My grandparents had visited Niagara Falls years before I was even thought of and had brought back a memorial bronze plate which sat on the mantel above the fire place. It always held some kind of wonderment and curiosity for me and I got to fulfil that desire finally.
I had options to do a day tour to Niagara and back including a few other excursions. After reading up on it, I decided though it sounded good I wasn’t interested in doing anything else so that idea was nixed. Instead I decided to catch a train there, spend the day and then return the same day back to Toronto.
My train departed from Union Station and it was just over two hours travel time to Niagara. Arriving just after 10am I had a whole seven hours to burn before I would need to be back for the return train to Toronto.
The train station itself is located four kilometres from the Falls and offers the options to catch a bus or taxi there. I decided it wasn’t too far a distance to walk and ended up taking a roundabout route because for the first few blocks I had little idea as to where I was going.
There was no signage and no free tourist maps of Niagara (as I later discovered because their information centre sells these), but I found a map at a bus stop outlining the city and all the bus routes.
Congratulating myself on my cleverness, I took a snapshot using my phone and navigated my way down to the falls from there.
I walked through downtown Niagara which was for lack of a better word, a dump. Shops were empty and downtrodden and I half expected some rednecks to come out and take pot shots at me. Not a great selling point for the township in any sense but when I got to Niagara Falls I understood the reason why.
It is quite the tourist mecca and downtown Niagara would never stand a chance with this place stealing all the business. One might even wonder why they have a downtown area at all considering, but I guess they need to have a place for the regular folk to go without having to face the hordes of tourists. It is very cheesy but hey gotta keep the tourists happy they are the money makers I guess!
By the time I arrived I was starving and thought it best to get some sustenance before I trekked down to the Falls. Spotting the Ihop sign I decided to dine in and why oh why I chose Ihop I don’t know.
The food isn’t great, my having encountered this place in San Francisco, but my only excuse is sometimes a grumbling tummy incites me do irrational things. I ate seasonal pumpkin cinnamon pancakes, scrambled eggs and hash brown. The pancakes were tasty and you can’t really dress up scrambled eggs but the hash brown was down right horrible.
Still not one to waste food I ate everything and drank a whole jug of coffee before paying and getting out of there.
Then a few minutes later I came upon the Falls and WOW is it worth the trek!
One would never imagine it was only five minutes from that tacky tourist strip.
Niagara was simply magnificent to behold in all it’s glory.
I spent hours walking between the two Falls, taking a trillion photos and enjoying the sunshine and even jumped for joy in the fine mist created by the Falls.
You can easily see why the Canada side is deemed to be the best side because it is stunning.
Then because ever the tourist, I hit up the few tourist shops that were open and there some fantastic items in there, all made in China! I gest, but there were gigantic cardis, winter boots and other cool winter paraphernalia including the biggest teddy bear I have ever seen.
It was just as well that I only travel with carry on because I was tempted to purchase a few things for winter next year. Instead I opted to buy a Roots purse and left it at that. Though I did get annoyed when I realised the advertised price was not the end price due to the sales tax. A marketing ploy perhaps? It turns a great price into a turd when it is whammoed by the steep sales tax.
I then explored along the riverfront once I had my fill of the Falls and found a Starbucks on the bottom floor of the Sheraton Hotel. It seems I found the only Starbucks in the world that didn’t have Wifi and they said I couldn’t use the Sheratons because the Sheraton required a room number to enter in. Undeterred I logged onto it anyway. It required a room number and name so I chose a a random room number and a generic name figuring the Sheraton could afford it.
Resting for an hour or so because my feet had walked excessive kilometres that day and didn’t include the walk back to the station, I admit I entertained the idea of catching a taxi, but decided to walk instead. This time I took a more direct route and simply walked along the river back to Niagara Station.
I passed the Rainbow bridge which crossed to the USA border.
And I took a few pics further along of the river.
Then it was back to Toronto with a wistful goodbye.