Posted by: Silver | March 19, 2012

St Catharines to Niagara Falls

St Catharines to Niagara-on-the-Lake:
Distance: 34 km
Ascent: 104 m
Cycling time: 1 hour, 52 minutes

Niagara-on-the-Lake to Niagara Falls:
Distance: 31 km
Ascent: 273 m
Cycling time: 2 hours, 18 minutes

Pootling around Niagara Falls:
Distance: 43 km
Ascent: 290 m
Cycling time: 2 hours, 49 minutes

Yes, the communities are so close together around here that I actually clocked up more miles getting to and from my various appointments while I was in Niagara Falls than I did getting to the town in the first place!

But, I’m getting ahead of myself a bit there…

First, there were two presentations in St Catharines, then a speedy cycle over to Niagara on the Lake (or NOTL as it seems to be fairly universally called by time-saving typists everywhere) for another presentation just a few hours later. If I’m not telling you much about the communities I’ve been visiting, it’s only because I haven’t stood still long enough to see much of them! That being said, however, I did get a bit of time to enjoy some of what the Niagara peninsula has to offer:

Exactly 200 years ago, the unsurprisingly named War of 1812 began between the still-developing countries of Canada and the United States. There seems to be quite a strong body of feeling here that this was the moment when Canada really started to define itself as a nation and so, combined with the fact that Canada won (although the Americans apparently keep inexplicably trying to claim otherwise…), it’s not really very surprising that Canada is making quite a big deal about the whole thing this year. And a fair bit of the action happened in the very places I’ve just been cycling through! Canadians apologizing to me for their lack of history has almost become a running joke through this journey – many seem touchingly (but unnecessarily) bashful in the presence of someone from ‘the old country’ – but here on the Niagara peninsula, I got a sense of history every bit as tangible as anywhere ‘back home’ (if, admittedly, still not quite as old…). Remnants of the forts on opposing sides of the Niagara river are still there, and I could almost see all the hard-working Canadian homesteaders working even harder to defend a nation that previously they hadn’t even noticed they belonged to.

And yes, I did get to see the falls in Niagara Falls. But, far from hearing them rumbling from miles away as I’d sort of expected, I was actually surprised by how quiet they were. OK, so I’m using the word ‘quiet’ in a pretty relative sense here, but I’d expected to have to shout to make myself heard over the deafening crash of 50,000 cubic feet of water per second, and I certainly hadn’t expected to see them before I heard them. What I did notice, though, was the definite chill in the air as you approached all that airborne, only-just-thawed water: I felt that even before the falls came into view, but on a cloudlessly sunny day that topped 18ºC (pretty much unheard of in mid-March, even in this part of Canada), I wasn’t actually complaining.

Once again, I was in orchard country in the spring time, but once again, I was just a bit too early for the blossom... 😦

Apparently, Fort Mississauga was actually little more than a 2ft high wall when the War of 1812 broke out, but it was still very evocative

'Beautiful' is the only way to describe my journey along the Niagara River from NOTL to Niagara Falls - even if it did involve climbing the escarpment again

And finally, the unavoidable 'picture of Niagara Falls'...



  1. Go, Silver!
    cheering you on, always!!!! thank you, thank you

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