Niagara Falls is one of the world’s leading tourist attractions. Millions of people around
the world visit here each year. Summers at the Falls are especially busy, with traffic jams
and parking problems. However, the Falls are beautiful in winter too.
Many have asked why people travel so far to see water falling over a cliff. The size and
beauty of Niagara Falls help to make it special. While many falls are higher than Niagara,
very few are as wide or have such a volume of water. It also helps that Niagara is
relatively easy to travel to.
When the first Europeans came to Niagara, the Falls were surrounded by forest. The
noise of the Falls could be heard miles away, before they were actually seen. The first
visitors were filled with horror at the sight.
Later, fear ceased to be the main emotion inspired by the Falls. Later, visitors were
impressed by the beauty and grandeur of the Falls, which overwhelmed them with
By the 1830s, people were able to come to the Falls by railway. As more and more people
came, the tourist industry developed. Early tourism was not well regulated, and there
were many complaints about cheats and swindles. Today, there are similar complaints
about tourist junk and high prices.
The majority of tourists stay on the Canadian side. There are two falls, separated by an
island. Since the Niagara River forms the boundary here between Canada and the United
States, each country has one of the falls. The Canadian Horseshoe Falls is wider and
more impressive than the American Rainbow Falls. About nine times more water goes
over the Canadian Falls. Nonetheless, there is much to be seen on the American side.
The island in the middle, Goat Island, is one of the best places to view the falls and
rapids. It is on the American side.
Newly married couples began coming to Niagara Falls when it was still a secluded,
peaceful and romantic spot. It is still popular with newly-weds as a relatively inexpensive
and convenient place to spend their honeymoon.
Besides being beautiful, Niagara Falls is also very useful. Their falling water is the power
behind several of the largest hydroelectric stations in the world. Much of the electric
power used in this part of North America comes from Niagara Falls. In order to harness
this power, half of the flow of water is channeled away from the falls during the night, and
during the non-tourist season. Probably most visitors don’t notice the difference.
Niagara has attracted many kinds of people over the years. Businessmen have come to
profit from the tourists. Daredevils have come to make a name for themselves. Some
have gone over the falls in a barrel, while others have walked above the falls on a
tightrope. Poets and artists have visited here to capture its beauty. Lovers have come to
gaze on its romantic scenery. All of these, and many others, have helped to make Niagara
Falls world famous.