Friday, 3 September 2010

Canada Trip Day 11: Niagara Falls, Here I Come!

23 June 2010 - The visit to Niagara Falls (Wikipedia) was exciting. I made sure to include this in our itinerary. We took the Greyhound coach to get from Toronto to Niagara Falls. As much as traveling is fun and exciting, I tend to worry a lot. I was worried we might take the wrong bus, we miss the bus or we alight at the wrong stop. It drove me crazy and I think some of the fellow passengers whom I asked about the buses and stops knew.

Finding the Toronto Coach Terminal was a bit of a challenge because you do not see any buses along the front side of the building and can so easily miss the entrance as you are walking along the street, which was what exactly happened to us. A Japanese lady was asking us for directions when we were just as lost as she was! Somehow, pushing random doors along the building helped.

We stopped at St Catharines before heading towards Niagara Falls. I didn't know the stops to Niagara Falls and was panicking when we arrived at St Catharines. I knew the city name since the coach driver announced it but I saw a street named Niagara Street, which confused me. My sister was talking to some random person who sat next to her and I heard him mentioned that Niagara Falls was at the next stop. It was really hilarious when I later found out that the guy actually asked her to marry him. ROFL.

Having two days in Niagara Falls was not enough. It is a great place to visit although very touristy. It feels like there are more tourists than residents in the city. We stayed at Hostelling International - Niagara Falls, which was about 20 minutes to half an hour walk to Niagara Falls.

Since we arrived at about late afternoon and with the summer's lengthy daylight hours, we walked about 4-5 kilometres from the hostel to the falls area. The walk felt great as we were could see the Niagara River all along River Road.

View Larger Map

What I thought was so magical about Niagara Falls, the Horseshoe Fall in particular, is its shape, size and power. At a distance of about 700m, we could feel the mist of Niagara Falls pouring on us as though it was drizzling. The mist from impact of the falling water was eternally hovering over the fall. The elegant wall, wide and curved, of falling water was beautiful to watch. It was later when I went on the Maid of the Mist, a boat that sails into the fall area, did I have an experience of a life time of coming face-to-face with this monstrous beauty.

During this trip, I learned of the importance of Niagara Falls as an electrical power source to both US and Canada, as many power plants are built around this area since its discovery, which one involved a tunneling project like this. Numerous bridges have been built over Niagara Falls, the history of which scrolled over many pages as we see here.Many brave souls had set themselves on daredevil challenges such as to swim in the fall or cross the dangerous rapids along Niagara River, many of whom never returned alive.

Arriving the city of St Catharines

Hostelling International - Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Our 6-bed female dormitory room at HI-Niagara Falls, Ontario

Walking along River Road

Pale and dark teal-coloured Niagara River

House in construction. Houses are generally made of wood panels. According to my uncle, these are  wooden houses are more earthquake-resistant, as described in this article.

Along River Road, there are many houses which are turned into bed and breakfast accommodation.

Some old buildings or structures of Schoellkopf Power Plant along Niagara River, US border

Checked out the stone cliff and the remains of Schoellkopf Power Plant and read of its disaster here and here.

Rainbow Bridge that connects Canada and US

Walking under Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge with a glimpse of American Fall

American Falls, one of the falls of Niagara. There are three; Horseshoe, American and Bridal Veil. This may be very ignorant of me but I just learned this during the visit.

Niagara Falls city centre with Sheraton Hotel & Fallsview Casino Resort tower. Oakes Garden Theatre is on the left of this photo.

Walking towards Niagara Falls Market Place. Everything was closing by the time we got there.

Maid of the Mist Marketplace: Restaurants and Giftshops

Above the Maid of the Mist Market place is a spectacular view point of the Niagara Falls

We can take the stairs to go on this platform for a better view of Niagara Falls

People sitting along the balcony to rest while watching the falls

Mist of Horseshoe Falls of Niagara

Clifton Hill at Niagara Falls is like a destination of entertainment, food and shopping

We had dinner at Ruby Tuesday, delicious! Love the Fresh Garden Bar.

Entrance of Ruby Tuesday

Salad from the Fresh Garden Bar. Photo by Sakana

My sister ordered 9oz Steak & Lobster Tail. Check out their menu here. Photo by Sakana

Double chocolate cake with a scoop of vanilla icecream

Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers is just right across Ruby Tuesday. We took a table by a huge open wall and it was starting to get chilly. But, the view of American Falls was amazing with the setting sun.

View of American Falls from Ruby Tuesday

Movieland, also just right across Ruby Tuesday

Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls

Hard Rock Cafe, Niagara Falls

In 2010, Niagara Falls State Park celebrated 125 years

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