The Falls & Around
Niagara Falls forms a natural rift between Ontario and New York State. On the US side, Bridal Veil Falls and the adjacent American Falls crash onto mammoth fallen rocks. On the Canadian side, the grander, more powerful Horseshoe Falls plunge into the cloudy Maid of the Mist Pool. The prime falls-watching spot is Table Rock, poised just meters from the drop – arrive early to beat the crowds.
Niagara is not the tallest of waterfalls (it ranks a lowly 50th) but in terms of sheer volume, there's nothing like it – more than a million bathtubs of water plummet downward every second. By day or night, regardless of the season, the falls never fail to awe: 12 million visitors annually can't be wrong. Even in winter, when the flow is partially hidden and the edges freeze solid, the watery extravaganza is undiminished. Very occasionally the falls stop altogether. This first happened on Easter Sunday morning in 1848, when ice completely jammed the flow.
Tickets for the four falls attractions listed below can be purchased separately, but the online 30% discounted Niagara Falls Adventure Pass (www.niagaraparks.com, adult/child $55/37) is better value. It includes a ride on Hornblower Niagara Cruises and admission to the Journey Behind the Falls, White Water Walk and Niagara's Fury, plus two days transportation on the WEGO bus system. Passes are also available from the Niagara Parks Commission at Table Rock Information Centre and most attractions.
Clifton Hill is a street name, but refers to a broader area near the falls occupied by a sensory bombardment of artificial enticements. You name it – House of Frankenstein, Louis Tussaud's Waxworks, Castle Dracula – they're all here. In most cases, paying the admission will leave you feeling like a sucker.
The old downtown area, where you'll find the bus and train stations, focuses along Queen St, and despite many attempts to bring life back into tired and shuttered buildings, there's not a lot going on. Check the enthusiastic www.niagarafallsdowntown.com to see what's happening.