We managed to hire the only Fiat 500 in North America and, dwarfed by pickup trucks and huge American cars, navigated our way through downtown Toronto towards Niagara.
During the two-hour drive around Lake Ontario, Nicola and I discussed the fact that the Niagara Falls are not even in in the top 500 highest waterfalls in the world. We decided that it’s probably just the waterfall with the best PR team.
We parked on the delightfully-tacky Clifton Hill and walked to the falls. Although they’re not the highest, they must be one of the most impressive. The sheer amount of water tumbling over the rock face every second creates a huge cloud of mist, and the roar never stops. Everyone had recommended that we take the boat into the Canadian horseshoe falls, so we dutifully covered ourselves in a garish poncho and set sail.
As we drew closer to the falls, the wind turned and the spray suddenly hit us. It’s not a fine mist; it’s more like a power shower blasting you from all angles, making sure you are completely and utterly drenched. Despite the cold, it’s an exhilarating experience, and you can’t help but grin (especially as other tourists frantically try to cover their iPads, used just seconds before for photos). Just when you think the boat can’t get any closer to the cascading water, it does just that.
Wet and bedraggled, we headed back to Clifton Hill and went to Wendy’s for some traditional North American fast food. Maybe I’m too cynical, but it seems an awful lot of fuss for a waterfall. There are towering hotels, observation decks, boat tours, bus tours, casinos, golf courses, theme parks, museums and plenty of rotating restaurants, and all because some water is falling over a rock. Niagara Falls is a masterclass in making money, and the impressive spectacle of the waterfall itself is somewhat overlooked.