Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ontario, Canada

Yesterday we crossed over the Peace Bridge from Buffalo, NY to Fort Erie in Ontario, Canada. Yes, Dylan, we were prepared and had our passports in hand! Do y'all know that at the border they just examine it but don't even stamp it? We were totally bummed about that.

Buffalo sounded intriguing in the tourist brochures so we had driven down there first thing (11:00 a.m....teehee) to explore the city. We must have missed some link between the promotional materials and the actual city; if you're from there, please accept my apologies but I did not love your city. I will show you the three things I did like.

The Darwin Martin House Complex was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and is currently undergoing a major restoration. Therefore, it was not open for tours. The Martin family also had Wright design their Lake Erie summer home, Graycliff, located a mere 18 miles away in Derby, NY. That home is also a complex of several buildings...those poor folks.

The Liberty Building is simply an ordinary office building that is extraordinary in my opinion because it is topped with twin replica's of the State of Liberty. Y'all know how I LOVE m'lady Liberty so will not be surprised when I say that I don't necessarily approve.

Buffalo City Hall is a 32 story Art Deco masterpiece that sits on the shore of Lake Erie and is prominently visible from the other side of Lake Erie in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada. I know, that was a lot of Eries...haha It is magnificent; I wish I could adequately describe the friezes, columns, doors, and many other breathtaking elements of design.

That, my dears, concludes our tour of Buffalo, NY although I would be remiss in not mentioning that Buffalo Wings originated there.

After crossing the Peace Bridge into the Ontario town of Fort Erie, we toured the historic Fort Erie which is located on the Lake Erie shore, directly across the lake from the Buffalo City Hall, and was the sight of a particularly bloody/deadly battle in the War of 1812. The walled area of the fort was small but the surrounding escarpments provided additional protection from attack.

The entrance to Fort Erie.

This building housed the Guard Room, barracks, and officer quarters. An identical building, on the other side of the entrance shown above, housed the infirmary, kitchen, supply rooms, etc.

We were fascinated by this section of wall that pivoted to open and close.

The American flag over the fort yesterday had fifteen stars. However, according to my research, the eighteenth state was added in 1812 and no more until 1816. Things that the tour guide was telling our group didn't set right with us either, so much so that we actually left the group and explored the fort on our own.

Words to remember...“You should only believe half of what you see, and none of which you hear”...just sayin'.

After touring the fort, we headed for Niagara Falls, Canada driving along the spectacular Niagara Parkway, described by Winston Churchill as “the most beautiful Sunday drive in the world”. I agree! Here, the Canadians have maintained public access to the Niagara River as it comes out of Lake Erie and furnished many small parks with picnic tables.


Niagara Parkway almost makes up for the garish commercialism at Niagara Falls in Canada. I mentioned it in yesterday's post; here is what I'm talking about...

After surviving the gauntlet of hotels, restaurants, and tacky tourist traps you are finally treated to this amazing sight...

I took this shot of New York State Observation Tower and American Falls from the Canada side, while Rich was paying for our parking space. We were so lucky to find a spot on the street that runs alongside Niagara Gorge!!!

Before walking to the viewing area, we had a mid-afternoon lunch/dinner at The Secret Garden restaurant because it was nearby. One unfamiliar menu item was Poutine Fries. Do you know what they are?

Yes, Mary, they are a way to ruin perfectly good French Fries by covering them with cheese and brown gravy! Rich and I thought they were okay but would not order them again.

It was overcast while we were there but still, here are my favorite photos of the falls from the Canada side. I couldn't figure out how the guy who took the one of Rich and I got both falls in the shot before realizing that it was just a lucky shot of timing when there were no people close by us allowing him to stand quite a ways back and leaving me space to crop it.

American Falls

Horseshoe Falls with a Maid of the Mist nearly obscured by the water from the falls.

The wait to cross back into America on Rainbow Bridge was very long. Shortly after I took this picture...
...several border police swarmed out of the building to our left with their hands on their holstered pistols moving quickly to a van two lanes to our right. I had just observed the couple in that van get out and walk around their van to switch drivers. They apparently used poor judgement when they picked that time and place to leave their vehicle. After talking with them, the border police approached several other vehicles to talk with the occupants...unfortunately we were not selected. Of course I took photos of the action. No, not even I am stupid enough to post them here, even though only a handful of folks read this blog...oh, it is so tempting though!

Lovin' Life ~~ Sometimes Knowing When to Resist Temptation

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