What is your Niagara River? What does it mean to you?

What do you love about it?

What is the image that best represents your connection to it?

The Niagara River is nourished by an intricate array of watercourses that make up one vast watershed. The ebb and flow of its waters sustain and connect all those who live on this watershed.

This photography exhibit enhances your street experience by inviting you to connect the Niagara River and its watershed with the history and heritage, culture and arts, nature, community, and thriving economy of Niagara.

The exhibit runs northeast between the Niagara Falls History Museum on Lundy’s Lane and HI-Niagara Falls Hostel on Cataract Avenue situated west of the Niagara Parkway and only a short distance away from the site, marked with a plaque, of the Falls 1600 B.C.

The exhibit cuts across a hidden section of the city. Look around for factory, residential, entertainment, cultural, commercial, government, hospitality, and heritage buildings that serve as backdrop to photographs that highlight the rich connections between humans and other-than-human life forms the Niagara River sustain.

Look at the urban landscape and street trajectories through the lens of water in its diverse states, forms and pathways. Give a new meaning to the street by imagining yourself as part of the river’s watershed and belonging in a place all people in Niagara share.

Number of photo stations: 8. Total number of photo panels: 22. Visit all in one day or on different days.

Distance: 3 miles (5 kilometers). Duration: 1h30m – 2h.

Modalities of enjoyment: walking, cycling, rollerskating, skateboarding, jogging, wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, among others.

Keywords: Watershed; Complete Streets; Placemaking; Social Fabric.


Who Are We? Seedling for Change in Society and Environment (SCS&E) is a collective of people who plant and nourish seedlings of creative transformation that engage in diverse ways. Through practices of dwelling, making, engaging and connecting in History and Heritage, Sports and Health, Sustainability and Environment, Culture and Arts, and Education SCS&E creates new value.

SHARE – After the walking tour, share with us your thoughts about your experience.

LEAD – Partner with SCS&E and bring this experience to your neighborhood, municipality, or city.

LEARN – Visit Share Peace, Discover Niagara River on Facebook.

ENGAGE –   Facilitate “Our Streets, Our Gallery Photo Exhibit” tour.

EXPLORE – For more information or to discuss opportunities for collaborating, please contact us


Niagara Military Museum | Bert Miller Nature Club | Niagara Falls History Museum | Casa das Natas Inc. | Post Foods Canada | Firehall Theatre | Niagara Falls Public Library | Niagara Falls City Hall | HI-Niagara Falls Hostel | Brock University | Niagara College | Niagara Community at Large Photo Selection Committee | Community at Large for Photo Submissions | Saeeda Ali | Kim Van Stygeren | Clark Bernat | Salomé Torres | Liz Hay

We invite you to begin your walk in Niagara Falls History Museum, and end in HI-Niagara Falls Hostel. Wear sport shoes. Stop for nutritional breaks along the way. For personal and group safety, remember to share the road. Come along, read, learn, and share with us your experience. Visit us at http://bit.ly/2A057Yz. Continue enjoying and celebrating our Niagara River.



A. History & Heritage

  1. Early Peoples

“Man has probably been on the Niagara Frontier for 9,000 years. The earliest stone tools left by wandering hunters have tentatively dated at 7000 B. C. Artifacts uncovered at River Haven on Grand Island and at Lewiston are believed to date from 1000 B.C. and 160 A.D. respectively.”  Niagara Falls Canada : A history of the City and the world famous Beauty Spot : An Anthology. Seibel et al 1967 P.5

One of the earliest native tribes called themselves the “Onguiaahra”. It is one of the names from which the name “Niagara River” originated. The French explorers that came to Niagara gave this Native American tribe the name “Neutrals” because of their position and status as peace keepers between the two warring Native American nations – the Hurons and the Iroquois. In the early 1600’s, the Neutrals had a population of 20,000 – 40,000.

Source: http://bit.ly/2jdUYzq


  1. Settlers & Treaties

“The year following the proclamation saw two treaties negotiated in Upper Canada that permitted the British use of the portage at Niagara Falls in return for a trade agreement. Other provisions were similar to those of earlier treaties in other areas: the Amerindians were to keep the peace with the British, avoid helping the enemy, assist the defence on British posts and supplies routes, and return prisoners of war. The first was with the Horon/Wyandot of the Detroit/Windsor region, the other with the Seneca. The second treaty was renegotiated with the Mississauga in 1781, whom the British now recognized as the rightful owners of the land in question, a strip six kilometres wide along the west bank of the Niagara River. Other surrenders quickly followed; between 1815 and 1825 Indians signed nine treaties, giving up almost the entire peninsula between Lakes Ontario, Erie, and Huron.”

Canada First Nations, A history of founding people from earliest times. Olive Patricia Dickason (Third Edition) P.164


  • Most of the early settlers in what is now Niagara Falls were United Empire Loyalists who arrived here just before and after the close of the American Revolution.
  • Another local consequence of the American Revolution occurred when the British were forced to relocate the Portage Road from the east bank of the Niagara River to this side. Constructed to allow traffic to by-pass the rapids and falls of the Niagara River, the Portage opened in 1790. Its northern terminus was Queenston.
  • In 1848, the first bridge opened across the Niagara River. Designed as a suspension bridge for carriages and pedestrians, it was located where the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge is today.
  • Prepared By:Sherman Zavitz – Official Historian, The City of Niagara Falls, Canada

Source: http://bit.ly/2jNeDu8





  1. 1812 War

“Massive invasions of tens of thousands of soldiers—American, British, Canadian and Indian—made the Niagara region one of the bloodiest battlegrounds in the War of 1812; almost half the war’s battles were fought nearby. The failed American invasion at Queenston Heights in 1812 was followed by ill-fated crossings at Fort Erie and Fort George, both of which ended in American retreat”. The British captured Fort Niagara and burned most of the American settlements as far south as Buffalo in the winter of 1813-1814. Epic battles at Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane in the summer of 1814, both within sight of Niagara Falls, failed to change the border between the two nations. Tragically, the Haudenosaunee were forced to choose sides in the war, with some Iroquois siding with the British and others with the Americans; the spilling of fellow Haudenosaunee blood marked an important loss of unity among those people. The U.S. took much of their land and autonomy in the war’s aftermath, as American settlers streamed into western New York and the Erie Canal brought large-scale commerce to the region. Securing the border and ensuring peace between Great Britain (Canada’s ruler at the time) and the U.S. meant that Indian peoples no longer posed a major threat to American settlers, and commercial and agricultural development followed. Tourists now came to Niagara Falls in great numbers, attracted by the natural beauty and power of the falls, as well as the famous battlefields from the War of 1812.


Source: http://bit.ly/2iHd2Tk


We suggest you to visit the following website:

The Battle of Lundy’s Lane Walking Tour

FollowBattle of Lundy’s Lane Walking Tour (PDF) Strail to experience the American advance and the British defense on the Lundy’s Lane Battlefield. Stops at key locations will help you understand what occurred here on July 25, 1814.

You may begin your walking tour (approximately 1.7 km in total distance) at any point, but we recommend starting at the Niagara Falls History Museum or the Battle Ground Hotel Museum.

Source. http://bit.ly/2iGK4mk

Related Links

Niagara Falls Museums

Historic Niagara Digital Collections

Source: http://bit.ly/2jNeDu8


  1. ABC conference

“The Niagara Falls Peace Conference, sometimes referred to as the ABC Conference, started on May 20, 1914, when representatives from Argentina, Brazil and Chile. The ABC Powers met in Niagara Falls, Canada, for diplomatic negotiations in order to avoid war between the United States and Mexico, during the era of the Mexican Revolution. “


Source:  http://bit.ly/2Bfa4NC

The Forgotten Peace: Mediation at Niagara Falls.

In the early hours of April 22, 1914, American President Woodrow Wilson sent Marines to seize the port of Veracruz in an attempt to alter the course of the Mexican Revolution. As a result, the United States seemed on the brink of war with Mexico. An international uproar ensued. The governments of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile offered to mediate a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Surprisingly, both the United States and Mexico accepted their offer and all parties agreed to meet at an international peace conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario. For Canadians, the conference provided an unexpected spectacle on their doorstep, combining high diplomacy and low intrigue around the gardens and cataracts of Canada’s most famous natural attraction. For the diplomats involved, it proved to be an ephemeral high point in the nascent pan-American movement. After it ended, the conference dropped out of historical memory. This is the first full account of the Niagara Falls Peace Conference to be published in North America since 1914. The author carefully reconstructs what happened at Niagara Falls, examining its historical significance for Canada’s relationship with the Americas. From this almost forgotten event he draws important lessons on the conduct of international mediation and the perils of middle-power diplomacy.

Source: http://bit.ly/2jeQtVo


  1. Contemporary History


In 1962, the city amalgamated with the surrounding Stamford Township, resulting in a doubling of the population.

With the creation of a Niagara regional government in 1970, the city absorbed the village of Chippawa, Willoughby Township and part of Crowland Township, creating the present-day municipal boundaries.

The city’s official historian is Sherman Zavitz, who gives regular radio broadcasts on many aspects of Niagara’s history.


Industry began moving out of the city in the 1970s and 80s because of economic recession and increasing global competition in the manufacturing sector. Tourism increasingly became the city’s most important revenue source. Generally speaking, Niagara Falls, Ontario is a more popular destination than Niagara Falls, New York, in part due to the better view of the Falls from the Canadian side of the river. In the 20th century, there was a favourable exchange rate when comparing Canadian and U.S. currencies, and Ontario had a greater focus on tourism. Also, Ontario’s legal drinking age of 19, in comparison to a legal drinking age of 21 in the U.S., attracts potential alcohol consumers from across the border.

The Ontario government introduced legal gambling to the local economy in the mid-1990s. Casino Niagara precipitated an economic boom in the late 1990s as numerous luxury hotels and tourist attractions were built, and a second casino, Niagara Fallsview, opened in 2004. Both attracted American tourists due in part to the comparatively less expensive Canadian dollar, and despite the opening of the Seneca Niagara Casino on the American side. When the Canadian and US currencies moved closer to parity in the 2000s, Niagara Falls, Ontario continued to be a popular destination for Americans. Its tourist areas had many attractions and a vibrancy, while Niagara Falls, New York languished in a prolonged economic downturn.






  1. Heritage

Heritage Properties: You can  visit the Ontario Heritage Properties Database to get additional information regarding Heritage Properties in Ontario.

The Niagara Falls Public Library also maintains a Historic Niagara Digital Collection.

Source: http://bit.ly/2jgiWdD

Walkingshed tour

Armoury: http://bit.ly/2hU7yaw

Carnegie Library: http://bit.ly/2iGPCgE

Seneca Theatre: http://bit.ly/2zXzaCm

Niagara Falls Post Office: http://bit.ly/2zWX55g

Old Bank Of Hamilton/Cibc: http://bit.ly/2iHl7Y5

Niagara Falls Station: http://bit.ly/2AnIPTx


Source: http://bit.ly/2jgiWdD


B.- Industry & Economy & Energy

7. The City


In 1881, by a special Act of Parliament, and at the request of the people of Clifton, the name of the Town of Clifton was changed to the Town of Niagara Falls. The first mayor of the Town of Niagara Falls was R. F. Carter.


In the early 1880s, Drummondville was considering changing its name to the Village of Niagara Falls. On March 13, 1882, the Village of Niagara Falls (South) was incorporated, covering an area of 200 acres and with a population of 979 people. The first reeve of the Village of Niagara Falls (South) was William Russell.


By the early 1900s, the boundaries of the Village and Town of Niagara Falls were beginning to overlap, and it became apparent that amalgamation was the best option for the two communities. An Act for the Incorporation of the City of Niagara Falls was passed on June 12, 1903, and the Village and Town became the City of Niagara Falls, on January 1st, 1904. This City had a population of just under 7000 people, and its first mayor was George Hanan.


Both the City of Niagara Falls and Stamford Township experienced rapid post-war growth. As such, they amalgamated on January 1, 1963. The 22,000 people of the old city and the 32,000 people of the Township combined to make Niagara Falls one of the more important cities of Ontario. The City of Niagara Falls now encompassed all of the area of the original Township Number 2 and its first mayor was Franklin J. Miller.

Source:  http://bit.ly/2zXWMa2


  1. Welland Canal

Welland Shipping Canal Development: Each of five shipping canals physically altered a portion of the Lower Welland River from upstream of the City of Welland to the Town of Chippawa (original Welland River mouth). The river was channelized, diverted and moved. Most recently, during construction of the City of Welland bypass canal in 1973, flow was diverted from the Fourth Welland canal into the Welland River to maintain the quality of the water supply for the City of Welland and to dilute waste water discharges. The Early Welland Canals and The Lower Welland River from Port Robinson to Chippawa formed part of the first Welland Canal from 1824 to 1833. Modifications to the river began as early as 1820’s when a new straight easterly outlet channel to the Niagara River was created at Chippawa (Sytran and Taylor, 1992).

Source: http://bit.ly/2mQ1hOV


  1. Dams & Bridges & Railroads


The enormous energy of Niagara Falls has long been recognized as a potential source of power. The first known effort to harness the waters was in 1759, when Daniel Joncaire built a small canal above the Falls to power his sawmill. Augustus and Peter Porter purchased this area and all of American Falls in 1805 from the New York state government, and enlarged the original canal to provide hydraulic power for their gristmill and tannery. In 1853, the Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Mining Company was chartered, which eventually constructed the canals which would be used to generate electricity. In 1881, under the leadership of Jacob Schoellkopf, enough power was produced to send direct current to illuminate both the Falls themselves and nearby Niagara Falls village.

When Nikola Tesla, for whom a memorial was later built at Niagara Falls, NY (USA), invented the three-phase system of alternating current power transmission, distant transfer of electricity became possible. In 1883, the Niagara Falls Power Company, a descendant of Schoellkopf’s firm, hired George Westinghouse to design a system to generate alternating current.

Source: http://bit.ly/2hSNplj


  1. Agriculture & Mills

The agri-food industry in Niagara is diversified. Farmers produce a variety of crops including greenhouse flowers, fruit, vegetables, livestock and field crops. Wineries, distilleries, fruit and vegetable processors, dairies and meat packing firms process these crops, adding value to their production.


Niagara Farm Facts, cited on the Niagara Region website include:

Total Gross Farm Receipts             $511,395,019

Total number of census farms         2266

Area in Farms                                      232,817 acres

Average Farm Size                              115 acres

Land in Crops                                       181,064 acres


Source: Niagara Region

Retrieved From: http://bit.ly/2AmidCp


  1. Tourism & BIA´s


The Niagara Region welcomes approximately 14 million visitors yearly

Niagara Falls welcomes approximately 12 million visitors yearly

Top 3 Countries:

  • Canada
  • United States
  • United Kingdom

Visitors to Niagara support 33,000 people who work in the hospitality and tourism industry

Source: http://bit.ly/2923Mo2


C. Culture & Arts

  1. Poems

In 1824 José María Heredia, a twenty-year old poet and revolutionary was exiled, forcing him to escape for his life from his native Cuba. A man of astonishing courage, not only did Heredia join a Secret Society for freedom from Spanish rule, demand the abolition of slavery, decry the Conquistadors’ genocide of Cuba’s Aboriginal peoples, but he was also an environmentalist!

Written on the edge of an enormous precipice on the Canadian side of the Falls, José María Heredia wrote a cathartic poem which immediately immortalized him as “The First Poet of the Americas” – indeed, the father of Romantic poetry in the Spanish language. It is studied and cherished to this day by every Cuban and generations of Latin Americans, who (along with the rest of the world), are compelled to visit Niagara Falls as a first stop in North America – taking on an almost cultural pilgrimage! For Canadians – while there is a plaque to Heredia at Table Rock – this cherished Cuban connection is a little known fact!

Source: http://bit.ly/2zXWnnT


  1. Theatre

Source: http://bit.ly/2A0OEFs

  • Firehall Theatre

Officially organized in September of 1961, the Niagara Falls Music Theatre Society was chartered in the Province of Ontario in 1963 as a non-profit, community theatre organization. Initial productions were presented at Niagara Falls Collegiate Vocational Institute auditorium.


905 356 4953/4990 Walnut St., Niagara Falls, ON, L2G 3N3

  • Niagara Falls Centre for the Arts


4700 Epworth Circle, Niagara Falls, ON

Email : info@NiagaraCentreForArts.com
Tel : 905-513-1685 | Fax : 206-339-2994

Source: http://www.niagaracentreforarts.com/#

  • Seneca Queen Theatre

Box Office &Theatre Address:
4624 Queen St Downtown Niagara Falls ON
(905) 353-9461

Hours of Operation:

Wednesday to Friday, 11am-4pm



  1. Museums


The Museum is housed within the old Stamford Town Hall built in 1874. The Lundy’s Lane Historical Society was given the building in 1971, becoming the Lundy’s Lane Historical Museum. On January 1st, 2010, the City of Niagara Falls took direct operation and it became the Niagara Falls History Museum. Housing a vast collection of Niagara Falls history, the Museum provides a showcase for the unique past of the famous city.

Source: http://bit.ly/2jfm89a


The Niagara Military Museum seeks to enrich the lives of Niagara residents, students and visitors by sharing the experiences of regionally-based individuals in the Canadian military (air, land and sea) emphasizing service in the 20th century.
Housed in the historic Niagara Falls Armoury (1911-1999), the Museum fulfills its mission by preserving the Armoury for guided public tours, by collecting and exhibiting artefacts, and by communicating stories of Canada’s military heritage.

Source: http://bit.ly/2hKejrT


  1. Festivals

Festivals and events

  • Winter Festival of Lights visit http://bit.ly/2yCpjAE
  • Niagara Integrated Film Festival
  • Springlicious
  • Mount Carmel Fine Art and Music Festival
  • Niagara Icewine Festival
  • Niagara Woodworking Show
  • Family Fun Day at the Museum
  • Heritage Info Day at the Museum
  • Niagara Falls Sports and Hobby Expo
  • Greater Niagara Home and Garden Show
  • Canada Day Celebration
  • Santa Claus Parade
  • Niagara Night of Art
  • Niagara Region Jazz Festival
  • Niagara Falls Comic Con


D. Community

16. First Peoples

According to traditional Native American cosmology, the Falls formed when: “Hi’non was the Great Good God who killed the monster serpent which had poisoned the springs of the Ongiaras who once lived beside the Niagara. The serpent lived underground and would creep out at night and spread disease. Hi’non killed him with his shafts of lightning. The great serpent came writhing to the surface of the earth and he was twenty arrow flights long. The Red Men rolled his body into the river and, as it floated down it became lodged at the brink of what is now the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara; and its body, twisting and turning in death agony, bent back the massive rocks at the precipice so that there was formed the Great Horseshoe as it exists today.”

Marjorie F. Williams, A Brief History of Niagara Falls, New York (Niagara Falls: The Niagara Falls Public Library, 1972), p. 6.



  1. Community at large

Niagara Falls’ area and population increased dramatically in 1963 when the adjacent Township of Stamford amalgamated with the city. With the advent of regional government in 1970, Chippawa, Willoughby Township and a small portion of Crowland Township also became part of Niagara Falls.

The city today, therefore, is a composite of a number of communities with a history stretching back many years.

Source: http://bit.ly/2jNeDu8


  1. Immigrants

In 2011, the population of Niagara Falls was 81,300 persons, while the metropolitan area had 422,805. The population of Niagara Falls is older than Canada in general in terms of age structure. Youths under 18 years of age number 19.3%. Some 7,715 (9.5%) inhabitants described themselves as visible minorities (non-white/non-European), with the majority of those BlackChineseFilipino and South Asian people.

83.97% of Niagara Falls city residents self-identified with Christian denominations. The largest denominations are Catholic (41.99%), Protestant (36.80%), and 5.18% other Christian mostly Eastern Orthodox, 14.10% claimed no religious affiliation, while other religions (1.93%) including Sikh, Jewish,  Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim accounted for the rest.

Source: http://bit.ly/1PqTD2E

E. Nature

  1. Geology

The Niagara Peninsula became free of the ice about 12,500 years ago. As the ice retreated northward, its melting waters began to flow down through what became Lake Erie, the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, down to the St. Lawrence River and on to the Atlantic Ocean. There were originally five spillways from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. Eventually, these were reduced to one, the original Niagara Falls, at the escarpment at Queenston-Lewiston. From here, the Falls began its steady erosion through the bedrock.

However, about 10,500 years ago, through an interplay of geological effects including alternating retreats and re-advances of the ice, and rebounding of the land when released from the intense pressure of the ice (isostatic rebound), this process was interrupted. The glacial meltwaters were rerouted through Northern Ontario, bypassing the southern route. For the next 5,000 years, Lake Erie remained only half the size of today, the Niagara River was reduced to about 10 percent of its current flow, and a much-reduced falls stalled in the area of the Niagara Glen.

About 5,500 years ago, the meltwaters were once again routed through Southern Ontario, restoring the river and falls to their full power. Then, the falls reached the whirlpool.

Niagara Falls are a product of the glacial period Wisconsin Glacial Episode, when the last glacial maximum extended as far as it would go, which is estimated to have taken place between 18,000 and 21,000 years ago. The Wisconsin glaciation drastically changed the geology of the upper half of North America. 18,000 years ago, there were prehistoric ice sheets as much as 3 kilometers thick covering southern Ontario and when they advanced southward, they carved out what are now the Great Lakes. 20% of the world’s freshwater supply today is in the Great Lakes and 99% of that is from the melted glaciers. Four out of the five Great Lakes drain over Niagara Falls today. That gives you an idea of where the staggering amount of water comes from that pours over the Falls every day.

Source: http://bit.ly/2zXy8Gz


  1. Watershed

What is a Watershed?

A watershed is the land that water flows across or under on its way to a river, lake, stream or bay. Water travels over farm fields, forests, suburban lawns and city streets, or it seeps into the soil and travels as groundwater. Watersheds are separated from each other by high points, such as hills or slopes.

The Canadian portion of the Niagara River watershed, including the river and its tributaries comprises 1,338.54 km of watershed area and includes 65 smaller sub-watersheds or catchments, the largest of which is the Welland River.

Source: http://bit.ly/2mQ1hOV

The Niagara River watershed (in New York State) is approximately 903,000 acres and consists of eleven sub-watersheds in Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Wyoming, and Orleans counties. These sub-watersheds are: Buffalo Creek, Buffalo River, Cayuga Creek, Eighteen Mile Creek, Ellicott Creek, Lower Tonawanda Creek, Middle Tonawanda Creek, Upper Tonawanda Creek, Murder Creek, Niagara River, and Smokes Creek.

Source: http://bit.ly/2jPekPr

Tributaries info: http://bit.ly/2hUJi87


  1. Flora & Fauna

The Niagara region has over 70 species of trees, including evergreen pines, spruce, cedar, and hemlock trees. However, the woods are dominated by deciduous species such as oak, maple, and beech trees. Southwestern Niagara is privileged to be in the northern most part of the Carolinian region. Its mature forests are made up of rare tulip trees, sassafras, black cherry, paw paw and blue ash trees, which are scattered amongst more common species such as sugar maples. This region is one of the most biologically diverse in Canada, with 40 percent of rare vascular plants occurring only in this area.

Source: http://bit.ly/2itXPGU




In the early part of the 19th century, the Niagara River was considered to be the most degraded place in North America. In 1972, Canada and the United States signed the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement to clean-up the Great Lakes, including the Niagara River. Major clean-up efforts in the Niagara River over the past 50 years have reduced discharges of pollution and toxic chemicals. To acknowledge this achievement of a cleaner, healthier river, the RAP team is working with various stakeholders to pursue a Ramsar designation for the Niagara River.

The Ramsar designation for the Niagara River is being led by the Ramsar Steering Committee consisting of agency representatives from Canada and the U.S.


The Niagara River meets all 9 criteria. Only 35 (1%) of all global Ramsar sites meet all nine criteria.

Source: http://bit.ly/2A3sDnt