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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrNiagara Falls located at the northeastern coast of North America, is one magnificent wonder to behold. Niagara Falls consists of three different falls that merge together, over the international border between the province of Ontario, Canada and the state of New York, United States. The three falls that make up the great Niagara Falls are Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. Among these, the Horseshoe Falls are the largest and they are located solely in Canada. American falls are the second largest and are located in the United States. Whereas the Bridal Veil Falls are the smaller one and they also are a part of American territory.
These falls are split into two parts by the Goat Island. The major part is contributed by the Canadian Horseshoe Falls that adjoins to the left side. This fall has a height of 54 meters and is 64 meters wide. Whereas the length of its curve line crest is 670 meters. This fall makes up the 90% of flow of the Niagara Falls. The other part is the American Falls that adjoins to the right bank, that has a height of 59 meters and is 260 meters wide. This contributes the 10% of flow of the great Niagara Falls.
HistoryNiagara Falls formed almost 14,000 years ago, when the retreating of the icebergs and glaciers allowed the flow of water from Lake Erie to the rushing water of Lake Ontario via Niagara Escarpment. Niagara Falls has a very complex history. A scholar, Bruce Trigger wrote that the name ‘Niagara’ has been derived from the name used to describe the natives of the local place called ‘Niagagarega’. Whereas another scholar writes that its name is extracted from ‘Ongniaahra’; the name of Iroquois’ town. The first person to witness the falls was Samuel de Champlain. He was the French navigator and on the voyage to explore Canada he visited Niagara Falls in 1604. However in the 18th century, the first scientific description of these falls was presented by Pehr Kalm, who was the Swedish naturalist. In the initial 19th Century, Jerome (Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother) visited Niagara Falls with his bride. This was the same year in which tourism prevailed here since it was a central attraction for the pleasure, recreation, and honeymoon visits.
The government started to pay heed to the increasing trend and the construction of bridges over the falls started. The world’s first railway suspension bridge called Charles Ellet's Niagara Suspension Bridge was made. Then Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge by John Augustus Roebling was constructed as a support to the initial. In 1941, the third bridge was constructed by the Niagara Bridge Commission and it was named as ‘Rainbow Bridge’. This bridge was a source of connection between the two countries; United States and Canada. In the 20th Century, Niagara Falls started to be addressed as not only a recreational spot and a huge attraction for tourists, but it did also start to play a major role as a hydroelectric source that both the countries rely on till the present time.
How to get to Niagara FallsThere are plenty of easy ways to reach to this dream destination. All you have to do is gear up for the spectacular site. No matter if you take a plane, bus or drive your personal wheels from the United States, Canada or any place beyond. From the Canadian end, the largest and mostly used airport is ‘Pearson International Airport’ allocated in Toronto. It has direct flights scheduled, whereas it almost takes 2 hours to drive to the Niagara Falls from Toronto on a car. Toronto City Center Airport and John C. Munro International Airport are also the options for the tourists. From the American end, in order to travel directly to the Niagara Falls the best choice is Buffalo Niagara International Airport. In addition, many tour companies such as Gray Line, Niagara Falls Tours, and Moose Travel Network are also at service for the nature lovers and provide a complete tour guide from downtown Ontario to the great Falls of Niagara.
Weather and ClimateThe weather of Niagara Falls is pleasant most of the year. Cool breeze and cloudy weather, perfect for moving out is usually over the falls. On average, only the month of July is a bit hot. Whereas January is the coolest since the water freezes and the glaciers freeze too. Humidity evades the air of Niagara Falls in the month of October. Despite this the tourists are seen at the site in numerous amount.
Importance in EconomyThe thunder casting and rushing waves of Niagara Falls possess a large amount of potential energy that is utilized to produce electricity. The hydroelectric power is the beneficial side of this wonder fall. Apart from getting the economic benefit from tourism, Canada and America are also enjoying the blessing of electricity from this downpour. The first ever attempt to harness the electricity was done by Daniel Joncaire in 1759. He set up a small grid to harvest the energy for his straw mill.
Later in 1881, the first station for generating hydroelectricity was set up. The heavy falling water generated the direct current which was used to run some local mills and electricity in nearby houses. Progressing since then to the present age, the most efficient power grids working over the Niagara Falls are producing 4.4 gigawatts power per annum. From the Canadian side; the Sir Adam Beck 1 and 2 hydroelectric power plants and from the American side; Lewiston Pump Generating Plant and Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant are harvesting the electricity in the present time.
TourismNiagara Falls is often considered a cataract that enjoys central attraction for the worldwide tourists. The tourist traffic is at its full swing during the summers. The soul refreshing and breath taking view of Niagara Falls has never failed to mesmerize the tourists every year. In 2007, the total figure that was calculated of the annual tourism rate happened to be 20 million whereas it rose to 28 million visitors by the year 2009. Every year, the influx of tourists is more since one cannot get enough of this wonder by a single visit. The visitors mostly include the couples on their honeymoon. This shows that Niagara Falls not only makes your soul feel refreshed but it does also give the refreshing touch to your love. The highlight to this beautiful cascade is ‘Maid of the Mist’. This is a boat cruise that takes the admirers deep down below the captivating fall, fighting the energetic waves, and giving the tourists a completely new experience.
From the Canadian EndThe observation deck of the Skylon Tower, allocated nearby, gives the perfect view of the torrent. Queen Victoria Park enables the tourists to enjoy both the Horseshoe Falls and American Falls at their full swing.
From the American EndThe beauty of falls can be witnessed from the Goat Island that offers so many angles to view the beauty of downpour. The hikers usually take the elevator that gives access to the Caves of Wind and leads to the Bride Veil Fall. Prospect Point Park and Niagara Falls State Park also entertain the visitors.
Landmarks near Niagara Falls:
Maid of Mist:Maid of the Mist boat cruise is a must-do for people who visit Niagara Falls. It takes the passengers to the ride under the fall. On its way back, it gives the visitors a perfect panoramic view that is breath taking. Staying on the dock is loud and so much fun.
Table Rock:The original Table Rock was destroyed by a catastrophe in near past but a replica has been made. It’s a platform with an amazing terrace view. For people who are fond of taking pictures, It’s a must visit.
Clifton Hill:A perfect resort and center of attraction for the tourists visiting Niagara Falls. The themed restaurants, shops, resort hotels, water boating and night clubs; you can find this all in one place at Clifton hills.
Niagara Falls not only captivates your sight but also your heart and mind. So grab your stuff, move out and explore the nature a bit deeply.
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Author: Wajeeh93. Last updated: Aug 19, 2014