|A room with a view|
Niagara Falls – wild white water
The mighty Niagara Falls spills out from the glacier green Niagara river. Still number 5 in the world’s most visited attractions list, the Falls straddle the border between the USA and Canada. They spill about six million cubic feet of water every single minute.
Staying on the 17th floor of the South Tower of the Hilton Hotel, we were thrilled to have a view of the American Falls from our window. We didn’t draw the curtains so it was the first thing we saw when we woke up!
|Water gallops over the Horseshoe Falls|
With over 22 million visitors a year Niagara remains incredibly popular. A whole tourist town has grown up around it.
Niagara’s heyday was in the 50’s. Back then, the Tower hotel was the tallest structure. It looks just like something out of Thunderbird’s set. Niagara was a top honeymoon destination back then and Marilyn Monroe got her big break in the film shot here of the same name.
|Thunderbirds are go!|
Today there is a lot of the more family attraction theme park about it, especially in the Clifton Hill area with Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Dracula’s castle and a million t shirt and candy shops lining the sidewalk (American for pavement) The giant Sky wheel looks fun though and I won’t have a word said against the Dinosaur crazy golf course which boasts a life size T Rex and a substantial plastic volcano which belched lava and real flames into the humid Canadian summer afternoon.
|Dinosaur golf – not ancient history|
Niagara Falls – the power of electricity
Crowds throng to the walkway overlooking the Falls. There must be thousands of pictures taken of them, and people in front of them every day. There are lots of water based activities too.
The Maid of the Mist takes you right up close. Journey behind the Falls takes you beneath the rushing torrent and Hornblower cruises are cool too.
The power of the Falls has been used to generate electricity for over a hundred years. There are still a number of power stations along their route. Some of are now decommissioned and the municipal council are currently deciding how best to make use of the empty buildings.
Niagra falls – history and heritage
But there’s more to Niagara than you might think. Niagara is a place with great historical significance. Just a twenty minute walk away from the hustle and bustle of Clifton Hill, or a couple of stops on the WEGO bus, you will find the Niagara Falls History Museum.
|The Maid of the Mist|
Housing a vast collection of this area’s history, the museum is a fascinating place to spend a couple of hours. There was a cool exhibition dedicated to the bloody battle of 1812. Britain fought here against the US, although the native Americans were on our side. As a colony of Great Britain, Canada got caught up in things and suffered a few invasions.
|Cool cultural collection|
There was also an exhibition dedicated to the history of the motel – a real icon of Americana. A motel – shortened from motor hotel – referred to a single story building where the doors face the parking lot for the convenience of the motorist.
As the provincial highways began to develop in the 1920’s long distance road journeys became more common. The need for inexpensive, easily accessible accommodation next to main routes grew. Often privately owned – as was the most famous motel – the Bates Motel – they reached their peak in popularity in the 60’s.
They were then were overtaken by the rise of the chain hotels. North Americans do love their cars. The museum has reconstructed a motel room with framed quotes from real Niagara honeymooners. They recall motel tales, such as how they struggled to get to sleep on a wobbly water bed.
Niagara Falls – Marilyn Monroe slept here
|Siren of the Falls – Marilyn in Niagara|