If there is a true heart of Niagara Falls it is on Victoria Avenue, especially where it intersects with Clifton Hill, billed as The Street of Fun.

Any time, day or night, there is a ton of stuff to do in this neighbourhood. And plenty of great hotels to stay at while you do it.

But right now, we’re talking New Year’s Eve. Like the famous amp in the movie “Spinal Tap,” on Dec. 31 we turn it up to 11 in Niagara Falls.

Every venue in the city has a little something special planned for this night but the highlight really is the concert in Queen Victoria Park, which overlooks the mighty falls themselves.

It’s always a free concert, and part of a national TV broadcast. This year the headline act is Canadian rock legend Bryan Adams. And yes, we did say this is a free concert.

You might have heard of Bryan – all those great songs like Summer of ’69, Run To You, Heaven, Kids Wanna Rock, (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, 18 Till I Die.

This is no ordinary concert, and no ordinary night. The stage area is basically a stone’s throw from the gorge and the falls.

At 9:15 p.m. and again at midnight, there will be fireworks shows over the falls.

And of course at the stroke of midnight, the music stops, the crowd counts down to 10, and the outdoor elevator ascends the world-famous Skylon Tower to complete the countdown.

It’s a wild night to celebrate the start of a new year with about 20,000 other people there just for the fun of it.

This year’s show is extra special, too, because of a tragedy that happened one year ago.

Last year, Walk Off The Earth was slated as one of the opening acts for Niagara Falls New Year’s Eve, but cancelled due to a personal loss.

One day before the show, on Dec. 30, 2018, band member Mike ‘Beard Guy’ Taylor died suddenly, at age 51. The grief-stricken band had to pull out of the show, of course.

They’re back and on the bill, and their return to the Niagara Falls will feel like a personal triumph for them, no doubt, tinged with a few memories.

Expect them to get an extra special welcome when they hit the stage.

While you’re on Victoria Avenue, hit one of the restaurants for a pre-concert meal and heck, hit another one for a post-concert nosh.

The diet doesn’t start until January 1 anyway, right? And you’re spending the night in the party capital of Canada.

Make a full day and night of it, by hitting Casino Niagara, which is on Falls Avenue right at the foot of Clifton Hill.

Or take in one of the seemingly endless tourist magnets like the multi-level go-kart track, maybe ride the Skywheel for a really good view of the famous surroundings.

You’re here for a little fun – take in one of the wax museums or Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

Believe it or not, this could be one of the best nights of your life.

Last modified: December 16, 2019