After spending just over 2 months in America, we fancied a change. Although we drove into our next state New York the next day, we were not going to sleep there. Instead, we headed north to the border and crossed into CANADA!
Everyone we spoke to about the subject, had the same thing to say – “If you are going to see Niagara Falls – you just have to see it from the Canadian side”. We wanted to see the falls, so I guess we just had to stay in Canada. I did debate it at first and looked at a few hotels in America, but by going across the border we would add another country to our list, making a grand total of 10! So, to get into double figures, I booked a few nights in a small motel called the Crystal Inn in a state called Ontario. From there, it was only a 15-minute bus journey to the town centre where the Falls were based and the bus stopped just outside.
It took a while to cross the border into Canada where it was a little cloudy but hot. It cost $3 to cross the border so Stef counted out the money from the wallet while we waited. As we moved closer to the border, Stef decided to take a picture of the “Canada” sign above the booths. As she opened her window, the money that was on her lap got blown about the car and a dollar bill flew out of the window! Not to worry though, as a man in the car behind instantly jumped out of his car and grabbed it…and then got back into his car! A dollar! I know times are hard but that was insane!
Also waiting to get into Canada (apart from dollar thieves) were the Ghostbusters! Obviously Canada has a problem with ghosts. Who you gonna call??
We had our passports checked and the polite booth policewoman briefly interrogated us. We were allowed to pass and away we went. One thing that was different was that they use kph instead of mph. I’d only just got out of the habit from OZ and NZ! As we drove on, the sky instantly went dark. It was a massive dark cloud that filled the horizon. Then it fell. The wipers on the car could barely keep up and to put me off even more, lightening was crashing down all over the place. It was a good job I was not epileptic!
We managed to find the Inn and I checked us in. As I opened the door, I remembered that I had booked the “romance” room. It had a large bed and in the corner was a heart shaped hot tub. Oh yeah.
The hotels near the falls were very expensive, however, this one was really good value for money. I did think there was something wrong with it when booking it, as it was too good to be true. However, it was clean, it had cable TV, the staff were very pleasant and one of them even gave me some of their own cream for a coffee I had made – talk about customer service! Just over the road from the Inn was the Niagara River and just past that was America. The best thing about the Inn was that it was only a small bus ride to the falls.
People always refer to the waterfall as Niagara Falls. However, Niagara Falls is just the town where the falls are. There a few falls there – American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and the main one that everyone thinks of, Horseshoe Falls. I didn’t know that and I bet you didn’t either. You’re welcome!
I’d bought us an Adventure Pass that entitled us to see four of the many attractions they have to offer. As the Inn was opposite one of them, we decided to do the White Water Walk first. We jumped in a lift and travelled 70 metres down to the river. After walking down a 70-metre tunnel we were presented with the raging Niagara River. And when I say raging, it was raging! It is a class 6 rapid river which is the highest it gets and produces waves as high as 4 metres that hit speeds of about 30mph. Some nutters have tried to swim it. Some successful, some not so.
We then jumped on the WeGo bus and headed to the main attraction, the falls. So far, we hadn’t seen the falls. We didn’t want to spoil it by seeing it out of a window so we tried our hardest not to peek from the bus. We hopped off and crossed the road to the walkway that ran parallel with the river – the whole time with our heads facing down as to not see. People must have thought we were a right couple of mentalists. We stood near the edge and could hear the roaring of the water. We both looked up and were presented with the biggest waterfalls we had both seen.
It was time to get even closer to the falls. We queued up and boarded the Hornblower Cruise ship. Everyone was handed ponchos and we headed off towards the falls. First up was American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. As we approached them, the sound of the water hitting the rocks below got louder and louder and the spray from them came to say hello. We got drenched. Even though we had the ponchos, it didn’t stop the bottoms of our jeans getting soaked!
With everyone more than slightly damp, we headed to the Horseshoe Falls. The boat approached it and turned around. From the boat, it looked massive. The water just poured over the edge into the water below. It was definitely one of the most spectacular experiences I’ve encountered in North America. As the boat hit a certain spot, we again, hit the spray. If you didn’t get wet the first time, you were not going to escape it this time!
When the boat docked, we stepped off and headed for some lunch. We were both starving and headed to the local Ruby Tuesday for a small snack which included all you can eat nachos!
With our stomachs full to the brim, we walked around for a bit. You could tell exactly why everyone said to visit the Canadian side. It was like a little Vegas. There were neon signs and sideshows everywhere you looked. There was every type of food you could think of and it was very busy and noisy. Looking over the river at the States, there was nothing apart from a large building with a small screen on it. As two of the falls were on their side, I guess it’s easier to see from the Canadian side. It’s quite a surprise that the Yanks haven’t gone all out on their side seeing as they always like to go big.
Next up was the Journey Behind The Falls. Again, we were supplied ponchos and headed in a lift down to the base of the Horseshoe Falls. As we walked through the tunnel, you could hear the intense crash of the fall. As you walked out, you were right next to it! Again, standing at the base of the 13 storey falls, having just dried, we got drenched again. It was like standing in a shower! You could also walk further down the tunnel to a couple of openings that were actually behind the fall. You couldn’t get closer than a few metres from the edge but it was enough!
Last but not least was Niagara’s Fury. It was a movie about the formation of the falls. But it was a movie with a difference. With a new poncho, we headed into the “theatre”. It was a large circular metal platform surrounded by water and a 360-degree screen. The lights went down and it started to play the short film. The temperature dropped and snow started to fall from above. The next minute, a storm was showing on the screen. With this came rain, thunder and lightening and the platform started violently shaking. With each crash of the platform, it would splash those at the sides with water. Of course, we were standing there. With the 30 or so “viewers” being thrown around, a little girl grabbed onto Stef’s leg and wouldn’t let go because she was scared! It did beat the normal seats at a cinema though.
As we walked out though the gift shop (obviously) to the exit, it overlooked the Horseshoe Falls. Looking through the large glass windows, you could see a rainbow. It looked fake, as it was so colourful. I looked at the people standing near the edge on the other side of the glass and they didn’t seem too interested in it. Maybe it was fake?
As we got outside, we headed to the edge and sure enough, there was the rainbow. But not just the one, it was a double rainbow! Apparently the rainbow can only be seen from the Canadian side.
That night, we headed to the falls again. Every night, they shine powerful lights on them which colour the falls. It was good but not as impressive as the sight of them during the day. We had a little walk around Lil’ Vegas to see the crazy events of the night but as it got near to midnight, we headed back to the Inn to enjoy the hot tub…
Our last day in Canada and we headed to the whirlpool. As the Niagara River hits a bend that turns it nearly back on itself, it created a large whirlpool. Many people that have gone down the river in a barrel got stuck in the whirlpool. One lady was stuck in it for 6 hours whilst waiting for help. 6 hours of going around and around. She came out of the barrel feeling just a little sick! You could pay to go on a cable car that went over it to get a better view. It was built in 1916 and had the technology to match. There was no way we were going on it. As we stood near the edge looking over, we were joined by a large group of Amish folk.
You could tell that they were impressed with the cutting edge technology that the car possessed!