When the night comes, hundreds of people line the border of the river, waiting for the light show. As you can imagine, powerful focus of changing colors hit the falls, revealing them in a succession of colors.
It doesn't add much to the day show, and if you want to photograph you must be well equipped, or you will end like me, only catching the whites.
It doesn't take long and... it is free. So, why not?
Every night after sundown, both the American and Canadian Falls are illuminated by floodlights until midnight (10 p.m. from January to April). As evidenced by the fact that this has been going on since 1925 -- another example of the falls' long history of tourism -- the light show is well done and highlights the stream of water. Not only do the colours change as the night goes on, but they can also change from one night to the next according to special occasions or events.
If you are only visiting Niagara Falls on a day trip, it is definitely worth it to stay until after dusk to see the illuminated falls before heading home.
Don't miss this dark night time, which is actually not so dark, but enchanting. Why? Because illumination of Falls is magnificent!
Here is the schedule of lights-on time:
January 1 to January 2 5:00 p.m. - Midnight
January 3 to February 28 6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
March 1 to March 31 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
April 1 to April 30 8:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
May 1 to August 17 9:00 p.m. - Midnight
August 18 to September 30 8:30 p.m. - Midnight
October 1 to October 31 7:00 p.m. - Midnight
November 1 to November 16 6:30 p.m. - Midnight
November 17 to December 30 5:00 p.m. - Midnight
December 31 5:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m.
When you visit during the Christmas time you can't escape the 'Festival of Lights'. This yearly event goes on for about 9 weeks every year, starting half November to half January. The whole city while be lit up by Christmas themed lights, like you can see here in the picture.
If you visit on Friday nights (which I unfortunately didn't) you can watch a firework show. You can also be in luck to be there while there is the weekly 'night parade'. Hahaha, I have to admit though that I managed to 'escape' the event, so I didn't see anything of it. It is probably a lot of fun for the kids or if you do like parades. I on the other hand opted for a nice romantic walk instead :-))
Lots of info about the Festival of Lights can be found on their website: http://www.wfol.com/home.php
Don't mistake this for an UFO, although you might think of that as soon as you spot it. Hahaha, this is another 'festival of light' at Niagara, but one you can observe whole year long. These are the beams of light that light up the two waterfalls at Niagara in every colour imaginable.
Here is an indication of the times that you can see the falls illuminated:
Winter: 5:00pm / 6:30pm until 10:00pm or midnight
Fall / Spring: 7:00pm until 10:00pm or midnight
Summer: 9:00pm until Midnight
This is a rough indication. For the exact times you can take a look at this website: http://www.skylon.com/general/tower.html
Starting on May 21, 2010, there are fireworks that are shot off over the Falls every Friday, Sunday and holiday at 10 p.m. Additional fireworks shows are on Wednesday in July and August. From September 10 to October 8, 2010, the shows are only on Friday.
The Falls are also illuminated every night so even if it's not a fireworks night you should still take a stroll by the Falls to see them lit up. The hours of illumination vary depending on when the sun sets and the season, in the summer they are illuminated until midnight, in the colder months only until 10pm. The fireworks weren't all that spectacular, so if you are doing something else don't worry about missing them.
In the night the falls has a very surreal feel to it, for me as an Indian it reminded me of the scores of movies that showed lord Shiva sitting in the Kailash mountains with all the white mist around him! :)) It's almost like being on the clouds to be next to the falls- white and misty. The lights on the falls only adds to this feel as it turned red, amber, blue and green. You can hear audible gasps from the people around you and the kids just love it and cant get enough of it!
Visiting Niagara Falls or Niagara Region in particular is a one whole day and night of enjoying this wonder of nature. I recommend that when you come visit us, you have booked to stay for a night or two in one of the world class hotels or better still in any bed and breakfast accommodation which is close to the falls and to the many attractions. The reason behind is that the atmosphere in this amazing wonder is so romantic that even celebrities would come to experience this breathtaking night light show at Niagara Falls.
Come and see the Winter Festival of Lights and enjoy Canada's largest lights festival at the world's most famous address - Niagara Falls - as we illuminate the nights. Lights on daily from 5pm until 12am. For a complete 25th Annual Winter Festival of lights schedule, please access the following linkpage:
The amazing picture of the Falls I have posted was taken during the festival. Don't miss it!
After dinner our group visited the control tower for the coloured light show on the falls. It was a good laugh and the management let some of our group mix the colours , someone got close to a rainbow.
Here's the schedule for the fireworks.. Try not to miss them, some of the nicest I've seen.. Walk home afterward will be OK as lots of people will be moving around.
2008 FREE FALLS FIREWORKS
Every Friday, Sunday and Holiday: May 16 - August 31.
Victoria Day, May 19
Memorial Day, May 26
Canada Day, July 1
Independence Day, July 4
Civic Holiday, August 6
PLUS BONUS SHOWS: Every Wednesday in July & August and every Friday from September 5 - October 10, 2008.
Niagara falls have spectacular views at night since the falls are illuminated and there are glittering lights on both sides but mostly on the Canadian side at Clifton Hill.
Operating on the auspices of the Niagara Parks Commission, the nightly illumination features 21 xenon lights with 18 in the Illumination Tower near the Queen Victoria Park area, and three opposite the American Falls. How bright are these lights? One spotlight gives off 250 million candlepower! That's quite a step up from the first lights used in 1879 with an illuminating power of 32,000 candles. It is Free nightly.
After waking up around 2am our first night, we decided to take a walk down to the falls. What a great idea that was! It was so quiet and peaceful, there were just a few people there and you could hear the water and feel the mist so much better than during the day. I recommend just going down there to have some quiet time, rather than worrying about photos or meeting people. It will make your trip so worthwhile!