Niagara Falls is apparently the biggest tourist attraction in North America, and one of the world’s most popular honeymoon destinations. We were in town for a friend’s wedding, where I had been asked to be best man. Last year, when Calvin told me about the upcoming wedding he asked if it would be possible for me to make it out to stand by his side. It’s not often I can claim the title of “best” anything — so I readily accepted and told him he could count on me being there. I would make it happen, somehow, some way.
The Canadian adventure began in Toronto last week, and after three days in a spacious downtown apartment in the city the girl and I braved Ontario’s public transport to get to Niagara Falls, where we were booked for a week in a motel. We arrived early evening, and just after my friend Calvin had finished work, so he was able to pick us up at the bus stop and ferry us to the motel. As he dropped us off, he made clear we were invited over to his house for dinner as soon as we were unpacked and left us with directions to get there.
I was asked yesterday what — aside from being best man at my friend’s wedding — my “favourite part” of my time in Niagara Falls had been.
As a tourist, there is lots to keep you enthralled and I think the girl and I must have seen the Horseshoe falls (the most famous of the three waterfalls) about every way it was possible to do so, short of going over it in a barrel. We saw “Niagara’s Fury” a 4D experience exploring (largely in cartoon form) the creation of the falls, we rode the Maid of the Mist boat into the spray of the Horseshoe Falls, we explored the tunnels and saw the the thundering water from behind the falls, we got alongside the raging (and sometimes deadly) rapids downstream on the white water walk, and even saw the falls and rapids from above on a helicopter flight and the Whirlpool Aerocar.
There was a lot to choose from. They were probably expecting me to answer with one of these amazing things you can do, but really the best part for me in Niagara Falls was the people.
Almost without exception, everyone we have met and spoken to in Canada has been amazingly friendly and nice — but in Niagara Falls our friends and their families made us feel so incredibly welcome, and loved. The people took hospitality and friendliness to whole new levels, to the point of telling us to consider ourselves as their family. More than any memorable flight in a helicopter, or leisurely walk alongside raging river rapids, long after my pictures have faded or lost the anecdotes attached to them, we will remember the warmth and kindness of the people we met on this trip.
One of the most common threads in my travels and adventures is that people the world over are generally nice. Watching the news or reading the papers, you can get a distorted of the world and think that people are angry and selfish and fearful — but everywhere I go, people along the way are kind and welcoming, and nowhere has been more so than in Niagara Falls. This morning, checking out of our motel, the girl and I were sad to be leaving — if we could, we’d have loved to stay among these people, but more adventures await, and no doubt there are yet more lovely people waiting out there. But for now, there has been a heap more added to our Christmas card list.