Monday, March 20, 2006


When I was a kid, I used to hear about Niagara in references to some magic trick or the other - magicians bound in chains jumping off and getting free miraculously. And the Maid of the Mist and the yellow raincoats!

So when my parents shifted to Toronto, I got an excuse to travel to that part of the world. My first trip was in July 2005. Middle of summer. Canadians living it up, the few months of summer they get. Clear blue skies (which is such a contrast from winters - will get to that too), warm sunshine on your back. Sometimes as warm as back here in India. Best part about a new place is if you have old friends. Shaun Mehta. My old friend who had come on exchange to India and we kept in touch ever since. He plays the part of an immaculate host superbly. Took me around town. We talked. and then he offered to drive me down to Niagara. It sounded good and my brother tagged along too.

If you are driving from Toronto to Niagara it should take you around 110 km (from Mississauga) which is around 1 hour and 30 minutes by car. You would need to take the 403W to Hamilton (around 8km) after which you would need to travel 24 km on 407 ETR W which would lead to the QEW ramp to Niagara. Keep going on this for 70 km and you should be there. You would pass the towns of Grimsby, St. Catherines The best place to park is just opposite the entry for the Caves; you cross the falls on your left.

The first thing that hits you when you walk to the railings is the spray. The good kind which makes you smile. We were grinning at eachother as we got wet. Made me remember when I was a kid, coming back from school, walking in the rain. It was a nice feeling. This tops it. And the noise. Some serious tonnes of water going over. How things like these transfix us, I don't know! Shaun suggested that we do the caves instead of the Maid of the Mist as according to him, its much better. So we nodded and got our tickets.

Tip: As soon as you land up there, and want to do either the Caves or Maid of the Mist, buy your tickets as usually it'll be anywhere 3-5 hours before your turn comes. In those 3-5 hours, walk around, go to Clifton Hill, get some coffee or some beer at the Hard Rock Cafe. Its a nice place to walk around and explore. If you are a WWE fan, theres a retail store on Clifton Hill you might want to check out.

When our time came, we trooped down this serpentine queue where you go down the stairs and pick up your personal yellow raincoats (basically a polythene sheet to put over yourself). There are 3 areas in the cave to explore (if I remember correctly). The best is the deck where when you step out, the falls are on your right gushing down furiously. Awesome. Only someone who's been there can understand what I'm talking about! Spend as much time here because its an out-of-the-world experience.

When I was back there during the winter with Sunil on Christmas day, the falls were a different sight. A pretty picture. Ice everywhere. White. But the spray still hits you. So come prepared with a jacket unless you wanna freeze to death after getting wet. And get one with a hood. Leather gloves are preferable. In the evening they shine colored lights on the falls.

You should try and do both the summer and winter trips if possible. But at least one. Then you would know what you had been missing!


At 11:36 PM, Blogger Prerona said...

its was wonderful - the niagra - really great - i remember feeling stunned by the scale of it


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