The Illuminations of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, draws people from all over the world.

The first illumination of Niagara Falls occurred in 1860, in comparison to the first fireworks show which happened in 1994. Fireworks over the Falls became a big draw for night time visitors and eventually became a regularly sponsored event by many of the businesses in the area. Eventually expanding to at least 2 days a week from late Spring to early Fall and during the Christmas holidays and New Year’s Eve. This event is knows as the longest standing fireworks event across Canada.

Most Important things you want to know about the Niagara Falls Fireworks.

SCHEDULE - niagara falls

The schedule is always announced on the Niagara Parks Commission site.


Fireworks performances are weather permitting and may be cancelled at the last minute due to unexpected changes in wind direction. Typically, the Niagara Parks will post cancellations notices on their Facebook Page or Twitter account.

Photo credit:  Al Hillman on Victoria Day 2016
Photo credit: Al Hillman on Victoria Day 2016


Of course you can watch the fireworks along the Niagara Parkway, you can stand, sit with your blanket or you can watch from:


Hornblower Niagara Cruises opened as the Maid of the Mist boat experience replacement in 2014. For the first time this famous attraction offered Fireworks cruises which sell out quickly. The boat is nicely floating along the gorge when the fireworks go off, giving an unprecedented view of the fireworks above. Enjoy a glass of wine or wave glow sticks along with your family, you’re going to love this Niagara Falls moment.

Hornblower Niagara Fireworks Cruise


A breathtaking 360-degree view of the city lights in Niagara Falls. While dining at the Skylon Tower the restaurant revolves giving you a constantly changing view. If you’re looking for a bird’s eye view of the fireworks over the falls this is it.

Couple dining at the Skylon Tower
Couple dining at the Skylon Tower


Booking at a hotel that has a view of the Falls is another way to kick back in your hotel room and watch the show effortlessly if you’re looking to take it easy at night.

Many restaurants offer fabulous views of the fireworks as long as you like eating late. Places like Milestones, the Watermark, and Jamie Kennedy’s restaurant are examples of the many choices you have to choose from. Here’s a page that gives you a list of restaurants with great views of the Falls.

Remember, if you can’t make it for the fireworks over the Falls, you’ll definitely love the illuminations that change every night.

Photo credit:  Christine Hess Fireworks over the Falls
Photo credit: Christine Hess Fireworks over the Falls


The inspiration to animate The Falls dates all the way back to the summer of 1860 when a gentleman named Mr. Blackwell decided to arrange a row of lights along the Canadian shoreline and aim them at the American and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. This illumination show was in celebration of the upcoming visit from the Prince of Wales and was successfully launched at 10:00 pm on September 14th, 1860.

Surprisingly the success of the illumination show did not repeat itself until 1879. The idea was resurrected to celebrate the next Royal visit of Princess Louise and her husband Marquis of Lorne who was Governor General of Canada. Electricity was used this time rather than the previous Bengal Lights from 19 years prior.

In 1901 the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo New York was highlighted by using spotlights to highlight the Falls and to attract visitors, as tourism began to be the focus on both the Canadian and American sides.

Another royal visit sparked the lighting of the falls again on October 9th, 1907 when the Duke of Cornwall visited Niagara Falls and then again in October of 1919 during another visit from the Prince of Wales. By now the lighting technology had advanced and permanent structures were installed at the Ontario Power Generating station, the base of the Niagara Gorge to light the American Falls and additional lights at the Table Rock house to illuminate the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.

The early 1920’s marked the official formation of an ‘Illumination Board’. Initially starting with a group of businessmen who called themselves the ‘Generators’ to an official organization in 1925 called the Niagara Falls Illumination Board that raised money to re-invest in the illumination technology, while the electricity was provided free of charge by the Ontario Power Company. An official ceremony occurred on June 8th 1925 which included a parade before the final illumination structures were turned on.

Over the years various lighting technologies have been used, while the Board still continues to raise funds to maintain the nightly illuminations all year round. The entire operation is controlled by a panel located in small building on the Canadian side of the Falls. On occasion visitors have been allowed to venture into the building and experience what it’s like to change the colours on the Falls.

Over time, the illumination technology has aged and the Niagara Illumination Board has investigated new LED technology to replace the current lighting. That brings us to the future plans of lighting the Falls.

Photo credit:  Christine Hess American Falls Illumination
Photo credit: Christine Hess American Falls Illumination


The Niagara Falls Illumination Board that was established in 1925 is comprised of five stakeholders: The City of Niagara Falls, Ontario; the City of Niagara Falls, New York; Ontario Power Generation, New York State Parks and the Niagara Parks Commission. This year they announced their intentions to drastically change the lighting technology to a state-of-the-art LED platform that would provide four times the current lighting strength, 1,800 colour combinations and more creative programming.

As the Illumination Board continues to raise monies they hope to introduce the new lighting as part of the 2016 Winter Festival of Lights and Canada’s 150th anniversary celebration in 2017.

Some of the advanced programming features can include the LED lights to mimic fireworks which could be the new evolution of fireworks over the Falls.

News article brought to you by the Clifton Hill district located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.


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We hope you enjoy the fireworks and illuminations, from the Clifton Hill District, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Last modified: September 21, 2018