Remember a few weeks back when I said I hadn’t been to Canada in 13 years? Well, that just changed.
That’s right: I went back to Canada.
Oh, but I didn’t just go to Canada. No, that would be too boring. I went on a sightseeing tour of Canada, like a real tourist! Wore denim-on-denim and everything!
I actually went on Gray Line Niagara Falls’ Rainbow Tour. Now, this post is not exactly sponsored, but I will warn you that I was on this tour because I *cough* may or may not have a personal connection to the tour company *cough*. That being said, I’m here to talk about Canada. I’m not here to talk about the tour, or the discount currently running on the website where you can save 10%. Got it? Good.
So, what was it like crossing into Canada? Incredibly easy. I have an enhanced New York State license, so I don’t need a passport. I didn’t even need to leave the bus!
Once I was in Canada, we went on the Hornblower. Now, I’ve already written about the Maid of the Mist, and I expected Hornblower to be similar.
The catamaran doesn’t provide as much wall protection as the Maid does, and Hornblower’s ponchos are short-sleeve for some odd reason. The result? I was soaked. Brilliant me got to walk around in wet socks and sneakers all day.
Of course, I was far more interested in the really Britishy Canada stuff. There’s a really impressive World War I memorial downtown. I only got to see it in passing, but I would love to go back and take a look at it close up.
The Queen Victoria Park space is naturally very British, and even the street signs are a bit…much?
We got a peek at the Old Scow: if you’re not familiar, a scow (like a ship) got stuck in the river 100 years ago with some people trapped on it, people escaped, the scow did not.
My favorite part of the entire tour was the focus on the history of hydropower in Niagara Falls. We got to see some awesome old power plant buildings, including the Toronto Power House.
We also got to see the control dam, which is really neat to see up close.
Then there was the greatest thing since sliced bread. You know how I am obsessed with the Robert Moses and Adam Beck plants? You know how I’ve written way too many articles about hydropower? Well, I finally got to see both plants from the other side of the border!
That’s right: I got to stand on the Sir Adam Beck Plant, and gaze upon the wonder of the American Robert Moses Plant that I’ve only seen from the side for my entire life.
The Sir Adam Beck plant is also really cool to see up close: you’re actually really close to a lot of the power lines, too! (Scary, but kind of neat.)
I also love Ontario Power’s sign: it’s hits that sweet-spot in my aesthetic.
Then, there was the Floral Clock. I’d never actually seen the Floral Clock before this point, and always thought it was in Queen Victoria Park. Nope! It’s right behind the Adam Beck plant, and it is stunning.
Now I understand why this clock is so popular: the colors of the flowers make for really good pictures!
If you want to read about the history of the power plant, I was smart enough to take a photo of this plaque.
I got to see the Spanish Aero Car up close, and quickly realized you could not pay me to ever ride over the gorge on a wire.
Then, it was time for the kitsch. So much kitsch. This is the part of Niagara I don’t really care for.
Now, I’m not anti-Clifton Hill: I just think it’s kitschy. And it is.
That being said, I do love the Skylon Tower. It’s just such an iconic shape. And people in America think that they’re in Toronto because it looks (slightly if you squint) like the CN Tower.
Of course, the views from the top of the Skylon are stunning.
Standing at the top of the Skylon, there was only one thing I cared about: home.
You see, you can see any spot in Niagara Falls, NY from the top of the Skylon with a good set of binoculars (or a good camera). It’s odd when you realize that Niagara Falls, Canada exists as a tourist destination, and every photo ever taken has Niagara Falls, USA in the background.
So that was my first trip back to Canada. Will I be back? Of course! There’s still a lot I didn’t see get to see, and it’s not like I live far away. Let’s just hope I don’t wait another 13 years for my next tour.