# Friday, November 7, 2014
                 
Welcome to this second article in our "Popular Canadian Visitor Destinations" blog series. This time we are going to Niagara Falls, Ontario, home of the world famous Niagara (water) Falls.

Geology and Formation

The Falls are a product of glaciation that occurred approximately 10,000 years ago. Glaciers scoured parts of Canada and the USA, creating the Great Lakes as well as what is called the Niagara River today.

The Niagara River cuts across the Niagara Escarpment, which is actually a long geological thrust fault.

The falls eventually began to form and deepen as a result of the escarpment being made up of three different layers of rock that eroded at very different speeds.

The topmost layer of rock is a combination of limestone and dolostone: very tough stuff that is relatively resistant to erosion (although nothing can stand up to the erosive power of water forever).

Beneath this topmost layer is mostly shale, which is very "flaky" and erodes rather quickly.

The bottom-most layer is a combination of shale and sandstone, which also erodes faster than limestone and dolostone.

The process that created the falls is still ongoing today, with the constant pounding of the water causing the shale layer beneath the dolostone cap to erode quicker than the dolostone. Eventually the top-most dolostone/limestone breaks off and plunges into the waters below when the disappearing shale beneath it can no longer bear the weight of the rock above it. In fact, this process is causing the falls to move up-river at a rate of up to 6 feet per year!

Location

Niagara Falls is located at the end of the Niagara Gorge, a section of the Niagara River that separates New York State (USA) from Ontario (Canada).

Niagara Falls actually consists of 3 different sets of falls that are adjacent to one other: Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls.

The falls are often categorized as having an "American side" and "Canadian side". Both the Canadian and American side of the falls have twin cities called "Niagara Falls" that are very popular visitor destinations.

For a detailed map of Niagara Falls please click here.

Interesting Facts

  • Due to uneven erosion of the different rock strata the (Horseshoe) falls are moving upriver at a rate of up to 6 feet per year. In total Niagara Falls has moved upriver about 7 miles in the last thousand years or so!
  • Daredevils have repeatedly gone over the falls in barrels. Some of them survived, others did not. Beware the power of water!
  • High wire trapeze artists that enjoy walking across high wires with just a balancing stick have also braved the Niagara Gorge (which terminates at the falls). In fact, the world famous Nik Wallenda was the first person to walk over the falls on a (very) high wire!
  • Horseshoe Falls, the largest of the three falls, is the most powerful falls in North America. It is just over 180 feet tall.
  • In total all 3 falls discharge about 100,000 cubic feet of water every second during peak season. An Olympic sided swimming pool holds about 88,000 cubic feet. Doing the math, this means that Niagara Falls can completely fill up an Olympic sized pool in just under one second!

Activities

  • See the falls up close by taking a Maid of the Mist boat tour.
  • Just walk along the Niagara Gorge and see the falls in action.
  • For a really awesome close-up get underneath Horseshoe Falls via a Journey Behind the Falls. Note that rain gear is provided (and it is also loud)!
  • The city of Niagara Falls also has a world class casino for people who enjoy to gamble.
  • There is a butterfly conservatory in nearby Niagara Parks.
  • Niagara-On-the-Lake is close by and has lots of wine tasting going on (there are numerous wineries in the area).
  • Go fishing in the Niagara Gorge at the whirlpools.
  • Niagara Falls is also a common honeymoon destination for newlyweds.

Lodgings

The city of Niagara Falls, Ontario has a virtual plethora of motels to choose from. Rooms range from small, economical singles to luxurious suites, depending on where you choose to stay.

Note that pricing varies greatly between the busy season and slow season. The same room in the winter time (which is actually a great time to visit the falls due to the incredible ice formations) is often half the price the room will be in the busy summertime period.

Image Gallery

Not convinced that Niagara Falls is spectacular? Just check out the images below!
Horseshoe Falls
Canadian Horseshoe Falls
Horseshoe Falls 2
Canadian Horseshoe Falls #2
Maid of the Mist
Maid of the Mist tour
Bottom View of Falls
Looking up at the Falls
Falls in the Winter
The Falls in the winter time
American and Bridal Falls
American and Bridal Falls

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this blog article about Niagara Falls. The falls are an incredible sight, due in part to their huge size and the vast amount of water that they discharge.

In fact, just writing this blog article has inspired the author to go back to Niagara Falls for another amazing winter-time visit!

Note: if you are considering coming to Niagara Falls make sure you are protected from medical emergencies via visitor to Canada insurance. You can click here for free, online quotes.
  

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