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Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

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Niagara Falls is by far the most famous waterfall in North America. It has been the backdrop to many honeymoons, proposals, daredevil stunts, and even key moments in the history of the United States. If you haven't heard of this falls, it's time for you to get out and start exploring the world around you!

Niagara Falls is also the largest waterfall (by volume) in North America. The falls actually consists of three separate components - Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. Combined, the falls has an average discharge of a mind boggling over 7000 cubic meters per second. Over 90% of the volume is over the Horseshoe Falls.

The Niagara River marks the border between New York, USA and Ontario, Canada. The American and Bridal Veil Falls lies on the American side while the Horseshoe Falls is considered Canadian even though the political boundary splits the falls. We felt the falls was easily experienced from both sides so it didn't really matter which side we were on (though waiting in line at the border control could be a total pain, especially heading into the American side).

The falls contributes a large amount of hydroelectric power to the power grid in the Eastern US and Canada. In fact, there's a statue of Nikola Tesla at the falls, who was the first to successfully turn the energy of falling water from Niagara Falls into electricity that was distributed for private and industrial use. Though hydroelectricity has been controversial in terms of the environment (and especially a bane for waterfalling), there's no denying the critical role it has played in allowing certain cities (and even whole economies) to be built up and thrive. The human intervention has also meant the flow of the Niagara River has been regulated in a way that actually slows down the erosion of the falls and keeps the flow constant nearly year round (except for the coldest of winters when the river and falls are frozen over).

These waterfalls have been a tourist attraction since America's early years (the mid 1800s). So it's not surprising that over the next 150 years the attraction has become heavily commercialized. This meant that we could experience the falls in numerous ways but we did feel that each waterfall "excursion" was like an amusement park ride or carnival ride where we paid to do a particular experience and then move on to the next if we were so inclined. You can read about these excursions here.

We enjoyed the pleasant walks on both the American and Canadian sides of the falls which were free (outside parking fees). They allowed us to take in the scenery at our own leisure. And if that wasn't enough, we were able to see the falls at night as they were floodlit with varying colors until midnight.

No doubt about it. The falls can be experienced and seen in countless ways. See the photos below for a sampling of how we've experienced Niagara Falls.


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