Canada #24 Niagara Falls
The mighty Niagara River flows for just 58 kilometres, between Lake Erie in the south northwards to Lake Ontario. In that short distance it moves at an average rate of 2,400 cubic metres per second. Several islands interrupt the course of the river while churning rapids and whirlpools are visible evidence of the water’s power.
Forming part of the international border between Canada and the United States of America, the Niagara River is visited each year by more than 30 million people. They all come to see its world famous falls.
Niagara Falls, at the southern end of the Niagara Gorge, consists of three waterfalls – the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. Water moving at a speed of up to 65 kilometres an hour flows over the falls at a rate of 168,000 cubic metres per minute. A veil of mist constantly shrouds the falls and on sunny days brilliant rainbows enhance the spectacle.
Getting up close to the falls means getting wet. At the Journey Behind the Falls, yellow ponchos are handed out before visitors descend 150 metres in an elevator to a tunnel at the base of Horseshoe Falls.
Two portals are located directly behind the falls; the water roars as it rushes by on its downward course.
At two more observation platforms right at the base of the falls, the thundering water crashes down before continuing on its way through the gorge.
Tourist boats dwarfed by the massive gorge sail in a circuit past all three falls, sometimes almost hidden in the spray. From the American side comes the Maid of the Mist, her passengers bedecked in blue ponchos, while on the Canadian side passengers on the Hornblower catamarans wear red.
Even with ponchos on everyone is damp, but no one minds as exhilaration and excitement overtake all other feelings.
When daylight fades, the falls take on a different personality. Illuminated in a parade of colours, the water glows in an intensity which deepens as the sky darkens.
Later in the night fireworks play over the falls in celebration of this masterpiece of nature. The brilliant bursts of light are the perfect finale to a day spent visiting the Niagara River.