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Niagara's happenings

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Niagara's happenings Niagara Falls is a set of massive waterfalls located on the Niagara River, straddling the international border separating the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York. The falls are located 17 miles (27 km) north-northwest of Buffalo, New York, 75 miles (120 km) south-southeast of Toronto, Ontario, between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York.

The first person to cross the Niagara River on a tightrope was Frenchman Jean Francois Gravelet, better known as Charles Blondin, an achievement described by the New York Times as: The greatest feat of the Nineteenth Century.' Paintings depicted Blondin crossing directly above the Horseshoe Falls, but in fact his Manila rope, ju st 75mm thick, spanned the gorge a mile downstream of the Falls themselves. Blondin subsequently made the crossing blindfolded, performed handstands and somersaults on the rope, pushed a wheelbarrow across, and twice made the crossing while carrying his manager, Harry Colcord, on his back. Blondin even cooked an omelette midway across and lowered it on a rope to passengers on the tourist boat Maid of the Mist, who were watching from the river below.

Many other people lost their lives trying to go over the Falls, but, in October 1901, In October 1829, Sam Patch, who called himself The Yankee Leaper, jumped from a high tower into the gorge below the falls and survived; this began a long tradition of daredevils trying to go over the Falls.

In 1875 Captain Matthew Webb became the first person to swim English Channel, after which he began to look for ever greater challenges. Eight years later he stepped into the Niagara River in an attempt to become the first to swim the rapids downstream of the Falls. Although he had calculated the effort he thought would be required, he found himself inexorably drawn towards the vortex of the whirlpool at the centre of the rapids, where he was dragged beneath the water to his death.

In 1901, 63-year-old school teacher Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to go over the Falls in a barrel as a publicity stunt; she survived, bleeding, but virtually unharmed. Soon after exiting the barrel, she said, "No one should ever try that again." Unfortunately, the fortune she hoped to make from a later lecture tour was never realized, as her manager was a con-man who took everything she owned. (Legend says that a small kitten rode in the barrel with her, but this seems to have been a whimsical myth. Still, when she posed with the barrel afterwards, the kitten sat placidly on top of it.)
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Tags: waterfall, niagara, charles blondin

Category: Travel  - ( Travel Archive)

Date Added: 27 February '08

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