Visiting Niagara Falls in Ontario

 

Some people chase waterfalls, some people chase rainbows. On the Niagara peninsula, along the border between Ontario and New York, you can literally do both, wipe the dew from your hair, and then hit a winery for a taste of Canada’s iciest vintages.

If you’re caught in the concrete tangles of Toronto and are looking to escape for a day, Zoom Tours provides daily Niagara Falls Tours from Toronto, with pick-up available to tourists from any hotel in downtown Toronto.

A Maid of the Mist boat getting up close and personal with the mighty Niagara Falls.

A Maid of the Mist boat getting up close and personal with the mighty Niagara Falls.

The Falls are very different things to different people. They’re a geological wonder, formed in the last ice age about 10 000 years ago; a significant source of hydroelectric power due to the tremendously wide flow of water; a historical capital of barrel-related dare-devilry; a gambler’s playground; a foodie paradise, and the list goes on.

Over the past century, people have attempted to traverse the falls in a multitude of ways – tumbling over in barrels, jet-skiing into the basin, free-falling, by schooner boat – all to varying degrees of success. The most popular, and by far easiest way, is hitching a ride with the Maid of the Mist, a 30-minute boat tour that takes you past the American Falls into the pit of the Horseshoe Falls, the biggest waterfall in Niagara. It’s a wet ride that requires a poncho, as the boat heads directly into the cloud of mist that gathers at the bottom of the falls and immerses its passengers in the surround-sound rush of the falls.

Tourists protected from the Falls by rain ponchos on the Maid of the Mist boat tour.

Tourists protected from the Falls by rain ponchos on the Maid of the Mist boat tour.

Off the boat, there’s a whole town to discover. Fallsview Blvd is directly in front of the Falls, and it’s home to the Fallsview Casino, Yuk Yuks Comedy Club and a smattering of fine dining restaurants and nightclubs. A short and scenic drive north winds through wine country, with rows of wineries that offer tastings of the famous Niagara ice wine, perforated by small farmers markets. Eventually, the dirt roads stop at the historical Niagara-on-the-Lake, a charming hamlet on the edge of the water. From the outset, Niagara-on-the-Lake seems like a humble little town, but it boasts the Shaw Festival Theatre (a theatre unparalleled in its devotion to Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries and home to the highly-esteemed Shaw Festival), small art galleries, period-restored heritage buildings, and a number of golf courses.

So whether you’re looking for a honeymoon destination, a weekend getaway, or a day of fresh air, Niagara Falls offers something for everyone.

The city of Niagara Falls, Ontario at night with the waterfall illuminated.

The city of Niagara Falls, Ontario at night with the waterfall illuminated.

 

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Jessica is a Montreal-based journalism graduate who hails from Toronto and has a passion for writing.