Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wintertime Niagara

Winter is not the not greatest time to go see a waterfall, but then again it's not something you get to see in Sri Lanka either. You may wonder what's there to see when everything is covered in snow and the cold winds numbing your body, but there is a different kind of beauty at Niagara Falls during the winter time.

We decided to take little day trip down to Niagara last Saturday. There is a bus service here that offers a  limited number of seat for one dollar if you book about a month ahead, which is a pretty good deal.  Leaving Toronto at 8 in the morning, it took only 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete the 130km journey on the highway. The day was cold, around -11C with wind chill, but we decided to take a chance anyway. Apparently many had felt the same way, because there were many visitors in town.  Maybe less than in summertime, but the place was busy.

The area had enjoyed more snow than Toronto, so it looked what winter should normally look like. The thing about  winter is that when everything is covered by snow, it all looks very clean and uniform. The colour scheme is a bit monochromatic compared to the bright colours of summer, but it has it's own allure. Banks of the river were covered in a white sheet like a well made bed. The rocky faces on both sides of the falls were covered in icicles, formed by the mist from the water, and the all the rocks at the bottom had a thick coating of ice, a couple of inches thick. When the water hits the bottom, the spray creates a thick mist rising a couple of hundred feet above the top of the falls. Because of it, even the railings on the viewing area has a coating of ice couple of inches thick. At night the falls are lit up by coloured spotlights focused from the banks, making a rainbow waterfall.

This is a town made for tourists. Most of the houses closer to the falls are converted in to quaint bed and breakfasts', ideal for romantic getaways. Small scale motels compete with large hotel chains and casinos for the attention of the tourists. Downtown is full of attractions to keep visitors happy. There is a Sky Wheel, like the London Eye, but in a smaller scale, and an observation tower similar to the CN Tower, but again less height. There also several wax works museums in town, a Ripley's Believe It or Not museum, several horror houses, an aviary, an indoor water park, an outdoor amusement park, and a souvenir shop around every corner. For some people the biggest attraction are the casinos where you can freely gamble to either win or lose millions.

Niagara is the crossover point to get into the US of A. The border runs along the Niagara river, where one bank belongs to Canada and the other to America. The Rainbow Bridge spans over the river and connects these two countries together. American and Canadian citizens can freely cross into each country, so people make the trip to get the best deals of both worlds.

Outdoor photography during the winter time is a pain, especially for the hands and fingers. I can't manipulate the camera while wearing gloves, so I have to take them off to take pictures. You can only go for so long without gloves before you start to lose feeling in your fingers, and feel like they are about to fall off. So I was unable to take pics to my hearts content, but did manage to take a few.

Below are some of them. Enjoy!

You can also take a look at a live web cam feed of the falls here.

Tourist website


Angel said...

Wow, beautiful shots... love the lamp post especially!

Lady divine said...

WOW! amazing pics!!! :)

Azrael said...

Thanks guys :)

PP said...

so pretty :) hope the cold is not too bad though!

Azrael said...

@PP - This year the weather is so crazy even the locals are confused by it :). The temps are higher than usual, so a much more enjoyable winter :)