If there's one thing that's often said about Niagara Falls, besides "wow", it's that it's a pity that such an impressive show by Mother Nature is surrounded by such a dreadfully tacky tourist town.
Yes, you've got more than 3,000 tons of water pounding over both water falls, per second, with rainbows floating in the mist. But you've also got Tussaud' Wax Museum, Planet Hollywood and, in summer at least, hordes of sweaty tourists sporting black knee socks and sandals.
The Niagara Parks Commission appears to be engaged in an effort to change this perception, at least among its most easy drive-in market, Torontonians. It recently launched a campaign called "Shake Off the City", which portrays city dwellers confronting urban blight -- graffiti, traffic, stolen bikes -- and escaping to the wonders of the Niagara region. This portrayal of their city has evidently annoyed some Toronto-dwellers, although that apparently wasn't the intention.
The intention was to showcase the "arid side" of the region, as Joel Noden, executive director of the Niagara Parks Commission, told the Toronto Star. I presume he meant the area beyond the big-whoop waterfalls, and leaving aside clumsy urban stereotyping, he's got a good point. The Niagara Escarpment in Ontario is actually quite lovely -- with loads of hiking, the full sweep of Lake Ontario, and, a number of excellent wineries, growing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling. (The area has a strong reputation for ice wine as well, given the cold winters.)