Sunday, August 02, 2015

Day 16 Canada, 06/07, Niagara Falls

I had checked prices for tours to Niagara Falls while still in Australia. We fronted the concierge at the Royal York and asked him what he could do, and he did well. We booked the trip. I must say, while we booked the hotel very early for about 1/3 of the walk up rate, it is very nice to stay in such a classy hotel. Nothing is a problem for staff, even us saying, don't clean our room, we need wine glasses, we need coffee.

We discovered a place in Canada called Tim Hortons in Canada, kind of an upmarket McDonalds. McDonalds restaurants were no seen as widely as here. It was a good place for breakfast as the workers queued for their coffee on their way to work. opposite our hotel by 9.15 for a 9.30 pick up, which arrived somewhat later.

We then took a couple of circuits of pick up places, seeing our hotel three different times, paused at a bus terminal and then we were on our way with a hosted tour with Gray Line.

A top notch lunch at the Marriot Hotel in Niagara was option we did not select. The coach guide was quite good. The coach, ok. Noisier than our faithful Prevost, with a narrower aisle, but ok.

Just wait until the lights change and the onslaught of people coming across from Union Station.


We were given the option of before experiencing Niagara Falls in person, to view them from a helicopter. I've never been in a helicopter but not for any real reason. R was already making noises about his credit card but was very keen to see the falls from above. It with worth every penny.


Clearly I took the photo and did not have my hand on the blond lad who loaded us on to the chopper.



You need a lesson about the falls. Niagara Falls are right on the border of the US and Canada. There are two main waterfalls, the Canadian Horseshoe falls, as you can see here.


With lots of mist.


Yep, lots of mist.


To the centre of this photo you can see the American falls. Quite impressive, but Canada got the better deal.


Never seen this plant in Australia.


Exiting our coach, we were immediately covered in mist from the falls. We made our way along to the suggested best spot to take photos and we were really getting wet. It was hot, so it was quite refreshing.


Niagara Falls is big business.


The volume of water has to be seen to be believed.


The American Falls with the Rainbow Bridge across to the US.


Maid of the Mist, a US boat for passengers to view the falls.


Beautiful gardens, of course.


The mist.


The US falls.



We are to see the falls from the Canadian boat, The Hornblower.


Everyone was issued with these ponchos which went in to bin after the tour, hopefully recycled.


While people were in front of me and in the way of my photos, I stayed quite dry. Those at the front  did not.






For the whole time we were there traffic was almost stationary on Rainbow Bridge as people slowly cleared US border controls.


After we left the boat, we had lunch nearby and then headed up the steep hill full of attractions, rather like Blackpool Pier on steroids.


There were some nice seats in the shade in the park. We then bought a few souveniers and it was back on to the coach. The day had not finished yet.


A popular place to get married, on the side of the road.


We stopped for a break at the wonderful little town of Niagara on the Lake. Niagara River links the higher Lake Eire to the lower Lake Ontario, so it is not very long, but certainly famous. This town is at the mouth of the Niagara, Lake Ontario. I was feeling faint in the coach and almost asleep before we reached here. So were other people and we realised the aircon was not working. The bus stopped restarted and the air con began to work again.





Back to Toronto via a stop at a winery. Rogers was a surveyor and very famous with many things named after him.


Just to make mention, the day before we wanted some wine and scotch for our room, but there was no sign of any liquor outlet. I asked the doorman and he directed me down York Street to a modern building and within was an LCBO outlet. It seems the sale of alcohol is a government business, controlled by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. There is a serious move underway to open up the sale of alcohol more widely, with the usual screams from those with vested interests who want to maintain the status quo.


Goodnight Toronto. Tomorrow we fly to New York.

Here are a couple of short videos to give you the an idea of the water flow at Cananda's Niagara Fall.




40 comments:

  1. Yay ~ we finally made it to Niagra Falls. That view from the helicopter would have been something else. All that water would make me nervous though I think ~ I am no good on the reef either.

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    1. Carol, it would only make me nervous if I was approaching the falls in a boat, or a barrel.

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  2. When I went to the Iguazu Falls a helicopter ride was an option. I wimped out.
    I do love the power and the majesty of water - but aren't they LOUD. I well remember the beautiful and welcome coolth of the spray.
    That looks like a truly wonderful day - thank you for taking us along.

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    1. EC, I really don't remember the noise, perhaps because there were a lot of people around. The spray was very refreshing.

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  3. Wow!! Just amazing. So glad you are doing the tour for us all to enjoy.

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    1. CM, the falls certainly weren't oversold to us.

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  4. Andrew amazing photos masterpiece of nature. i have seen that plant in Europe but I don't know its name. I must check

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    1. Gosia, see Susie's suggestion below.

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  5. How majestic. I've just got to go back to see them. Don't think I could manage the helicopter ride though. Fantastic photos however.

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    1. Marie, they are quite easy to see from Toronto or New York. I would see them from the Canadian side though.

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  6. I didn't realise the Falls are so close to built up areas. A visit there is something for my (non existent) bucket list.

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    1. yes and I was as surprised that the pyramids in Egypt are surrounded by bus-parking and motels. Never seen in the promo photos ha ha.

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    2. Victor, I really did not know what to expect but I did not imagine building on a scale like that there, including a casino.

      Ann, quite so, and there must be a special place they take promotional photos from.

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  7. The views from the helicopter are really spectacular. I remember visiting Niagara when I was a kid but recall only seeing it from the shore.

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    1. Ad Rad, seeing them from the chopper instantly gave us an overview of the layout.

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  8. I am no expert, but I think that's porcupine grass.
    Gorgeous Falls.

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    1. Susie, if it isn't called that, it should be.

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  9. I'm impressed with the falls, with all of Canada actually, but I'm wondering how the mist affects cameras. Is it necessary to have a waterproof camera to take photos there?

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    1. River, I just dried my lens off with a tissue. I don't think that water will do harm but I believe you need to take care with rivers fed from glaciers because of the fine deposits and minerals.

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  10. Taking the helicopter was a smart move. It gives you (and us) a different and spectacular perspective. It's the noise I remember, especially at night when the flood lights are turned out. I like Tim Hortons too.

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    1. Craig, they must really look something special when lit up. TH is a quite useful place when travelling.

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  11. The helicopter was worth it, whatever it was. Thrilling and wonderful thank you for taking us along. Those wedding-cake buildings are so 'Disneyland' and that wedding chapel is so sweet. Have you seen the NIAGARA movie with Marilyn Monroe?

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    1. Ann, no I haven't seen Niagara. Any good? I suppose the buildings are as you say, but all seemed to be original. It really was a sweet little town.

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    2. oh the 'Disneyland' wasn't an insult, not from me, I love Disneyland, been about 7 times and one of those was an entire week in the Disneyland Hotel an experience where all connection with reality is lost.
      Bruce Almighty (2003)
      Bruce Nolan here, aboard the Maid of the Mist in fabulous Niagara Falls, New York.
      Dirty Dancing (1987)
      God, I am so sick of this rain. Remind me not to take my honeymoon at Niagara Falls.

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    3. Ann, no comment on you losing connection with reality for a whole week in Disneyland!

      It is winter, cold, wet, grey and depressing. It will soon be spring, cold and windy with pretty flowers and tantalising green buds.

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  12. So glad you went in the chopper (shall call you Bronwyn now!). It gives such a fabulous perspective.
    I've always wanted to see the Falls, maybe some day.

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    1. Fen, the former speaker Bronwyn? My trip was paid for by my own sweat. Yes, overhead photos do give a good perspective. I had to resort to google satellite to identify things precisely.

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  13. You would see so much more up above in the helicopter, I too have never been in one.
    Great that you also went in the boat, having two vies. Your photos are lovely, and I bet it was quite a challenge to take one.
    Seems when one travels liquor is not always easily found or obtained.
    Looks a pretty town/city...

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    1. Margaret, it was such a brief trip, 12 minutes, but it was enough. At times I stopped snapping when on the water to become immersed in the experience. One does need a glass or four to cope with travel.

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  14. Oh wow! What an experience Andrew, especially the view from above. Loved the videos, sometimes still images can't convey the immense power of such a volume of moving water. If I had a bucket list this would absolutely be on it, although the Victoria Falls were mega special too.

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    1. Grace, without a doubt the water is powerful. We can only interfere with nature up to a point. Yes, my brother has visited Victoria Falls, which may be just as spectacular.

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  15. I'm glad you took the chopper ride, you can make up the money at some point, but never have a chance to see that again. I eye the chopper rides over the coast at Seaside, also the biplane rides (open cockpit) but too much for me. What beautiful videos of the falls, roaring and so much water going over every second.

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    1. Strayer, I did hesitate at the cost, about CA$110 each, but it was magical as the photos show.

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  16. Wonderful place, and the water is the star.
    Merle............

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  17. Helicopters are awesome - but I've only been a couple of times and only for quite short flights ie 5-10 minutes. Not sure how I'd go over a massive waterfall like THAT! WAY too much imagination of plunging beneath the water!!! But it's a little known fact that hanging on to the seat or window frame for grim death actually prevents the helicopter from crashing!!!

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    1. Red, the flight was12 minutes and I wasn't worried about crashing. I have, perhaps misplaced, faith in machines.

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  18. We have been there in 1995 ! Long time ago ! The falls haven't changed but the surroundings at least it seems to me. We had wonderful sunny weather and could even admire the fireworks for the 4th of July on the other side !

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    1. Gattina, it must have been great fun to see the fireworks. We were there just after the fourth of July and I expect that is why there was such a delay and bank up of traffic of the bridge into America.

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