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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Niagara Falls

The Niagara River, as is the entire Great Lakes Basin of which the river is an integral part, is a legacy of the last Ice Age. 18,000 years ago southern Ontario was covered by ice sheets 2-3 kilometers thick. As they advanced southward the ice sheets gouged out the basins of the Great Lakes. Then as they melted northward for the last time they released vast quantities of meltwater into these basins. Our water is "fossil water"; less than one percent of it is renewable on an annual basis, the rest leftover from the ice sheets. During the busier months of July and August, two popular attractions- Cave of the Winds and Journey behind the Falls can have long waiting lines. Best time to visit is in the early morning or late afternoon. The Honeymoon Capital of the World, this city of nearly 81,000 people is defined by the stunning and world famous waterfalls. Its two bridges are the busiest border crossings between Canada and the United States. Tourism remains the leading economic sector in the city, with annual visitors estimated at 14 million. The city's economy is also driven by manufacturing in automotive, food & beverage, chemical, abrasive and steel fabrication. Environmental, engineering, warehousing and distribution centres are also emerging sectors in the economy. The mighty river plunges over a cliff of dolostone and shale. Niagara Falls is the second largest falls on the globe next to Victoria Falls in southern Africa. One fifth of all the fresh water in the world lies in the four Upper Great Lakes-Michigan, Huron, Superior and Erie. All the outflow empties into the Niagara river and eventually cascades over the falls.