Text by Henrylito D. Tacio
Photos by Marilou T. Eplite
The first time I learned about Niagara Falls was through the movie Superman II. In the film, Superman (played by Christopher Reeve) saved a kid playing on the outside railings and fell into the rushing water.
The movie came to mind when my sister, Marilou, told me that she and her husband, David Eplite, were going to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls to see its beauty. I had been to New York thrice but never had the opportunity of going to the place.
For the uninformed, Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York. They form the southern end of the Niagara Gorge.
“I would advise anyone going to Niagara Falls to visit and stay on the Canadian side,” David wrote of his experience. “The one main attraction is going on the Maid of the Mist boat ride. The boat takes you for an approximately 30-minute ride right close to the falls; it’s the best thing you can do there.”
My friend, Dr. Atenodoro Marciano R. Ruiz, Jr. – or Jun for short – had the same thing to say. “I am truly amazed with the incredible beauty of this wonder of nature,” he said. “The waterfall combines beauty with amazing power that it supplies electricity to the nearby New York City.”
Getting the boat ride is not the only thing you can do. “The Cave of the Winds on the American side brings you up close – really close! – to the American falls by walking along a wooden plank,” Jun said.
But he agreed, though, there is more you can do on the Canadian side. “Go to the Skylon Tower or Rainbow Bridge to get the best view of the falls,” Jun suggested. “You will likely need two full days to enjoy what the Niagara Falls has to offer.”
Bella Amor, who hails from Bansalan, Davao del Sur, but now lives in the United States, said that you need to wait until nightfall to enjoy Niagara Falls at its best. “It’s at that time that the falls are illuminated,” she said. “It’s great to watch it, too, during winter! It’s just grandiose!”
As stated earlier, there are actually three falls. From largest to smallest, the three waterfalls are the Horseshoe Falls, the American Fallsand the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls lie on the Canadian side and the American Falls on the American side, separated by Goat Island. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also located on the American side, separated from the other waterfalls by Luna Island.
The Niagara Falls are renowned both for their beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric. In 1961, when the Niagara Falls hydroelectric project first went online, it was the largest hydropower facility in the Western world. Today, Niagara is still the largest electricity producer in New York State, with a generating capacity of 2.4 gigawatts (million kilowatts).
Already a huge tourist attraction and a favorite spot for honeymooners, Niagara Falls visits rose sharply in 1953 after the release of Niagara, a movie starring Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotten. Later in the 20th century, the falls were a featured location in the 1980s movie Superman II and were itself the subject of a popular IMAX movie, Niagara: Miracles, Myths, and Magic.
Much of the episode Return of the Technodrome in the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series takes place near Niagara Falls and its hydroelectric plant. Also, illusionist David Copperfield performed a trick in which he appeared to travel over the Horseshoe Falls in 1990.
The falls, or more particularly, the tourist-supported complex near the Niagara Falls, was the setting of the short-lived Canadian television show Wonderfalls in early 2004.
More recently, location footage of the falls was shot in October 2006 to portray “World’s End” of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.
Before the end of the world, I am hoping that I can visit the majestic Niagara Falls — in the near future!