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Visiting the Maid of the Mist berth at Niagara Falls, Ontario: wet and wonderful
Repeat: very, very wet!
There are several things you need to know about the Maid of the Mist .
Its tour starts and ends in Canada. While the US - Canadian border runs along the Niagara River, separating Niagara Falls, New York from Niagara Falls, Ontario, the berth of the Maid of the Mist is situated on the Ontario, Canada, side. Therefore, visitors from the US need to go through Canadian border controls to get to the Maid of the Mist boat tours building. The opposite also applies; Canadians and visitors to Canada who wish to go on tour do not need to pass through US border controls.
Another Big Fact about the Maid of the Mist boat tour: you are likely to get wet. But doesn't the company running the tours provide plastic coats? Well, this is true, but these are simply to stop you getting even more wet! (Sounds vague, but the Falls reach parts of you that other falls don't reach.)
Another fact is that there are, or have been, several Maids of the Mist . The first Maid of the Mist started to ply its scenic trade in 1846 (1). (Before the notorious Fugitive Slave Law heightened the US - Canada border as a focal point for the Underground Railroad.) So it goes back a long way.
However, armed with these facts and expectations, you can become one of the approx. 600 passengers who may travel on the larger Maids of the Mist , or of the approx. 300 on the smaller Maids of the Mist . The larger tour vessels weigh 67 tonnes, and the smaller 131 tonnes, yet the passenger might still be forgiven if it feels like a cork bobbing up and down in the swirling waters of the Niagara River as the memorable approach is made to the almost deafening and powerful Falls. The US - Canada Border is described as the world's most peaceful border; but don't confuse 'peaceful' with 'quiet', as you approach the roar of the Falls!
The boat tours building has a large gift store. It is situated at 5920 Niagara Parkway, in Ontario's Niagara Falls.
August 9, 2012
(1) The US Civil War disrupted the passenger traffic and the service went into abeyance for a number of years.
Also worth seeing
At Niagara Falls , Ontario, excellent views of the American Bridal Veil Falls may be obtained from the Canadian side of the Niagara River; Table Rock Point is an especially good viewing place for the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. The Floral Clock, near Queenston Heights, attracts many visitors.
Queenston Heights (distance: approx. 10 kilometres); Brock's Monument recalls a central figure of the War of 1812.
How to get there: The QEW links Niagara Falls with Hamilton and Toronto. The nearest large airport to Niagara Falls, Ontario, is Buffalo Niagara International Airport (distance to Niagara Falls, Ontario: 40.72 kilometres). Continental Airlines flies from New York Newark to Buffalo Niagara International Airport, where car rental is available. The Niagara Region of Ontario is accessible from the United States via the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls, and the Peace Bridge at Buffalo, NY/ Fort Erie, ON. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
Other of my hubpages may also be of interest
- Visiting Floral Clock Park, Niagara Falls, Ontario: brainchild of Dr. Richard Lankaster Hearn
- Visiting Niagara Falls, New York: civic architecture at its finest; memories of architect James Knox
- Visiting Niagara Falls, New York: its skyline and the United Office Building; remembering architect
- Visiting Broderick Park, Buffalo, New York: poignant memories of the Underground Railroad
- Visiting historic Lewiston, New York: the former Episcopal church and Cornell House at Plain and Nia