Monday, September 10, 2012

That Ain't Pittsburgh: The Authentic (and Inauthentic?) Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, the "authentic" one, from the Canadian side.

After a late night out in Buffalo, we started our Canadian adventure by spending a morning on the Canadian side of the Falls. It had been many years since I was last there, and I'm pretty sure my parents took us kiddos to the American side. One of my traveling companions, Ross, had been on the American side a couple times in recent years. And the other, Rob, had never ever been there before. What you see above is not what you are immediately greeted by after rolling into town. Nope. What you enter is an overwhelming and mostly ridiculous cartoon town:

So, like any good tourists, we hung out in the "inauthentic" Niagara Falls before venturing down the hill to the natural wonder. There's no shortage of "things to do" at Niagara Falls. Countless wax museums, haunted houses, lazer tag places, arcades... If you had $500 in your pocket, you still probably wouldn't have enough cash on you to take in all of this ridiculousness. If I ever win the lottery, I'm heading straight back to Niagara Falls to take them all in in a single day.

It took us a while to figure out who the guy all the way to the right may be. We thought perhaps the lead singer of Crash Test Dummies (they are Canadian, after all), but it's likely Eddie Vedder.

I guess next time I'm craving Halloween outside of the month of October, Niagara Falls should be my destination.

Everything is oversized and exaggerated in Niagara Falls. Which makes it completely awesome.

Fun fact: As we were walking by this "Hall of Fame," we heard some announcements about Freddy Kreuger and Pinhead... Didn't know they were criminals. Thought there were more like fictitious horror movie villains. Tomato/Tomatoe.

Rob and I are common travel companions to Canada. In fact, I can't recall a time since 2008 that I have been to Canada without him. One of our first objectives on any Canada trip, as soon as humanly possible after crossing the border is to hit up Tim Hortons. 

Heaven is a full Tim Hortons' bakery case. Yum.

As we were bee-lining to Tim Hortons, Rob stopped and simply said, "Allison," and pointed. And in that moment, I was delighted.


Oh, Beavertail. How I love thee. This is a Canada-only treat that I first experience in Ottawa. It's sort of like funnel cake, but less doughy and with more options for toppings, as shown below:

Now, I opt for the plain ol' cinnamon and sugar beavertail (because this treat is already sugary enough), but some like to ensure they are going to have 1,000 cavities and order the one that's covered in Nutella, peanut butter, and Reese's Pieces. Not naming names or anything.

By the way, when we encountered Beavertail for the second time, in Quebec City, this one was dubbed the "Obama." Apparently, this is his favorite?

Well, looky here! Malkin and Obama both taking a taste of Canadian greatness.

We ate our Beavertail and drank our Tim Hortons coffees and were making our way toward the real deal, but I got a bit sidetracked.

Found them! They've been chilling at the Falls all this time.

Once you get past all the excellent, oversized, touristy nonsense, you arrive at a true wonder. The "authentic" Niagara Falls.

Across the street from the Falls is a nice little park. Instead of trying to wade through the crowds on the side of the road with the views, we crossed over and continued enjoying an "authentic" Niagara Falls greenspace.

Told you it was "authentic."

Rob explains electricity to Ross. Nikola Tesla stands by.

After picking up some Canadian souvenirs, we were on our way to Toronto.

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