My Short Trip to Niagara Falls, ON

I always consider myself as a lone Musafir. “Musafir” is an Arabic word, which means a solo traveler. Right now, I’m living in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I’ve been here for the last two years. I have already explored almost all the beautiful tourist attractions around Metro Vancouver and British Columbia as well. Recently, I have visited Victoria and Nanaimo, the two beautiful cities of Vancouver Island. But my mind is always looking for something new to explore. So far, I have found out that Canada is a very beautiful country, and it becomes more attractive, especially in the summer. So, this summer has already become a very busy time for me. After visiting Vancouver Island, I decided to go further. But where to go? It isn’t easy to decide because Canada is a huge country, and it is filled with many natural attractions. Most of us know about Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Hudson Bay, Niagara Falls, Rideau Canal, and Kootenay National Park, for which the country is famous. So, I decided to visit any of these attractions. I made a shortlist with having two options in my hand. Either I will visit Banff National Park, or I will visit Niagara Falls. I analyzed my budget and my schedules then. Finally, I decided to visit Niagara Falls. I’m going to see the most famous tourist attraction in Canada.

Niagara Falls is one of the famous waterfalls globally, located on the borderline between the USA and Canada. Niagara Falls is comprised of three waterfalls, from largest to smallest, the Horseshoe Falls (The Canadian Falls), American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. Niagara Falls is located 27 km (17 mi) north-northwest of Buffalo, New York, and 121 km (75 mi) south-southeast of Toronto, between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York. Niagara Falls was formed when glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation (the last ice age). This meltdown created the Great lakes. The Great Lakes is the world’s most extensive surface freshwater system, containing about 18 percent of the world’s supply. If spread out, the volume of water in the Great Lakes would cover North America in about 1 meter (3.5 ft.) of water! The water flows from streams and rivers that empty into the Great Lakes, from Lake Superior down through Niagara to Lake Ontario, then into the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. From the information above, we can say that the falls is so famous that both cities in the US and Canada adopted the same name. But you can differentiate these cities through the state names at the end. One is located in the province of Ontario, Canada, and the other one is located in the state of New York, USA. That’s all I can tell about the facts regarding Niagara Falls. These are the results of my short research. If you want to know more, you can ask Google or Wikipedia. But one thing I can tell you when you will see the falls for the very first time, your mind will freeze for few moments. You will be so amazed that there will be no factual questions in your mind. Your mind will enjoy the beauty of this god-gifted attraction on the earth. Exactly, that was the first impression I got there.

Now Let’s talk about my journey to Niagara Falls. It’s not an easy job to do if anyone is traveling to Toronto from Vancouver. It was the same for my case as well. Besides that, COVID restrictions will add up more difficulties on your journey. I was so concerned about those COVID restrictions before starting my journey. It wasn’t a short journey from here in Vancouver. It is usually a four hours flight distance between two cities. I made all my reservations about 20 days ago from the flight date. I was still concerned about my flight because the COVID protocols weren’t clear to me. I wasn’t sure whether I needed to go for the COVID test before my flight or not. Meanwhile, I made my reservation on Airbnb for my staying in the Niagara Falls area. I made some phone calls to the airline’s service to have more details of COVID regulations. They told me that I wouldn’t need any COVID test before flying if I traveled within the country. I got some relief after hearing that. But I took my 2nd COVID vaccine dose about two days before my journey. The vaccine side-effects hurt me a bit, but I became refreshed just the day before my trip. On August 9, I took the early flight to Toronto from Vancouver International Airport. The journey lasted for 4 hours. I didn’t face any hassle inside the airport. There were no extra formalities for the domestic route passengers. But I have never gone through a long domestic air journey before. This journey reminded me how big Canada is as a whole country. The distance between Vancouver and Toronto is approximately more than 4000 kilometers, which is the distance between Bangladesh and Malaysia. If you are running a road trip in Europe, you may cross two or three countries within that time. Besides that, the time variance between Vancouver and Toronto is three hours. So, it was just before the afternoon when I arrived in Toronto. After crossing the airport, I took the transit train (UP Express) and went to Downtown Toronto. Then I hung around a bit in the downtown area, but not for a long time. I had to catch the bus to reach Niagara Falls. I spent about one and a half hours then going to the bus station to catch the bus. The bus ride continued for two hours. Finally, I arrived in Niagara Falls. Then I took an Uber and went to my homestay.

In my first observation, I found the entire city very touristy. There are hotels and Motels located here and there. There are many casinos located around the city. The city was looking so lively when I stepped in there. I visited many other cities in Canada but never found them so vibrant as Niagara Falls. The danger of COVID was still upon there, but I found the city very crowded with tourists from all across Canada. Just imagine how the city will be when there is no COVID restriction? How will it be when tourists from all over the world will come here? I felt that I was somewhere in Asia. I was totally impressed at my first observation. I visited Victoria and Nanaimo, the two major cities on Vancouver Island, just before this short trip. Those cities are much bigger than Niagara Falls but not so lively and crowded. You won’t find any Uber, and taxis are limited. The number of hotels is also limited out there. But Uber is available here, and public transits are running very frequently one after another. All arrangements are available there for the tourists.

After arriving at my homestay, I met my Airbnb host Victoria. She was a very lovely person as a host. She immediately took me into my room and gave me a salad to eat. I was exhausted after the end of my long journey. At first, she thought I was probably coming from Toronto or any city near this area. But when she heard that I came from Vancouver, she became shocked a bit. She quickly realized how tired I was and gave me some food for refreshing. After having my evening brunch, I took some rest for a while. Then Victoria invited me to have an evening tour of the city. She gave me a ride and showed me the important points of the city. After that, She dropped me in front of a market. The market was so crowded. There was an amusement park beside the market area, and the giant fairy wheel captured my attention. This is known as Niagara Skywheel. I saw a large number of people were queuing up to get a ride on this giant wheel. I thought that I should move back and come tomorrow early in the morning to avoid the crowd. But I immediately realized that the night views from the top of the wheel would be very astounding. If I went back, I would miss those views. Then I changed my decision. I bought a ticket and waited for half an hour to get into that ride. After that, it was a thrilling ride. When my cab reached the top of the wheel, I saw some fantastic views of Niagara Falls and the city. From the top, you will have some beautiful views of US falls. From the opposite side, you will see the enlightened city views. The wheel moved four times in my ride, as far I remember. After that, I went down and moved towards the Falls Viewpoint.

The Viewpoint wasn’t that far away from the Cliffton hill area. I have to mention that the area where Victoria dropped me is called Cliffton hill. This area is actually located on the upper level of this city. This is important to tell you that the city is divided into upper and lower levels. The main part of the city is located on the upper level. The parks and the Falls Viewpoints are mainly located on the lower level. After walking down for 4 to 5 minutes, I reached the main viewpoint for the US fall. It was magnificent. I was so happy because I was seeing the falls for the very first time in my life. I always heard about it before from the others, but now I’m watching this in front of my eyes. My feeling was like that. I was just staring at the waterfall for the first five minutes when I first saw it. Then I took some photographs and started to explore the walkway. I moved to my right and saw Horseshoe Falls (Canadian Falls) after few minutes. The Horseshoe Falls is much more immense than the US falls. Then I moved to a point in the walkaway where both falls were nicely visible in front of me. The US fall was on my left, and the Horseshoe fall was on my right. Both falls looked so beautiful during the nighttime. The laser lights lighten upon the waterfalls made the night views more beautiful. You will see a laser show on the falls at night. I spent about an hour there to explore the Fallsview Walkaway. I wanted to go to the source or the starting point of the Horseshoe fall by walking further. Then I thought it would be better to explore that area in the daytime. This time, it was an excellent decision. That’s all about my first day at Niagara Falls. In the end, I took an Uber from the park entrance and went back to my homestay. Overall, it was a fantastic first day.

The next day, I woke up early in the morning. My goal of the day was to get into the boat ride on the Niagara River. This is a must-do thing if you are visiting Niagara Falls. The boat will take you very close to both falls. After waking up from my bed, I immediately grabbed my phone in hand and made the online reservation for the boat. Then I had a light breakfast, and I went out from my homestay without wasting any time. I had to walk for 10 minutes to get there. I arrived in front of the main kiosk, and they sent me downstairs. Another important thing I need to tell you is that the river is located way below the walkway. So, there is a boat terminal area located down there. You need to take an elevator to go down to catch the boat from the terminal. From the kiosk, I went down through an elevator, and I was able to catch the first boat ride of the day. Actually, it’s not a boat ride. It’s a small ship you are about to hop in. I stepped into the boat, and the boat started to move. At first, the boat went in front of the US Falls. The US Falls was so calm and quiet, but I felt the splashes of water all over my body. It wasn’t too heavy, by the way. I managed to capture some pictures and selfies. But the scenario was different in front of the Horseshoe Falls. Horseshoe Falls was very wild, and the atmosphere near it was very windy. The water from the upper river was falling so hard on the lower river. So, the water splashes were coming towards me very frequently and rapidly. I became all wet within few seconds. Though I wore a plastic apron on my dress, that failed to protect me from the wild water splashes. It felt like it was raining so hard, and I faced difficulties capturing the falls’ close pictures. Somehow, I managed to take some close shots, but I couldn’t take my selfies. Then the boat moved back towards the terminal. After stepped down from the boat, I took some photos of the famous rainbow bridge. This is the connecting bridge between the USA and Canada. I got the best view of this bridge from the arrival zone of the boat terminal. Besides that, you will see some restaurants, bars and some souvenir shops in the arrival zone. I bought a backpack from there and went up to the kiosk through the elevator.

After that, I started to explore the Fallsview Walkway again. This time, I wanted to see the distant views of the falls in the daytime. I was also looking to explore the source of the horseshoe falls, and I was going in that direction. I found out the place very crowded at this. At night, It was less crowded. But I continued my walk, and I reached my destination after few minutes. When I was close to the source, I started to feel the water splashes again. It wasn’t too hard like down there, but I realized how fast the water was falling down from the source into the river. This rapid fall actually crates the splashes, and the splashes move up due to this rapidness. I managed to see the source at last. The water source is known as the great lake. The great lake mainly originated in the US, and then it flows through Canada. The views around the source were so beautiful to me. If you go there, you will feel the intensity and the wildness of the Horseshoe Falls. If you go a little further, you will see a damn project. It’s a hydro-powered electricity plant. This must be significant stuff. Though I know nothing about it, I had no interest as well. I came here to explore nature and the city vibe, so let’s be on that. My focus was on the horseshoe falls. I went a little further by crossing the fall’s source. I observed the beauty of the great lake. There is a park located beside this great lake. I was walking through the park. The park is called Niagara river park. There is another park located before that, and it is called Queen Victoria Park. This park is the central park located just beside Horseshoe Falls. There is a welcoming center inside, which is actually a refreshment area located inside a building. The building looks like a palace from the outside. You will see there are some restaurants, shops, and bars inside.

I finished my exploration of Niagara Falls and Niagara River. I was starting to move towards the west. My target was to go in front of the Skylon Tower. Skylon Tower is the tallest skyscraper in this town. Skylon Tower is a must-visit attraction while you are in Niagara Falls. This tower offers a breathtaking scenic view of both falls and the amazing city view at sunset. For me, it was a wonderful experience. I arrived in front of the tower kiosk after 10 minutes of walk. I had to catch an elevator to go up to the tower’s observation deck. I stepped into the elevator. The elevator is made up of transparent glasses. So, when it moves up, you will have the entire city view while moving up. If you have acrophobia, then you shouldn’t take this elevator. For me, this was another thrilling ride in Niagara Falls, ON. I reached the top observation deck after the thrilling ride. The observation deck is a round-shaped small walkway, where you will have a 360-degree view of the entire city. You will be able to see both falls from the top, and it will be a fantastic view. The city views will be amazing as well. Apart from the observation deck, there is a lot more to do here. The Skylon Tower offers two significant levels of fine dining – both 775 feet above the Falls. The Revolving Dining room restaurant silently rotates 360 degrees every hour, giving diners a constantly changing vantage point. It is estimated that more than 8,000 square km are viewable from the dining room. It really is the most breathtaking view in all of Niagara Falls. I didn’t go to the restaurant because it was a bit expensive for me. Besides that, I didn’t have the previous reservation. But I will go there in the future for sure. There was a souvenir shop I found beside the main elevator in the observation deck. I bought a keyring from there. Then I came down to the ground level, where I saw some fast-food chain shops and some gift shops. After that, I started to walk towards my stay, and I reached there within 10 minutes. One important thing I need to inform you all. You all should try to visit there at night. I believe at the night time it will offer more wonderful bird-eye views of this city. The tower itself looks wonderful at night as well. I saw the tower in the previous day while exploring the Cliffton hill area.

Moving up through the elevator.

I took a rest for a while after returning to my homestay. I was thinking about my next move. I thought about which place I should visit next and which site would be easily accessible through public transit. I hardly wanted to see The Niagara-On-Lake area, but it wasn’t possible because it was too far away from the city, and I didn’t have a car. But I was so lucky and fortunate enough. On my first day at Niagara Falls, I met an Indian guy, and he offered me a ride. He was just like me, a solo traveler from Toronto, ON. He had an SUV with him, and he told me to join him. I asked about his plan, and he told me that he wanted to visit Niagara-On-Lake. I thought it would be fun. This is the advantage of solo traveling. You always have a chance to meet other solo travelers. Meeting new people is always a very interesting thing to me. If you are traveling in a group, you will get less chance to interact with other people. Because you will be busy with your group, and no one will bother you.

So, we started our journey in the late afternoon. At first, we went to the end of the Niagara Parkway. At there, we saw a viewpoint, where we saw some stunning views of Niagara lake. The water from the falls comes in here and goes all the way to the Atlantic Ocean from here. The lake is located way too below from the viewpoint, and it felt like we were watching the water flow from the top of a mountain. We didn’t waste any time there and went out to explore the next destination. We stopped in front of the Queenston Press. It was one of the oldest printing presses in the world. It looks like a small castle from outside. Then we moved on and stopped in front of Fort George. This is not a famous tourist place in Niagara-On-Lake. I saw there was a museum, an open field, and a giant canyon. I immediately realized this might be a battleground before. Actually, it used to be a British military camp before. Well, I didn’t go for more details, and this place wasn’t interesting to my friend or me. We both took some photographs and moved from there. Then we arrived in Mississauga Beach. This was an amazing place. I was standing in front of an Atlantic coastline for the first time. It was a beautiful area, and there was a long walkaway just beside the beach where I saw people were warming up. We both spent a little time here, and then we moved on to our next destination. We were about to visit another beach. It was located on St. Catherines, a little town just a bit far away from Niagara-on-lake. It’s called Sunset Beach. There was nothing special for me because I’m surrounded by the beaches and the ocean where I’m living right now. But my friend enjoyed this place. Well, I captured some photographs and selfies out there. We both didn’t see the sunset over there because we had to wait for a long time to do that. So, we moved back, and our exploration came to an end.

After the sunset, we both walked out from our homestay and went to the night views of the fall very last time. We both were about to leave the city the next day.  It was an amazing time with him, and we both enjoyed each other’s company. That’s all about solo traveling. You always have the opportunity to meet people like you.

The next day, I woke up early, and I was about to catch the first bus towards Downtown Toronto. Victoria dropped me at the bus stop. The bus went up to Burlington, and then I had to take a train to reach Union Station of Downtown Toronto. After that, I had my lunch in a nearby food court located inside a mall. Then I went to the airport from there and took my flight to Vancouver. After a few more than four hours later, I arrived in Vancouver and went back home. A long journey, but I felt so refreshed after returning home. I was so satisfied. This is all about my short trip to Niagara Falls. I want to go there in the future, especially in the wintertime. I want to see how it looks during the winter. I heard that both falls look so beautiful when they become frozen in the hard wintertime. For sure, I will go and visit one more time.

That’s all about my journey to Niagara Falls. This summer was so amazing for me. I was too busy before my holidays. So, I took a long break and started to explore the outside world, which I always loved to do. This summer, I enjoyed it a lot. I’m feeling refreshed. After a few days from now, I will back to my regular life. I will be very busy with my work. But I won’t stop. Whenever I have some free time, I will go out and explore. This is not the ideal time for traveling. But I tried my best to stay safe during my journey.

So, travel more, be happy & stay safe. Always remember that your mobility is your freedom.

Picture Source – Self-Captured Pictures.

Information Source – Wikipedia, Niagara Falls Tourism Website.

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