Does Niagara Falls Freeze?
Have you ever wondered if a waterfall could freeze? What about one as large as Niagara Falls?
The mist from the Falls coats the surrounding setting and scenery in slippery sheets of sheer ice, and the river water registers subzero readings, yet the Niagara Falls themselves do not freeze to a standstill or turn to ice. With up to six million cubic feet of water gushing over Niagara every minute, reaching speeds surpassing 100 kilometres per hour, it’s simply just too strong and fast a force to freeze, even at record-breaking freezing temperatures.
The surface water of the lower river, at the bottom of the Falls, does have a tendency to freeze into an “ice bridge” of sorts. The formation doesn’t happen every year, but in colder years a stationary ice flow frozen to either or both sides of the gorge can be seen. Depending on the year, these ice bridges can become as much as twelve metres thick (40 feet). Crazy as it sounds, people actually held a bazar out on the ice bridge and would spend time down there for amusement. After the Ice Bridge Disaster of 1912 where two people lost their lives, the best and safest ways to see the Falls from below are the Hornblower Niagara Cruises on the Canadian Side and the Caves of the Wind on the US side. Both offer a unique experience and vantage point from which to view the Falls and are open seasonally, weather-dependant.
The winter season adds a certain charm to Niagara Falls. While so much slows downs and hibernates, the mighty Niagara roars and carries on. While some outdoor and weather-dependant attractions close up for the winter months, the majority remain open year-round. Winter festivals, activities, events, and adventures of all kinds come to life each year. Most notably, the annual Winter Festival of Lights warms and brightens up Niagara night-life around the Falls and across the city, with thousands upon thousands of lights, displays, interactive elements, events, art instalments, and the like. The colourful holiday displays stretch from Dufferin Islands all the way downriver, past the Falls, and along the Niagara Parkway.
Niagara Falls becomes an entirely different city in winter. The natural beauty of Niagara Falls draws people to its brink on a daily basis. Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn, all come and go, each creating their own unique backdrop in which to experience Niagara. The entire area comes alive with energy and colour, music and lights in winter like no other time of year.
Even if the cold weather is not your thing, you can still see it all! The Skylon Tower is proud to offer an indoor and outdoor Observation Deck, as well as two fabulous restaurants, all 775 feet about the Falls! The Revolving Dining Room and Summit Suite Buffet boast superior views of the Falls and surrounding area. Stay warm and enjoy our famous pecan pie with a speciality coffee while you gaze out the window at the illuminated Falls, Winter Festival of Lights, and maybe even a fireworks display! Make sure to reserve your table to ensure you get your desired seating time.
Photo credit: Niagara Parks