I’ve been close to Canada many times, but until to day, I have never crossed the border. Today Paul O’Donnell and I went to Niagara Falls, crossed over to the Canadian side, and saw the falls from that side.
I’ve been to four countries: U.S., Mexico, Sweden and now Canada. I must say Canada is the cleanest of the four. It was somewhat of an embarrassment to see how clean the Canadian side is compared to the U.S. side. There is a lesson to be learned here. The U.S. side is surrounded by some very rundown dirty neighborhoods. Typically, such neighborhoods have problems with crime and there is a direct link to crime and poverty. Some will say poverty breeds crime, but I am most certain it is the other way around – crime breeds poverty. I don’t know what Canadians do to drug-pushers and hookers, but I do know we’re too soft on crime.
Well, enough editorialized…
It was very impressive. The beautiful gardens and architecture on the Canadian side made it a lovely place to just stroll along the walk way taking photos and taking in the grandeur of the falls.
Niagara Falls from the Canadian Side
I read that 60,000 gallons per second pour over the falls. That’s enough water to fill 20 swimming pools on one second. It is difficult to feel the grandeur unless you are standing at the brink of the falls (U.S. side). There, you see the depth of the water as it makes its 90-degree turn downward.
American Falls from the New York Side
If you are planning a day-trip to the falls from Palmyra, here are some suggestions:
1) Bring plenty of cash. It will cost you $3-4 on the Canadian side for a soda or water. Parking on the U.S. side in the park is $10. Outside the park is $5. If you don’t mind walking an extra 1/2 mile, you can save $5 and park in one of the lots just outside the park. Also, vending machines will take your U.S. money, but return change in Canadian coins. I recommend you keep plenty of U.S. $1 bills and U.S. quarters. There are NO drinking fountains on the Canadian side. So, if you don’t bring your own bottle of water, be prepared to pay $4 to get it from a vending machine. There are vending machines all over the place.
2) Keep two quarters per person for toll to return to the U.S.
3) Have your passport
4) Don’t use your credit cards in Canada else you’ll be charged a conversion fee (about 3% on most cards)
5) Be prepared to get wet – rain, mist, you name it, you’ll get wet
6) Be prepared to walk – it’s the only way to really see the falls
7) Keep a sense of humor – you’ll have to make up for the CBP guard’s (the U.S. Customs workers) lack of one. (I’m sure they have to deal with a lot of stupid people, but at least they could pretend to smile.) Plus, getting in to Canada you’ll be greeted with a smile and welcome and it will very quick. Coming back to the U.S.A. you’ll be talked to sternly, no smiles, and hardly a welcome home.
We can also thank the Canadians for the beautiful lights on the falls. Starting around 8:30pm, they light up the falls with various colors (they change throughout the evening).
Niagara Falls at Night
I recommend seeing the falls at night and during the day. Both views are wonderful.