Do the Falls freeze over in the winter?

Yes and No…… We’ll try to explain

 

The tremendous volume of water never stops flowing, However, the falling water and mist create ice formations along the banks of the falls and river. This can result in mounds of ice as thick as fifty feet.

If the winter is cold for long enough, the ice will completely stretch across the river and form what is known as the “ice bridge”. This ice bridge can extend for several miles down river until it reaches the area known as the lower rapids.

 

What is the itinerary of the Niagara tour?

The tour includes 3 hours of free time at the Falls, optional drop-offs at the Hornblower Niagara Cruise (seasonal), Skylon Tower (seasonal) and Niagara Helicopters, an hour of free time at the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, a winery visit that includes a free ice wine tasting and many photo stops along the way.

Where are passengers picked up for the Niagara Falls tour?

We pick up at hotels, hostels, and even private residences in downtown Toronto. For people who are not staying in downtown locations like these, we also have public pickup areas where people can join the tour. One of these locations is in the heart of the city at Yonge-Dundas Square, where passengers are picked up beside the sightseeing information booth near the Hard Rock Café. Another such location is a short walk west of Union Station, right in front of the Starbucks at 123 Front Street West.

Where are the Falls located?

Niagara Falls is located along the Canada-USA border, about 110 kilometers from Toronto. City Sightseeing offers a day tour to Niagara Falls.

I can’t go on the day I have booked. Can I change my tour to another day?

Yes, this is possible. To make sure we have availability for your new trip date, please advise us of any changes as soon as possible.

If I return on a different day, does the return date have to the day that immediately follows the initial departure date?

The return date is flexible. While making your reservation, please specify your return date.

Can I stay overnight in Niagara Falls?

Yes, but there is a $25.00 charge for each person who would like to return on a later day. The reason for this extra charge is that we will need to leave one seat empty on the return date for each guest who is taking advantage of the return on that date. In order to book a Niagara trip with a customized return date, please call us at 416-410-0536 between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm EST.

A Brief History of the Falls

Ice Age History of the Niagara River and Whirlpool Rapids

The Niagara Falls are voluminous waterfalls on the Niagara River, straddling the international border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York. The falls are 17 miles (27 km) north-northwest of Buffalo, New York and 75 miles (120 km) south-southeast of Toronto, Ontario, between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York.

Characteristics

Niagara Falls is divided into the Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls. The Horseshoe Falls drop about 173 feet (53 m), the height of the American Falls varies between 70–100 feet (21–30 m) because of the presence of giant boulders at its base. The larger Horseshoe Falls are about 2,600 feet 790 m) wide, while the American Falls are 1,060 feet (320 m) wide.

Geology

The features that became Niagara Falls were created by the Wisconsin glaciation, about 10,000 years ago. The same forces also created the North American Great Lakes and the Niagara River. All were dug by a continental ice sheet that drove through the area, deepening some river channels to form lakes, and damming others with debris.[5] Scientists believe that there is an old valley, buried by glacial drift, at the approximate location of the present Welland Canal.

History

There are differing theories as to the origin of the name of the falls. According to Iroquoian scholar Bruce Trigger, “Niagara” is derived from the name given to a branch of the locally residing native Neutral Confederacy, who are described as being called the “Niagagarega” people on several late 17th century French maps of the area.

A number of figures have been suggested as first circulating an eyewitness description of Niagara Falls. Frenchman Samuel de Champlain visited the area as early as 1604 during his exploration of Canada, and members of his party reported to him the spectacular waterfalls, which he described in his journals. Finnish-Swedish naturalist Pehr Kalm explored the area in the early 1700s and wrote of the experience. The consensus honoree is Belgian Father Louis Hennepin, who observed and described the Falls in 1677, earlier than Kalm, after traveling with explorer René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, thus bringing the Falls to the attention of Europeans. Further complicating matters, there is credible evidence that French Jesuit Reverend Paul Ragueneau visited the Falls some 35 years before Hennepin’s visit, while working among the Huron First Nation in Canada. Jean de Brébeuf also may have visited the Falls, while spending time with the Neutral Nation.

Impact on industry and commerce

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The enormous energy of Niagara Falls has long been recognized as a potential source of power. The first known effort to harness the waters was in 1759, when Daniel Joncaire built a small canal above the Falls to power his sawmill. Augustus and Peter Porter purchased this area and all of American Falls in 1805 from the New York state government, and enlarged the original canal to provide hydraulic power for their gristmill and tannery. In 1853, the Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Mining Company was chartered, which eventually constructed the canals which would be used to generate electricity. In 1881, under the leadership of Jacob Schoellkopf, Niagara River’s first hydroelectric generating station was built. The water fell 86 feet (26 m) and generated direct current electricity, which ran the machinery of local mills and lit up some of the village streets.

Transport

Ships can bypass Niagara Falls by means of the Welland Canal, which was improved and incorporated into the Saint Lawrence Seaway in the middle 1950s. While the seaway diverted water traffic from nearby Buffalo and led to the demise of its steel and grain mills, other industries in the Niagara River valley flourished with the help of the electric power produced by the river. However, since the 1970s the region has declined economically.

Preservation efforts

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Niagara Falls has long been a source of inspiration for explorers, travelers, artists, authors, filmmakers, residents and visitors, few of whom realize that the falls were nearly to be solely devoted to industrial and commercial use. In the 1870s, sightseers had limited access to Niagara Falls and often had to pay merely for a glimpse, and industrialization threatened to carve up Goat Island in an effort to further expand commercial development. Other industrial encroachments and lack of public access led to a conservation movement in the U.S. known as Free Niagara, led by such notables as Hudson River school artist Frederic Edwin Church, landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted, and architect Henry Hobson Richardson. Mr Church approached Lord Dufferin, governor-general of Canada, with a proposal for international discussions on the establishment of a public park.

In entertainment and popular culture

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Already a huge tourist attraction and favorite spot for honeymooners, Niagara Falls visits rose sharply in 1953 after the release of Niagara, a movie starring Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotten. Later in the 20th century, the Falls was a featured location in 1980s movie Superman II, and was itself the subject of a popular IMAX movie, Niagara: Miracles, Myths and Magic.[32] Much of the episode Return of the Technodrome in the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series take place near the Niagara Falls and its hydroelectric plant.[33] Illusionist David Copperfield performed a trick in which he appeared to travel over the Horseshoe Falls in 1990. The Falls, or more particularly, the tourist-supported complex near the Falls, was the setting of the short-lived Canadian television show Wonderfalls in early 2004. More recently, location footage of the Falls was shot in October 2006 to portray “World’s End” of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.

The fourth episode of the sixth season of the NBC comedy The Office, Niagara, took place here in celebration of a wedding between two of the characters on the show.

About the Falls

History and Facts of Niagara Falls - Content provided by Niagara falls live | Niagara Parks | Wikipedia  

 

American Falls (between Prospect Point and Luna Island) far left

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  • length of brink: 1060 feet
  • height: 176 feet (due to rocks at the base actual fall is 70 feet)
  • volume of water: 150,000 U.S. Gallons per second

Actual amount varies, there are two hydroelectric plants which draw water into their reservoirs prior to the Falls. Their intake greatly affects the volume of water flowing over the falls. The amount of water being siphoned away depends on two variables. The time of year, and the time of the day. Flow is greatest in the daytime during peak tourist season (June, July, and August). In the event of an emergency the flow can be somewhat reduced by the hydroelectric companies increasing their intake.

 

Bridal Veil Falls (between Luna Island and Goat Island) mid left

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  • length of brink: 1060 feet
  • height: 176 feet (due to rocks at the base actual fall is 70 feet)
  • volume of water: 150,000 U.S. Gallons per second

Actual amount varies, there are two hydroelectric plants which draw water into their reservoirs prior to the Falls. Their intake greatly affects the volume of water flowing over the falls. The amount of water being siphoned away depends on two variables. The time of year, and the time of the day. Flow is greatest in the daytime during peak tourist season (June, July, and August). In the event of an emergency the flow can be somewhat reduced by the hydroelectric companies increasing their intake.b The Bridal Veil Falls is named for its appearance. It is located next to the American falls, separated by a small piece of land called Luna Island.

 

Canadian / Horseshoe Falls (between Goat Island and Table Rock) right

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  • length of brink: 2600 feet
  • height: 167 feet
  • volume of water: 600,000 U.S. gallons per second

The name is derived from its curving, horseshoe-shaped crest that is 671 meters (2,200 ft) in width. At the center of the Horseshoe Falls the water is about 3 meters (10 ft) deep. It passes over the crest at a speed of about 32 km/h (20 mph). The fall is 53 meters (173 ft) high, has an average crest elevation of 152 meters (500 ft) and faces northwards. The depth of the river at the base of the falls, estimated at 56 metres (184 ft), is actually higher than the fall itself. The Horseshoe Falls is considered to be the most impressive of the three falls that make up Niagara Falls. Approximately 90% of the water of the Niagara River flows over Horseshoe Falls, while the other 5% flows over the American Falls.

Does your Niagara Falls tour run year-round?

Yes. We operate every day except for Christmas Day (December 25th) and New Years Day (January 1st).

I am not able to purchase tickets over the internet. Is there any other way to save the 5%?

Yes. You can call us at 416-410-0536, and we would be happy to process your order over the phone at the same discounted rate of 5%. When purchasing tickets over the phone, we can either email you a receipt and a confirmation number, or you can write down the confirmation number that we convey to you over the phone, and use this number as proof of purchase.

Can you drop me off somewhere other than my hotel, hostel, or private downtown residence?

You are not required to get off the bus in the same place that you were picked up at. If another place is more convenient for you, you may be able to arrange an alternate pickup with your driver, provided that it is en route as we complete our downtown drop-offs.

What is there to do at Niagara-on-the-Lake?

There are plenty of options at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Many people choose to take advantage of the variety of shops located on Queen Street, the main shopping street. Niagara-on-the-Lake was the first capital city of Ontario, and is an older, picturesque town that is fascinating to explore. If you’re looking to relax, there are plenty of restaurants and cafés where you can enjoy a meal or a light snack.

What is ice wine?

Ice wine is made from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. When this happens, the sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, allowing for a more concentrated grape and a sweeter wine. Niagara has become famous for its ice wine, and it can be purchased and enjoyed year round.

I want to bring home some souvenirs. Where is the best place to buy souvenirs in Niagara Falls?

The Falls are close to dozens of souvenir shops. Right beside the Falls themselves is the Table Rock Welcome Centre, which has a variety of gift and specialty shops run by the Niagara Parks Commission. You can also opt to explore Clifton Hill, a vibrant strip loaded with interesting shops, exhibits, games, restaurants, and much more. You’ll have more souvenir shopping opportunities once the coach reaches Niagara-on-the-Lake, which is a quaint town filled with unique shops, galleries, and cafes. A great souvenir is a bottle of ice wine which can be purchased directly at the winery during the free ice wine tasting.

Which attractions do you sell discounted tickets for?

We sell discounted tickets for the Hornblower Niagara Cruise, Skylon Tower, Journey Behind the Falls and Niagara Helicopters.

If I do the Hornblower, do I have time to do anything else?

Yes. This fantastic ride is just long enough, so you’ll have plenty of time to do other things during your free time at Niagara Falls! Many of the major attractions are clustered around the Falls, so you won’t have to go too far to see what you want.

Do I save any money if I do both your hop-on hop-off city tour and your Niagara Falls tour?

Yes! We offer a Toronto-Niagara combo package. More info about this combo can be found here.

Is there time to do the Hornblower Niagara Cruise?

Yes, the Hornblower Niagara Cruise is one of the highlights of the tour! As a passenger, you have the option to purchase discounted tickets for this famous attraction. Keep in mind that the cruise is seasonal, usually running from the beginning of May to October.

Do I need to make reservations for the Niagara tour?

Yes, it is important that you make reservations in advance because seating is limited. Reservations can be made by calling 416-410-0536 between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm EST.

Can I buy tickets online? How will you know I have paid?

Yes, and buying your ticket(s) online actually saves you 5%. We’ll know you have paid because each online transaction results in a unique confirmation number. All you need to do is write this confirmation number down on a piece of paper, and call us at 416-410-0536 once you’ve decided on the departure date of your choice.

Can I book a specific date online?

When you purchase tickets online through this website, you are buying discounted tickets that can be used on a date of your choosing, but you’ll need to call us and let us know what that date is once you’ve decided on when you’d like to go.

Can I buy tickets without first confirming that there are enough seats available on my desired travel date?

As long as you are buying your tickets at least 24 hours prior to departure, it’s pretty safe to assume that there will still be seats available. If, however, you are buying your tickets less than 24 hours prior to departure, it is advisable that you call us at 416-410-0536 to confirm availability prior to purchase.

After I’ve booked my tickets online, how far in advance do I need to call in my desired trip date?

As a general rule, you’ll need to call in your desired departure date at least 24 hours prior. The more notice you give us, the greater the guarantee that there will be enough seats available on the date of your choice.

Do I need to have access to a printer? What if I can’t print the confirmation page out?

Not to worry! All you need is the confirmation number associated with your purchase. Simply write this number down on a piece of paper. When you call in your desired departure time, or when you are boarding the tour bus, this number is all that you’ll need.

Can I purchase tickets on the internet or over the phone by debit or cash?

Unfortunately, the only way to purchase the discounted tickets online or over the phone is by credit card. If, however, you aren’t able to use a credit card to buy tickets in this manner, you will still be able to pay the regular price by cash on the day of your departure. You may also buy regular-priced tickets in advance at our informtaion kiosk at Yonge-Dundas Square.

What if I am not staying in a downtown hotel, hostel, or private residence?

We have two public pickup locations in downtown Toronto. One is our sightseeing information booth in the heart of Yonge-Dundas Square, and the other is in front of the Starbucks at 123 Front Street West, a short walk west from Union Station. Please be advised that, although you are more than welcome to join our tour at either of these locations, it will still be necessary to call in your reservation in order to ensure that there is adequate seating on the day in question.