Ontario’s Niagara Parks, the Niagara Parks Commission, was established in 1885 to control the lands and buildings immediately surrounding the Horseshoe Falls. The area, which is now known as Queen Victoria Park, encompassed just 62.2 hectares (154 acres). In its long history it has grown to own and maintain over 1325 hectares (3274 acres) of parkland along the entire length of the Niagara River, stretching 53 km (36 miles) from Fort Erie in the south to Niagara-on-the-Lake in the north.
The Niagara Parks Commission is set up like a city within a city, with its own police services, road maintenance, waste collection and all other services needed to sustain its extensive operations. Also, the Niagara Parks Commission receives no government financing – they raise their own revenues through gift shops, golf courses, restaurants, attractions and parking lots.
p.s. Queen Victoria Park is literally the “heart" of Niagara Parks. Established by a Provincial Park Act in 1885 and opened in 1888, the park is operated by the Niagara Parks Commission and is considered the centerpiece of the Niagara Falls recreational tourist area. Bounded by the steep Fallsview moraine and the Niagara River Great Gorge (Beginning from the brink of the Canadian Falls and extending to Oakes Gardens Theatre near the Rainbow Bridge.), the Park features manicured gardens, platforms offering spectacular views of both the American and Horseshoe Falls.
At night, the gardens are illuminated for an interesting display.(via http://www.niagaraparks.com/)
p.s. In 1925, the Niagara Falls Illumination Board was created to finance and operate an illumination system to highlight the beauty of Niagara at night. Currently a total of twenty-one xenon lights, each with a 76-centimetre (30-inch) diameter, are used to illuminate the Falls in a rainbow of colours. Each of the xenon spotlights produces more than 390 million peak beam candlepower.
Eighteen are located at the Illumination Tower, beside Queen Victoria Place and three are located below street level in the gorge opposite the American Falls.
Embassy Suites Niagara Falls Hotel:
Located high above the falls, the Presidential Suites at the Embassy Suites hotel has the best view in the city from spectacular floor to ceiling windows overlooking both the Canadian & American Falls.
Falls Incline Railway:
The Falls Incline Railway( double track with 30 degrees slop and 51.8 metres /170 ft), originally known as the Horseshoe Falls Incline is a simple and convenient way for visitors from the Fallsview tourist area to descend the escarpment to the brink of the Horseshoe Falls.
Table Rock Welcome Centre:
Owned and operated by the Niagara Parks Commission, the Table Rock Welcome Centre (also known as Table Rock Centre and, previously, Table Rock House) is a retail and observation complex provides the best direct path from the Horseshoe Falls observation area to the Falls Incline Railway. The complex consists of two buildings (The north building originally constructed in 1926 and the south building constructed in 1974.) connected by an indoor pedestrian mall and anchored by “The Grand Hall", a multi-level indoor observation complex, completed in 2008.
The Skylon Tower, inspired by the Space Neddle , was constructed in May 1964 and opened on October 6, 1965. Standing at 160 metres (520 ft) from street level and 236 metres (775 ft) from the bottom of the falls, the Skylon Tower offers the highest overhead view of the falls and the tallest total entertainment complex.
The tower features three outside mounted “Yellow Bug" elevators. At the time of their construction they were the first such elevators in Canada. They were designed, engineered and maintained by a division of the Otis Elevator Company from Hamilton, Ontario and can carry passengers to the top of the tower in 52 seconds.
Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort:
Commonly known as Fallsview Casino, the resort overlooks the Horseshoe Falls and is one of the most prominent features of the Niagara skyline. Entire complex area is 2,500,000 sq ft (230,000 m2), construction began in 2001 and opened in June 2004.
Hornblower Niagara Cruises:
A boat ride in to the mist of Niagara Falls is usually at the top of everybody’s “to do” list. The Voyage to the Falls boat tour provides an up-close viewing of the magnificent Great Gorge, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and of course the mighty Horseshoe Falls. You can board from either the USA or Canada.
p.s. Special Notice! There are now two separate operators for the boat ride below the falls: In Canada the operator is “Hornblower Niagara Cruises" (red poncho), board from Queen Victoria Park near the base of Clifton Hill.
In New York the operator is the “Maid of the Mist Boat Company" (blue poncho), board from the base of the Observation Tower at Prospect Point. p.s. Observation Tower – This 230-foot overlook provides the only U.S. location to view both the American and Horseshoe Falls.