins the gaming area, where top name entertainment is scheduled throughout the year.
The city's musical offerings span the tastes of a broad spectrum of visitors. The Hard Rock Café is usually filled to capacity with guests who enter along the "sidewalk of the stars" in which one finds personalized paving stones from many well known stage and screen personalities. Niagara Concerts offers world class ballet, instrumental concerts, and symphony.
Niagara-on-the Lake is a delightfully picturesque town of 13,000 at the northern end of the Falls, on the shores of Lake Ontario. It is graced with lovely 19th century homes set in beautiful gardens. There are many shops and boutiques to delight the visitor. The town has three theaters and is especially famous for its annual George Bernard Shaw festival. Vineyards and wine tasting tours are another popular attraction.
The Niagara Falls area is known for both winter and summer sports. Golf, hockey, skiing, fishing and boating are among these. Experience the magic of the Niagara region soon. It is an unforgettable travel destination: home of the famous Falls, and so much more!