Posted by: kimmeroo | May 6, 2013

Niagara Falls

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the iconic Niagara Falls when work sent me there for a workshop (thanks, work). I had never been before – It’s quite a distance from home-sweet-home in northern Ontario, and it’s certainly not a vacation destination for us. Not really our style. That said, I was happy to have the opportunity to see it once! Also means I get to cross another item off my 30 Before 30 list (yeah, okay, I knew I was going when I wrote the list, but whatever).

Niagara Falls is an interesting place. On the one hand, it has some incredibly beautiful falls (duh). I can only imagine what is like to see these falls still surrounded by pure wilderness. The power of the water as it approaches the lip of the falls is astounding. As a canoeist, I couldn’t help imagine the feeling of being swept along in that current…yikes!

Falls

Niagara Falls really consists of two waterfalls. The top right-hang picture shows the American falls, and the other three pictures show the Canadian Falls, also known as Horseshoe Falls. In my totally unbiased Canadian opinion, the u-shaped Canadian Falls are way cooler :). But both are very impressive.

The rest of the area around the falls is impressive in a whole other way. I.e., it is pretty much the tackiest place I have ever seen. It was pretty hilarious. When I booked my hotel room I had the choice of a falls view or a city view. I chose the cheaper city view, not realizing the endless entertainment that view would provide. See, the specific street below the hotel is known as ‘Clifton Hill: The Street of Fun at the Falls.’ If you’re into tourist traps such as wax museums/fun houses/haunted houses/world record museums/amusement park rides/fudge shops/fun houses/etc., this is the street for you! It’s only maybe a kilometer long, but they sure didn’t waste any space. Must have one of the highest concentrations of Tacky Tourist Traps in the world. It was also a bit of sensory overload, since just about every building was blasting their own music or sound effects.

It was actually pretty fun to wander around the day after the workshop, but personally I wouldn’t plan to spend an extended period of time there.

Here are some scenes from The Street of Fun at night.

Collage1
And some daytime scenes.The upside down house was the first thing we saw out the hotel window. Gave us a good indication of what to expect!

tacky2
If Jurassic Park gave you nightmares, Niagara Falls might not be the place for you.

Dinos
And a few final scenes from my Clifton Hill wanderings. The sign on the bottom right makes me wonder if there is an inauthentic falls experience somewhere…?

Tacky1
There was still some snow at home when I went to Niagara Falls, so it was nice to enjoy the sun and some greenery. Once I had hit the point where The Street of Fun wasn’t so fun anymore, I parked it on a bench to eat lunch and do some reading before catching the bus to Toronto.

green

I should add that I discovered a whole other downtown area about 2.5km away when I walked to the bus station. I was pulling a suitcase and had a bus to catch so couldn’t check it out, but it looked more like a typical downtown in a quaint tourist town. A clean, pleasant street, with lots of little shops to wander through. So there is more to Niagara Falls than what I saw.

Have you ever been to Niagara Falls? What did you think? Any other stories of tourist traps to share?

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