Living In A Tourist Destination: Niagara Falls, Canada

Living In A Tourist Destination: Niagara Falls, Canada

Lisa Mallett, AuthorBy Lisa Mallett

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to live in one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations? I have lived in or near Niagara Falls, Canada my entire life! 

To be honest, when I was younger, it never occurred to me that this might be something that a lot of people would envy; going to “the Falls” was just something we did. School trips on the Maid of the Mist or Marineland were commonplace. 

The pandemic has had an exciting impact on me. I made a couple of major life changes in 2020, both related to the travel industry. As a result, I am looking at my hometown through “new eyes.” I have developed a greater appreciation for my surroundings in the past six months, and as an optimist, I call this my “silver lining” to the devastating world pandemic. 

I do believe that we will eventually put the pandemic behind us and that travel will return — perhaps with a greater appreciation for the beauty that our world provides. 

It is for this reason that I am choosing to share information about my hometown. As a travel lover, I would want to know the “inside” scoop on where to go and what to do. As a travel agent, I want to help people plan their dream vacation knowing they will thoroughly enjoy it! 

The Falls 

Let’s start with the most obvious, the Falls themselves. Many visitors may not realize this, but three separate waterfalls make up Niagara Falls. The largest is the Horseshoe Falls, which lies on the Canadian Side. On the United States side, sits the American Falls and the rarely-mentioned Bridal Veil Falls. Niagara Falls, Canada, is a border town. Three international bridges take you back and forth between Canada and the USA. 

A photo of Bridal Veil Fall

The sight of the Falls is beyond stunning, and thousands of people are drawn here each year to experience it for themselves. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but the sound they make is incredible. Can you imagine the crashing of more than 168,000 cubic metres (or six million cubic feet) of water rushing over every minute? It is an incredible experience for sure. 

So what about us locals? Do we spend all of our time at the Falls admiring their beauty? Quite the opposite, I can assure you. As a matter of fact, during peak times in summer, we avoid that area at all costs. You will not find many locals in what we refer to as the “tourist area.” 

It isn’t all bad. As locals, we have access to many activities that most people only get to experience on vacation. Plus, we can do them at off-season times with reduced rates, avoiding the summer crowds and price spikes. We can zip-line over the Falls, take a ride on the Hornblower Cruise, or, perhaps, opt to go on the Journey Behind the Falls. Any of these above attractions will take you up close and personal with Niagara Falls. 

Attractions Near the Niagara Falls

Most people have heard of the Falls themselves but perhaps not as many are aware of the Niagara River that runs 58 km in length. It is a beautiful emerald green colour and flows between two of Canada’s great lakes, Erie and Ontario. This river can be extremely dangerous in some areas; there is a natural whirlpool located in the Niagara Gorge that produces class six white-water rapids. 

A photo of the Niagara River

There are several attractions in the surrounding area from which you can safely experience the views. I recommend that you heed any warning signs that you come upon when exploring. You can hike in the Niagara Glen, take a ride in the Whirlpool Aerocar, walk along the White Water boardwalk, or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, you may choose to ride the Niagara Jet Boat that takes you as close to the whirlpool as you can safely get. You can also ride in a helicopter for a unique perspective: Niagara Helicopters takes you on a 12-minute ride over Niagara Falls and the Niagara River. 

A photo of the whirlpool aerocar above the Niagara River.

As locals, we have access to many beautiful bike routes and walking paths along the beautiful river. You might want to visit the Butterfly Conservatory, Botanical Gardens, Bird Kingdom, Marineland, Floral Clock, and Dufferin Islands. These are just a few of the attractions that I have visited personally and recommend for your vacation. 

I cannot leave out Clifton Hill, where you’ll find countless things to keep you entertained. From museums, arcades, a giant Ferris wheel, and go-kart speedway, just to name a few of the attractions, on top of all of the restaurants and shops in between, this area will keep you busy for many hours! 

We Live In Wine Country 

My favourite part of living in Niagara is that we are a wine region; we have over 100 wineries in the surrounding area, ripe with the opportunity to enjoy award-winning wines. The Niagara wine region is best known globally for producing ice wine, a sweet wine usually served with dessert or at the end of a meal. Frozen grapes are picked from the vine when the temperature drops to -7°C (or 20°F) and are pressed while still frozen. Although Canada is the largest producer of ice wine in the world, we also produce many other wines. Because our wines are not shipped internationally, many people are not aware that we are a major player in the world of wine.

A photo of Lisa drinking wine in a Niagara Falls vineyard.

I hope you enjoyed my synopsis on my beautiful home region. I also hope that you (as well as myself)  can travel once again, returning one day to “pre-pandemic” times.

To read more from Lisa Mallett, check out more of her posts on Glamma Travel Blog!

54 thoughts on “Living In A Tourist Destination: Niagara Falls, Canada

  1. I enjoyed reading this Lisa. I was born about two hours from Niagara and spent my youth in southwestern Ontario. I liked to hike the Niagara gorge in those days as well.
    I am glad you mentioned the wines of the region, because along with North Shore Lake Erie and Pelee Island. the region produces some damned fine wines that few people outside of the region are aware of.

    1. I agree! My husband and I are big wine lovers and we visited Prince Edward County this summer, we are hoping to go to Pelee Island next summer; I think Ontario wines deserve to be promoted!!

  2. Nice piece on your hometown, Lisa. From Windsor but been the the NR many times, worked for Niagara Wine tours for two seasons. Love the area and some of the wines…find most reds a bit heavy in tannins. Personally, I find prices for things like food and accommodations are getting out of hand but I accept that’s the way things are in a world-renowned tourist attraction.

    1. Thank you Edmond, I do agree about prices but also that in a tourist area it is the price we pay for the pleasure! Have a great day!

  3. I have always wanted to visit Niagra Falls, ever since I saw Superman 2, haha. It looks like such an amazing thing to see. I just need to get to New York or Canada.

    1. I hope I don’t sound biased here but the Canadian side has so much more beauty and activities to offer! We also have Niagara-on-the-Lake, a gorgeous place to visit only 20 minutes away and over 100+ wineries if you like wine!

  4. Oh wow! I feel like living in that area is such an adventure. There’s so much beauty there, and you’re right, I had no idea that Niagara was wine country.

    1. I am so glad you found out! It is an adventure; we get to play tourist all the time! I hope you will visit in the future 🙂

  5. I think it must be amazing to live in a “tourist” area. You have access to everything people drive or fly in to see at your finger tips year-round. Very cool.

    1. It really is, but it took a global pandemic for me to really appreciate that fact; I guess it is my “silver lining” to COVID!

  6. Covid-19 has truly changed the way we live and enjoy life. I am glad you able to see the silver lining to this situation and have found chance to explore your local area further. We should never forget home.

  7. Niagara Falls is one of the beautiful place that I would love to visit and I feel like seeing it personally by reading your article. I am glad that you were able to enjoy your visit despite of Covid19.

  8. I have been to American side of Niagara Falls and I absolutely loved it. I have heard that Canadian side of the fall is truly mesmerizing and hopefully someday I am going to experience it. Maid of the mist cruise was the highlight of my trip. You’re lucky to live in such a wonderful place.

  9. We’re an hour away from Niagara! And I think we take it for granted. We should visit again soon, we didn’t even know about the aerocar!

  10. I never knew Niagara Falls was made up of three separate falls. I have never been but a trip up north sounds like so much fun and the wineries also could be great.

  11. I’ve always wanted to go to Niagara Falls. It’s gorgeous. I imagine it can be crazy to live in a tourist area. I sort of do. I’m in San Antonio, so there’s always people nearby at the Riverwalk or Alamo.

    1. Yes, it gets crazy in the peak months of summer, the good news is we live far enough from that area that we can go in when we feel like playing “tourist” but we can stay away for the most part as well.

  12. Oh, how I’d love to live near Niagara Falls! It sure does look incredible. But I can imagine how busy it gets during peak times!

  13. I never really though about people who live in a tourist destination before, but I can imagine it’s both fun and a little overwhelming at times. Someone, like me, who doesn’t like crowds much or too many strangers around wouldn’t do well, but looks like a lovely place for me to visit.

    1. It is very nice in that we can play “tourist” whenever we want, but also we live far enough from the “tourist” area that it doesn’t get quite as overwhelming as you may think.

  14. You are so lucky to be a local at one of the most breathtaking places in the world. I feel slightly jealous and can’t imagine how relaxing the sound of the waterfall will be.

  15. My husband grew up in FL and rarely went to Disney. The friends I met when living in CO never did the popular hikes until I dragged them along with me. I guess you just don’t appreciate it as much when you live there. I would love to see the Falls someday!

    1. Your words are very true! For example, my husband has never been on the “Maid of the Mist”; which is now known as “Hornblower”.

  16. I visited there once a long time ago, but my daughter hasn’t seen it. I hope she goes soon. Such a beautiful place. They are wine lovers, so I will be sure to tell that bit of info!

  17. Oh Canada!!! So high on my bucket list. I’m dreaming for years to see Niagara Falls!
    You are furtunate to live in such a wonderful area, surrounded by nature

  18. What a wonderful place to call home. I’d love to visit in the off season and enjoy the beauty without the crowds, it sounds amazing.

  19. I have always wanted to visit Niagara Falls but know little about it besides the falls. Your post has been very enlightening for me. I had no idea that there are vineyards there! And so much to do. Now I want to go even more.

    1. I am so happy to hear that; Niagara produces award winning wines and has so much beauty! I feel that you will love it when you get the chance to visit.

  20. That looks like an amazing place to see. I’ve always wanted to go there. It is definitely on my list of places to visit.

  21. Niagara Falls is a well popular tourist spot. I always wanted to go there. The falls is amaizing, relaxing and breath taking. I won’t get tired staring at it!

  22. This was a cool article. I went to Niagara Falls with my grandparents and cousin when I was 14 the summer before tenth grade. It’s one of my best memories. The idea of ziplining over the falls sounds amazing, and I’d love to go back if only for that!

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