Monday, August 04, 2014

This 'n That

I've been kinda busy lately.  After travelling home from Algonquin's camping, we had another week off just "relaxing" at home.  Always a bad idea as it turns into getting chores done rather than actually relaxing.  It took us until Wednesday to actually get out and do something.  We visited the Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto.  It was very cool, but I didn't take any photos.  Sometimes I just don't want to carry the camera around with me, I'd rather just enjoy the outing rather than feel obligated to capture every moment.  I haven't been to tourist attractions for a long while, and was a bit (just a bit) surprised that no one really uses cameras at these venues anymore ... all camera phones.  weird. 

The following day we headed down to Niagara Falls ...
Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
I like going to Niagara and have been visiting this spot since I was a kid.  My father's relatives visiting from England were given the obligatory trip to the Falls most summers.  It's just a fun place to be.  There are some rather tacky areas downtown (Clifton Hill), but we avoid that and enjoy the falls themselves and the luscious gardens that are all along River Road alongside the Niagara River.
The Falls with Rainbow Bridge to the States on the left
 We did the touristy thing of going down the 100+ year old elevator that takes you to tunnels behind the falls.  So impressive.  The photo below shows the tunnel exit near the bottom of the falls. 

The tunnels aren't very extensive, but you walk out of them and stand right there beside the thundering waterfall! 

The blue raincoats keep you dry from the swirling mist.  I wish there was sound with this photo, as the falls just BOOM! beside you ... you have to yell at each other over the noise.
Inside the tunnels, the sound of the falls is so intense that you can actually feel the air reverberating.  This next photo is a section of closed tunnel, and it shows you what they looked like when they were first dug out.  It doesn't look all that safe structurally does it.

This area is barricaded off of course, and below is the actual tunnel where you walk ...

 This little portal door is directly behind the falls.  All you can hear is the thundering noise of the falls, and all you can see out the portal is a thick sheet of water and mist!

We had a good day down at the Falls, and rather than hop right back on the highway at the end of our long day, we travelled along the River Road that borders the Niagara River.  Lots of historical stuff down that way (Laura Secords homestead, Fort George, Brock's Monument), and although the attractions were all closed by the time we drove by, we thought it would be nicer to visit all that rather than the actual falls another time.  Below is the whirlpool with the cable car that runs back and forth above it.  I would not get on this cable car in a million years!  I hate this kind of stuff and always think the cables will snap!
 We also stopped at the butterfly conservatory, but I won't show you all the beautiful butterflies.  My husband had the camera that day, and I just pointed at the butterflies I liked best and he snapped the shots. 
All the goodness of the day was spoiled, however, when a driver of an extra long dump truck was driving over the Skyway Bridge in Hamilton (with his box UP!!!!), and he drove it straight into the overhead supports of the bridge.  Brilliant.  He was drunk.  Thankfully no one was hurt, but the damage to the supports was substantial and the bridge was closed.  Since our route back home normally takes us over that bridge, we had an hour's detour through Hamilton, up top of the escarpment, then back down the escarpment and past an area where my mother's family once lived.  Hamilton is not the prettiest city to drive through :[  ... even with the added bonus of saying "that's where Grandma grew up" as we headed down the Jolly Cut.  So a bit tedious to drive 3 hours home.
The next day my brother and his two boys arrived for a visit from Victoria, BC!  Yeah!!  My son and his two cousins get along so well, and they all love to see each other again after many months apart.  We spent a lovely Saturday in our backyard in the hot sunshine.  The kids dipped in and out of the pool, and we all joined in a very looOOOooooong game of Risk.  Have you ever played this board game?  It's addictive, and everyone wants to take over the entire world!!  Such a nice way to spend a lazy summer day on the patio with drinks and chips and BBQ etc. etc.
The following day we all headed to my sister's place and celebrated my dear old dad's 91st birthday.  He was so very confused though.  It wasn't his actual birthday, and he didn't quite understand the cake and candles or our singing to him at all.  My evening was spent going over everyone's names for him again and again and again.  It was nice to see everyone together again though. 
I hope you all enjoyed your weekend!  Back to work tomorrow after a long weekend for us here.
Thanks for stopping by!


  1. What a wonderful day you had at Niagara Falls. This is such an amazing place. i have been there, but not for quite a long time. I never knew about the tunnels, and this must be so amazing to be that close to this much power. Lovely butterfly shots, and sorry about that long detour that you had!

  2. Very interesting article. Going to the Niagara Falls is on my to-do list. I didn't know about the tunnels, so I learned something today!

  3. I have fond, funny memories of Niagara Falls - I grew up a few hours' south in PA, we visited lots! As a kid, the tacky parts were the most fun - Ripley's Believe It or Not, Guiness Book museums...and even the freaky Niagara Falls Museum, remember that old place? And every time we'd visit we'd be fascinated by the sheer capacity of water gushing over the falls at all hours. The noise! Thanks for sharing! Chrissie x

  4. How wonderful to think you can go for a drive and end up at those spectacular Niagara Falls. I am very jealous. I don't like the look of the tunnels, but that cable car looks kinda cool. I would love to experience that death defying crossing of the water and live to tell the tale!

  5. I totally agree with you about the cable car! I would not be able to go on that, you must get amazing views, but way to scary for me!!!!!! I am so glad that you got together with your family, being so spread about it is so nice to be all in one place for a bit isn't it. It sounds as though you had a great time, and it is so good too that you got to be with your Dad all together too. Your photos of the falls are amazing Wendy!!!! Lovely to see the picture of you and your children as well, you all look so very alike. It sounds as though you had a great break! xx

  6. OH what adventures you and your family have Wendy - Niagara Falls, well that is stunning, but I'm not sure about going through tunnels when one is subject to claustrophobia, and definitely I agree with you as far as cable cars go - no way jose!
    How lovely that your family all got together for your Dad's birthday, bless him, sounds like he wasn't too good that day. Wendy, have you read the book, 'Still Alice', written by Lisa Genova? Have a look for it and see what you think; I read it in a couple of days and it really is an eye-opener regarding dementia - a beautiful read:) Take care, Love, Joy xo

  7. Lovely views of the falls! We did the behind the fall too, it is fun...I love the pretty butterflies. Gorgeous photos, thanks for sharing your day.. Have a happy day!

  8. way...the cable car is to be avoided at all costs for me!
    We've done the tunnels behind that falls,the noise just can't be described,and the falling water is quite mesmerising!
    I haven't been there in over ten years..glad to see the water hasn't run out!!
    Jane x

  9. I've never been behind the falls or on the Maid of the Mist. Thanks for sharing your photos, now I have a good idea what it's like behind and being claustrophobic likely won't venture there. :-)
    The falls are a great destination for anyone who is seeing them for the first time.

  10. Your day at Niagara sounds like it was a lot of fun. Sorry to hear you got caught up in the aftermath of the mess left by that truck. My boys used to play Risk all the time. That was over a decade ago and I can still remember the fighting. Ha!

  11. How beautiful Wendy! I've never been to the falls either and I really enjoyed seeing your wonderful photos and your family adventure while you were there....simply gorgeous!
    xx Shari

  12. Wow! You got some amazing photos! I've never seen photos of Niagra Falls from those angles or seen the water that color. Beautiful! I can only begin to imagine the volume of all that water. It must be exhilarating and maybe even a little scary! I hope to see it someday! Thanks for sharing your trip and photos! :-D

  13. You have had a lot going on. I love Niagara Falls. We used to go when we lived in Central NY. I think the Canadian side is much nicer, personally. :) I'm glad nobody was hurt in the dump-truck incident, how scary. I hope you enjoy the rest of your week. :)

  14. This post took my right back to my only holiday in Canada. I visited Niagra Falls with my sons but it was so misty we couldn't see a thing... But boy could we hear them. We did the tour in the tunnels and had our photo taken on that same ledge but still couldn't see the falls. My overriding memory is the deafening roar. Sounds like you had a great time.

  15. OOOh how exciting Wendy! I can only imagine the roar of the water - what an amazing sensory experience - and relatively close to you too!
    Ali x

  16. Really enjoyed this post! The photos of the falls are magnificent, and the tunnels look neat to explore! The cables look like they would be breathtaking to ride over...ah...and scary but fascinating!! Sounds like a neat trip.


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