With all borders practically closed while the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the choices for a weekend getaway are quite limited. Fortunately, I live in Ontario and equally fortunate, Niagara Falls is situated there. So I set off one Friday in October with a friend to explore the legendary falls for a night. A very long night. Adding to the excitement of this last minute adventure was the recent announcement of the Provincial Government deciding to shut down bars and restaurants in Toronto. What awaited us an hour-and-a-half away?
It was several years since the last time I visited. I’ve always enjoyed the Falls, watching the immense force of the water rush down, draining Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, producing extraordinary amounts of electricity for Canadians and Americans alike. We didn’t know what to expect when we got there. Would there be lots of people that embarked on a similar journey? Would the city be as luminous as I remember? Much to my pleasant surprise, the main strip was bustling with people, enjoying the last few weeks of mild weather, comfortable enough to endure the outdoors for hours at a time.
The city itself changed a great deal in the last couple of years. There are so many more street vendors selling all kinds of products. There’s also an array of new restaurants along with the never-ending attraction of haunted houses, a Niagara hallmark. Although some would remark negatively (Taekema, 2020) at such socialization during a world crisis, people were wearing masks and social distancing was observed. It was good to see that people were still finding ways to enjoy their time with friends and family, something I think is necessary during this period of uncertainty, which has left so many cocooned for far too long in their dwellings.
The weekend trip might not have been the most exiting getaway in my travel repertoire, but the health crisis reminded me of how lucky I am to live so close to a natural visual and environmental wonder that I can visit anytime. Can any of you southern Ontarians relate to this sentiment?