There is a video on YouTube about walking the Rainbow Bridge to Canada. I decided to just pay the toll and drive across it. My time with the Canadian Border agent was brief but pleasant. The turn to the Falls is clearly marked — THE FALLS or you go to Toronto. You then do a 180 degree turn to River Drive and that becomes Niagara Parkway.
My destination was the visitor center and Elements Restaurant. I had figured out where it was when I was on the other side so I had an idea. It was the castle like building close to the other side of Horseshoe Falls. I also spent some time trying to figure out where the parking was using Google Earth from home. You have to follow the signs to parking which is beyond a big building and they charge you $20.00 to park so make the most of it. I did find a spot right across from where I wanted to be. So I was happy that I didn’t have to walk too far.
The US side of Niagara is amazing but the Canadian side is AWESOME. You really get the full view of the river and all of the falls. You can see them clearly except of course for the mist that rises from Horseshoe Falls. It sort of reminded me a little of Old Faithful in Yellowstone only this mist is constant. As the day progresses the mist becomes less and you begin to see the outline of Horseshoe Falls more clearly.
I decided that I would do the Journey Behind the Falls. It is timed to get in but self-directed. It was $18.00 at the Visitor Center. I was early and they let me in without a wait. They take you down the elevator and you walk this cramped ugly yellow or was it dirty white tunnel to the main viewing area. Things to watch for are the walkway which is wet and can be slippery. If you are claustrophobic, well just take a deep breath.
The water just cascades over the edge of the cliff and tumbles down:
I did not get as wet as I thought but the wind shifts and can send the mist your way. I was able to pack my video camera and digital to get some good photos but barely kept them under the slicker they hand you because the wind would try to lift it into your face. You can recycle them which is a nice touch.
The rest of the tunnel has information boards explaining the history of the Falls. The Niagara River flows north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario dropping at various locations till it gets to its destination.
Up on top you have this long walkway that parallels the river with of course a railing with pillars that the brave like to climb on to take photos. Behaving like a tourist I made my way along the river railing toward Bridal Veil and American Falls. Bridal Veil is the smaller one on the right. I could have gone to where I was right in front of it but the crowd of people had increased and the walkway had reduced. If you see the tower to the left you can access that from the mainland part of the State Park on the US side.
The tourist boats come up really close to the Falls and the people are dressed in pink or blue slickers. You can see the wind whipping them about.
The Visitor Center looks like an old castle (see above photo). They have the tickets to purchase for different attractions, shops to buy things and food as well. The food is fast food with several restaurants including Elements.
The gift shop was very large and had many things in it. I purchased a T-shirt so I now have one for the USA side and one for the Canadian side. Of course there were lots of stuff animals and I was strong and didn’t buy but I was very charmed by several very large creatures: a moose, a bear and here is the wolf:
I had made my reservation for the Elements Restaurant online for 1:30 pm but decided to try at 12:30 pm and they let me in and seated me right at the window and Horseshoe Falls was so close I could almost touch it. I dallied the time since I was early in my schedule and asked questions of my waitress who was very knowledgeable. I had observed several structures that I was curious about and she said that there was a bridge in the distance and that they diverted the water at night for electricity. There were other levels that looked like they also were part of the system. My lunch was good the steak was tender but a little too cooked. I thought it would fill me up but alas it did not, I was hungry later. The view was the best and I recommend that you try this restaurant if you go there. It is not any more expensive than other restaurants. Oh, I would go there and partake of the refreshments with the thought that your hotel room is waiting for you. I was going to be driving so I had to behave myself.
The parking attendant had given me some brochures and when I finally sat down to read them I realized that I had barely scratched the surface of all the activities and tourist attractions one could participate in the area. I recommended getting a brochure in advance so you can study it. It is not just for honeymooners anymore, it is now filled with activities for a family as well. I found the websites not that helpful so do some more digging.
I was particularly interested in the Skylon Tower which is 520 ft high from land. The Space Needle is at a height of 605 ft. from sea level. I know I am a snob. Okay, okay…the Skylon Tower is 775 ft. from the bottom of the falls.
PS: The flowers are for you Barbara.
The next post has to do with Loyalists, so I encourage you to go over to The Man Who Lived Airplanes and see what I discovered.