Niagara Falls, Ontario

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Niagara Falls
City of Niagara Falls
Skyline of Niagara Falls, Ontario
Skyline of Niagara Falls, Ontario
The Honeymoon Capital of the World, the Falls
Location of Niagara Falls in the Niagara Region
Location of Niagara Falls in the Niagara Region
Niagara Falls is located in Southern Ontario
Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is located in Ontario
Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls (Ontario)
Niagara Falls is located in Canada
Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls (Canada)
Coordinates: 43°03′36″N 79°06′24″W / 43.06000°N 79.10667°W / 43.06000; -79.10667Coordinates: 43°03′36″N 79°06′24″W / 43.06000°N 79.10667°W / 43.06000; -79.10667
Regional municipalityNiagara
Incorporated12 June 1903
 • MayorJim Diodati
 • Governing bodyNiagara Falls City Council
 • MPTony Baldinelli
 • MPPWayne Gates
 • Land209.73 km2 (80.98 sq mi)
 • Urban
382.68 km2 (147.75 sq mi)
 • Metro
1,397.50 km2 (539.58 sq mi)
 • City (lower-tier)88,071 (Ranked 64th)
 • Density419.9/km2 (1,088/sq mi)
 • Urban
308,596 (Ranked 12th)
 • Urban density545.02/km2 (1,411.6/sq mi)
 • Metro
390,317 (Ranked 12th)
 • Metro density279.3/km2 (723/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Forward Sortation Area
Area code(s)905, 289, 365
Highways Queen Elizabeth Way
 Highway 420
 Highway 20

Niagara Falls is a city in Ontario, Canada. It is on the western bank of the Niagara River in the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario, with a population of 88,071 at the 2016 census.[1] Incorporated on 12 June 1903, the city is across the river from Niagara Falls, New York. The Niagara River flows over Niagara Falls at this location, creating a natural spectacle which attracts millions of tourists each year.

The tourist area, which stretches along the Niagara Parkway and promenade, is particularly concentrated at the brink of the falls. Apart from the river's natural attractions, it includes observation towers, high-rise hotels, souvenir shops, museums, indoor water parks, casinos and theatres, mostly with colourful neon billboards and advertisements. Farther to the north or south, golf courses are operated alongside historic sites from the War of 1812.


This area was long part of the Iroquois Confederacy territory: five powerful First Nations mostly along the southern edge of the Great Lakes. The Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca were based largely in present-day New York, ranging from east near the Hudson River, to western areas of Seneca Lake and along Ontario and other Great Lakes.[citation needed]

The Niagara Falls area has had some European settlement since the 17th century. Louis Hennepin, a French priest and missionary, is regarded as the first European to visit the area in the 1670s. French colonists settled mostly in Lower Canada, beginning near the Atlantic, and in Quebec and Montreal. After surveys were completed in 1782 the area was referred to as Township Number 2 as well as Mount Dorchester after Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester (and today is only honoured by Dorchester Road and the community of Dorchester Village).[5]

The earliest settlers of Township Number 2 were Philip George Bender (namesake of Bender Street and Bender Hill near Casino Niagara originally from Germany and later New Jersey and Philadelphia[5]) and Thomas McMicken (a Scottish-born British Army veteran).[5]

Increased settlement in this area took place during and after the American Revolutionary War, when the British Crown made land grants to Loyalists to help them resettle in Upper Canada and provide some compensation for their losses after the United States became independent. Loyalist Robert Land received 200 acres (81 ha) and was one of the first people of European descent to settle in the Niagara Region. He moved to nearby Hamilton three years later due to the relentless noise of the falls.[6]

In 1791, John Graves Simcoe renamed the town was Stamford after Stamford, Lincolnshire in England[5] but today Stamford is only used for an area northwest of downtown Niagara Falls as well as Stamford Street. During the war of 1812, the battle of Lundy's Lane took place in July 1814, near the town.[citation needed]

In 1856, the Town of Clifton was incorporated. The name of the town was changed to Niagara Falls in 1881. In 1882, the community of Drummondville (near the present-day corner of Lundy's Lane and Main Street) was incorporated as the village of Niagara Falls.[citation needed]

The village was referred to as Niagara Falls South to differentiate it from the town. In 1904, the town and village amalgamated to form the City of Niagara Falls. In 1962, the city amalgamated with the surrounding Stamford Township, resulting in a doubling of population. With the creation of a Niagara regional government in 1970, the city absorbed the village of Chippawa, Willoughby Township and part of Crowland Township, creating the present-day municipal boundaries.[citation needed]

Tourism started in the early 19th century and has been a vital part of the local economy since that time. The falls became known as a natural wonder, in part to their being featured in paintings by prominent American artists of the 19th century such as Albert Bierstadt. Such works were reproduced as lithographs, becoming widely distributed. In addition, Niagara Falls markets itself as a honeymoon destination; it is the self-proclaimed "honeymoon capital of the world".[citation needed]

An internment camp was set up at The Armoury in Niagara Falls from December 1914 to August 1918.[7]

The city's official historian is Sherman Zavitz, who gives regular radio broadcasts on many aspects of Niagara's history.[8]

Black history

R. Nathaniel Dett Chapel, British Methodist Episcopal Church

Niagara Falls has had a Black population since at least 1783. Up to 12 African-Americans were a part of the Butler's Rangers, including Richard Pierpoint. When they were disbanded in 1783, they tried to establish themselves through farming nearby, making them among the first Black settlers in the region.[9][10] It is estimated that nearly 10 percent of the Loyalists to settle in the area were Black Loyalists.[11]

Niagara Fall's Black population increased in the following decades, as a destination on the Underground Railroad. In 1856, a British Methodist Episcopal (BME) Church was established for African-Canadian worshipers.[12] The BME Church, Nathaniel Dett Memorial Chapel is now a National Historic Site, remaining in operation into the 21st century.[13][14] Composer, organist, pianist and music professor Nathaniel Dett was born in Niagara Falls in 1882.[15]

In 1886, Burr Plato became one of the first African Canadians to be elected to political office, holding the position of City Councillor of Niagara Falls until 1901.[16][17]


Looking north on the Niagara River towards Niagara Falls, Ontario

Niagara Falls is approximately 130 km (81 mi) by road from Ontario's capital of Toronto, which is across Lake Ontario to the north. The area of the Niagara Region is approximately 1,800 km2 (690 sq mi).


The city is built along the Niagara Falls waterfalls and the Niagara Gorge on the Niagara River, which flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.


The city of Niagara Falls has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa/Dfb) which is moderated to an extent in all seasons by proximity to water bodies. Winters are cold, with a January high of −0.4 °C (31.3 °F) and a low of −7.8 °C (18.0 °F).[18] However, temperatures above 0 °C (32.0 °F) are common during winter.[18] The average annual snowfall is 154 centimetres (61 in), in which it can receive lake effect snow from both lakes Erie and Ontario. Summers are warm to hot, with a July high of 27.4 °C (81.3 °F) and a low of 17 °C (62.6 °F).[18] The average annual precipitation is 970.2 millimetres (38 in), which is relatively evenly distributed throughout the year.

Communities and neighbourhoods

Although more historical and cultural diversity exists, Niagara Falls has 11 communities and 67 neighbourhoods defined by Planning Neighbourhoods and Communities for the City of Niagara Falls.[20]

  • Beaverdams
    • Hyott
    • N.E.C. West
    • Nichols
    • Shriners
    • Warner
  • Chippawa
    • Bridgewater
    • Cummings
    • Hunter
    • Kingsbridge
    • Ussher
    • Weinbrenner
  • Crowland
    • Crowland
  • Drummond
    • Brookfield
    • Caledonia
    • Coronation
    • Corwin
    • Drummond Industrial Basin
    • Hennepin
    • Leeming
    • Merrit
    • Miller
    • Orchard
    • Trillium
  • Elgin
    • Balmoral
    • Central Business District
    • Glenview
    • Hamilton
    • Maple
    • Oakes
    • Ryerson
    • Valleyway
  • Grassybrook
    • Grassybrook Industrial Basin
    • Oakland
    • Rexinger
  • Northwest
    • Carmel
    • Kent
    • Mulhearn
  • Queen Victoria
  • Stamford
    • Burdette
    • Calaguiro
    • Church
    • Cullimore
    • Gauld
    • Ker
    • Mitchellson
    • Mountain
    • N.E.C. East
    • Olden
    • Pettit
    • Portage
    • Queensway Gardens
    • Rolling Acres
    • Thompson
    • Wallice
  • Westlane
    • Garner
    • Hodgson
    • Lundy
    • Munro
    • Oakwood
    • Royal Manor
    • Westlane Industrial Basin
  • Willoughby
    • Niagara River Parkway
    • Willoughby


Ethnic Origin Population
English 22,880
Italian 15,425
Scottish 13,910
Irish 11,200
French 8,710
Source: 2001 Census of Canada[21]

In 2011, the population of Niagara Falls was 81,300 persons, while the metropolitan area had 422,805. The population of Niagara Falls is older than Canada in general in terms of age structure. Youths under 18 years of age number 19.3%. Some 7,715 (9.5%) inhabitants described themselves as visible minorities (non-white/non-European), with the majority of those Black, Chinese, Filipino and South Asian people.[22][23]

83.97% of Niagara Falls city residents self-identified with Christian denominations. The largest denominations are Catholic (41.99%), Protestant (36.80%), and 5.18% other Christian mostly Eastern Orthodox, 14.10% claimed no religious affiliation, while other religions (1.93%) including Sikh, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim accounted for the rest.[24]


Niagara Falls, Ontario. The Fallsview area is in the background.

With a plentiful and inexpensive source of hydroelectric power from the waterfalls, many electro-chemical and electro-metallurgical industries located there in the early to mid-20th century.

Industry began moving out of the city in the 1970s and 80s because of economic recession and increasing global competition in the manufacturing sector. Tourism increasingly became the city's most important revenue source. Generally speaking, Niagara Falls, Ontario is a more popular destination than Niagara Falls, New York, in part due to the better view of the falls from the Canadian side of the river. In the 20th century, there was a favourable exchange rate when comparing Canadian and U.S. currencies, and Ontario had a greater focus on tourism. Also, Ontario's legal drinking age of 19, in comparison to a legal drinking age of 21 in the U.S., attracts potential alcohol consumers from across the border.

The Ontario government introduced legal gambling to the local economy in the mid-1990s. Casino Niagara precipitated an economic boom in the late 1990s as numerous luxury hotels and tourist attractions were built, and a second casino, Niagara Fallsview, opened in 2004. Both attracted American tourists due in part to the comparatively less expensive Canadian dollar, and despite the opening of the Seneca Niagara Casino on the American side. When the Canadian and US currencies moved closer to parity in the 2000s, Niagara Falls, Ontario continued to be a popular destination for Americans. Its tourist areas had many attractions and a vibrancy, while Niagara Falls, New York languished in a prolonged economic downturn.

In 2004, several tourist establishments in Niagara Falls began adding a three percent marketing fee to bills. The collected money is untraceable, and there are no controls over how each establishment spends it. The Ontario government—concerned tourists could be misled into believing the fees were endorsed by the government—warned hotels and restaurants in 2008 not to claim the fee if it was not being remitted to a legitimate non-profit agency that promotes tourism. The practise continues, and takes in an estimated $15 million per-year from tourists unaware the fee is voluntary and can be removed from their bill.[25][26]

Clifton Hill Attractions, February 2017

Recent development has been mostly centred on the Clifton Hill and Fallsview areas. The Niagara Falls downtown (Queen Street) is undergoing a major revitalization; the city is encouraging redevelopment of this area as an arts and culture district. The downtown was a major centre for local commerce and night life up until the 1970s, when the Niagara Square Shopping Centre began to draw away crowds and retailers. Since 2006, Historic Niagara has brought art galleries, boutiques, cafés and bistros to the street. Attractions include renovation of the Seneca Theatre.

On 3 October 2012, the Mayor of Niagara Falls opened the new Queen Street Downtown Park featuring a children's playground complete with soft artificial turf, benches, seating, landscaping and the "Water Molecule" sculpture, created by artist Derek Costello.

The city encourages location filming of movies and TV series and many have taken advantage of locations. Recent titles include several currently filming as well as Reliving Marilyn (2017 TV Movie), Fight! (2017), Odd Squad: The Movie (2016)and Blanket Fort: Vada Gets Toxic (2016).[27]


Some cultural areas of Niagara Falls include Queen Street, Main and Ferry Streets, Stamford Centre and Chippawa Square.[28][29] Community centres that are host to cultural activities include the City of Niagara Falls Museums, Niagara Falls Public Libraries, Coronation 50 Plus Recreation Centre, Club Italia and Scotia Bank Convention Centre.

Visual arts

Performing arts


Literacy and literary arts


Nature, parks and gardens

Festivals and events


Niagara Falls observation attractions

Horseshoe Falls
The Niagara Falls Hard Rock Cafe

Niagara River and Parkway attractions

Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls attractions, Feb. 2017

Tourist sector entertainment

Conventions and conferences

Sports and active living



Sports clubs

Sports teams and leagues

Club League Sport Venue Established Championships
Niagara United Canadian Soccer League Soccer Kalar Sports Park 2010
FC Niagara Falls Srbija Niagara Falls Soccer League Soccer St. George Serbian Orthodox Church 1974
Niagara Falls Canucks Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League Ice Hockey Gale Centre c. 1971

The Niagara Stars of the defunct Canadian Baseball League played in Welland, Ontario and the Niagara IceDogs play in St. Catharines, Ontario.


Niagara Falls City Council consists of eight councillors and a mayor. City elections take place every four years with the most recent election held on 27 October 2014.[31] Council is responsible for policy and decision making, monitoring the operation and performance of the city, analysing and approving budgets and determining spending priorities. Due to regulations put forward by the Municipal Elections Act 1996, elections are held on the fourth Monday in October except for religious holidays or if a member of council or if the mayor resigns.

Niagara Falls Fire Department

The city's fire and emergency service are provided from 6 stations with a staff of 133 firefighters and 78 volunteers.[32]

Three stations are full time and three are volunteer.


Provincial roads (namely the Queen Elizabeth Way) are patrolled by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the rest by Niagara Regional Police (NRPS) for city streets and general policing or Niagara Parks Police (NPP) on property relating to Niagara Parks Commission. Policing on the Canadian side of bridges (Whirlpool and Rainbow Bridges) are conducted by both Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operations, but may involve Niagara Regional Police and/or OPP, as well as US agencies.[33] Michigan Central Railway Bridge is an inactive railway bridge and closed off to prevent trespassing by the Canadian Pacific Railways and can be accessed by NRPS or CBSA/CBP if required.




The Rainbow Bridge

Niagara Falls is linked to major highways in Canada. The Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), stretching from Fort Erie to Toronto, passes through Niagara Falls. Highway 420 (along with Niagara Regional Road 420) connect the Rainbow Bridge to the QEW. The Niagara Parkway is a road operated under the Niagara Parks Commission which connects Niagara-on-the-Lake to Fort Erie via Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls formerly had King's Highways passing through the city. These included:

Regional airports


Via Rail station in Niagara Falls, Ontario

Via Rail Canada and Amtrak jointly provide service to the Niagara Falls station via their Maple Leaf service between Toronto Union Station and New York Penn Station.

In summer 2009, Go Transit started a pilot project providing weekend and holiday train service from Toronto to Niagara falls from mid June to mid October. These GO Trains run seasonally between Toronto Union Station and Niagara Falls at weekends.[34]

At other times, regular hourly GO train services are provided between Toronto Union and Burlington station, where connecting bus services operate to and from the rail station at Niagara.[35]

As of January 2019, GO Transit offers two-way, weekday commuter service from Niagara Falls station (Ontario) to Union Station (Toronto) as part of the Niagara GO Expansion. The full expansion project is expected to be complete by 2025.


Cabs and shuttle buses

Active transportation

The City of Niagara Falls is working toward Bike Friendly designation and providing more resources to encourage active transportation.


Niagara Falls has one post-secondary institution in the city and another in the Niagara Region. Niagara is served by the District School Board of Niagara and the Niagara Catholic District School Board which operate elementary and secondary schools in the region. There are also numerous private institutions offer alternatives to the traditional education systems.

Post secondary

High schools


Niagara Falls is also served by Niagara Falls Public Library, a growing library system composed of four branches,[37] with the main branch in the downtown area.[38] It is visited by over 10,000 people weekly. An extensive online database of photographs and artwork is maintained at Historic Niagara Digital Collections.[39]


Niagara Falls is served by two main local newspapers, three radio stations and a community television channel. All other media is regionally based, as well, from Hamilton and Toronto.


Local newspapers are:

Due to its proximity to Hamilton and Toronto, local residents have access to the papers like The Hamilton Spectator, the Toronto Star, and the Toronto Sun.


The area is otherwise served by stations from Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo.


Television stations from Toronto and Buffalo are also widely available. Officially, Niagara Falls is part of the Toronto television market, even though it is directly across the Niagara River from its American twin city, which is part of the Buffalo market.

Notable people


  1. ^ a b c "Niagara Falls, City Ontario (Census Subdivision)". Census Profile, Canada 2016 Census. Archived from the original on 5 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Niagara Falls, City Ontario (Census Subdivision)". Census Profile, Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. 8 February 2012. Archived from the original on 17 May 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
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  5. ^ a b c d
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  17. ^ " -".
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