Niagara Falls Canadian Side 2016
We made a visit to Niagara Falls over a weekend during a recent business trip in November to Toronto (see our trip report here: )
We knew that even off season, we could expect a crowd at the Canadian side of the falls. (we posted our tips for avoiding the crowds here) We knew an early start was necessary, and that we would need to choose what activities we wanted do, and would not have time for all of it! We decided to spend a morning enjoying the views from the Canadian Visitor Center and then travel about 20 minutes away to Niagara On The Lake, an attractive historic town in the heart of Ontario's wine country. We also wanted to leave time in the afternoon to visit the Fort George National Historic Site where a well preserved fort on the shore of Lake Ontario tells the story of the War of 1812.
First stop, after about an hour long trip south from Toronto was the Visitor Center on the Canadian side of the falls. There are no end to the amount and kinds of activities you can choose to experience Niagara Falls...here is a partial list of a few viewing opportunities we saw:
- ascend the Skylon Tower
- ride a funicular up to the town from the parking lot
- zipline over the falls
- descend tunnels behind the falls
- take a boat up to the falls
- stand on a rock on top of the cataract
- walk behind the falls
- see an Imax film about the falls
- ride an adventure boat trip into the rapids
- cross a bridge from the Canadian to American sides (bring your passport)
- sit on the top floor of a casino bar
We discovered that as long as there is a buck (or Toonie) to be made, someone will offer some new way to enjoy the falls! We did it this way, which with the exception of a parking fee was FREE!!
At the Canadian Side, we were misted by the Horseshoe Falls and had a view to the American Falls across the way.
One piece of advice for visiting Niagara Falls is, no matter how you experience it, you might want to prepare to get wet and pack rain gear or a plastic poncho.
Niagara On The Lake
Our next stop was about 20 minutes from the falls in the historic town of Niagara on the Lake. Along the way, we passed through wine country, saw several small wineries and fields of grape vines. Then we arrived at a well preserved village filled with historic buildings, cafes and shops.
Our last stop was Fort George on the shore of Lake Ontario. This fort stood within shouting distance across Lake Ontario from the American Fort Niagara, during the early conflicts between the Americans and English! The history is brought to life with well preserved buildings, and costumed historical interpreters. A full day of programming includes demonstrations, talks, and while we were there, a community group that performs fife and drum music all summer was rehearsing. The fort brings alive the history and asks the question "Who Won the War of 1812". Spoiler alert: they conclude that like most wars, the answer is pretty much that everyone loses too.
After a late afternoon touring the fort, where we also saw the resident wild fox make an appearance on the greens, we made the easy trip back to Toronto. I would recommend Niagara On the Lake as nice day trip from Toronto.