Photography of Roy Thoman

Posts tagged “Niagara

Journey Behind the Falls: Niagara Falls Canada

When you visit Niagara Falls, you need to take part in the more “touristy” activities, that you may try to avoid while visiting other destinations. I’m not sure but I think “touristy” was invented in Niagara Falls. Pretty much since they were first discovered, people have been coming up with creative ways of taking making money off of people visiting the falls. In the early days there was a big privacy fence all the way around the falls. You had to pay to look through a hole in the fence just to see the falls. Things are somewhat better now, but you still need to reach into your pocket. At least now after you pay to park your car you can walk along the river and get amazing views of the falls. A lot of people could just stop there, what fun is that!

For the more adventurous, you can reach into your pocket again and do the zip-line along the river. We did the Journey Behind the Falls. The journey begins at the ticket window where you reach into your pocket and buy a ticket. From the ticket window you head to the elevator (I would highly recommend a trip to the potty at this point). You end up in a little area where you don your requisite El cheapo plastic bag poncho. Take the elevator down to a dark wet concrete tunnel. At this point you have two options. One, go to the outside viewing area (very cool). Two, continue down the dark wet concrete tunnel. If you choose option one, keep in mind that you are going to get WET! We maximized our dry time by choosing option two first. Continuing down the dark wet tunnel brings you first to one and then another dark wet tunnel. At the end of each of the two shorter dark wet tunnels, there is an opening where you can see, hear, and feel a wall of water cascading over the opening. You are now well behind the big Horseshoe Falls. Some people seemed unimpressed looking at this big grey wall of water. I think you need to think about the gravity of the situation. You are dozens of feet down and dozens of feet through a solid rock wall, looking at the back side of one of the largest and most fierce waterfalls in the world. You are ten feet away from being sucked into a torrent of water with more force and power than almost anything on the planet. I was pretty impressed.

Now it’s time to get WET! Back through the dark wet tunnel to the outside viewing area. It’s like a huge patio where it’s always raining. The roar of the big Horseshoe falls is deafening. Although you do need to go through a pretty wet area to get there, if you stay to the left side of the patio you will stay pretty dry, what fun is that! If you venture over to the right side of the patio, you find yourself right next to the big Horseshoe Falls. Not only will you get drenched, you can literally feel and hear the power of the mighty waterfall, totally awesome! You will also be able to look down river and get a great view of the American and Bridal Veil Falls as well as the Rainbow Bridge. When you have sufficiently “soaked” in the view it’s time to head back to the top and your next adventure. Oh, and yes, exit through the gift shop please! Try to keep your hands in your pockets.

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Lake Ontario Ghost Ship

My wife Robbie and I had a wonderful time in Toronto. But it was time to start the second part of our journey, Niagara Falls. We woke up to a rainy Canadian morning. Niagara Falls is an easy drive from Toronto. We walked down the street, in the rain, to pick up our cute little red Canadian rental car. After stopping at the hotel to pick up our bags, we were off to Niagara. We had been driving a while on the QEW and we were getting hungry. I spotted a nice looking restaurant, The Lake House, right on Lake Ontario. I got off at the next exit to find my way to the restaurant. Driving along Lake Ontario we spotted this old rusty ghost ship, aground in a little cove. This was something that needed to be explored, even in the rain. But not until after lunch. The ghost ship could wait. The Lake House was a great restaurant with an awesome view of Lake Ontario. After a really nice lunch we stopped by this amazing old ship. It was still raining, but not very hard, I was able to get a few photos without getting too wet.

The old ship has a rather long sorted past. It started life in 1914 as a ferry and then a cargo ship on the St. Lawrence river. In 1991 it was converted into a replica of one of three sailing ships that explored the St. Lawrence in the mid 1500s. At some point it was turned into a restaurant and casino that went bust. Someone thought it would make a good floating restaurant in the Niagara area. Apparently on its way to Niagara, the project ran out of funds and it was abandoned in its current location. At some point some ingenious individuals thought it would be a good idea to sneak aboard and have a BBQ. They proceeded to set the whole ship ablaze. The original ship was steel but the facade of the replica was wooden, it all burned. So now this old ship sits aground in this Lake Ontario cove. A curiosity to all who travel the QEW on the way to Niagara.