Niagara Falls in the Dead of Winter

Despite the fact that I’ve been to every Canadian province, I had somehow never  been to what is arguably Canada’s biggest and best attraction: the famous Niagara Falls. The falls are about an hour and a half from Toronto, a city I’ve now visited 4 or 5 times. In February, I redeemed some frequent flyer miles and visited my older sister at her place in Etobicoke, a suburb in the Greater Toronto Area. Since I’d been to the city multiple times, there really weren’t that many things I wanted to see, but I knew I had to make it to Niagara Falls.

I was planning to take the cheapest bus I could find and explore on foot, but my sister’s boyfriend’s mother (wow that’s kind of confusing) generously offered to drive me and Anna. One of the many benefits of visiting family and friends! We decided to make a stop in Niagara-on-the-Lake for high tea, which was the most posh thing I’ve ever done. The Prince of Wales Hotel is famous for its afternoon tea (definitely make a reservation) and it’s not hard to see why! While this is never something I’d splash out for myself on my backpacker budget, it was an excellent treat and worth the price. The setting itself is stunning: I felt out of place in such an elaborately exquisite hotel, but I tried to seem more sophisticated than I am.

In honor of my desire to go to Morocco, I ordered Marrakech Mint tea and drank as much of my teapot as possible. Everything seemed fancier coming from the tiered tray of food, from cucumber sandwiches to quiche. We also ordered grapes and cheese, and while I’ve always thought all grapes were the same, let me tell you these grapes were something else.

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Once we had eaten as much food as physically possible, we packed up the rest and headed off to the main destination of our journey! Now for some background, the days I spent in Toronto had possibly the coldest weather that I have EVER experienced. My sister is a dog walker, and when I went downtown with her it was below -50 Celsius with windchill. Even with two pairs of pants, two pairs of socks, two shirts, a sweater, a coat, scarf, mittens, hat, etc….I could barely stand to be outside. It was even worse out in the open at Niagara Falls, and despite our admiration of the gorgeous view and desire to stay longer, we genuinely couldn’t stay outside longer than ten minutes. It was just enough time to snap a few selfies, force my sister to take pictures of me, and admire how much nicer the Canadian side was than the American falls.

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I was worried that Niagara Falls would be totally underwhelming since it’s been built up so much. Now I can say that the falls are not at all overrated: believe the hype! If you happen to be in this part of Canada, try to make your way over.

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