We got up early-ish today and got ready to go to Niagara Falls. I knew there was a Via Rail train that went from Union Station directly to Niagara Falls, but I didn’t know that there was only one per day…and we had already missed it!! We did have another option of taking a Toronto TTC ‘Go’ Train to an area called Burlington and then change to a bus which would take us all the way to Niagara Falls Station. Our hotel is unfortunately quite a distance from the City Centre and Union Station and involves a bus ride and subway ride to get there. As we didn’t yet have our day passes, and also as it wasn’t raining, we decided to walk to the Subway station instead of catching the bus…. 6km later, we arrived at the Subway Station!
We got our day passes and hopped on a subway Southbound to Union Station – it was about thirteen or fourteen stops there, but it actually didn’t take that long. Unfortunately, and as usual, we had missed the 10:43 train which meant that earliest train we could catch was not until 12:43. We decided to buy our tickets and then go for a walk around Toronto City Centre to use up some time. Toronto is quite similar in look to Montreal, a mixture of modern glass-fronted skyscrapers and historic buildings – perhaps less of a ‘European’ feel to it than Montreal but more arts-y!
We managed to make it back to the train station in plenty of time for the next train, and caught the double-decker train to Burlington. That took about an hour, then at Burlington we transferred to a bus which took us down the expressway for another hour and dropped us off at Niagara Falls Station. Apparently it was about another 45 minutes walk to the Falls themselves, but a couple from Toronto asked us if we wanted to share a taxi with them, and before long we had arrived at the ‘Maid of the Mist’ departure point. The ‘Maid of the Mist’ is a boat tour that takes those more adventurous people, who don’t mind getting extremely wet and deafened by noise, up close to the falls!
The Falls are breathtaking…and huge! They make the boats look like tiny Matchbox models. We weren’t sure whether to see the Falls from the American side in New York, or form the Canadian side in Toronto, but I think we definitely made the right choice. From the Canadian side you get a really good view of both the American Falls and the Horseshoe falls. We took so many photos it was ridiculous! Although it is a tourist attraction, the area around the Falls didn’t feel over-run with souvenir shops or tourists, and there was plenty of opportunity to stroll alongside the river snapping away quite happily. Whilst the area in front of the American Falls is nice and dry, you start to need an umbrella or a hood when you approach the Horseshoe Falls – the ground and roadside look as if it has been raining – cars have to turn on their windscreen wipers the spray reaches that far across the path and onto the road!
After spending a while taking it all in, we decided to head home and catch the bus and train again back into Toronto City Centre. Luckily we could use the bus on the way back to the hotel from the Subway Station, so there was no 6km hike at the end of the day – thank goodness!!
It was a very long journey to arrive at Niagara Falls, but it was definitely worth it for those amazing views.