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4th April 2004
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 Holiday | Programmes | 50
North America

Niagara Falls

Best time to go: Year round - depending whether you wish to ski, walk, sight-see... Canada has distinct seasons, with cold snowy winters, warm summers and cool spring and autumns

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Craig Doyle
Niagara Falls near Toronto, Canada was your 16th pick of the world's best sights.

It�s perhaps not the biggest, but it�s no surprise that your all time favourite waterfall is the heart-stopping Niagara Falls. Year on year, millions come to stand and stare at the sight of 168,000 cubic metres of water flowing over the horseshoe shaped falls every minute.

Niagara Falls is on the border of Ontario, Canada and New York State. The famous horseshoe shaped side is at the Canadian end. As the tons of water cascade over the cliffs, the air is filled with rainbows and a silvery mist. Because of the never-ending deafening roar of the plunging water, which can be heard miles away, the Iroquois Indians call the falls "thunder of water".

Niagara has to be one of the most theatrical settings in the world. In the 1850s and 60s, Jean-Francois Gravelet, the Great Blondin crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope numerous times.

On separate occasions he crossed it on a bicycle, blindfolded, pushing a wheelbarrow, with his hands and feet manacled and with his manager on his back. On one occasion he even stopped midway to cook an omelette on a portable grill.

However, a less adventurous way to appreciate the energy of the falls has to be taking a cruise on the Maid of the Mist boat. You do get soaked, but it takes you right to the foot of the Falls, and this is a breathtaking (and safe!) way of experiencing this magnificent natural wonder.

See our other reports from Toronto and Niagara Falls.


All prices are approximate, and provided as a guide only. Always double-check prices with individual organisations. Please note that the BBC is neither responsible for, nor endorses the external sites shown on this page.

Price: Flights about £350

Approx flight time: 6 hours to Toronto from London

  • in 1901, penniless widow Annie Taylor was the first person to go over the Falls in a barrel. When she emerged from the barrel, she was quoted as saying 'nobody ought to ever do that again'
  • Steven Trotter survived a similar stunt in 1985 but was fined more than $5,000 as a result
  • in 1960, 7 year old Roger Woodward was the first person to go over the falls wearing only a life jacket and a bathing suit. And survive
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