One Wonder After Another in Niagara Falls, Ontario

Wednesday Dec 01st, 2021

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Cory Davis

 

Niagara FallsOntario is a small, vibrant city located in the heart of the Niagara Region. It’s a comfortable, livable community offering residents and visitors access to all the essentials of a large urban centre. From arts, culture, and recreation to peaceful moments and bustling commerce, it’s all there in Niagara Falls. 

The city is a multi-season destination with activities and adventure all year-round. Enjoy biking along the Niagara River and hiking the trails lining the world-famous Niagara Gorge; hit the links at one of several renowned golf courses; or try your luck at the famous Fallsview Casino Resort. Numerous playing fields, recreational facilities, and public amenities contribute to the strong sense of community in Niagara Falls, while the Falls themselves attract tourists far and wide throughout the year. That in mind, if you’re visiting the region and want to avoid the crowds, the summer season is the busiest by far.

The city of Niagara Falls in Ontario isn’t to be confused with the neighbouring city of Niagara Falls in New York State. However, the Rainbow Bridge spanning across the Niagara River connects the two cities together, with the middle point representing the official border between Canada and the United States. On the Canadian side, Niagara Falls is made up of five distinct neighbourhoods:

  • Clifton Hills District—a must-see destination for visitors, featuring shopping, sensational food, entertainment, and a sprawling nightlife;
  • Clifton Hills Niagara—known as the “street of fun,” with themed restaurants, exciting attractions, and hotels;  
  • Downtown Niagara Falls—established in the 1850s, this area is home to historic buildings, unique businesses, and art exhibits and studios;
  • Fallsview Boulevard—the ultimate place to stay, play, and be amazed by all the city has to offer, featuring more than 20 accommodations with first-class service; and
  • Lundy’s Lane—a staple to any Niagara Falls visit, this is one of the most historic districts in the city, and it’s where the locals go to eat! 

Discover one wonder after another in Niagara Falls, with the mighty Falls being the most notable. Here’s what you need to know about the city, including what to do and important information about the housing market and where to live.

Image via Diego Torres Silvestre on flickr

Interesting facts about Niagara Falls, Ontario

If you’re visiting Niagara Falls, chances are you’re there to see the Falls—after all, it has the second largest waterfall in the world next to Victoria Falls in southern Africa. Niagara Falls is made up of three cascading waterfalls: Bridal Veil Falls, American Falls, and the Canadian Falls (or Horseshoe Falls). 

The Bridal Veil and American Falls are located on the American side of the river, and they’re separated by a small piece of land called Luna Island. A thin mist veils Bridal Veil Falls, which is where its name originates, while approximately 567,811 liters of water flows over both Bridal Veil and the American Falls per second. The Canadian Falls—what most people picture when imagining Niagara Falls—is the largest of the three waterfalls. The top, known as the brink or crest, spans 2,600 feet across the river, with a total of nearly 2.3 million litres of water rushing over the edge every second. Its other name, Horseshoe, stems from the U-shape of the waterfall. 

Another popular landmark associated with Niagara Falls is the Iron Scow or the Niagara Scow. In 1918, an old dumping scow was torn from its towing tug in the rapids of the upper Niagara River and sent careening towards the Canadian Falls. Two fast-thinking workers opened the bottom dumping doors to flood the hull and ground the scow a mere 600-metres away from the brink—for 101 years, it remained lodged until finally shifting positions on October 31, 2019.  

But what about the city itself? Here are a few facts:

  • The word “Niagara” is generally believed to come from the Iroquoian word “Onguiaahra,” which is thought to mean “The Strait”—others believe its meaning is “Thundering Waters.”
  • Niagara Falls began as a small town in 1855 called Elgin—in 1856, the town merged with another community and changed its name to Clifton. 
  • In 1881, Clifton grew into the Town of Niagara Falls, with an adjacent community renaming itself to the Village of Niagara Falls—in 1904, the two communities merged into what is now known as the City of Niagara Falls. 
  • Niagara Falls sits 188 metres above sea level, and it’s home to 88,071 residents as of the 2016 Canadian Census

Lundy’s Lane was the site of one of the most brutal battles during the War of 1812—on July 25, 1814, British soldiers engaged the invading American army for six hours until the opposing forces finally withdrew.

What to do in Niagara Falls

The Falls are the top point of interest for those visiting the city, with approximately 12 million tourists arriving each year to witness the thundering spectacle. There are a number of ways to do so:

  • Hornblower Niagara Cruises—considered the best way to behold Niagara Falls, Hornblower Cruises places you at the base of the Canadian Falls after a 20-minute voyage passed the Bridal Veil and American Falls.
  • Maid of the Mist—for visitors to the Falls on the American side of the river, the Maid of the Mist delivers a similar up-close experience as the famous Hornblower Niagara Cruises.  
  • Journey Behind the Falls—get a unique perspective of the Falls as you descend 38 metres by elevator before entering a tunnel with two outdoor observation decks and two portals directly behind the Canadian Falls.
  • Niagara Helicopter Tours—for an aerial view, Niagara Helicopter Limited lifts you up to an unforgettable experience during a 12-minute flight above the Falls.
  • WildPlay MistRider Zipline—for thrill seekers, this 670-metre zipline takes you soaring by the American Falls and lands you safely at the base of the Horseshoe Falls.

Want to see the Falls from all angles? Book the Ultimate Niagara Falls Day Tour, which includes a helicopter tour, boat tour, and walking tour before ending with a meal at the Revolving Restaurant in Skylon Tower.

If you’re curious to see how the Niagara Gorge was created, witness the raging power of the Class 6 rapids with White Water Walk. This tour takes you near the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge a few kilometres away from the Falls, where you find yourself on a boardwalk alongside one of the world’s wildest stretches of whitewater.

Now that you’ve seen the Falls, it’s time to explore the city. To get around, WEGO Niagara Falls provides three specific bus lines with stops at the top attractions downtown, north along the river, and in Lundy’s Lane. There’s also an expansion service available for those interested in seeing more of the Niagara Region, including Niagara-on-the-Lake which is widely recognized as Canada’s wine country. 

Did you know Niagara-on-the-Lake is considered one of the prettiest towns in Canada? It’s also thought to be one of the most haunted, too. Check out our post on Five of the Best Haunted Tours in Canada to learn more. 

For family fun, a visit to the Clifton Hills Niagara district is a must. Enjoy the famed Louis Tussauds Waxworks, the House of FrankensteinRipley’s Believe it or Not Museum, and more. Or, get your need for speed at Niagara Speedway, as you zoom around the racetrack at North America’s largest elevated go-kart facility (it gives serious Mario Kart vibes).

For a quieter, more relaxing experience, wander through the peaceful Queen Victoria Park, where you’ll find statues and historical sites scattered throughout the grounds. Stay connected to nature at Niagara Parks’ Botanical Garden, as you explore 40 hectares of beautifully maintained gardens, including a rose garden with more than 2,400 roses and the magical Butterfly Conservatory.

Other notable attractions include:

Housing market stats and where to live

As we approach the end of 2021, the Niagara Association of REALTORS® reports a trend towards a reduced number of listings and home sales in the region. The trend reflects a cooling-down period to the previously red-hot market. However, Doug Rempel, President of the Association, reassures home buyers this isn’t a sign of the market “falling apart.” In fact, he indicated it was evidence the Niagara housing market is returning to “a more balanced and normal level of activity.”

Still, supply shortage continues to be a major influencer to the market. That in mind, if you’re trying to stay ahead of the competition, you’re encouraged to contact one of the knowledgeable REALTORS® in the area. 

“We’re here to help and to keep you on the leading edge of the market,” declared Rempel in a recent report published on the Canadian Real Estate Association’s website. Here are a few highlights from the same report:

  • The median price of a single detached home in the third quarter was $670,000—a new record and a 24.3% increase year-to-year.
  • Sales of single detached homes totaled 1,841 in the third quarter—a 22.5% decrease compared to the same quarter in 2020.
  • Total homes sold was 2,213 at the end of the third quarter in 2021—a 21.4% drop year-to-year.

For current listings, navigate to the Find a Home tab on REALTOR.ca, a search of the city will reveal a range of properties available. This includes three-bedroom homes starting at $379,900, two-bedroom townhomes from $450,000, and a number of apartment units for rent.

For those just visiting, the city has a variety of accommodations available—from budget-friendly stays and Airbnbs to luxury hotels and even camping. It’s a place to unwind and dine, rediscover romance and experience adventure, and be amazed by one of Canada’s most remarkable landmarks.  

Can you hear the thunderous call of the Falls? Follow the sound and discover one wonder after another in Niagara Falls, Ontario.   

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