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Fascinating Places

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Photograph of people engaged in winter activities at the frozen Niagara Falls, Ontario, 1875

Winter fun near the frozen Niagara Falls, Ontario, 1875

Considered to be one of the natural wonders of the world, Niagara Falls has brought tourists to this part of Ontario for hundreds of years. The Falls are the subject of endless stories. One of the most intriguing was the day they stopped flowing!

On March 29, 1848 the usual roar of the falls fell silent. The water flowing over the falls had been reduced to a mere trickle. People flocked to see the impossible. Some saw it as a sign that the end of the world was near. Others enjoyed crossing back and forth across the riverbed, an act that would have normally killed anyone who tried. A curious collection of objects was found on the exposed bed, including bayonets, muskets, tomahawks and other War of 1812 artifacts. But what happened to the water? An ice jam upstream at the mouth of the Niagara River and Lake Erie stopped the water from running down the Niagara River. On the night of March 31st, the ice broke up and the river began to flow over the falls once again.

Photograph of Horseshoe Falls from the Canadian side

Horseshoe Falls from the Canadian side

Photograph of Bobby Leach, sitting on his barrel beside a backdrop of the Falls, 1911

Bobby Leach and his barrel after his perilous trip over Niagara Falls, July 25, 1911

Photograph of Maria Spelterini, crossing the Niagara rapids on a tightrope, using a pole for balance, 1876

Maria Spelterini crossing the Niagara Rapids on a tightrope, 1876


"Thunder Alley: Frequently Asked Questions." Niagara Falls - Thunder Alley.
(accessed February 23, 2005).