John Mahoney's Free-fire Zone
John Mahoney
John Mahoney
is editor of the Log Cabin Chronicles.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 08.09.05
Fool's Hollow, Quebec


There's Niagara on the Lake and then there's the famous Niagara Falls of honeymoon legend

Niagara Falls
FujiFilm S20 Pro © 2005 JOHN MAHONEY

Niagara, O Niagara
How to compare thee
On a summer day…
Wait, let me count the ways:

But first, fellow Value Extraction Unit, let us define our terms.

First, there is the American Niagara.

We shall not concern ourselves with the south bank of the river except to note that it is there and served as a platform from which to shell hell out of the tiny Canadian Fort George during the War of 1812. Brits sacked and burned Washington. War ended in a draw. Canadians created Niagara Falls to extract daily revenge on the Yanks who come in droves, leaving behind their beloved greenback dollars.

Then there is the Niagara Peninsula in Canada.

Here you'll discover Niagara on the Lake and Niagara Falls.

Do not for a moment think they are the same place although they are neighbors on the same side of the river.

Both have beaucoup expensive BnBs and places to eat, drink, and sleep, and separate you from your money. Of course, they give full value in return if you're happy with the exchange.

There the similarities end.

Niagara on the Lake - N-O-T-L or 'Notul' - is about a profusion of flowers, endless wining and dining, shops galore, vineyard and fruit orchard tours, the Shaw Festival, historical places and events.

The homes are expensive - many very expansive - and exquisitely groomed. They may well have a secret cadre of lawn police.

You do not see yard sales in Notul. You do not run into chain fast food joints on the main drag. Or on the side streets, either. You do not hear street buskers, nor are you panhandled.

Homeless people do not live in Notul. And be careful where you park and that you feed the parking meters - the meter boys and girls check them 365 days a year for the meters are a wonderful source of revenue.

Niagara Falls
FujiFilm S20 Pro © 2005 JOHN MAHONEY

Multitudes visit Notul every day, in every month of the year, and many of them are very tanned and very cool and hip-looking, and speak in many tongues.

Change of scene

Niagara Falls - NF or 'Up There' -- has the fabled falls and the allied boat tours, airplane tours, helicopter tours.

NF has not one but two 24-hour-a-day gambling joints - huge, big buck casinos for high rollers and low rollers - some 10 million each year come for the thrill of taking home the easy dollar. (Remember what I said earlier on about Canuck payback?)

It also has throngs milling about, peering at the falls, looking at things to buy, looking at each other, seeking…diversion.

I mean a really, really lot of people. Despite their differences in skin color and nationalities they…all…look…the…same.

We're talking 15 million people - Value Extraction Units - a year. Soon, they predict, it will reach 25 million VEUs annually.

On streets laid out not that long after the War of 1812.

NF didn't invent gaud but NF has embraced the concept with passion.

Niagara Falls

King Kong, Frankenstein, the House of Horrors…and these are just the people on the streets. Just kidding.


Part 2: Niagara Falls column