Niagara falls, Canada - Travel #72
Dear friends, let me take you on a whirlwind adventure to the breath-taking, Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls is made up of three waterfalls. The largest being Horseshoe Falls also known as the Canadian Falls, the middle being the American Falls and the smallest, Bridal Veil Falls. Niagara Falls stretches' over 188 feet/57 metres in height and has the world's highest flow rate. The sheer force of the falls is incredible. It is estimated that over 28 million liters of water travel down the falls every second. It was once speculated that Niagara Falls was man-made, this is a myth. Niagara Falls is 100% one of natures remarkable creations. Making this spectacle, one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. Niagara Falls can be found on Niagara river, straddling the United States and Canadian border. The Canadians and Americans often argue over which country has the better view, I only viewed the falls from the Canadian side and I can say it was pretty spectacular.
To find me, look for my Chihuahua's face
"Niagara Falls is 100% one of natures remarkable creations."
My adventure begins on Canada Day long weekend in Toronto, Canada. Let me start off by saying this weekend was an absolute scorcher, temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius/104 Fahrenheit. Being from the Far East myself, I quite enjoy warm weather. However, if you are susceptible to the heat, I suggest going in either Spring or Autumn. I was in Toronto for Boeing 737 cabin manager training, luckily for me, my airline sent me for 4 days when I only had 2 days of actual training. This of course meant, I had to visit the falls. Niagara Falls is only about an hour and 15 minutes from Downtown Toronto by car or coach. There are plenty of tours that leave from most of the hotels in Toronto, including mine which was the Hilton Garden Inn at Toronto Airport. The airline I worked for was always wonderful at putting me up in 4/5 star hotels. The Hilton Garden Inn was great, I had everything I needed in a hotel room. It even had a coffee machine and dairy-free creamer provided, perfect for a travelling vegan like myself.
Hilton Garden Inn, Toronto
"Niagara Falls is only about an hour and 15 minutes from Downtown Toronto by car or coach."
Before I headed out on my all-day tour, I decided to pop over to Vegandale. I had heard so much about it while I was living in Australia. It is a whole suburb in downtown Toronto dedicated to vegan businesses. I was absolutely in heaven. Living an ethical lifestyle is incredibly important to me. I will definitely be back to visit Vegandale. While I was walking down the street, I was given a free dairy-free ice cold coffee. Just what I needed on a hot summers morning. I walked from Vegandale to the CN Tower before heading back to my hotel to begin my tour.
"Living an ethical lifestyle is incredibly important to me."
The CN Tower
I was so excited to board my coach tour, the driver picked me up at 8am and we weren't expected to be back until 6pm. The driver was very friendly and knowledgeable. He outlined our itinerary for the day and we set off, bound for Niagara Falls. This was definitely a tick off my bucket list. We drove past the Rogers Centre and CN Tower and headed to our first stop, Pillitteri Estates Winery. I am not a wine drinker at all, I hate the stuff. To be honest, I don't drink any alcohol, I just can't stand the taste. I much prefer a Frappuccino. As this stop was part of the tour, I decided to explore the winery and partake in the wine tasting. I can't say that the wine tasting made me any fonder of wine. Canada is famous for ice wine. Ice wine is sweet, or so they say, no wine ever tastes sweet to me. Predominantly a dessert wine, ice wine is produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. This allows the water to freeze but the sugar to remain un-frozen, causing a more concentrated grape juice to develop. The grapes are picked at minus 8 degrees Celsius/17 Fahrenheit. While at the winery, we were able to do some shopping, they offered a wonderful array of fresh fruits, homemade jams and ice wine of course. I got myself some lovely bags of fresh fruit.
Pillitteri Estates Winery
" Predominantly a dessert wine, ice wine is produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine."
Ice wine tasting
I posed with the glass then got myself a fresh iced coffee
After all the wine tasting was done, we headed back onto the coach onward to our next stop. I always thought that you didn't actually drink the wine when tasting it. Seems like the other people on my tour drank it anyway and were quite tipsy. It made for a funny coach ride that I will not be forgetting anytime soon. We were taken on a picturesque drive through the historic town of Niagara on the Lake, the location of the War of 1812. Landscaped gardens and stunning manors filled the neighbourhoods. We passed some interesting sites including a tiny church, a monument dedicated to a Canadian war hero that is said to be haunted and a giant living clock made of flowers. Ontario, you are a fascinating place.
Living Water Wayside Chapel
The Living Water Wayside Chapel is famous for being in the Guinness Book of World Records, as the smallest chapel in the World.
Brock's Monument dedicated to Major General Sir Isaac Brock. He was killed on October 13th, 1812, while leading a charge against American forces at the Battle of Queenston Heights, during the War of 1812.
Niagara Parks Floral Clock
The Niagara parks floral clock is a unique and intricate design made up of 20,000 flowers that are changed twice each year.
As we continued on our tour, we had a couple more stops before we reached the main event of Niagara Falls. This one took my breath away, the Whirlpool aero car station. I have always been fascinated by water. Even though I have lived on a ship at sea for many years, that fascination has never worn off. The first thing that struck me when I got off the coach at the Whirlpool aero station was, the striking colour of the water. It was a incredible swirl of teal and turquoise. I was mesmerized. Maybe the Whirlpool was hypnotizing me. The Niagara Whirlpool is naturally occurring within the Niagara River, in a section called, the Niagara Gorge. Located just downstream from Niagara Falls. The whirlpool's greatest depth is 125 feet/38 metres. This natural phenomenon is so amazing that a cable car line was constructed directly across it so you can get a prefect look into the centre of the Whirlpool.
Whirlpool Aero Car
"The Niagara Whirlpool is naturally occurring within the Niagara River, in a section called, the Niagara Gorge."
It was hard to leave the Whirlpool, but my belly was starting to rumble. Luckily, our final stop before we reached Niagara Falls was for our lunch and souvenir shop. Our coach driver Scott took us to the Big Hungry Moose Food Market and Souvenir City. I was delighted to find the famous Canadian dish of Poutine available here with a plant-based version on offer. I have to admit, I was impressed with Vancouver's vegan variety but Toronto has been absolutely fantastic as well. I think that Canada is leading the world with plant-based variety and I couldn't be happier. Poutine is a dish that originates from Quebec. It consists of French fries, cheese curds and brown gravy. The food market had plenty of variety to suit everyone's taste buds. After enjoying my poutine, I headed into the souvenir shop. As a professional travel blogger, my favourite souvenirs are photographs and videos. However, I do love a good souvenir, especially ornate magnets. They're light and portable. This makes them a practical choice for me especially when moving countries is something my family and I tend to do every decade or so.
I bought a mini version of this plate, this one is a huge 10 foot
"Poutine is a dish that originates from Quebec. It consists of French fries, cheese curds and brown gravy."
With a full belly and a bag of souvenirs, we hopped back onto the coach, bound for Niagara Falls. The excitement was so hard to contain. I had been looking forward to seeing the falls all day. I shot off the coach as soon as it stopped like a bat out of hell. The air was cool with the mist from the falls and the roar of the water was loud and invigorating. There is an incredible contrast here, one I had not seen before. I have traveled to natural wonders all over the world, from Uluru in Australia to the Mayan Pyramids in Mexico. They are usually situated a long way from civilization. Here at Niagara falls, on one side of the road you have the massive falls and on the other, there's hotels, restaurants and even a casino. As convenient and amazing as this was, it did remind me of the sad reality of how much our human population is infringing on the natural world.
Niagara Falls City
"The air was cool with the mist from the falls and the roar of the water was loud and invigorating."
Ziplining- Wildplay Niagara
Wildplay Niagara is a Zipline to the Falls. This zipline takes you on a breathtaking ride into the gorge, where you’ll travel down 2,200 feet/670 metres to the observation deck at the base of Horseshoe Falls.
My tour included a ticket for the Hornblower cruise that sails under the falls. Both the United States and Canada have their own ships that sail underneath the falls. Canada has the red Hornblower ships and the United States has the blue Maid of the Mist ships. I highly recommend getting your tickets prior to arriving to avoid any delays in waiting in line. Of course once you have your ticket, there still is a little bit of a wait. But this is to be expected with any international attraction. There are several ships running at any given time and I am very happy to say that the ships are wheelchair accessible. In fact, every aspect of this tour has been wheelchair accessible. I always make it a point to mention this as my younger brother Scott is wheelchair bound.
I am delighted to be here
"Canada has the red Hornblower ships and the United States has the blue Maid of the Mist ships."
Just as you are boarding the ship, you are given a complementary waterproof poncho. Well, I say waterproof, it keeps a little bit of the water off but be prepared to get pretty wet. To be honest, it's all a part of the fun. Once your on the ship, it can get pretty squishy as they do try and get as many people on at a time. Being this close to the falls is just magical. The sound of the water is so intense and the spray from the falls is light and refreshing, especially on a hot summer's day. Ensure that you have a waterproof case for your camera and some sort of secure strap so you don't drop it the river. I am sure if you've heard of Niagara Falls then you've also heard of people going over the falls in a barrel. Sounds completely crazy, because it is. 19 crazy people have tried to ride Niagara Falls in a barrel. Of which only 9 had success, 6 were stopped before they could attempt it and sadly, 4 died. On average, between 20 and 30 people die going over the falls each year to this day. The majority of these deaths are suicides, and they don't bother with the barrel.
"Being this close to the falls is just magical."
The American side, spot their yellow ponchos
Undoubtedly, the best part of the trip is getting to go under the falls and get soaked. As you can imagine, everyone screamed and cheered with joy as the ship ducked under the curtain of water. The screaming even with the large amount of people on the ship was drowned out by the sound of the water. Another handy tip, hold on or you will fall over, not overboard as the ships are very safe but just on the deck. Another beautiful natural phenomenon you can experience at the falls is seeing a rainbow or two. The water flows down from such a great height and as it crashes into the river below it creates a mist of tiny water droplets. This creates the ideal conditions as sunlight passes through the mist, it results in the formation of stunning rainbows over the falls.
"The water flows down from such a great height and as it crashes into the river below it creates a mist of tiny water droplets. This creates the ideal conditions as sunlight passes through the mist, it results in the formation of stunning rainbows over the falls."
Soaked and happy
Once I hopped off the ship, I had some time to explore the area around the falls. I really wasn't interested in going inside anywhere. I mean, I am here at Niagara Falls and want to make the most of the time I have. At the top of the falls, there is a charming building that looks a bit like something out of Disneyland, this is the Welcome centre. It also houses a restaurant and function rooms where events like weddings and parties are held. The entire area is very nicely designed and kept impeccably clean. As I mentioned earlier, there are lots of different activities to keep you entertained. Niagara Falls really is a destination for everyone.
"Niagara Falls really is a destination for everyone."
As my day drew to a close, I slowly made my way back to the coach pick up point for the ride back into Toronto. I highly recommend a visit to Niagara Falls. It is a place of such fierce beauty and wonder. Yet it sits on the doorstep of hotels, restaurants and casinos. I like things as wild as nature to stay wild but of course as our population expands, nature gets pushed back. I hope that you have taken something positive away from my blog. Maybe encouraged you to try a vegan meal, travel somewhere new or just appreciate mother nature and give her the respect she deserves. As with everything, in the end, mother nature will claim back the earth, just look at some recent photographs of Chernobyl in the Ukraine .
Toronto by Night
On the plane and ready for my next adventure
I hope you have enjoyed my blog on Niagara Falls, Canada, thank you for reading, I look forward to sharing more adventures with you, until next time, Vegoutt Everybody!