The Brock University campus alone shows some of the mystifyingly beautiful elements that the Niagara Region has to offer, especially with its position on top of the Niagara Escarpment. From being a part of the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve and being close to conservation areas such as Ball’s Falls, students, staff, faculty, community members, visitors across the nation and tourists alike are at no shortage of stunning sights when they visit Niagara. And of course, at the heart of the Niagara Region is one of Canada’s most famous landmarks, Niagara Falls.
Most Canadians have either visited or heard about Niagara Falls, but there are many people who may not know much beyond the fact that it’s a large body of water on the border of the U.S. and Canada.
There’s a lot to learn about Niagara Falls from its historical information, interesting facts, unique stories and finally, about what’s going on at Niagara Falls for Canada’s 150th anniversary and why you may want to consider spending July 1 with the memorizing horizon by your side.
How did Niagara Falls form?
About 11,000 years ago, North America was reaching the end of the most recent ice age, The Wisconsin Glacial Episode. Scientists learned that during this time, the Niagara Falls were formed when glaciers melted, forming the Great Lakes, and water had to carve its way through the Niagara Escarpment to get to the Atlantic ocean. An interesting fact about the formation of Niagara Falls is that the falls weren’t always in the exact location that they are in now. Geology specialists discovered that for at least the first 100 years, the falls were located 11 kilometres south of where they currently flow. It was the erosion of the crest that caused Niagara Falls to retreat to the current location between Buffalo, New York and Niagara, Ontario.
The history of Niagara Falls
Did you know that there are actually two waterfalls in Niagara? There’s the American Falls and the Canadian waterfalls, also known as Horseshoe Falls. Due to Niagara Falls bordering both countries, it has been a big factor in strengthening the relations between Canada and the U.S. for centuries. After the War of 1812, many bridges, both physical and metaphorical, were built over Niagara Falls to connect Canadians to their American neighbours. A few of these bridges include the Rainbow, Whirlpool and Queenston-Lewiston bridges.
The importance of Niagara Falls
Beyond its natural beauty and its rich history, Niagara Falls is one of the world’s largest sources of hydro-electric power. On the American side of the border, down the river from the Falls, the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant and the Lewiston Pump Generating Plant, generate more than 2.4 million kilowatts of hydroelectricity per year — enough to power 24 million 100-watt light bulbs.
More so, Niagara Falls is also one the most popular tourist attractions in not only North America, but across the world as well. Although it’s not officially one of the world’s seven wonders, many people refer to it as the eighth wonder of the world, and it usually ranks among the seven “natural” wonders of the world.
What’s happening in Niagara Falls for Canada 150?
There’s always so much to do in Niagara Falls. Whether you’re taking the Maid of the Mist around the falls, spending time at the various wax museums and attractions on Clifton Hill spending time (and money) at the casino, or taking a hike through the Niagara Gorge, there’s never a lack of options in Niagara Falls.
But of course, this year is special. It stands out from the rest because it’s Canada’s 150th anniversary, and Niagara Falls has planned some interesting activities in store for those planning to visit and celebrate our country’s founding day.
Visit the Niagara Falls History Museum to view the ‘Pieces of Canada’ exhibit which features 150 objects from Niagara residents that tell 150 various stories of what it’s like to be a Canadian.
Take a nature walk with the Niagara Falls Nature Club.
Take part in concerts happening in the Fallsview Casino Resort to celebrate Canada 150.
Be a part of the Canada Day Parade happening on July 1.
Witness live entertainment and marvellous firework displays in honour of Canada 150.
Interesting facts about Niagara Falls
1. The Horseshoe Falls are 170 feet high. The peak of the falls is about 2,500 feet from one side to the other. The American Falls are 180 feet high but only 1,100 feet long.
2. Did you know that Niagara Falls is known as the honeymoon capital of the world?
3. The word Niagara comes from the Indigenous word “onguiaahra” which means “a thundering noise”.
4. Annie Taylor, a school teacher from Michigan — along with her cat — was the first person to travel and survive over the falls in a barrel on October 24, 1901. To this day, she is called the ‘Queen of the Mist’.
5. In 1859, a famous tightrope walker performed a stunt where he carried a 150-pound man across Niagara Falls.
6. The 20th Century Fox Movie, Niagara starring Marilyn Monroe was filmed in Niagara Falls, Ontario in 1952.
7. In 1848, Niagara Falls actually stopped flowing for 30 hours when ice fields from Lake Erie jammed at the source of the river.
8. In 1960, a seven-year-old boy survived a fall from the top of the falls with no protection after he was part of a boating accident. He was saved by the Maid of the Mist and is the only known person to survive the drop of the falls in this unique manner.
Check out http://150inthefalls.com/ to learn about year-round activities happening in Niagara Falls to celebrate Canada 150.