Year-End Special: Niagara Falls and Winter Festival of Lights

As we were planning to relocate to Canada in May this year, my only wish was to see Niagara Falls from the Canadian side, from where the Horseshoe Bend and the American falls are clearly visible in all their glory! And we did take a trip on the very first weekend.

I had read about how the falls can look like frozen during the winter time (they don’t freeze completely, just that the flow-rate gets reduced), so I had that on my mind as well. Also, with the year-end Festival of Lights (FOL) going on these days, there couldn’t have been a better time than to visit now. So, last Saturday, we made an excitement-filled trip to the attraction known to spellbound anybody. After reaching around 2.30pm, we parked at the paid parking (charge is flat at $20 for a day) right across the street opposite to the Horseshoe falls. Having seen the falls at the peak of Summer, I couldn’t help admire the contrast now. Though it is not yet the peak of winter here, snow has fallen a few times already. And the effect was clearly visible around – apart from the falls, pretty much everything else was frozen.frozen niagara fallswinter in canadahorseshoe falls usaamerican falls canadaIt was so cold even with the layers of clothes we were wearing that Saru had to head indoors (just adjacent to the falls – there are a few shops to grab souvenirs and eat as well). However, if you are adventurous and more inclined towards spending your time outside (like me), you can take a walk along the falls from Horseshoe to American and even further till the Rainbow Bridge (connecting Canada and United States). The route map is here.niagara in winterOnce it was dark (around 5pm), we picked up our car and started driving towards the Dufferin islands, home to Festival’s Canadian Wildlife Displays, including some three-dimensional ones also. Considering that a lot of people are visiting just to see the lights, be ready to encounter traffic, but it is also an opportunity to admire the displays along the road. Since there are 2 lanes each way most of the time, you can stop at non-crowded places (be sure to switch on the parking lights) and click a few shots. Once in dufferin islands, there are designated parking slots for you to get down and go close to the illuminations. wildlife in canadacanada wildlife photographyfestival of lightsdufferin islandsWe spent a couple of hours in the islands before heading back towards the falls. I stopped at a few places on the other side of the road now to take some shots (my favorite is that of the flag – it alternated between Canadian and American one).niagara falls folcanadian american flagNotes:

  1.  The illuminations are on a stretch of 8 kilometers as in map above – it is up to you to make the most of them. One can easily spend a few hours just marveling at the beauty of the falls themselves!
  2. If you are looking to park your car for just a couple of hours to view the falls, check short-term parking slots around – there are many along the main road (they would be cheap). We should have gone with them this time!
  3. This year the FOL is from Nov 18 to Jan 31. There is no fees to view the lights. However, donations are welcome at the exit of the Dufferin Islands.
  4. We didn’t see the fireworks over falls this time, but here is the schedule if you are interested.
  5. Do check the weather conditions if you want to head over. Canada is known for its extreme weather! Consequently, it would be wise to carry all of your winter essentials, even an extra pair of clothes, and an umbrella (the mist off the falls creates showers sometimes).

42 thoughts on “Year-End Special: Niagara Falls and Winter Festival of Lights

  1. Beautiful pics and tips Alok! Seeing the falls from the Canadian side is on my wish list too. 🙂
    Do you happen to have a pic of the falls from the same angle from summer and winter? That would be neat. Happy Holidays!!!


  2. Wow!! Those are some lovely pictures Alok! I haven’t seen the Falls in winter…seen some pics but not that spectacular! Thanks for sharing their glory…must be worth all that cold! 🙂 Wishing you more joy and Happy Holidays.


  3. Niagra Falls looks stunning in winter. Brilliant captures all round and the sights must have kept you walking around 😀 Rainbow Bridge sounds like a lovely name for a bridge, and the illuminations looked like quite the treat. Lovely way to end the year with a bit more travel for you. Take care this holiday season 🙂


  4. The frozen falls look amazingly spectacular. I can imagine what a feeling it must have been to actually witness such pristine white beauty all around. Great shots, Alok! And the lighted sculptures add the much-needed touch of warmth to the wintry, snowy feel 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. the frozen lake is amazing….Canada is a beautiful country…it has a lot of natural beauty….i have seen the niagra falls from the canadian side a few years ago but it was in summer…in winter, its such a treat to the eyes…everything is snow white and looks dreamy….truly wow….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The photos of the falls are magnificent, they show that you should also visit them in the winter!

    I really liked the photos of the displays of lights as well, I would imagine that they do attract many people out to see them, they were stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

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