Wedding in Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is a city of 82,184 residents on the Niagara River in the Golden Horseshoe region of south-central Ontario. It lies across the river from Niagara Falls, New York, and was incorporated on June 12, 1903.
The city is dominated by the Niagara Falls waterfalls on the Niagara River connecting Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The natural spectacle brings in millions of tourists to the city yearly. The city has built a tourist area surrounding the falls to increase the city's appeal as a vacation destination and prolong stay times. This area, which stretches along the Niagara River parkway and is particularly concentrated at the brink of the falls, includes observation towers, natural attractions along the river, tourist promenades, casinos, theaters and golf courses alongside historic sites from the War of 1812.
According to the 2001 Statistics Canada Census, between 1996 and 2001 the population of the city grew by 2.5 percent, lower than the provincial and national average. The population of Niagara Falls is also older than the Canadian averages in age structure. The proportion of those under 14 years of age is 18.1 percent while those over 65 constitute 17 percent. The city has also done a good job of attracting immigrants into the area. Some 5.5% percent of the population declared themselves as visible minorities (non-white).
With a plentiful and inexpensive source of hydroelectric power via the waterfalls, many electro-chemical and electro-metallurgical industries located here in the early to mid-20th century.
Industry began moving out of the city in the 1970s and 80s because of recession and increasing global competition in the manufacturing sector. Tourism tightened its grip as the city's most important economic engine. It is a more popular destination than Niagara Falls, New York, in part due to the better view of the falls from the Canadian side. Also, Ontario's drinking age of 19 (compared to the 21 drinking age in the United States) attracts many 19 and 20-year-olds from the United States to the many bars on Clifton Hill.
Niagara Falls City Council is comprised of 8 councilors and 1 Mayor. City elections take place every 4 years with the next election in November 2010. Council is responsible for policy and decision making, monitoring the operation and performance of the city, analyzing and approving budgets and determining spending priorities.
The Niagara Falls tourist sector is centred around the waterfalls and follows the from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. As much of the land adjoined to the river is parkland under the watch of the Niagara Parks Commission many attractions based on the local natural environment have been created. To prolong visitor stays the city of Niagara Falls has a number of additional attractions in close proximity but not related to the natural features, including casinos and entertainment complexes. The Niagara Peninsula is also a significant wine-growing area, with winery tours and festivals becoming a significant area of growth in the local economy.
Niagara Falls and Niagara Falls, New York are linked to major highways in Canada and the United States respectively, with the 400-Series highway the Queen Elizabeth Way acting as a major artery between Toronto, Ontario and Buffalo, New York. Highway 420 is also another highway in the city. Niagara Parkway is a road operated under the Niagara Parks Commission.