Niagara Falls

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Niagara Falls,

city (1991 pop. 75,399), S Ont., Canada, on the Niagara River opposite Niagara FallsNiagara Falls,
city (1990 pop. 61,840), Niagara co., W N.Y., at the great falls of the Niagara River opposite Niagara Falls, Ont.; inc. 1892. Tourism is one of its oldest industries, and many state parks are in the area, but in recent years its Canadian sister city has surpassed
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, N.Y. Formerly called Clifton, it is a port of entry, an important industrial city, and the home of Canadian factories for many well-known U.S. firms. Electric power supplied by the falls supports industries that manufacture chemicals, abrasives, silverware, machinery, sporting equipment, and paper products. The falls are also an international attraction that anchor a tourist industry that includes a casino, hotels, and various amusements. Between the city and the falls and along the gorge below the falls is Queen Victoria Park.

Niagara Falls,

city (1990 pop. 61,840), Niagara co., W N.Y., at the great falls of the Niagara River opposite Niagara FallsNiagara Falls,
city (1991 pop. 75,399), S Ont., Canada, on the Niagara River opposite Niagara Falls, N.Y. Formerly called Clifton, it is a port of entry, an important industrial city, and the home of Canadian factories for many well-known U.S. firms.
..... Click the link for more information.
, Ont.; inc. 1892. Tourism is one of its oldest industries, and many state parks are in the area, but in recent years its Canadian sister city has surpassed it as a tourist destination. There is a gambling casino in the city. One of the world's first hydroelectric plants was built there; it was replaced betweeen 1963 and 1965 by a plant now capable of producing 2,525,000 kW. The city is also a port of entry. Several bridges span the river to Canada. Niagara Univ. is there. Historically a maker of abrasives, mechanical and electrochemical products, and paper and aluminum goods, the city saw its industrial base decline severely after World War II, and since the 1960s the population has fallen by nearly half. Settled by Native Americans, the site was occupied by the French in the 1680s, captured by the British in 1759, and settled by Americans in 1805. Lost to the British during the War of 1812, it was regained after the Treaty of Ghent in Dec., 1814.

Niagara Falls,

in the Niagara River, W N.Y. and S Ont., Canada; one of the most famous spectacles in North America. The falls are on the international line between the cities of Niagara Falls, N.Y., and Niagara Falls, Ont. Goat Island splits the cataract into the American Falls (167 ft/51 m high and 1,060 ft/323 m wide) and the Horseshoe, or Canadian, Falls (158 ft/48 m high and 2,600 ft/792 m wide). The governments of the United States and Canada control the appearance of the surrounding area, much of which has been included in parks since 1885; the falls are a major center of international tourism.

The earliest written description of the falls is that of Louis Hennepin (in Nouvelle Découverte, 1697), who was with the expedition of Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, the French explorer, in 1678. In the 19th cent., daredevils attempted to brave the falls in barrels, boats, and rubber balls. The great Blondin performed (1859) on a tightrope over the gorge below the falls, and Nik Wallenda crossed (2012) a tightrope over the falls' precipice. Historical and natural history material relating to the region is in the Niagara Falls Museum in the city of Niagara Falls, N.Y.


The falls were formed c.10,000 years ago as the retreating glaciers exposed the Niagara escarpment, thus permitting the waters of Lake Erie to flow north, over the scarp, to Lake Ontario. The escarpment has been gradually eroded back toward Lake Erie, a process that has formed the Niagara Gorge (c.7 mi/11 km long); the Whirlpool Rapids and the Whirlpool are there. Horseshoe Falls is eroding upstream at a faster rate than the American Falls because of the greater volume of water passing over it. A great rock slide occurred (1954) at the American Falls and formed a huge talus slope at its base. Water was diverted from the American Falls for several months in 1969 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study the bedrock and to remove some of the talus.

Hydroelectric Power

International agreements control the diversion of water for hydroelectric power; weirs divert part of the flow above the deeper Canadian Falls to supplement the flow in the shallower American Falls. Hydroelectric-power developments were authorized under the Niagara Diversion Treaty (1950), which stipulated a minimum flow to be reserved for the falls and the equal division of the remaining flow between the United States and Canada. In the United States the project was undertaken by the Power Authority of the State of New York (now New York Power Authority). Water is diverted from the river above the upper rapids into large underground conduits. It is then conveyed overland, dropping 314 ft (96 m) to a point below the lower rapids where, as it returns to the river, the water passes through turbines that power 13 generators of the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant (now 2,525,000-kW capacity; opened 1961). Associated with the New York hydroelectric-power project is the construction in the area of new roads, bridges, and parks. In Canada the project was undertaken by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario (now Ontario Power Generation). Water is diverted from the river above the falls and is fed into the Sir Adam Beck Generating Stations (now 1,926,000 kW; opened 1954) by way of a series of tunnels and canals.


See I. H. Tesmer, Colossal Cataract: The Geologic History of Niagara Falls (1981); E. McKinsey, Niagara Falls: Icon of the American Sublime (1985); G. Strand, Inventing Niagara: Beauty, Power, and Lies (2008).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Niagara Falls


a city in the northern USA, in New York State; actually a suburb of Buffalo. Located on the right bank of the Niagara River, by Niagara Falls. Linked by a bridge with the Canadian city of Niagara Falls. Population 86,000 (1970). A large hydroelectric power plant with an output of more than 2 gigawatts is located there. There are 15,000 people employed in industry. Primarily industries that are highly dependent on electric power have been developed, including electrometallurgy and electrochemistry. Niagara Falls is a tourist center.

Niagara Falls


a city in southeastern Canada, in the province of Ontario, on the left bank of the Niagara River by Niagara Falls (opposite the US city of Niagara Falls). Population, 65,300 (1971). The city has enterprises producing electrical machinery and chemicals; the industries developed as a result of the availability of cheap electrical energy. There is also a large automobile glass factory. Niagara Falls is a tourist center.

Niagara Falls


(probably from Iroquois niakare, “great noise”), a waterfall in North America, on the Niagara River, connecting Lakes Erie and Ontario. (The water level of Lake Erie is 99 m higher than that of Lake Ontario.)

Niagara Falls was formed approximately 8,000–9,000 years ago on the ledge of a cuesta composed of dolomitic limestone and argillaceous schist. Because of the erosion of the schist, the waterfall has been gradually receding—since its formation, it has retreated more than 11 km upstream. It is presently receding at a speed of 7–10 cm per year and as much as 1.5 m in certain sections. Niagara Falls is separated by Goat Island into two streams—on the left, the Canadian Falls (also called Horseshoe Falls; width, approximately 800 m; elevation, 48 m), through which passes approximately 95 percent of all the flow (5,730 cu m per sec) out of Lake Erie; and on the right, the American Falls (width, 300 m; elevation, 51 m). The hydraulic energy capacity of the falls is approximately 3 gigawatts, with much of it being used by a hydroelectric power plant (more than 2 gigawatts). The navigable Welland Canal was constructed to bypass Niagara Falls. The falls is a tourist site.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Niagara Falls

1. the falls of the Niagara River, on the border between the US and Canada: divided by Goat Island into the American Falls, 50 m (167 ft.) high, and the Horseshoe or Canadian Falls, 47 m (158 ft.) high
2. a city in W New York State, situated at the falls of the Niagara River. Pop.: 78 815 (2001)
3. a city in S Canada, in SE Ontario on the Niagara River just below the falls: linked to the city of Niagara Falls in the US by three bridges. Pop.: 78 815 (2001)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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Born March 16, 1922 in Niagara Falls, NY, he was the son of the late George and Mary (Lucich) Anich.

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