Niagara Area Overview
Niagara Falls is located on the Niagara River, on the border between Ontario, Canada and New York State in the USA. Niagara Falls is about 130 km south of Toronto via the QEW Queen Elizabeth Way (70 km away by air), and about 25 miles north of Buffalo, NY.
The Niagara Region has populations on both the Canada & US sides of the Niagara River. On the Canadian side, Niagara Falls, Ontario has a population of 88,000 (2019) while the Niagara Regional Municipality (which includes Niagara on the Lake, St Catherines and Welland) has a population of 447,000 (2019).
On the US side, Niagara Falls, New York has a population of 44,000 and Niagara Falls County. But it is close to the city of Buffalo, which is across the river from Fort Erie, which is the second largest city in New York state, with a population of 256,000 a (2018).
Niagara’s name originates from the Neutral Indian name “Ongniaahra” meaning “Thunder of Waters”, the noise these towering waterfalls make, as water drains from the Upper Great Lakes via the Niagara River. This location was a meeting and trading place for the First Nations, the early explorers, and for both Canada and the United States in recent history. This locale has been fought over in several wars, most recently the War of 1812, and has a rich history.
Niagara Falls’ weather ranges dramatically over the seasons. In the summer, it hot & sticky (the humidity comes from the Gulf of Mexico, not Lake Ontario as is commonly believed) with warm nights, and in the winter it is cold, with snow lasting from end of November until mid-April. Winter snowstorms can come quickly and often bury cars overnight (locals consider any snowfall under a foot a “dusting”). Spring comes quickly as the snowdrifts melt and tulips pop up into bloom. In the fall, as nights get longer, the leaves turn into a brilliant range of colours, as sap returns to the roots with declining overnight temperatures.