A Visit to Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada

One of my earliest childhood memories is of a visit to Niagara Falls when I was four years old. Everyone donned waterproof ponchos before we walked through the tunnels to view the falls from behind the water. This memory, oddly, is so much stronger than the fragments of looking down on the falls from the viewpoints, though there are snatches of that too.

There are certainly other waterfalls around the world that are impressive. I remember a later childhood visit to Iguaza Falls in South America (forever associated in my mind with nearby Itaipu Dam, which had our childish minds giggling at the idea of eating a poo). A decade later, Pete and I clambered up Jamaica’s Dunn’s River Falls on our honeymoon and more recently we made our way to many beautiful examples around Iceland.

But few are as iconic as Niagara Falls, which has been attracting travellers and tourists for centuries; tourism becoming the area’s main industry by the 1750s.

Niagara Falls on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -1633 Niagara Falls on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -1630

The Falls (of which there are three) sit about halfway along the Niagara River, a short waterway of just 36 miles which connects Lake Erie in the South to Lake Ontario in the North. The falls straddle the border between Canada and the United States and tourists visit from both sides, though I’d say the views are most spectacular from the Canadian side.

Niagara Falls on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -1635

The largest Niagara Fall is Horsehoe Falls, American Falls is next and Bridal Veil Falls is the smallest. The falls were formed at the end of the last ice age, when glaciers melted and waters from the newly formed lakes carved a way through the landscape, as they flowed North Eastwards to the Atlantic Ocean.

The best known attraction must surely be taking a boat ride into the heart of the gorge to view the falls up close.

Niagara Falls on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -100520 Niagara Falls on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -100351
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Niagara Falls on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -100925

From the American side, tours are run by Maid of the Mist, on boats of the same name. The original Maid of the Mist, launched in 1846, was actually a steamer designed for a passenger service between New York and present-day Toronto, with stops in Niagara on route. However, the ferry business was no longer profitable once the first Niagara Falls bridge was built, and the boat quickly became a tourist attraction instead.

Tours from the Canadian side are operated by Niagara Cruises on its Hornblower boats.

Niagara Falls on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -100820Niagara Falls on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -101049 Niagara Falls on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -101238 Niagara Falls on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -101335
Niagara Falls on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -101350
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Ponchos are definitely advisable for the 20 minute trip which first swings by American Falls before taking passengers right into the plumes of spray that reach skywards from the Horseshoe Falls. If you don’t mind getting wet, head for the upper decks and stake out a spot by the handrail. The view is equally impressive from the lower decks, but also (a little) dryer! To me, this is the quintessential Niagara Falls experience; not to be missed! Current ticket price is CAN$19.95 per adult.

Here’s a short video clip, starting at American Falls before panning around to Horsehoe Falls.

Another wonderful way to see the falls is by helicopter; soaring above the falls for a bird’s eye view was one of the highlights of my trip. Niagara Helicopters’ Classic Tour lasts 12 minutes, though that includes boarding time, so your time over the falls is a little less. The pilot makes sure to do a few figure eights to ensure that all passengers have a good view from different angles. The views are wonderful! Current price is CAN$140 per adult.

Niagara Falls on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -1636 Niagara Falls on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -110954
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Niagara Falls on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -1654 Niagara Falls on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -1648

View my short video clip of our helicopter journey over the falls here.

Kavey Eats visited Ontario as a guest of Destinations Canada. A big thanks to Niagara Cruises and Niagara Helicopters for making our day at the Falls so special.

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15 Comments to "A Visit to Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada"

  1. Kate | The Veg Space

    What a wonderful trip Kavey, looks like you had a fabulous time. Canada is top of my ‘to visit’ list at the moment, I’ve never been! Interesting what you said about your early memory being just of the plastic ponchos – I went on some fab trips with my parents when I was little but hardly remember any of the important stuff, just the little things – the inside of the lift going up the World Trade Center in New York, but not getting to the top or the views, the very rocky boat ride to the Statue of Liberty, but not the statue itself!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    It’s funny how childhood memories can be, isn’t it? I do remember standing behind the curtain of water too… but that’s it!
    I hope you make it to Canada soon!

    Reply
  2. Janie

    Oh boy, you’ve made me jealous Kavey! Definitely in the top five spots of my bucket list, love the shots from the helicopter – just wow!
    Janie x

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Thanks Janie, it was an amazing way to see it, looking down gives such a different perspective and the horsehoe shape really becomes more obvious!

    Reply
  3. kaveyeats

    Only 3 of the 6 of us (5 bloggers plus our lovely guide) went up so we had lots of space in the ‘copter too. Was amazing!

    Reply
  4. Camilla

    How amazing to visit Niagara Falls again and this time from a helicopter:-) Stunning scenery and what good weather you had on the day!

    Reply
  5. kaveyeats

    Heheh, worth a try but would never work at our end. I do all the trip planning, Pete never books any trips on his own. Of course, I take his tastes into account plus he knows I loooove the trip planning almost as much as the trip. Hope your OH gets the hint though!

    Reply
  6. kellie@foodtoglow

    I’m from the US but have never been up to see the Falls; and you’ve see them twice – and once by helicopter. Jealous? Me? Absolutely. Looks like you had a wonderful experience, Kavey. My sister – who is of course American – went last year and she said the Canadian side was more spectacular too. Pinned to my Dream Destinations board 🙂

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Oh I do hope you get to go, Kellie. They are an impressive sight. I am lucky to have holidayed often in the US, and visited over 30 states. This time was all about Canada though! 🙂

    Reply
  7. Choclette

    I’ve read several accounts of this trip now and I love everyone of them. I’ve dreamt about seeing the Niagara Falls ever since I can remember. What a wonderful trip.

    Reply

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