Believe it or not the Clifton Hill district was the original Niagara Falls.

The Clifton Hill district is a City designated tourism district within the City of Niagara Falls Canada. Starting back in 1856, Victoria Avenue, Centre Street and the surrounding area was named 'Clifton' but in 1881 the area changed its name to the Town of Niagara Falls. In 1994 the two largest areas, Drummondville and Clifton amalgamated to become the City of Niagara Falls in 1904.

In the 1820's, a stairway was built down the bank at Table Rock and the first ferry service across the lower Niagara River began. By 1827, a paved road had been built up from the ferry landing to the top of the bank on the Canadian side. This site became the prime location for hotel development and the Clifton was built there, after which Clifton Hill is named. This was the beginning of the tourism industry.


The original Clifton Hotel was the grandest hotel that ever existed in Niagara Falls. Built in 1833, and located where the Oakes Garden Theatre is currently. It started as a 60 room hotel and soon expanded to 150 rooms to keep up with visitor demand.

A fire started in the summer of 1898, completely destroying the hotel. In 1906 the hotel was was re-built with 270 rooms, it was larger than the original hotel and included such amenities as phones, electric elevator, light, heating, hot and cold running water. The newly built hotel had a magnificent ballroom and a dining room capable of seating 600 people.

In 1928 the Hotel General Brock opened up creating increased competition between the two prominent hotels, but in the winter of 1932 the Clifton Hotel caught fire again. Once the charred remains and rubble were cleared away the site was purchased by Harry Oakes and later presented to the Niagara Parks Commission to take care of. The NPC turned it into an outdoor theatre surrounded by beautiful gardens, where it still remains today.


Canadian Horseshoe Falls by Christine Hess
Canadian Horseshoe Falls by Christine Hess

The formation of the Falls began at the end of the Ice Age when large torrents of water were released from melting ice which drained into what we now call the Niagara River which drainds into Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

The water plunges over the Niagara Escarpment in 3 speficic areas that straddle the international borders of Canada and the United States: The Canadian Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls.

While the Falls are not exceptionally high they are wide, with more than six million cubic feet that falls over the crest every minute during high flow.


Niagara Escarpment Niagara River
Niagara Escarpment Niagara River
The Niagara Escarpment is recognzied as one of the worlds unique natural wonders. The Niagara Escarpment is a ridge of rock several hundred meters high in some locations. Dating back to approximately 450 million years ago when the area lay under a shallow warm sea. If fact the Niagara Escarpment is the ultimate reason why the Falls of Niagara were born.

The Niagara Peninsula (the Region where Niagara Falls is located), has complex soil compositions due ot the interglacial events and eroded layers of sedimentary of rock. Thus fruit and vegetables thrive in the area and it is one of the main reasons why Niagara has become a properous grape growing and wine producing area.


History, geology and natural wonder formations like the 'Falls' have created one of the most iconic and authentically 'Canadian' vacation experiences. The perfect blend of rural and urban allowing visitors to gamble or hike along the gorge, spend the day at a luxurious spa or take a jet boat ride on the level 6 rapids of the Niagara River. Go shopping for designer clothes at the Factory Outlet Malls or watch the firework diplays fly over the back drop of the mighty Canadian Horseshoe Falls.


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