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A Canadian city and its American sister city surround Niagara Falls. In the 1950s, a few complimentary tourists had a look around and left. At that time, the lack of casinos and a scarcity of hotels awarded the green inviting parks a sense of royalty. We were unaware that Niagara was an undiscovered modern-day commercial treasure. Instead, during summer nights, I dreamt to the crickets in the yard as the thunder of the falls echoed a mile away.

Firming our brakes we eased down the steep gravel road to the Maid-of-the-Mist boat landing.

On some weekends, well ahead of the brink I was fortunate to spend the afternoons at family outings picnicking beside the upper Niagara River while savouring hot dogs, watermelon, and chocolate cake.

During the school holidays, Sam and I biked to the gorge. Firming our brakes we eased down the steep gravel road to the Maid-of-the-Mist boat landing. Nestled in the green water the vessel looked more like a compact tugboat than a ferry. Daily passengers embarked on the short wet cruise as the boat propelled itself to within a few feet away from the surging water at the foot of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Sporting bright red and white paint the craft had two powerful engines in case one failed. When the river filled with ice, it rested on the dry dock for repairs.

At first, it was magic sitting there on the huge sun-warmed boulders. Dark deep water swirled below while we blinked at the mist imagining ourselves explorers from the past. The cascades of the Horseshoe Falls were only a few hundred feet away, and I had an uneasy feeling I shouldn’t be there. ©

At first it was magic sitting there!

Date

October 2, 2012

Author

James Kershaw

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Jim Kershaw says

July 25, 2016

I didn't realize the present danger in what we were doing.

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