I’m not sure if I mentioned this much on my blog, but in one month time my husband and I are planning to move to Canada. (Eep! Just one month to go!) We’ll be moving to Vancouver, so hopefully quite soon I’ll be able to write about walks near actual mountains!
So anyway, I thought I would celebrate my one month count down with a post about having fun in Canada. We have only visited Canada once before when we visited Toronto, Ottawa and Québec. While we were in Toronto we both loved the idea of seeing Niagara falls. I was a little worried about driving, so I attempted to find a tour company that would get us to the falls. I don’t have much experience with tour companies (I normally walk, and work things out for myself!) But The Queen Tour folks seemed to have good reviews, so we checked the weather, chose the best sounding day, and hoped for the best. I wrote a review on yelp after the tour, which included the following:
Why I loved it:
– They picked us up from the house we’re staying in so it was really easy.
– I didn’t feel rushed in any of the places we visited. We had plenty of time to look around and take photos.
– In addition to falls, we got to visit whirlpools, a power station, Niagara on the lake, a winery (we got to try ice wine and normal wine all included in the price) – bargainous!!
– The bus is small, so you can make friends with everyone. There were just 7 people in our group.
– The seats are comfy and there is plenty of leg room.
– It leaves a little earlier than most tours, so you arrive at the falls before most of the crowds.
Nathan, the guide, was awesome! He was really entertaining, friendly and told us soooo many useful titbits of information! He also had some really funny (and fun) rants about various things like how awesome junk food can be!!
Here is a little information about what we got up to:
Journey Behind the Falls
We arrived pretty early in the morning, when the queues for the boat tours were not too bad. Our lovely guide Nathan told us to go straight into the line if we fancied going on a boat right up to the falls. BUT he also told us that you get an amazing close up view if you go for the Journey Behind the falls instead.
Basically the journey behind the falls takes you down an elevator, so you can walk along some tunnels behind the falls. That isn’t particularly impressive (apart from the loudness!) The best part is just before you go down the tunnels, there is a platform with stunning views of the water cascading down. You can see right under the waterfall! There are also gorgeous views of the Canadian side of the waterfalls. We stayed looking at the display for a while. Several boats whooshed past did a spin by the falls and left again while we were there!
After we’d explored under the falls, we still had plenty of time. So we had a lovely walk along the edge of the river, past the American waterfalls and past the bridges that lead from Canada to the US. There is a viewing platform by the Hornblower boat cruises, so we popped up there too.
Once our mini bus picked us up again we were whisked off further down the river where you can see some huge whirlpools. There was a bright red, antique cable car that was carrying visitors across the Niagara River so they can see it’s whirlpool. Apparently this has been in operation since 1916! We didn’t actually ride it – but we took the time to stare down at the whirls of water!
After we’d seen this, we were driven past a huge power station that harnesses the river to create clean energy. We just popped out to have a look, rather than going on a tour around the station, but I thought it was cool to see it.
Our next stop was this pretty town on the shores of Lake Ontario, at the mouth of the Niagara River. The houses were all really pretty and covered in summer flowers so it was a gorgeous place to visit and wander around. It was also pretty touristy, with plenty of horse drawn carriages (if that’s what you’re into!?)
We had a bit of a walk and found gorgeous home-made ice creams. Then we sat and watched some dancing on a green area near the centre of the town. To my great surprise, as part of a wine festival, the Japan Foundation Toronto had sponsored a performance that included a huge Japanese Dragon! I work at the Japan Foundation back in London. But I definitely did not expect to see my workplace on display in a teeny Canadian town!!
Our last stop was to one of the many wineries in the area. We had a mini wine tasting, and we had some time to peek around at the wine shop. The wines included the Canadian ice-wine, which they make by leaving the grapes to freeze on the vines before picking them by hand. It was incredibly sweet. I think it’d be a good addition to prosecco, rather than as a wine on its own.
All in all it was a perfect day! It cost $75 including tax, so it was pretty good value. If you’re in Toronto and thinking of doing something similar, their website is here. This is not an affiliate post and they aren’t expecting me to write about them. I just had a fantastic day so I am happy to share information about them.