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Niagara Falls – Canada

The Niagara Falls are among the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.  They are actually three separate falls: The Horseshoe Falls (Canadian Falls), the American Falls, and the small Bridal Veil Falls.

Of the three, the most magnificent and recognizable is the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side of the border.  It is not particularly high like the Angel Falls, but it happens to be very wide and has the highest volume of waterfall of any North American waterfall.


The Niagara Falls are the result of the Wisconsin Glacier that receded approximately 10,000 years ago.  When the glacier melted it left behind not only the Niagara Falls but also all of the Great Lakes.  In fact, it was drainage from the Great Lakes that formed the Niagara River.  As the river moved through the Niagara Escarpment (the land separating Lake Ontario from Lake Erie) it encountered a region of hard dolomite that resisted erosion.  Eventually, this rock slipped off as a lower stratum of rock eroded beneath, forming the waterfall.

Over several millennia, the falls have receded several miles due to erosion and are slowly creeping toward Lake Erie.  It's expected that sometime in the distant future, the falls will begin directly draining most of Lake Erie.  Engineers are doing everything they can to slow this process.

The Horseshoe Falls drop for about 170 feet, while the American Falls only fall 70 feet before hitting a pile or fallen rocks.  In width, the Horseshoe Falls dominate the area with a 2,600-foot curved span, which is more than twice the width of the American Falls.  The average volumetric flow per second is estimated to be on the order of 200,000 cubic feet at peak.

Much of the actual water flow is actually diverted for the nearby hydroelectric generation plants.  During the summer, half of the water is diverted for use in power generation, resulting in 90% of all water to go over the Horseshoe Falls rather than the American Falls.  At night, increased power generation reduces the flow to a quarter of the peak flow.

The Niagara Falls have always been an important tourist attraction in the region.  The sister cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York, are home to a large tourism industry filled with hotels and scenic views.  The Niagara region is known for its high number of honeymooners looking for a romantic escape.  Over 14 million people per year visit the falls.  Visitors can take in glorious vistas from up top or head into the heart of the fury with one of the steamers down below.