THE RISE AND FALLS OF VIAGRA, ERR, NIAGARA…
Ah memory lane. I was off to Niagara Falls in Canada to see if I could remember anything from my previous visit in 1986. The only thing I could remember were oddly shaped buildings and some of the tacky commercial entertainment arcades in the nearby streets.
From giant Incredible Hulks climbing up the sides of buildings, to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not building (a facade of a building toppled over on its side). There was the “Rock Legends” wax museum, the “Movie Legends” wax museum, the “Criminal Legends” wax museum and I was half expecting to run into the “Waxer of Wax Museum Legends” wax museum… The Tacky Tourist Town, as my tour guide Jojo described, is a product of Niagara’s vivid and so very strange history.
Picture a tight-rope walker carrying a hot stove on his back high above the falls, cracking eggs, cooking them on the stove, and then lowering them down to hungry customers in a boat below. And that was in the early 1900’s. Soon after the first person to go over the falls in a barrel was Annie Taylor, a 63-year old school teacher. But some of the other “daredevils” of Niagara have tried fatally kayaking over the falls and jetskiing over the falls with a rocket-propelled parachute… So to see a few crazy commercial enterprises and oddities around Niagara is pretty – well – normal.
Read the so very, very strange stories online here….
The Hostelling International at Niagara Falls is a good hostel with an excellent recycling and environmental program. Their kitchen is way cool.
Go to Niagara from Toronto with JOJO TOURS. Their driver, Devia, is a very cool person with lots of knowledge about the area. I booked my tour through the Hostelling International hostel in Toronto. You can choose from a day tour or an overnighter.