Sunday, September 7, 2008

Maid of the Mist

We have a right answer!! The one dollar coin here is called a Loonie (it has a bird called a Canadian Loon on one side of it). The two dollar coin that came out much later, is called a Toonie (a two...nie). The winner is Minu Vasanth of Chennai who got back to me with the right answer first! Sorry no prizes though, just your name and fame right here!!

Let me take you on an one of the most beautiful places on earth...........the Niagara Falls. Most of the other falls I have seen, now seem more like a small shower compared to the Niagara.

The falls itself, are in the city of Niagara. It is on the U.S border, and you have the smaller falls which belongs to the U.S and the bigger, horse shoe shaped falls that belongs to Canada. The Falls are 170 feet high. The water flows down the Niagara river, enters Lake Ontario and eventually empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The source of the Falls are the Great Upper Lakes.

Everyone knows there are five great lakes here in North America, but remembering the names can be hard. The clue is the word, HOMES. The names of the Lakes are Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior.

Anyway, about the Falls....when you visit Niagara (it is a one and a half hour drive from Toronto), you drive straight to where the falls are and find a place to park! This is harder than it tourists from all around the world come here.......and it can get quite crowded.

There is a huge paid parking lot a short walk away from the falls, where you will probably end up parking. There are many parking lots around the area. You will have to pay somewhere from 8 to 10 dollars and up for parking. Free parking is rare. Parking lots have buses, or 'people movers' as they call them, to take people from the lots to the Falls.

Once you park, walk down to the Falls. Everyone you see will be walking towards it! Once you get within site of the Falls, most people just take a deep breath and look in awe. It truely is a spectactular sight! The sound of the water is like you are standing in the middle of a huge shower and the water that gets sprayed from the falls hits you at a particular spot on the walkway and you actually get soaked!

After spending some time looking at the Falls, the next best thing to do is to take a ride to get as close to the Falls as possible. The twenty minute boat ride is called, The Maid of the Mist.

What is the Maid of the Mist?:

The Maid of the Mist is a 20 minute ride on a double-decker boat that takes you as close up to Niagara Falls as you can get without swimming.

The boat stops and lingers at the foot of the Falls, 170 feet (52 meters) below the brink.

Be prepared to get wet; fortunately, disposable rain ponchos come with admission.

Where is the Maid of the Mist?:

Maid of the Mist boat rides set sail from both the Canadian and American sides of Niagara Falls.
The Canadian Maid of the Mist boarding dock is at the foot of Clifton Hill.

When Does the Maid of the Mist Operate?:
Depending on weather conditions, the Maid of the Mist generally operates between April and October.

The Maid of the Mist leaves about every 15 - 20 mins between 7:45 am and 4:45 - 7:45pm, depending on the time of season.

Admission prices are Can$14.50 for adults, $8.90 for children 6-12 yrs old and free for kids under 5.

This ride is one of the most thrilling rides you can take, and the best part is that even babies to the very elderly can enjoy it safely.

The day we took this ride, it was an amazing experience especially since we saw not one but two beautiful rainbows!! I took pictures and will put it up on the blog.

After buying the tickets, you get a plastic coat that you have to wear, or else you will get wet in the falls. You can take pictures, but you will have to take care that your expensive equipment does not get soaked.

There is a running commentary on board, first telling you about keeping all arms and legs in the boat, and some information about the falls. Mostly they just allow you to 'soak' it all in. After the ride, we took a walk around, had some pizza for lunch and then left for Toronto as my kids had school the next day. The best thing to do, is stay there over night if possible, for the fireworks show at night. This is supposed to be it is done over the fully lit falls.

There are other things to do as well, like taking a walk behind the falls, visit Marineland, the butterfly conservatory, ride the fury (where you take a 4D adventure of the Falls) or just eat at one of the restaurants over looking the falls.

Thats it for now.........I'm leaving you with one interesting fact...
The word cyberspace was coined by Canadian writer William Gibson!


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