Admire the falls in Ontario
The stats alone say it all about Niagara Falls. During peak flow — in late spring and early summer — more than 5.7 million litres of water per second spill over the side, cascading into the Niagara River below. Located on the border between Canada and the United States, Niagara is actually made up of two different waterfalls — American Falls and Horseshoe Falls — the latter (and more dramatic) located on the Canadian side. Steeped in romance, it's one of North America's most iconic sights — as
well as the venue for several harebrained stunts. In the 19th century, various foolhardy individuals crossed the falls on tightropes and, in 1901, schoolteacher Annie Edson Taylor launched herself over the edge in a barrel — just for the hell of it — emerging at the bottom with nothing worse than cuts and bruises.
Thankfully there are easier ways to admire the falls in all their glory — one
of them being to climb the Skylon Tower (skylon.com), which looks down on them from 160m up. The lifts whizz you to the top in around 50 seconds and, after taking some snaps up on the viewing balcony, why not grab lunch in the revolving restaurant? It takes about an hour to turn through 360°, enough time to polish off a medley of breaded shrimps, scallops and sole. In the summer, fireworks over the falls add to the display every weekend evening.
If you fancy a closer peek, take a boat trip aboard the Maid of the Mist (maidofthemist.com), which takes you along the base — or perhaps a helicopter ride (niagarahelicopters.com) for a bird's-eye view? Tear yourself away and you'll discover vineyards — sample the fare at
a wine festival (niagarawinefestival.com) — world-class golf courses, casinos,
and cycling and hiking trails right on the doorstep.
For more information visit niagarafallstourism.com.
Join the Stampede in Alberta
It's enough to make your eyes water just watching the riders hang on for dear life at the annual extravaganza of cowboy culture, the Calgary Stampede. Held over ten days every July, in 'Cowtown' Alberta, the Stampede's organisers regard this as 'the best outdoor show on earth' — and they may just be right. Over a million visitors pour into the area to watch chuck wagon racing, elaborate parades, stage shows — and, of course, that small matter of the world's largest rodeo.
Having bought yourself a Stetson and taken your grandstand seats at Stampede Park, sit back and watch as an array of brave riders compete in a series of equestrian events. Aside from bareback horse riding, there's barrel racing, too — where cowgirls compete against the clock while hustling their horse round a course of barrels. But perhaps the most 'manly' event is the steer wrestling where brave souls attempt to grapple an angry bull to the ground. The obvious question for those competing is 'are you insane?' — to which the answer is quite possibly, yes. But make no mistake: many of the competitors are professional athletes, and there's some serious prize money on offer — a cool $100,000.
The whole thing kicks off with a huge parade on the opening Friday, where hundreds of floats, marching bands — and of course horses — make their way through the city streets. Aside from the rodeo events, it's worth taking a stroll around Stampede Park, sampling from the delicious food stalls and checking out other quirky events such as the World Championship Blacksmith Competition. There's live music, fireworks and a giant Ferris wheel, too. It's cowboy-tastic.
For more details, visit travelalberta.com, calgarystampede.com, http://us.canada.travel.
Way to go
British Airways flies to Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal from London Heathrow. Flight times from seven hours 40 minutes to nine hours
Join the Executive Club and earn up
to 28,278 Avios points (previously
BA Miles) when you fly First to Vancouver (return). Or redeem your Avios points. You only need 50,000 to get to Vancouver.
Book now at ba.com