By Samantha Mueller ’18
The Niagara Falls have been a well-traveled tourist site for both the United States and Canada. The history of the landmark goes from gouged out paths during The Ice Age to our predecessors going down the falls in barrels. (No, most of them did not survive.) Over spring break, I had the opportunity to see this wonder from both the American and Canadian sides. As I’m sure you have heard others say, there is a big difference.
The falls are separated into three different sections: The American Falls, The Bridal Veil Falls, and The Canadian “Horseshoe” Falls. The water itself looks breathtaking from either side, but the ambiance differs substantially. The Canadian side has beautiful gardens and walkways along the falls. Everything is trimmed and pristine. However, The American side was a little disappointing. At the time I traveled, they were doing construction and had the falls shown behind a high chain link fence. The construction also obstructed the view and photo opportunity. It is nice to know that the side is being polished to become more aesthetically pleasing.
There was also a difference in the city and tourism around the falls. The Canadian side had a large space with stores crammed everywhere. There were all sorts of buildings from haunted houses to museums of wacky things. It was like stepping into Canadian Gatlinburg. The atmosphere was extremely exciting, and helped to make the whole area a destination rather than only the falls. The American side had some places to go, but they seemed few and far between. Most of the area away from the falls was neighborhoods and hotels. The area was completely dedicated to the falls, so there was less of a focus on the opportunity for tourism around the landmark through exciting buildings and places to go.
No matter which side you go to, the Niagara Falls will still astound you by the sheer amount of water bounding over the edge every second. They are also a powerful symbol of the relationship between the United States and Canada. Visiting places like Niagara Falls helps me to realize the beauty in our world we don’t think about. There is so much to be explored, so don’t be afraid to go on an adventure.