One Year on the Road

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Niagara Falls from the Canadian side.

Someone told us that the Canada side of Niagara Falls offered the best view, and we welcome a chance to see more of Canada, so we decided to cut through lower Ontario to go see the Falls.

First we stopped at a Thousand Trails campground near St. Clair (north of Detroit). Dad was having a stent put in an artery the next day, and we didn’t want to leave the country (and our phone service) until we heard the procedure went well. When my cousin sent a photo of Dad beaming in his hospital bed, eating a sandwich and potato chips, we revved up and cross the bridge to Canada.

There’s something so peaceful and civilized about Canada. It feels safe there. It’s clean and well-ordered. Its parks, roads, and public places reflect national pride, not budget cuts. If Canada was just slightly more tropical, I think I’d be finding a way to defect.

50 Point Park

Fishing pond at the campground.

We found this park on the shore of Lake Ontario about 20 minutes north of Niagara Falls, and it was a perfect little spot for us. There was a marina filled with pretty sailboats, a pond stocked with trout, a sandy beach (and separate pet beach), grassy picnic grounds, and a skating rink (used for field hockey in the summer). Not to mention a campground with comfortable, spacious sites. It even had site-accessible wifi. This was a gem of a park, used mostly by locals, and very uncrowded.

Farm stand stop.

The Falls

The next morning, we left the fur kids and drove the backroad way to Niagara Falls. It was slower, but there were so many beautiful old farmhouses and barns, cute little towns, and we stopped at a farm stand to stock up on fresh fruit.

Niagara Falls, Ontario was bigger than I’d realized. A skyline of impressive hotels and a casino. Downtown was filled with pedestrian tourists and upscale tourist shops. We drove along the river, surprised that you could actually see the Falls from the road. We paid $15 to park in the Welcome Centre lot, but the walk along the Falls is free.

I loved walking along the wide, fast river at the top of the falls, the water already seething with power. Rapids fill the river’s expanse and pound the ominous hull of a wrecked ship. As we walked, the roar grew louder and louder, until we were at the crest of the falls, where the water slips like silk over the edge, without any hint of its dramatic plunge below.

View from the top.

It was a stunning day: brilliant sky and billowing clouds. And the walkway was filled with tourists from all over the world. It was a festive, happy crowd – people stepping aside to let others have a turn at the rail, offering to take photos for each other, everybody smiling. I was so happy we had come here, and glad we’d chosen the Ontario side, because the U.S. side was under construction, and tourists could only gather at the smaller falls down river, not the massive Horseshoe Falls.

We splurged on a spendy hamburger at the Visitor Centre restaurant, and got a table at the window where we could gaze at the falls and watch the antics of the crowd below. Afterwards, we walked further down river, enjoying it all so much, but eventually felt compelled to head back to the campground and the fur kids.

Back at the Park

When we got back we took the cooped-up kids to the pet beach and while Bailey swam, Gypsy timidly explored the rocky sand. We loved this peaceful park so much, we decided to stay another night and give ourselves a Bessie day.

Gypsy thinks she’s a dog.

The next day, Kate set up her sewing machine on the picnic table and finished the edges of the second quilt she made on this trip. These quilts are for Hospice patients, a project she picked up before we left Eugene. I worked on the blog, took a bike ride, walked Bailey, and generally enjoyed the down time. Sometimes we get so caught up in sightseeing and heading on to the next place, we don’t give ourselves enough time to just relax.

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One thought on “Niagara Falls, Ontario

  1. Beth

    You two lucked out that you picked the Canadian side! How frustrating for tourists ( without passports)! Who arrive on the US side… unaware of construction!
    Your final sentence about giving yourself time to relax… I’ll be thinking of that we we head off next week. Giving yourself time to digest the amazing things you see and learn is a real trick!

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