Why I Love Winter In Niagara Falls.

To be clear, while I am a proud Canadian, I am definitely not a fan of temperatures so frigid they reduce my testicles to raisins… but if I have to spend winter anywhere in my home and native land I’m glad I do so in Niagara Falls.

Here’s why.

Yes, I’m dispensing with the literary foreplay and getting right down to it; what are you, my wife? Just lie back and enjoy it; it’ll be over before you know it. I mean, enjoy today’s post!

ONE)  My dark sense of humor.  I rather enjoy seeing young ladies show up to Niagara Falls in November – while dressed as though they’re in California in July. They begin to shiver slowly, then quickly, as their skin turns fifty shades of frostbite.

As I write this, a young lady with model features (her face appears as thought it was manufactured rather then created biologically) is posing in the lobby for anyone with a penis or a lust for girl flesh. Her hooker boots ascend to her bony knees but her skirt ends at the edge of her girl parts, so this chick is cold – while simultaneously steaming hot.

Seriously, this chick is striking poses for an imaginary photo shoot as she waits for her boyfriend’s leased car. She’s flipping her lion’s mane back and forth (its threatening to swallow her petite face entirely) slowly while projecting blue steel and turning one leg out in true model fashion.

She won’t be so hot when she heads out and that Canadian winter wind blows up her skirt and shoots out her nostrils…

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TWO)  The Niagara Parks Winter Festival of Lights. Click here for the full rundown, but the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights transforms my fair city’s most famous aspect into a palette of breathtaking color with millions of sparkling lights and animated displays, all of which are located within the Niagara Parks, Dufferin Islands and surrounding tourist traps districts.

This year, the whole shebang is being billed as “Aura: Let it Glow”, bringing several incredible illumination-themed events to the Festival of Lights throughout the entire 56-km Niagara Parks.

Yes, I do sound like a PR shill, thank you very much.

The point is, the Parks (that’s what we locals call the Niagara Parks Commission) never disappoints. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have unlimited funds at your disposal.) If you’re ever in Niagara Falls in the winter, kids, you must do two things:

  1.  Bundle up!  (It’s damn cold down by the water.)
  2.  Bask in the glow of the Winter Festival of Lights.

FUN BEHIND-THE-SCENES FACT:  The Walt Disney Company was the primary sponsor of the Festival but once Niagara became home to two casinos, the House of Mouse closed up shop and headed out. I understand their position (not really) but what can you do?

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THREE)  The “Frozen Falls”.  Every year American guests arrive at the hotel expecting to see a scene from Frozen. Hear me now, everyone:

IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY, PEOPLE! IF TEMPERATURES REACHED THE POINT WHERE THE RAGING POWER OF THE FALLS WERE SUPPRESSED, NO ONE WOULD BE LIVING IN THIS CITY AT ALL!

So please don’t expect to see an ice formation so dense it brings the Falls to a standstill, kids. No matter what CNN claims…

niagarafallsfrozenThis guy’s courageous – but nuts!

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FOUR)  The Not-so-Frozen Falls.  Even if they’re not frozen over, the Falls are still pretty cool (pun intended) in the wintertime.

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FIVE)  The long, quiet, drawn-out workdays.  Hear me out. I usually make the following joke about winter in the Niagara Falls hospitality trenches:

“Working in a Niagara Falls hotel in the winter is like being in The Shining… except those people had more fun.”

congelandoSurviving a Canadian winter isn’t as easy as it looks… But it’s totally worth it.

But the truth is, while I don’t relish the mind-numbing boredom or the inevitable dip in revenue, the winter serves a vital purpose in our existence. It allows us to recharge, to reevaluate and to renew our energies. Nowhere is this more valuable than in the hospitality industry. 

With the exception of retail, the hospitality trenches are more treacherous than any other vocation that involves serving the needs of an increasingly-hostile public. In my (almost) two decades as a bellman I’ve watched the overall mood of the guests I serve degrade from slightly bold to mildly annoying to downright deplorable. This cannot be said of every guest, of course, but without the winter break, 90% of hotel staff would tender their resignation in their first summer season and never look back.

tumblr_ncovn4ntfs1tlak3io1_500It wasn’t always easy, but with a little perspective, this is how I spend my winter shifts now…

In closing (go ahead and cheer, I won’t hold it against you) my feelings for my hometown are too complicated to encapsulate here but I think you get the idea, right? Winter in Niagara is almost indescribable; standing at the brink of the Falls in the evening (which starts at 4:30, seriously) is a deeply-moving experience. The crowds are minimal, the air is brisk but clean, the world falls away and all you hear is the roar of nature as you stare at the unending movement of six million cubic feet of water over the crestline of the Falls every minute.

You find yourself frozen in a singular moment in time.

And once the winter mist falls over you, you find yourself literally frozen.

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And on that frigid note, see you in the lobby, kids…

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There is beauty in all things and moments,  friends…

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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31 Responses to Why I Love Winter In Niagara Falls.

  1. C.E.Robinson says:

    Nice post, Hook! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! 💛 Christine

  2. You make even the cold sounds beautiful and funny. I almost felt sorry for the idiot woman who froze off her private parts on her second step outside. There are sexy snowsuits!

  3. Thank you for the winter pictures (both in words and photos) of the falls. Yes, it’s crucial to have a lull in the action, to recharge the batteries for high season.

    For a few years (a few decades ago), I worked high season in Maine, took a few weeks and drove to Florida for high season, and back again. If I’d had one employer in both places (or even in each place), and had actually gotten fair pay and any benefits, I might not have moved on. But no job security, crap pay, and no benefits are jobs for young, single people who like to party and are looking to get some experience under their belts (or sea days, in my case).

    Stay warm!!

  4. umashankar says:

    A glacial but spectacular post duly spiced up with patent stuff. As I grow older, I realise I can’t play the penguin at Niagara any more, not that I ever had the chance to do that —reading this is enough.

  5. Tara says:

    I can’t wait to come and experience all of this IRL. (Apologies for the acronym. I’m tired today.)

  6. Archon's Den says:

    For a number of years, we used to go down for a weekend near Dec. 1st. There was only one year when it got real cold that early, and none to match mid-Feb. Still, it’s awe-inspiring – both the Falls, and the lights. 🙂

  7. I bet the frozen fall is amazing!

  8. I loved this, Hook. Your writing is always impeccable, but this passage was top notch. Makes me wanna come visit the Falls (truly) and then hang out with in the lobby (truly, truly!)

  9. I am sure they are absolutely beautiful in the winter but I am content to just see pictures. I saw them up close in July one year….. That was breath taking. But I DO NOT DO WINTERS! I hate cold and I despise snow! I like my 80 days in Dec thank you very much! If we ever get snow, it stays one day and then it’s gone. I lived in Michigan for 4 years (and 18 days) YES, I hated it THAT much! That is another whole story…
    Enjoy your winter Hook! I know you will! 😉

  10. curvyroads says:

    I’d love to see the falls in winter, bundled up appropriately, of course!

  11. With all the snow covering up so much of the distracting colors/sounds I bet the falls and area are even more beautiful in winter than the tourist overloaded summer.
    Cheerie on, Hook.

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