Niagara Falls Canada Trip Report

Jul 18th, 2006, 05:03 AM
  #1  
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Niagara Falls Canada Trip Report

Just spent this past hot and steamy weekend in Niagara Falls Canada. We stayed at the Fallsview Marriott. There were 3 of us ( husband, stepdaughter and myself). We are all from Syracuse NY but our trip started in Warren PA.
We stopped at the American park first before crossing into Canada to do the Cave of the Winds tour. This tour is great! Although it was a Saturday and very busy the tour moved right along. This tour starts with an elevator ride down to the base of the American Falls. Then you walk on decking to the base of the Bridal Veil Falls. You can actually stand at the base of the Bridal Veil Falls on what is called the Hurricane Deck. There is a no smoking sign posted here which we thought funny since there would be no way to even light a match here. If you decide to go to the Hurrican Deck prepare to get WET! My husband loves to stand there and let the falls splash him. This is a great tour!

We stopped for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe after the tour. It's right there at the front of the American Park Entrance. Great food, great music and not too expensive.

Crossed the border at the Rainbow Bridge. We all had passports. The questions from border patrol were short and sweet. Citizenship? ID? Where you going? How long will you be there? Pleasure or business? What are you bringing with you? Have a great time.
(I brought a notorized letter from stepdaugther's mother but never had to show it. Better safe than sorry though). She is 14 and it was stated by the travel related websites than you have this.

Fallsview Marriott never disappoints. Our room was on the 8th floor with a full window view of the Horseshoe Falls only. The room was nice and big with 2 queen size beds that were sooooo comfortable. We all loved it. The bathroom was nice and big and the 3 of us shared it well. The hotel has great amenities and the staff is great. There is also a Starbucks located in the lobby. This was my second stay here and I would return. The location is close to the falls with the incline railway at the back of the Marriott. They also have shuttle passes avaiable for $12.00 a person. The pass is good for your entire stay and runs from early morning to late evening stopping at all the focus points in the falls area every 1/2 an hour. It's not a perfect form of transportation and we waited almost an hour for one shuttle. We also had one driver than seemed to operate in her own little world. She actually turned the heat on accidentally once but we heard from another driver it wasn't the first time. The shuttle always went in the same direction on the same route except for the one time we had dinner reservations at the Skylon Tower. For some reason she went the complete opposite direction making us late to arrive at our destination. So as I said it's not a perfect world but it was still worth it.

Next tour we did was the Maid of the Mist. Again it was a busy day but the tour moved along very quickly. This tour will bring you on a boat right in to the base of the Horseshoe Falls. Pretty amazing. Highly recommend this tour. You can stay dry on this tour if you wish to.

Took a day trip to NOTL. The drive was good because it was so hot and we turned on the AC and enjoyed the sights. The town is pretty and quaint. There is shopping but most of it is expensive. However there are some nice stores and a few bargains. We didn't stop for lunch here only because we didn't want to fill up on a big lunch late in the day. We had dinner planned at the Skylon for that evening. I will admit the town was charming and nice but the appeal was kind of lost on all 3 of us. We all agreed it's due to the fact that we live so close to Lake Ontario and we have our favorite spots on the US side. Those would be Sacketts Harbor and Alexandria Bay. NOTL just didn't measure up. That's ok. We enjoyed the ride out there and admired all the beautiful houses. Although we would have made good use of that time in the falls area but we live close enough to visit again next year.

We ended our trip with dinner at the Skylon Tower. We had a wonderful meal. We all had surf and turf and no appetizers. My husband and I shared a small bottle of wine. The meal came ot 294.00 CAN dollars. OUCH! But it was really worth it to us. The view from the tower is amazing and the revolving dining room is such a treat. The food was excellent by the way.

We visited the Ripley's Believe it or Not musuem and also dined and the Happy Wanderer (German) for lunch. All good stops. There are no bad tours and I disagree with the cheesy term that labels the Clifton Hill area. It's fun! It's geared towards kids. There is plenty to see and do even if you just like to watch people.

Niagara Falls is amazing! I just can't seem to take it in enough. The falls mesmorize you. All the falls are beautful. A weekend is not long enough but you can hit the highlights as we did. There are sights to see on both sides of the border and I recommend stopping on both sides. Shopping and dining is cheaper in the US but I recommend staying on the Canadian side. Lots of hotels and B+B to choose from.
Hope you enjoy this report and hope it helps anyone going to Niagara Falls.
Annika

annikany is offline  
Jul 18th, 2006, 07:59 AM
  #2  
lvk
 
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Nice Report, Annika. It sounds like you had a great time.

I'm bookmarking for help when planning our potential trip to the falls next summer. Where is Skylon Tower located?

Thanks!
lvk is offline  
Jul 18th, 2006, 09:13 AM
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Ivk-
Glad you enjoyed the report. Yes we did have a great time.
Check this link for info on the skylon tower. Click on general info and it will show a map.
www.skylon.com

Let me know if you have any more questions.
Annika
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Jul 18th, 2006, 11:21 AM
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annikany,
We are going to Niagara next Wednesday and was glad to read your report. My question is: Did you exchange your American money into Canadian currency? Or do the places in Canada show the prices in both forms?
Also, how long did the Ripley's Museum take to go through approximately?
Thanks!
Ashley24 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2006, 04:47 PM
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Hi Ashley24,
We did not exchange any money beforehand. I would say most things were not marked in CAN and USD. But I know from previous experience that all you have to do is ask what the price in USD is and they will tell you. I have never felt that this was looked at as an inconvience for them. They have calculators handy because of the fact that they accept USD. Just be aware that when you pay in cash with USD that they will always give you change in CAN dollars. They have to. What we do is to take smaller currency. Bring smaller bills to limit the amount of Canadian change you will get back. We also pay with credit card for lunches and dinners because the exchange is done through the bank for you. I also know that right now the dollar isn't as strong as it used to be. It is only worth about $1.11 in CAN. Ofcourse you may already be aware of all this but I just wanted to mention it for any others that may read this.
Ripley's museum took about an hour and 1/2. You could stay a little longer or a little less depending on just how interested you are. Had I gone through alone I would have been quicker as I'm not as intereseted as my husband. I have to say it was more interesting than I expected though. My husband really wanted to go there and I walked through at his pace. However if he had walked through alone he would probably stayed a little longer. In addition to the museum there is also a Ripley's moving movie theatre across the street from the museum. It looked popular with the crowd. That's all I know about it though.
I hope you enjoy the same great weather we had. Hot is good for this place. Where are you traveling from if you don't mind me asking?
Hope this helps,
Annika
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Jul 19th, 2006, 04:35 AM
  #6  
cd
 
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Thanks for a good report. We have been to Niagara Falls a few times but have never eaten at the Skylon Tower. Sounds like we should do that next time.
cd is offline  
Jul 19th, 2006, 07:18 AM
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We are from Michigan in Oakland County. Thanks for the info about money. I will definately take your advice about the smaller bills and charge card.

Just curious, do children wear their swim suits when they go on wet rides like the Maid of the Mist? I am trying to imagine having windblown hair and being wet and then going to a restaurant for lunch! Any suggestions or does everyone just go with the flow?
Ashley24 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2006, 07:54 AM
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Some people wear swimsuits but most dress in t-shirt and shorts type clothing. You don't get too wet on the maid of the mist unless you really want to. I was right up front of the boat and I stayed pretty dry. Yes most people just go with the flow.
annikany is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2006, 04:34 AM
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Annikany:

Thanks for the great report. I am trying to plan an impromtu trip for next week and have a couple of questions. It has been many years since we've been to the Falls. The last time we were there we stayed at the Renaissance Fallsview. The Marriott wasn't built yet. I'm having trouble picturing the location. Can you walk to the Falls from the Marriott? How about crowds. I read on another thread that lines for Maid of the Mist can be as long as two hours in the summer. Did you experience that? Do you recall seeing the Embassy Suites? Any impressions? How about location?

I would appreciate your thoughts.

Thanks!
mikesmom is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 04:24 AM
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Hi mikesmom-
Yes you can easily walk to the falls from the Marriott. Located in front of the Marriott is the incline railway. The cost is $2.00 but it will bring you right down to the top of the horseshoe falls. The Embassy Suites is also close to the incline railway but the Marriott seems to have the best location to this.
The lines for Maid of the Mist were long. However the line moved rather quickly and we felt the tour process in the falls went very well for each tour we did. We were there right at the height of tourist season. We didn't mind the wait as the falls were in view and we talked with people in line, etc. It was all fun! Don't let the wait times worry you. I would also like to add that I think the tours are affordable. Just MHO though.
Glad you enjoyed the report!
Annika
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Jul 24th, 2006, 09:37 AM
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Ashley,

I know you've asked about the currency and I wanted to add that the difference isn't that much different right now between USD and CAD. My rule of thumb has been if the CAD price marked is more than I would spend in USD, then I don't buy it. So, if a souvenir costs $28CAD and I wouldn't be willing to spend $28USD on the souvenir, then I don't buy it. CAD is slightly less than USD, so it works out nicely towards my pocketbook - $28CAD figures roughly around $24.92USD right now. Best of all, I don't have to constantly try and figure out the conversion, and at the end, I've saved a few bucks over what I thought I spent.
toedtoes is offline  
Jul 25th, 2006, 10:13 AM
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I would suggest going to an ATM in Canada and withdrawing Canadian cash to use. You will get a much better exchange rate than the one the stores give you. Many stores give a very poor exchange rate.
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