The People of Niagara: Interesting Facts about Local Legends

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Niagara Falls is a place of undeniable natural beauty and has become familiar to visitors across Canada and the world. It’s easy to forget that the city of Niagara Falls and its people have a rich history unto themselves. Let’s explore some of these exciting (and sometimes chilling) stories.

The Fact: In 1848 the Falls stopped.

The Story: In March of 1848 a warm spell broke up the ice on Lake Erie. But strong winds blew the loosened ice into the mouth of the Niagara River, where it froze into a dam. The dam blocked the water and the riverbed all but dried up. This lasted forty hours, giving the residents enough time to discover muskets, bayonets and swords from The War of 1812.

The Fact: The last eastern cougar, indigenous to the region, was killed in 1884.

The Story: Some eastern cougars may have survived extinction.  At least that’s what John Greer, the chief executive officer of Welland and District Humane Society believes. The Ministry of Natural Resources confirmed in 2001 the discovery of scat from a cougar; as well as large claw marks on trees and injuries to a horse. These proved to be consistent with a wild cat attack. However, no sightings of the animal have been made.

The Fact:  “The Screaming Tunnel” was used as a filming location for David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Dead Zone”.

The Story: Legend has it there was a small village at one end of the screaming tunnel that was home to a young girl. The tunnel became known as the Screaming Tunnel after the young girl passed away there. She may have caught fire in her home and succumbed to the flames in the tunnel. Others believe she was murdered and burned in the tunnel by her father. Regardless of why, locals agree that you can hear her screams in the tunnel. And if you light a match at midnight, she will blow it out.

The Fact: The Toronto Power Station was built in 1906 and was the first wholly Canadian power station at Niagara Falls. It is now a heritage site because of its history and architecture.

The Story: Niagara Falls is known as a very haunted region. Urban explorers report the sounds of machines (even though the Toronto Power Station has had no power for over forty years.) As well as, voices coming from other rooms in the building.

The Fact: In 1996 a tornado destroyed the local drive-in in Thorold.

The Story: This story made international news and even inspired a recent documentary, largely because witnesses claimed the tornado hit while the movie Twister played. Furthermore, they claimed it hit at the exact same time as the tornado in the movie did. Jay Cheel, who made the documentary was interested in discovering the true story of what happened after twenty years of embellishments. The tornado definitely wrecked the drive through, but in the afternoon, long before the move was screened.   

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