It’s that time of year again in Niagara Falls where the scenery transforms from the lush green of summer, into the fiery colours of Fall, and if it’s one of *those* years… it may experience only a few weeks of Fall before it hits Winter. And if you’re not from Ontario, the extreme difference in seasons can be a shock, where it varies from Indonesian-level heat and humidity in summer, to Russian-level extreme cold and snow in winter.
Some of my cousins also live in this part of the world, and we each have fairly strong and varied opinions on the weather here.
Below is a conversation from Facebook:
Cousin 1: Snow Again???!!?? This is the never-ending winter that refuses to die. Come on, Spring!
Me: Oh I know the feeling. I said to North Nomad that it’s starting to feel like it’ll never end. And it’s been snowing for five months now!
Cousin 2: Winter’s great, I love the calming effect that snow has. Spring time is awesome too, looking at snow-capped mountains, with the sun out and the birds chirping, then summer comes along and reminds us that perhaps, winter wasn’t so bad after all…
Me (to Cousin2): I particularly love the beginning of spring in Ontario… when it looks like the post-apocalyptic aftermath of a nuclear war. The brown and grey makes me feel like I’m in a dystopian movie.
As you can see, I don’t feel as romantic about the seasons here as Cousin 2 does, who lives in the milder British Columbia.
But the change in seasons does provide some spectacular scenery in Ontario, and the best place for seeing the changes between the seasons is Niagara Falls.
Dusk At Canadian Horseshoe Falls – Niagara Falls, Canada – image by dexchao at FreeDigitalPhotos
In Summer, it’s so hot you can practically see through time and space. The spray from the falls is refreshing and the sunlight on the water creates constant rainbows arcs.
Summer is also the best time to take advantage of the boat rides which give you the best views of the Falls. In the past, both the Canadian and American sides have operated boat tours. The Canadian side closed in late 2013, due to reopen in May 2014. This means if you’re doing a trip before May, you’ll need to bring your passport with you (or your licence, if you’re Canadian) to get through Border Protection and Customs and do the boat tour on the American side.
Both the Canadian and the U.S. sides of the Falls have beautiful gardens worth exploring. They’re green and fertile in Summer, and the U.S. side is so densely hidden from the Falls that I asked North Nomad the very daft question – “Is there a waterfall nearby?”
In Winter, it’s too cold to venture near the spray off the Falls. We stayed firmly on the snow-packed lawn that is a great sunbaking spot in Summer. But Niagara Falls does put on a good show in winter with the festival of lights, free outdoor concerts, and children’s activities.
We visited The Falls for New Year’s Eve this year. We were treated to a free concert, and me being the coldest I’d ever experienced. I learnt that if you don’t drink your beer quickly enough outdoors in these temperatures, it will freeze over!
In Autumn/Fall, Niagara Falls is bloody cold, but at its most beautiful. The colours of the trees range from fiery red, to burnt orange, to gold, to honey coloured. Every colour on the orange, red, yellow spectrum is represented.
The best vantage point (and I’ll admit, the easiest) to see the changing Autumn leaves is to use the Whirlpool Aero Cable Car, which takes you across the Great Gorge and the whirlpool of Niagara River. The antique cable car has been in operation since 1916.
You can see people fishing and hiking across on the United States side, so this leaves us with a planned hike for the future!
Spring, we’re yet to try. And given the post-apocalyptic scenery of Ontario in Spring, maybe it’s a season we’ll give a miss. If we do visit, I’ll post another blog with photos so we can all enjoy Ontario’s post apocalyptic Spring Beauty!
What’s your favourite season in the part of the world that you live in?
Location: the western bank of the Niagara River in the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario.
Getting There: If you’re driving from Toronto, take the QEW via Highway 420. ViaRail also offers a service between Toronto and Niagara Falls, and Amtrak runs a daily train from New York to Toronto that stops at Niagara Falls. There are also limited Go Train services in Ontario to Niagara Falls.