After 23 years I was revisiting what to many is considered one of the world’s wonders, that is Niagara Falls. The first visit had left me with memories of a magnificent waterfall surrounded by an industry of tat and tackiness that had grown around this marvel of nature. My expectations weren’t high.
Once ensconced in the Marriott Fallsview Hotel, with it’s magnificent views of the Horseshoe Falls, my defences were slowly eroded. Waking up to a sunrise over the falls is an ethereal experience, but I wondered if I would become bored of the view after a five day stay. This was not the case – the power and organic nature of the falls was actually more hypnotic by the day.
Niagara was home to Rendezvous Canada, a trade show where Canadian tourism providers promoted their wares to the International market. Having a free day prior to the event myself and my colleague decided to take a walk and explore the city. The city is clean and had definitely transformed into a tourism destination worth more than a day visit, which is something I had been guilty of recommending to my clients. The Casino industry seems to have helped transform the ugly duckling into a beautiful swan (okay let’s not get carried away …. An attractive duck will suffice).
One point of interest which will probably not be in the guidebooks was a shop which specialised in selling Hot Peppers called the Pepper Palace. There are apparently a number of franchised outlets around North America, but this was like heaven to two spice loving amigos. After trying pretty much the top end of hot sauces we went for the kill with a taste of the Flashbang Hot Sauce – which required us signing a disclaimer before we put sauce to lips. It was certainly hot but by this time we had warmed-upd our taste buds and we walked away unharmed and about $60 lighter.
Most of the area around the falls is like parkland and easily explored on foot. There are various vantage points for excellent photos of the Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and the smaller Bridal Veil Falls. Popular with tourists from around the world you may have to fight off the ever multiplying selfie-stick brigade to position yourself for a decent picture of any of the waterfalls.
Journey Behind the Falls is an attraction located in the Table Rock Centre beside the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. It is open year round and run by the Niagara Parks Commission. There are several vantage points with a true behind the falls experience. This is one place you really respect the power and force of Mother Nature as the roar of thousands of gallons of water pour powerfully past you just a few feet away.
Another attraction worth trying which offers a close-up experience is the Hornblower Cruise which gets close and personal with falls. Be prepared to get wet though….and cold….but feeling the force of this wonder from the river below is an experience well worth any minor discomfort.
There are a whole host of other attractions to keep the whole family happy with indoor water parks, waxworks, museums, casinos, theatres as well as local excursions – the local wineries are worth a visit as is the delightful historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
For more information visit the Niagara Falls Tourism site.