I only had a day in Niagara, and after spending the morning sorting out my Social Insurance Number, an essential requirement for working in Canada, I went off in search of nerdy facts about the falls.
PLAY WHILE READING ON….
My quest led me don a super protective plastic poncho and journey down behind the horse shoe falls themselves in the apply-named “Journey behind The Falls Experience”. The sound that your listening to was recorded from the edge of the falls on the surface and is the sound of over 150 million litres of water pouring over the brink, towards the tunnel portals below, every minute. That’s about 150,000 tonnes or 20,000 london buses going over the edge every minute! The recording doesn’t quite do justice to the deep rumble that can be heard throughout the tunnels, I can only imagine what it must have been like digging them! The falls were eroding backwards at a whopping 3m a year, but human development has brought that down to just 30cm every 10 years. Looking at the water tearing over the edge, I love to see what the falls would look like in their untamed state. I also got to view the falls at night with lights on them for the first time, which was quite pretty.
Now onwards to Toronto!
In order to keep things cheap I’d put aside a whole day to make the long train journey from New York to Niagara, it turned out to be a really good idea. After a few tense moments finding platform in the complex Penn Station, I made my way on to Amtrak service 281 to find very comfy seats, power outlets and wifi! This is probably standard on most trains now I suppose, but I’ve not enjoyed such big comfy seats on a train before. This made the 9 hour, yes 9 hour, trip to Niagara much more bearable as I could sit back with my laptop and do what ever I liked, including enjoying the green rolling hills of upstate New York and even talking to one of my mates on Steam. As we drew into Niagara butterflies started to build as I knew the border was near and would prove the ultimate test of my paperwork!
This way to destiny!!
Well I can’t say the border was much fun! Despite Canada being probably the most friendly nation I’ve met (tied with The Netherlands) I was scalded by the border guard in the manor of a disappointed teacher, mainly for having no fixed address for the duration of my stay and no Canadian phone number. I left the border feeling somewhat disgruntled, and then began to wonder that perhaps I’d given answers that they were looking for. Why, if I was entering for the first time, would I have a Canadian phone number already? And a fixed address? I think they were looking for people trying to re-enter having previously lived in Canada illegally before. If I was in that position I might have given up that info in an attempt to appease the belligerent border force. Clever!
Safely in Canada I made my way up to my next hostel and bedded down for the night.
So I’ve decided to do this blog as a bit of a scrap book to record my adventures in Canada, and hopefully give people thinking about going there an idea of what its like. Also webGIS is getting big right now so this seems like a fun way to learn a bit of web design!
Plus everyone does different social things, Facegram, InstaTwit, InBook, Linkeder, Shouting in the Street, etc, and I can’t be assed to remember all those passwords so I’m creating this as a one stop shop, which I can plaster all over the above websites!
I’ll try to add lots of different and interesting things I go along.