Niagara Falls Trivia

For those of you who enjoy Niagara Falls history, geology and other interesting facts, we've compiled a select list of trivia questions for your enjoyment.

Question:
Who was the last person to walk over Niagara Falls on a tightrope?

Answer: The last person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope was Nik Wallenda on June 15, 2012. 

 


 

Question:
How long is the Niagara river?

Answer: The Niagara River is about 58 km (36 mi) in length and is the natural outlet from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.

 


 

Question:
How many people did the famous Red Hill save over Niagara Falls?

Answer:
Before his death in 1942, the famous Red Hill saved 28 people from death over the Falls and salvaged 149 bodies of those that didnt make it. He accumulated more lifesaving medals than anyone else in the world.
 

 


Question:

How many lights did the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights use this year?

Answer:

The Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights transforms Niagara Falls, Ontario into a palette of stunning colours with three million sparkling tree lights and over 120 animated displays.


 

Question:

How many enclosed passenger gondolas does the Niagara SkyWheel have?

Answer:
42 climate controlled enclosed gondolas are attached to the Niagara SkyWheel.

 


 

Question:
What was the Nightmares Fear Factory before it became a haunted attraction?

Answer:

This is the site of the once industrious "Cataract Coffin Factory". Story has it; proprietor Abraham Mortimer dedicated every waking hour to surveying the progress of his domain.
 


 

Question:
What Ocean does the water from Niagara River eventually flow into?

Answer:

Water that flows over the Falls at Niagara ends up in Lake Ontario - from there, water drains by way of the St. Lawrence River into the Atlantic Ocean.
 



Question:

Who was the first person to walk a tightrope accross Niagara Falls?

Answer:
 Jean François "Blondin" Gravelet became the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope in 1859.  


 

Question:
What year did the Niagara SkyWheel first open in Niagara Falls?

Answer:
The Niagara SkyWheel first opened up May 2006.



Question:
What year did Marineland first open in Niagara Falls?

Answer:
The park first opened in 1961 as "Niagara Game Farm", without any of the current marine attractions or rides.


Question:
How far below the Horseshoe Falls brink does the Maid of the Mist get when stopped at the base?

Answer: The boat stops and lingers at the foot of the Falls, 170 feet (52 meters) below the brink.



Question:
How many holes does the Dinosaur Adventure Golf course have on Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls?

Answer: 36 Holes over two individual courses: 18 holes at the T-Rex and 18 at the Raptor course.


Question:
What was the name of the longest firework waterfall?

Answer: The world's longest firework waterfall was the 'Niagara Falls', which measured 3,125.79 m (10,255 ft 2.5 in) when ignited on 24 August 2003 at the Ariake Seas Fireworks Festival, Fukuoka, Japan.


Question:
Who was the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel?

Answer: The first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel was a 63 year old schoolteacher from Michigan, named Annie Taylor, in 1901, and she survived.
 


Question:
What great lake does the Niagara River empty into?

Answer: Lake Ontario.


Question:
How long is the Niagara Gorge?

Answer: The Niagara Gorge extends 7 mi (11.26 km)downstream from the Falls and includes the Niagara Whirlpool and another section of rapids. It also one of the few rivers in North America to flow northward, and empties 2/5ths of the fresh water in North America.


Question:
How do ice bridges form at the base of the Falls?

Answer: The ice bridge is one of Niagara's most spectacular winter wonders. It is created through a combination of circumstances. A mixture of ice and slush flows downriver from Lake Erie and drops over the Falls. When it reaches the Maid of the Mist eddy, just beyond the American Falls, it is forced into the Canadian bank where it jams. As more and more ice and slush push against it, the whole mass begins to heave and hump from the continuing pressure.  When the ice particles are pushed up out of the water, they freeze in an agglomerate mass, which soon grows to a considerable size. This "suspended glacier" eventually reaches the American side of the gorge and a true ice bridge is created. Click here for more information on Niagara Falls Ice Bridges.


Question:
When was Niagara Falls first illuminated?

Answer: It was 150 years ago (September 1860) that the falls were illuminated in honour of an upcoming visit of the Prince of Wales. Using 200 Bengal lights that were arranged in 50 to 60 rows under the cliff on the Canadian side facing the American Falls and another 60 lights under Table Rock the falls were lit up. A newspaper described the event this way,"The view the Prince got of the cataract on the evening of his arrival no man had ever seen before and will probably never see again."


Question:
Who won the West 49 "Take the Cake" Skateboarding Competition Oct 2nd, 2010?

Answer: Torey Pudwill.


Question:
Who was the first Daredevil to go over the brink of the Horseshoe Falls?

Answer: Annie Taylor, was the first to conquer the Horseshoe Falls.


Question:
What is the geographic location of the Niagara River?

Answer: The geographic location of the Niagara River happens to be an international border that divides the United States and Canada.


Question:
Where did Clifton Hill get its name from?

Answer: Clifton Hill owes its name to Captain Ogden Creighton. He was a half-pay officer in the British army who had served with the 70th and 81st Regiments in various parts of the world, including the Far East. Click here to read more.


Question:
What hotel used to be where the Oakes Garden Theatre is now?

Answer: If you were visiting Niagara Falls during the 19th century, chances are good that you would have stayed at the Clifton House. The most renowned hotel at Niagara, it was built in 1833 and was located at the foot of Clifton Hill where Oakes Garden Theatre is now.



Question:
How tall was the Giant Wheel at the former Maple Leaf Village Amusement Park in Niagara Falls, Canada?

Answer: Maple Leaf Village boasted a large 56-meter high ferris wheel (Carousel Holland), which was reportedly the tallest in the Western Hemisphere at that time.


Question:
When did the Rainbow Bridge open?

Answer: Opened in 1941, the Rainbow Bridge was built just 168 metres (550 feet) downstream from where the Upper Steel Arch or Honeymoon Bridge was pushed off its moorings by a massive ice jam in 1938.


Question:

Who was the geologist discovered the site of Niagara Falls' birth?

Answer: The site of the birth of Niagara Falls was discovered by a geologist named Doctor Roy Spencer and today this site is known as "Roy Terrace".


Question:

Approximately how much water flows over Niagara Falls per second?

Answer:

567,811 Litres per second.


Question:
How many acres of land does the Niagara Parks Commission maintain?

Answer: 4,250 acres (1,720 hectares) of gardens and parkland.


Question:
What is the nickname of the machine currently boring a tunnel under the city of Niagara Falls, for Ontario Power Generation?

Answer: Big Becky


Question:
What year did Casino Niagara open in the Clifton Hill tourist district??

Answer: Opened on Dec 9, 1996


Question:
What was the original name of the former Falls Tower ride on Clifton Hill?

Answer: The tower measured one hundred and eighty-four (184) feet tall was named the "Space Spiral". It was built by the Universal Design Company of Wildwood, New Jersey.


Question:
Has the water flowing over the American Falls ever stopped?

Answer: Yes. In 1969, an earthen dam was built across the head of the American Rapids, dewatering the American Falls. For six months, geologists and engineers studied the rock face and the effects of erosion. It was determined that it would be too costly to remove rock at the base of the American Falls, and that nature should take its course.


Question:
Is Niagara Falls the most powerful in North America?

Answer: Yes


Question:
How does the ice bridge form below the Falls in Winter?

Answer: Ice bridges from below the Falls when ice floes over the edge and collects at the base of the Falls.


Question:
How many islands are between the American and Canadian Falls?

Answer: Five - Goat Island, Green Island, Bird Island, Robinson Island, and Three Sisters Island.


Question:
How many people visit Niagara Falls annually?

Answer: Approximately 20 million people visit the Falls annually. (August 2008).


Question:
What is the tallest building in Niagara Falls?

Answer: Currently it is the Skylon Tower at 520 Feet (August 2008).


Question:
How tall is the Niagara SkyWheel?

Answer: 175 feet.


Question:
What is the meaning of the word Niagara?

Answer: The word “Onguiaahra” (pronounced on-ge-a-ra) appears on maps as early as 1641. It and the later version “Ongiara” are Indian words usually interpreted as “The Strait” or “Great Throat”, although the more romantic “Thunder of Waters” is sometimes given. By the time the first white man arrived at the Falls, the name in general use was “Niagara”.


Question:
What year did Roger Woodward go over Niagara Falls and survive?

Answer: On July 9, 1960, Jim Honeycutt took his co-worker’s children, 17-year-old Deanne and 7-year-old Roger Woodward for a boat ride in the upper Niagara River. Intent on giving the kids a good view of the rapids, he was soon past the “point of no return”. He turned the boat around, but a shear-pin failure disabled the motor and left the boat wallowing in the swift current. Roger was already wearing a life jacket and Deanne quickly put hers on. Seconds later the light boat flipped end over end. Honeycutt and Roger were whipped toward the brink of the Falls. Deanne was carried into the shallow rapids near Goat Island. Within a few feet of the brink of the Falls at Terrapin Point, Deanne clutched at the hand of a rescuer who leaned far out over the protective railing. Another person grabbed her by her thumb. She was dragged to safety just in time. Honeycutt and Roger were swept to the brink. Roger was swept over and outwards by the trajectory of the Falls. Honeycutt disappeared in the three thousand tons of water that crash over the Horseshoe Falls each second. Moments later the Captain of the Maid of the Mist could hardly believe his eyes when he saw an orange life jacket appear in the boiling white water at the base of the Falls. Maneuvering the Maid steamship closer he saw that the boy was still alive. A life buoy was thrown and within minutes Roger Woodward was safely aboard. He was the first person to survive the Horseshoe Falls without a protective capsule. Unfortunately, his father’s co-worker, Jim Honeycutt, died in the punishing water. The Niagara River is an implacable adversary. For both stunters and unwary boaters, the chances of survival are slim.


Question:
How deep into the ground was the Toronto Power Generating Station built?

Answer: The Toronto Power Generating Station is located above the Horseshoe Falls. It is 3 times as deep into the ground as it is high.


Question:
What is the name of Niagara's most famous daredevil?

Answer: One of the most famous Canadian daredevils was William “Red” Hill, Sr., a Niagara Falls native. Before his death in 1942, he allegedly rescued 28 people who would have drowned and pulled 170 bodies from the Niagara River. He accumulated more lifesaving medals than anyone else in the world.


Question:
Is the Niagara River really a river?

Answer:The Niagara River is not a river it is a strait. A strait is defined as "a narrow passage of water connecting two large bodies of water". The Niagara River connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.



Question:
What year did the "Journey Behind the Falls" open and what was the original name?

Answer:The first tunnels were built in 1889. In 1994, the name of the Scenic Tunnels was changed to Journey Behind the Falls.


Question:

Where dos the water come from that flows over the Falls?

Answer: 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.



Question:
How Old is the Falls?

Answer: The Niagara River does not start small, have many tributaries, and end big like most rivers; nor does it have a typical V-shaped valley, but rather a post-glacial incised valley; this has to do with its Ice Age history.

The Niagara River and the entire Great Lakes Basin of which it is a 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 the ice sheets advanced southward they 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.

The Niagara Peninsula became free of the ice about 12,500 years ago. As the ice retreated northward, its meltwaters began to flow down through what became Lake Erie, the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, down to the St. Lawrence River and on to the Atlantic Ocean. There were originally 5 spillways from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. Eventually these were reduced to one, the original Niagara Falls, at the escarpment at Queenston-Lewiston. From here the Falls began its steady erosion through the bedrock.

However, about 10,500 years ago, through an interplay of geological effects including alternating retreats and re-advances of the ice, and rebounding of the land when released from the intense pressure of the ice (isostatic rebound), this process was interrupted. The glacial meltwaters were rerouted through northern Ontario, bypassing the southern route. For the next 5,000 years Lake Erie remained only half the size of today, the Niagara River was reduced to about 10% of its current flow, and a much-reduced Falls stalled in the area of the Niagara Glen.

About 5,500 years ago the meltwaters were once again routed through southern Ontario, restoring the river and Falls to their full power. Then the Falls reached the Whirlpool.

It was a brief and violent encounter, a geological moment lasting only weeks, maybe even only days. In this moment the Falls of the youthful Niagara River intersected an old riverbed, one that had been buried and sealed during the last Ice Age. The Falls turned into this buried gorge, tore out the glacial debris that filled it, and scoured the old river bottom clean. It was probably not a falls at all now but a huge, churning rapids. When it was all over it left behind a 90-degree turn in the river we know today as the Whirlpool, and North America's largest series of standing waves we know today as the Whirlpool Rapids.

The Falls then re-established at about the area of the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge and resumed carving its way through solid rock to its present location.

Cavitation is a special type of erosion that happens at waterfalls because only at the base of waterfalls is there enough speed to produce enough bubbles close enough to rock to affect it. This is the fastest type of erosion. As the water goes over the falls, it speeds up, loses internal pressure, air escapes as bubbles or cavities. These cavities collapse when the water comes to rest, sending out shock waves to the surrounding rock, disintegrating it.

Source: Niagara Parks Commission



Question:
Where does the word Niagara come from??

Answer: The word Niagara comes from the Neutral Indian word "onguiaahra" meaning "Thunder of Waters"



Question:
How fast does the Niagara River flow?

Answer: The Niagara River flows at approximately 35 miles per hour (56.3 kilometres per hour)



Question:
What year did the Falls run dry?

Answer: Niagara Falls ran dry on March 29, 1848. A southwest gale blowing off of Lake Erie caused ice to jam and dam up at the mouth of the Niagara River causing the water flow over the Horseshoe Falls and American Falls to be reduced to a trickle. The next morning the river flow returned to its normal rate.



Question:
How many visitors does Niagara Falls attract each summer?

Answer: 12 million visitors in the summer.



Question:
How many cubic metres of water pour over Niagara Falls each second?

Answer: More than 168,000 cubic m(6 million cubic ft) of water go over the crestline of the falls every minute during peak daytime tourist hours.



Question:
Is Niagara the highest falls in the world?

Answer: About 500 other waterfalls in the world are "taller" than Niagara. The Angel Falls in Venezuela is tallest at 979 m (3,212 ft). However, some of the tallest falls in the world have very little water flowing over them. It’s the combination of height and volume that makes Niagara Falls so beautiful.



Question:
Who was the first person to go over the Falls in a barrel and survive?

Answer: On October 24, 1901, at the age of 63, Annie Taylor, a Bay City Michigan teacher, was the first person to conquer the falls in a barrel. After climbing inside her airtight wooden barrel the lid was screwed into place and the air-pressure inside was compressed with a bicycle pump. Eighteen minutes later, though bruised and battered, Annie made it, confident that her fame would bring success and the financial security she sought. Twenty years after her daring ride, Annie died in poverty in Niagara Falls, New York.



Question:
Do they shut off the Falls at night?

Answer: No, the Falls are not shut off at night. However, the flow of water over the Falls is greatly restricted by Ontario Hydro and the New York Power Authority. During the night, both Ontario Hydro and the New York State Power Authority pump massive amounts of water into their gigantic water reservoirs in order to top them up. Throughout the tourist season (April 1st to Oct 31st), the water flowing over the Falls each day is maintained at 100,000 cubic feet per second. Each night the water flow rate going over the Falls is reduced to only 50,000 cubic feet per second.


Question:
What year was the maiden voyage of the Maid of the Mist?

Answer: The year was 1846 when the first steamboat ferry was launched. It was large enough to carry a stagecoach and and team of horses. The steamboat was used to ferry people across the river until 1848 when construction of a suspension bridge drastically curtailed business. The owners then decided to to use the Maid of the Mist as a sightseeing ship and make trips close to the Falls.



Question:
How many waterfalls are in Niagara and what are there names?

Answer: 3; Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls



Question:
Why is the water at the Falls blue/green in colour?

Answer:
The water is naturally blue/green in color. That color changes daily with the weather and the amount of sediment in the water.

The water color is caused by two sources: sunlight refraction and diatoms in the water (microscopic plants such as algae and plankton in the water).

After storms in the area or even Lake Erie, the water becomes murky brown. This is caused by the bottom sediment being stirred up and being carried in the water.

Click here for more information on the Whirlpool Aero Car


Question:
What are Dufferin Islands and where are they located?

Answer:
Dufferin Islands consists of 4 islands and are located approximately ½ mile upriver from the Horseshoe Falls along the banks of the Niagara River. They are part of an embayment cut into the debris that was left behind from the Wisconsin Glacier, about fifty thousand years ago.

Click here for more information on Dufferin Islands and here for Dufferin Island photos.



Question:
Why is the water at the Falls blue/green in colour?

Answer:
The water is naturally blue/green in color. That color changes daily with the weather and the amount of sediment in the water.

The water color is caused by two sources: sunlight refraction and diatoms in the water (microscopic plants such as algae and plankton in the water).

After storms in the area or even Lake Erie, the water becomes murky brown. This is caused by the bottom sediment being stirred up and being carried in the water.

Click here for more information on the Whirlpool Aero Car



Question:
What was the previous name of the Whirlpool Aero Car?

Answer:
The previous name of the Whirlpool Aero Car was the Spanish Aero Car. The previous name comes from the fact that Spanish Engineer, Leonardo Torres Quevedo, designed it. The Aero Car has been in operation since 1916 and is suspended over the whirlpool by six sturdy cables.

The view from the Whirlpool Aero Car is breathtaking of the Niagara River’s Whirlpool Rapids where the torrent of water abruptly changes direction, creating one of the world’s most fascinating natural phenomena’s.

Click here for more information on the Whirlpool Aero Car 

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