Niagara Falls: No need for perfect weather

The Niagara Falls is one of those places where the sheer power of nature is at its most epic: the intense rush of turquoise blue water tumbles over the rocky edge to turn into a white froth deep down below only to rise back up in a swirling back-spray. At spring time, when I visited the Falls, the banks of the cascading Niagara River were a sea of daffodils complete with free-grazing geese and goslings. What a picture-perfect place to raise a family!

The scenic beauty of Niagara Falls is greatly enhanced by good weather and this, unfortunately, is a luxury I did not have when I toured the Falls from Toronto. It was a cold and generally overcast day and the icy back-spray along the River Promenade had all the comfort of a boot camp shower. Despite such miserable conditions, I managed to take some of the best photos of my entire trip to Canada and this is testimony to the allure of the Falls.

“There are several ways to experience the sheer power of the Falls – apart from plunging yourself over the edge in a barrel like many daredevils have done in the past”

Niagara Falls is a legendary wedding destination but I didn’t see any sign of this during my tour. After all, the weather was so disappointing that getting married in the midst of it may have been considered bad luck. The urge to tie the knot at the Falls has nevertheless spawned an entire cottage industry which, unlike an actual wedding, was on full display in advertisements, targeting, exclusively and inexplicably, Asian couples.

The grey sky may have brought out a special shade of turquoise in the tumbling water but it also exposed the grubbiness of the Niagara town beside the Falls. This really is a dated and rather tacky amusement park where crude casinos and sleazy motels abound. It is a highly commercialised tourist mecca with the usual tourist traps which one is tempted to avoid at all cost, let alone choose for one’s honeymoon as so many apparently do.

Geographically speaking, Niagara Falls is the collective name for three separate waterfalls along the border between Canada and the US. The border runs along the middle of the river and is visible in the middle of a giant bridge. The consensus is that the Falls are at their most scenic when observed from the Canadian side which affords a full view of the main Horseshoe Falls. I will have to agree with that because I didn’t venture onto the American side.

There are several ways to experience the sheer power of the Falls – apart from plunging yourself over the edge in a barrel like many daredevils have done in the past. Boat rides and helicopter tours are weather dependent so if there is heavy snow or severe conditions, these activities are cancelled as it were during my visit. None of this has, at least for me, taken away from the impact and enduring memory of Niagara Falls as seen just from the River Promenade.