Friday, September 16, 2011

Niagara on The Lake... and Beyond!

Niagara Falls is a place of natural, awe inspiring beauty. Looking out into the horseshoe chasm as the waterfall roars over the edge is a breathtaking sight. On the day Jenny and I visited, the falls tossed us the added bonus of a picturesque rainbow! Hundreds of people were there, as I'm sure they are every day, taking pictures and staring in awe of the churning, surging power before them. It truly is an amazing work spun by the hand of God.

And then you turn around... and jutting up to the falls is this gigantic city of hotels, shops, restaurants, and casinos. Call me ignorant, but I had no idea this stuff existed right beside the falls. What was I expecting? I suppose I expected to be surrounded natural grandeur, but you know, souvenir shops and nickle slots are pretty close, right? There was a bit of a disconnect, at least to me, between the fierce and overwhelming force of nature on one side, and the glass and steel empires of man on the other. It was a little jarring.

And because of that... I needed ice cream.

However, I didn't get any. This terrible picture actually took place at the start of our adventure, before the falls, in the little town of Niagara on The Lake. It just provided a nice transition into this part of the story.

Niagara on The Lake is a charming little town, full of beautifully quaint architecture and wonderful little tourist traps. As a tourist, I felt it was my duty to fall into several of them. Again, ice cream comes in handy, as the first thing I want to show you is right behind Jenny. 

 Granted, I can't really call this gorgeous building, The Prince of Wales Hotel, a tourist trap, but it did draw me in like a moth to a flame. It actually reminded me of New Orleans from the outside. It's the kind of place where you walk in and immediately regret your decision to wear blue jeans and a jersey peacoat, because you're sure the Queen and a service of High Tea are waiting right around the corner, and well, she really doesn't appreciate sneakers.

 The interior of the hotel is elegant and sumptuous, filled with rich woodwork, beautiful marble and bronze sculptures, and glorious Tiffany style windows. Every inch of it is filled with Victorian luxury.


This building is also there. I don't remember what it is, but I thought it was pretty, and I'm a sucker for old stonework.

 Usually, my photography skills are not so lacking when I decide to document a trip to a foreign land, or well, anywhere, but for some reason, I don't think I really captured the essence of this pretty little patch of Canada. However, this is the best shot that I have of the main drag of Niagara on The Lake.

This clock tower is located on the main street of Niagara on The Lake and commemorates the Canadian dead of WWI. It's known as a Cenotaph which is "A monument erected to honour the dead whose bodies lie elsewhere; especially members of the armed forces who died in battle." Normally, I'd make a joke about 1.21 giagawatts when I see a clock tower, but I'll show a little respect here for the brave Canadians who died on foreign soil long ago.  Thank you to the vets of a friendly nation!

OK, off to see some water!

Here's Brock's Monument. Who was Brock? Well friends, he was a British Guy:

"Major-General Isaac Brock, Commander-in-Chief of British forces in Upper Canada was stationed at Fort George in Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake).  He had just returned from a victory over American forces at Detroit.  Now he observed the build-up of troops on the American side of the Niagara River from Buffalo to Youngstown.

On the fateful morning of the battle, Brock raced from Fort George to Queenston.  In a valiant effort to retake the Heights of Queenston, he was fatally wounded while leading his troops into battle.
All seemed lost for the British until General Sheaffe, summoned from Fort George, marched with his men of the 41st Regiment, militia and Native forces and gained the rear of the Heights.  With one line charge the Americans were routed.  This tactical movement ensured a victory for the British and gave the inhabitants of Upper Canada new hope and commitment to the British cause."

Or, in my own version of history, I think he's the guy that insured Canada would always have the cooler side of Niagara Falls.

 I believe that's New York across the way. I was excited to see it, if only at a distance. I've never been to the far Northeastern portion of America, and I hope I get the chance to visit it someday. It looks... just like Canada.

 Here is the Niagara Rapids Whirlpool! It's an unusual little spot in the Niagara river where certain turbulent convergences create this swirling, churning vortex! Check out the science behind here!

 I think this is the same area, just a little removed.

We're not normally this pink. However, if you look past our bubble gum faces, you can see the skycar that travels over the whirlpool rapids. (Top left.) We didn't have time to ride it, but it looked like it was a pretty fun time.

And that's where I'm leaving it, because this post is long enough, and it's almost time for me to jet. Hence, the falls gots to waits. However, next time, it's full tilt to Niagara!


Anonymous said...

The building in Niagara-on-the-Lake that you couldn't remember the name of is the old courthouse. It is now used as offices for Parks Canada, the NOTL Chamber of Commerce/Tourism and as a facility for banquets/events, as well as one of the Shaw Festival theatre spaces.

Elizabeth Douglas said...

Ah! Very good! Thanks a lot for clarifying that for me! :)

Abby Rogers said...

What lovely photography! You guys look like you had fun (I envy the ice creams!).

I see from your profile that you are interested in Scotland! Have you checked out my blog yet?

I’m working my way from the north of Great Britain to the south through pictures. You’ll see photographs of glorious vistas, charming close-ups, delicious recipes and interesting tidbits of life in Great Britain for the pleasure of Scotophiles everywhere!

Elizabeth Douglas said...

Hi Abby, thank you! We had a marvelous time! I'm actually working on the next post right now.

I am interested in Scotland! Well, all things UK actually. I'm more than a bit of an Anglophile! :) I will definitely be looking up your site!