Boy, do I remember the first time! And how! We often recall our initial impressions and encounters of life’s milestone experiences.
I stood in disbelief before the grand dame of cataracts, the Niagara Falls. I was mesmerized, totally under its spell.
I did not hear a single word from my father, with his prepared litany of information and data, which he religiously researched without assistance from the Internet or Google.
In subsequent visits through the years, the effect of the impressive sights and roaring sounds on me did not alter — not a bit! In fact, I looked forward to be drenched with the mist from the aqua fury.
The experiences were fulfilling on their own. I did not need any outside context. Staring at this wonder was more than enough.
However, this enchantment altered during our most recent visit to the Canadian town of Niagara Falls and the Horseshoe Falls, which lies on the border of the state of New York and province of Ontario — a destination in itself. Our biggest surprise? The waterfalls was way closer than we expected!
This 167-feet giant has the highest flow rate in the region. This means at least 5.9 million cubic feet flows through the miracle each minute! May I repeat, each minute!
What brought more than just a smile to my face was the Maid of the Mist boat cruise, still in operation throughout the decades. This tradition honors a local myth, the Ongiara Indian hero who carried travelers into the rapids.
Since the previous action-packed attraction was too close for comfort, we opted for the multisensory technological stop of Niagara’s Fury. We got ushered into a platform where we felt its violent torrents. With a 20-degree drop in temperature, we encountered mist, rain and snow as it sprayed all over the podium. The floor rumbled due to the sheer unstoppable strength of Niagara. This was all accompanied with powerful imagery and audio that created a fully Four-Dimensional encounter with mother nature.
We likewise lined up for the Journey Behind the Falls — which took us to an elevator descending 125 feet underground. For what, you may ask? We were led to observation decks located exactly underneath and behind the mighty falls. We saw freshwater flow into the basins. Each and every step of this tour was accented with posters that highlighted the evolution not just of the rapids, but the evolution of its facilities.
A stone’s throw away was the Skylon Tower. Standing at 160 meters, its observation deck had extensive queues just so everyone may catch a glimpse of the landscape’s wrath and Toronto from the highest vantage point.
After various explorations, we dropped by the Table Rock Center — a hub for tired and weary holidaymakers. Found in this spacious plaza were food kiosks and rustic shops, plus accessible amenities of all kinds. The in-house Table Rock House Restaurant always had a long waiting list, for it seats you for a fine meal with the Niagara Falls right in front of you.
And although peak hours were daytime, the evenings remained as serene and rather romantic times, as floodlights filled the arena until midnight.
The following day, we ambled through the Queen Victoria Park, all with manicured gardens that led directly into viewpoints for the three falls, while its Niagara River Recreational Trail bursting with historical sites and relics from the War of 1812, a conflict between the USA and British North America.
But that’s for another story, another time.