Historical and Educational Facts

Find the most interesting educational facts and historical information about Niagara Falls below:

Niagara Falls historical facts:

  • Niagara Falls was an area early settled and vigorously active in Canada's formative years.
  • In 1959, the face of Niagara was changed when Louis Tussaud's English Wax Museum was opened.
  • In 1960, Roger Woodward survived a descent over the Falls after a boating accident above the Falls. He was just 7 years old at the time.
  • Blondin was a funambulist (tight-rope walker) who performed numerous crossings of the gorge in Niagara Falls during the mid 1800s.
  • Blondin performed endless stunts on the high wire, from crossing blindfolded to carrying a cooking stove and preparing an omelette on the high wire. Most spectacularly, was the stunt during which Blondin, carried on his back, Harry Colcord his 148-pound manager on August 19, 1859.
  • Annie Taylor "Queen of the Mist”, a schoolteacher from Bay City Michigan was first person to travel over the Falls in a barrel on October 24, 1901.
  • More recently, a couple of foolhardy individuals have attempted to survive a plunge over Niagara Falls in a kayak and a jet ski - they both perished.
  • Ice bridges form below the Falls when ice floes travel over the edge and collect at the base of the Falls.
  • "Uncle Toms Cabin", a famous novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe was partly inspired by the writer’s trip to Niagara Falls and her subsequent interest in Reverend Josiah Henson who smuggled runaway slaves across the Niagara River into Canada.
  • Until 1886, when the Statue of Liberty was erected, the Falls at Niagara were the symbol of America and the New World. Visitors from all over the world targeted Niagara as a must-see during a visit to North America.
  • An "Old Scow" (a steel barge) remains stranded a few hundred meters above the Falls and has been marooned there since August 6, 1918 when a near tragedy was averted by three men who opened the dumping hatches of the barge to let water in and ground the out-of control boat.
  • One of the largest Butterfly Conservatories in North America was added to Niagara's growing list of attractions in the 1990's.
  • One of the bloodiest battles of the War of 1812 took place on July 25, 1814 at Lundy's Lane in Niagara Falls, Ontario... A total of 7,500 Americans and Canadians fought for six hours. At the end, 1,000 soldiers lay dead or wounded.
  • The 20th Century Fox Movie, "Niagara" starring Marilyn Monroe was filmed in Niagara Falls, Ontario in 1952.
  • Two scenes from Superman 2 were filmed in Niagara Falls.
  • Wonderfalls was a short-lived Canadian series filmed in Niagara Falls. It aired in 2004 for one season
  • In March of 1848, the waters stopped flowing over Niagara's famous cliff when the Niagara River was plugged temporarily at the mouth of the river in Fort Erie, Ontario.

Niagara Falls Educational facts:

  • The Falls at Niagara are about 12,000 years old
  • Falls were formed when melting glaciers formed massive fresh-water lakes (the Great Lakes) one of which (Lake Erie) ran downhill toward another (Lake Ontario). The rushing waters carved out a river in their descent and at one point passed over a steep cliff like formation (the Niagara escarpment). From the original falls going over the Niagara Escarpment, the water began to wear its way back up the river. The path that it left is known today as the Niagara Gorge (a deeply-cut and very scenic river path).
  • Currently, Niagara Falls erodes approximately 1 foot/year.
  • The Niagara River flows at approximately 35 miles/hour (56.3 kilometers/hour).
  • There are actually three waterfalls in Niagara, the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.
  • The Horseshoe Falls are 180 feet (57 meters) high and allow 6 million cubic feet (168,000 cubic meters) of water over the falls every minute during peak daytime tourist hours (that is about a million bathtubs full of water every minute!).
  • The Konica Minolta Tower rises 325 feet above the Horseshoe Falls.
  • The Skylon Tower rises 775 feet above the Falls.
  • Hydro Electricity generated in Niagara Falls at the Sir Adam Beck 1 and Sir Adam Beck 2 power stations from redirected water flow serves the electrical needs of Southern Ontario and Western New York.
  • The word Niagara comes from the word "onguiaahra" which means "a thundering noise".
  • The Whirlpool Aero car ride provides a spectacular trip across the famed Whirlpool Rapids a few miles down from the actual waterfalls.
  • Water is redirected from traveling over the Falls in order to drive large hydro-electric turbines that produce electricity for Southern Ontario and Western New York State.
  • Water that flows over the Falls at Niagara ultimately ends up in Lake Ontario - from there, water drains by way of the St. Lawrence River in to the Atlantic Ocean.

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