Fascinating Facts About Niagara Falls

Written by on April 24, 2020 in Stuff with 0 Comments
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As one of the most prominent marvels of the natural world, Niagara Falls has quite a storied history. Although most of us are familiar with the iconic falls, few of us are aware of the fascinating facts behind them and the many amenities the Niagara region has to offer. Not only are the falls themselves a sight to behold, but the surrounding area is also home to an incredible assortment of attractions that are sure to please even the choosiest traveler. So, if you’ll soon be embarking on a journey to Niagara or are simply curious about the area as a whole, the following tidbits should prove helpful.

The Falls Date Back to the Ice Age

Like the entire Great Lakes Basin, the Niagara Falls are relics of the Ice Age. Nearly 20,000 years ago, southern Ontario was completely covered in thick sheets of ice. As these ice sheets advanced southward, they gouged out the basins of what would later become the Great Lakes. The final time these sheets melted northward, enormous quantities of water were released into the aforementioned basins, thus forming the Great Lakes. Then, about 12,500 years ago, meltwaters began to flow downward through Lake Eerie, the Niagara River to the St. Lawrence River – and eventually, the sea. Originally, there were five spillways between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, but as time passed, this number was reduced to one: the original Niagara Falls.  So, anyone wondering where the water from Niagara Falls comes from now has their answer: streams and rivers that flow into the Great Lakes.

There are Three Different Waterfalls

While it’s easy to view the Niagara Falls as one enormous entity, they’re made up for three separate waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls (also known as Canadian Falls), American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. The collective cascades from these falls combine to form the world’s second-largest waterfall. (The first being Africa’s Victoria Falls.) To give you a better idea of how impressive this is – every minute, nearly 70 Olympic-sized swimming pools’ worth of water travels down the falls.

The Falls are Used for Power Generation

The Niagara Falls – and the Niagara River as a whole – are among the world’s largest sources of hydroelectric power. As early as 1893, the Canadian side of the Niagara River was being harnessed for power generation. At the time, the area only had one small power plant, which was located above the Horseshoe Falls. Generating a mere 2,200 kilowatts, this plant’s main purpose was to provide the power for an electric railway that ran between Queenston and Chippawa. These days, however, both the Canadian and American sides of the river are used to generate over 2,000,000 kilowatts of electricity between multiple power plants.

Located on the Canadian side, the Adam Beck Power Station 1 was constructed in 1917, began generating power in 1922 and houses 10 generators. As the access to electricity became more commonplace, the demand for hydroelectric power increased, leading to the construction of the Adam Beck Power Station 2 in 1950. The Niagara Region’s most massive hydroelectric power station, the Adam Beck 2 is home to 16 generators and began producing power in 1954. On the American side, there’s the Robert Moses Hydroelectric Power Plant. Built in 1961 and located in Niagara County, NY, this power plant works in conjunction with the Lewiston Pump Generation Plant to produce 2.6 million kilowatts of power.

The Area is a Prime Vacation Spot

While the falls themselves will always be Niagara’s main draw, the area has become a very popular destination for vacationing families. With a seemingly endless array of attractions and activities designed with families in mind, Niagara is a great vacation spot for clans of all sizes. Additionally, the area’s abundance of world-class vineyards, wine tasting tours, microbreweries and fine dining establishments make it the ideal destination for romantic getaways and friend trips.

Given how old and well-known the Niagara Falls is, it’s hardly surprising that they have such a fascinating history. In addition to being home to one of the world’s most breathtaking sights, Niagara is a prominent travel destination for both vacationers and nature lovers. So, whether you’ve been dying to get an up-close look at the falls or want to indulge in some first-rate vacation fun, don’t hesitate to chart a course for Niagara Falls.

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