Niagara Falls 2009 (Ontario Road Trip), Part 2 – Blast from the Past

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Ontario 2009

This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text.  

In 2009, Ken and I took a week long road trip to Ontario, Canada. We drove from our home in Northern Virginia to Niagara Falls, where we spent four nights, followed by three nights in Toronto.

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour

When researching what to do in Niagara Falls, I came across this tour. Ken and I opted for the tamer “covered” boat rapids tour, mostly because it was October and the weather was already quite cool in Ontario. Some of the reviews mentioned that you sit essentially hip deep in water after going through the rapids, and that sounded pretty chilly! At the time, we also didn’t have a waterproof camera, and we wanted to get some decent shots of the rapids.

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour (covered boat)

The pictures just can’t convey how cool this tour was. The boat windows would open during the tamer parts of the river, and then close when going through the rapids. This boat ride was truly fantastic!

View from closed windows on Whirlpool Jet tour in Niagara Falls View of a Lewiston Queenston during Whirlpool Jet boat tour

We were all given headsets to wear so we could hear the guide explain the surroundings, as well as hear guidance when entering a rapid.

Ken wearing headset on boat tour View of Rapids from Whirlpoll Jet Boat tour View of Rapids from Whirlpoll Jet Boat tour

In addition to going through the rapids, the boat did some other fun maneuvers, which resulted in a lot of splashing water up on the sides.

Whirlpool Jet boat tour

And, along the boat ride, you also got to see very cool sights, like bridges, dams, and lighthouses.

Lighthouse as seen from Whirlpool jet boat tour t Scenes along river during boat tour

This is definitely something we recommend if you visit the Niagara Falls area!

Niagara on the Lake

The area that the boat tour departed from was called Niagara on the Lake. Before the tour, we enjoyed the sights and walked around, and then we enjoyed a lovely lunch afterwards. Niagara on the Lake was incredibly picturesque!

Niagara on the Lake Niagara on the Lake Niagara on the Lake

And there was a huge Christmas store in Niagara on the Lake. As Ken can attest, I am a huge sucker for Christmas stores. I bought several Christmas ornaments from that store, both for us and our families!

Christmas store in Niagara on the Lake

White Water Walk

We also visited White Water Walk, an area not far from the actual falls. It is a path and platform along the Ontario River that you can walk along and take in the gorgeous sights!

Platform at White Water Walk in Niagara Falls White Water walk in Niagara Falls View of River from white water walk White Water Walk in Niagara Falls White Water Walk in Niagara Falls White Water Walk in Niagara Falls White Water Walk in Niagara Falls

White Water Walk was also home to a nasty gum wall. I wonder how often they clean this off?

Gum wall at White Water Walk

Walking along the Falls “path” on the Canadian side

There are so many fantastic views of the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls from the Canadian side. We spent lots of time walking the pedestrian path viewpoints.

View from the top of Horseshoe Falls Rainbow at Horseshoe Falls

About one minute after the following photo photo, Ken’s camera just stopped working. Completely. Wouldn’t turn on or anything. We figured it had gotten too wet on the Maid of the Mist and Journey behind the falls. (This was only like the second day of our trip). Later that night we drove back to the American side to buy a new one since all hope seemed to be lost. But luckily the next morning, it started working again and lasted the whole rest of the trip!

Ken taking pictures at top of HOrseshoe Falls View of the Maid of the Mist boat from the Canadian side Ken and I at Niagara Falls Flowers in foreground near Niagara Falls

Skywheel and Around Clifton Hill

A few months ago, I was reading a thread on Reddit about disappointing travel destinations. Niagara Falls was mentioned a few times as being tacky and overly touristy. So, about that thread, maybe I just have low standards, but I disagreed with pretty much every posting about a city/place I had familiarity with. Seriously, how could anybody find the Giza Pyramids disappointing?

Anyway, I will warn you, that the Clifton Hill area of Niagara Falls is quite touristy and tacky. Does that mean you shouldn’t visit it? No, of course not!

Clifton Hill sign at Niagara Falls Skywheel at night at Niagara Falls Clifton Hill area at night at Niagara Falls Clifton Hill

We did take a skywheel ride. I will say that it was fairly overpriced for what it was, but it did give some decent, even higher views of the falls. Plus we had the entire compartment to ourselves.

Niagara Falls Ferris Wheel | Skywheel Skywheel at Niagara Falls View of American Falls from Skywheel View of Horseshoe Falls from Skywheel

And, in case you needed a reminder about appropriate behavior on the Skywheel:

Funny sign on skywheel.

That was it for our time in Niagara Falls! We headed out for Toronto the next morning!

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