Ontario, Niagara Falls, June 27, 2008

31 07 2008
Step at Niagara Parks Botanical Garden

Step at Niagara Parks Botanical Garden

Resident of the Conservatory

Resident of the Conservatory

I thought it would be romantic for Step to take me to Niagara Falls so he did. It wasn’t romantic but I’m glad we went. First we checked out the Butterfly Conservatory which was crowded but open so I was finally somewhat salved of missing Butterfly World in Combes. There are a zillion butterflies and sometimes they land on you. It is located on the grounds of the Botanical Gardens, so you also get to see some crazy ass plants, which I always love. Dig that rock ‘n’ roll pic of Step with sci-fi plants all ‘round him.

Dino-Rampage!

Dino-Rampage!

Niagara Falls (the Canadian Side) is completely garish. I imagine it is like a mini version of Vegas, a place I have not yet been. We decided not to pay 20 dollars to park by the falls and instead drove around into the town and payed 2 dollars to park on the street. Yes, we had to walk about 4 block which means we saved 4 dollars a block; a super deal! It also meant we got to see things like the 4-D 360 degree panoramic Din0-Rampage theatre, Frankenstein World, and other such attractions. Clifton Hill, leading to the falls, is a climatic frenzy of tourist attractions, with dayglo mini golf and places like Lego City (which we actually payed 8 dollars and went into. It wasn’t as mind blowing as the outside display led us to believe, of course, but I enjoyed the Lego AC/DC concert and giant Lego clown). I actually really liked “the scene” but I think it made Step a bit anxious. It’s also quite incongruous because the falls themselves are a temple of natural beauty.

FrankenBurger

FrankenBurger

Maid of the Mist

Maid of the Mist

For the unfamiliar, Niagara Falls is actually 2 falls, or 3, depending on how you’re counting. The American Falls is the slightly less spectacular 1 (or 2) on the American side and has a side falls called the Bridal Veil. The Canadian side has the phenomenal Horseshoe Falls (I overheard a couple of Americans trying to figure out which was the American Falls and conclude it must be the Horseshoe 1 because it was bigger and fancier (???)). Because going to the American side would have diluted the purity of our Canada trip we stayed on the Canadian side, so I can’t account what it’s like on the other side of the bridge.

Misty Maid

Misty Maid

We went on the Maid of the Mist, which is a boat ride that takes you right into the falls. In contrast to the luridness of the surrounding area, the falls are magical! You get totally wet but no one cares. It’s so astounding and not only that but when it’s sunny, like it was for our day, you get all sorts of rainbows, too.

One thing I loved about Niagara Falls was the retro buildings in that ‘50’s and ‘60’s style of architecture which still stand from it’s heyday. Unfortunately I left my picture taking of those until too late and all the good light was gone, so it’s hard to represent its splendour, but it was good. I would go back just to tour those.

Funky '50's Architecture

More Funky Mansions

More Funky Mansions

Niagara Falls, the town, is obviously struggling and trying to revive by focusing on the arts. We gave some local kids a ride to the liquor store and they told us about how the downtown storefronts were being rented to artists for almost nothing so they could fix them up and make the neighbourhood cool again, and then the storefronts could get trendy and command more handsome rents for clothing stores and the like after the artists were financially squeezed out. I’m not sure if that’s mutually beneficial or exploitation, but the idea is nothing new. Artists are always finding cheap, funky neighbourhoods to revive and then getting gentrified out. It’s just another way the artists of our time subsidise society. But I digress into a disillusioned, bitter artist’s rant. Back to exploring Canada!

Butterfly Ring

Butterfly Ring

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