Seven years ago, I married a very lovely man from the Netherlands. Since then we have been able to visit places like New York, Athens and Busan in order to do something special on our wedding anniversary. Covid put pay to that, so this year we are back doing something special – a trip to Niagara Falls.
What we did not know when we booked this trip, was that our wedding anniversary would fall on Canadian Thanksgiving and a lot of places are basically shut for the holiday with some notable exceptions such as tourism. For Niagara Falls, including the trips there and back, this ended being a real boon as everything was operating on a weekend service – meaning an extra train and other services being a bit more frequent. Great for us, but I do feel for those who still had to work.
It was a bit of an early start, which meant getting whatever was open in Union Station. As we have already had two Tim Horton’s breakfasts in a row, it made sense to go for the other option… which was McDonald’s. As per normal holiday rules, if eating at a place we have in the UK, we need to have something we couldn’t get back home. So, we split a Sausage McGriddle (which I have some mixed feelings about) and had the BELT on an everything bagel. Gotta say, if that bagel was available in the UK, that would be yet another thing tempting me to get a McDonald’s breakfast.
Two hours on a train and bus later and we had reached scenic Niagara Falls. It has been 16 years since I last saw them and it is hard not to be in awe of the sheer force of nature that is the Horseshoe Falls. The American Falls are pretty, but they really are overshadowed in a major way. I know some people see these and are underwhelmed (which I get because they aren’t as tall as they look in pictures), but the roar and the throwing up of mist make them truly awe-inspiring.
This trip to Niagara was planned based on my very loose memories of summer 2006, meaning that I built a bunch of time for long tourist queues. I think back then, all we did was eat and do the boat ride – so as I had more time here on this revisit I wanted to do something we missed: a walk behind the falls.
Now, everything here is pricey because they know you’ll pay for it. The ‘Journey Behind the Falls’ is no exception. This is essentially access to some of the tunnels that run behind the Horseshoe Falls and a lower-level platform so you can take some snaps. It’s a great way to get close to the falls and learn a little bit of history.
You also are able to access two ‘viewing portals’ which are holes in the cliff-face behind the falls and allow you to see what they look like from behind. I guess it also takes away the idea that there is some treasure behind the falls as you see in any video game. There is really nothing to see here other than the sheet of water, but the noise and general presence of nature’s power makes this interesting to experience.
As I had it in my head that there would be some massive queue for the boat rides (I assume it was like that when I was last here) I pretty much frogmarched my poor husband to the boats as quickly as possible so we could get on a boat whilst most people were on lunch. You know, forgetting this is not high season for tourists. So yes, we go onto the next boat due to leave.
This is one of those things where I didn’t want to take a large number of photos and, instead, allow myself to fully experience the full power of the falls. That I did and it was such a fun 20 minutes with both of us stood at the middle and front of the boat’s top floor. I think even if I had managed to do some proper photos (without having to later stick my sodden phone in rice) it would not have come close to doing this ride any justice. Super pricey, but it is just one of those experiences.
At this point we had pretty much blown through my initial plans, including something we took off the list because it transpired it was meant to be pretty bad. We were faced with either leaving for the earlier train or to find something to fill in the gap. Well, we went for the second option…
…nope nothing here at Clifton Hills. I understand that this is all here ‘for the children’ but good grief this all just feels that little bit too much. I even thought this when I was a teen where I was just flummoxed by the giant Frankenstein’s monster above the Burger King.
Anyway. Before venturing off, we had a late lunch at Works where the number of different burgers they offer is so large that it actually made me sad to know I won’t be able to try some of them. I ended up with the ‘Sk8r Boy’ which had bacon, cheese and peanut butter. The patty was brilliant, although I wish it has been a thicker crunchy peanut butter on the burger instead. This meal unwittingly prepared us for the next stage of the day by giving us bottomless refills (served in measuring jugs) and bottomless fries (which we didn’t quite make use of).
One of the things that neither of us had thought of when planning this day was to try and see more nature other than the falls. Then one of the pictures on the tunnel leading to the boat caught our eye for Niagara Glen. We figured this would be a nice little walk and might kill some time in nature.
Well, if this didn’t end up being one of those things that I think will end up being one of the big memories of the holiday. Firstly, as someone who has become more potato thanks to the pandemic, I was tickled that I was able to do the whole main trail (plus one offshoot) without being too tired. Similarly, some of the views of the Niagara river downstream from the falls was breathtaking.
I don’t think either of us really thought that there would be more beautiful nature to be seen, but there we were having beautiful moments doing some light hiking at the Niagara Glen. It was all just so stunning and made for some excellent photos and general moments of being with nature. I can now see how people spend more than a day here, after all I probably would have liked some time in Bird World and in the Botanical Gardens. Hell, I guess it would be good to see what the fuss was about with that floral clock.
And that was it for the Niagara trip for our 7th wedding anniversary. The train ride back was a bit rough thanks to some delays, which meant dinner was super late at 10pm. With limited options, thanks to the time and it being Canadian Thanksgiving – we tried local chain Pizza Pizza.
Gotta say, this was nice pizza and was exactly what we wanted at such a late time. Certainly helped me wrap up this blog post before the stroke of midnight. Tomorrow is us finishing off our Toronto City Pass and, hopefully, trying one of the odd fusion foods to come out of here. But I need a shower and bed, so will wrap up here.