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Posted by: nomonomo ( )
Date: July 14, 2017 11:30PM

Questions for those with knowledge of Niagara Falls...

As some of you know, Mrs. Nomonomo has been fighting cancer for nearly two years. Virtually every treatment regimen has failed. She's in a clinical trial now, and depending on whom you ask, it's failing too. She took a turn for the worse about 8 weeks ago, and has been hospitalized twice in the last month for a total of 11 days (21 days year-to-date and 52 days total since it all began). Her Palliative doctor said this week that she has 6 to 8 weeks left.

Anyway, because of the recent prognosis, Mrs. Nomonomo has decided she wants to go to Niagara Falls. I've never been there, but from what I understand there's a Canadian side and an American side.

My questions:
- Is a passport required to cross (the last time I went to British Columbia as passport was required to cross into Canada)?
- Is it possible to enjoy the visit and stay entirely on the American side?

I just realized that our passports are expired!

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Posted by: nonamekid ( )
Date: July 15, 2017 12:00AM

Yes and yes.

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Posted by: spiritist ( )
Date: July 15, 2017 12:24AM

My only comment is Niagara Falls and the area are 'beautiful' and you can get a real 'great' feeling by being there.

I can remember going on the 'maid of the mist' and walking around the falls in certain areas. I really enjoyed observing the various falls at night time with the lights shinning on them.

There were also many other things you can see there however, it's been over 20 years since I have been there.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: July 15, 2017 03:51AM

I live on the American side, within a short drive of the Falls. It is true the Canadian side has some spectacular views. But so too does the American side.

You do need a passport or the enhanced drivers license to go across the border nowadays. I believe the same for walking across the Rainbow Bridge into the Canadian side and back, plus .50 cents in quarters each. It's $3.75 to drive over into Canada, and free returning. It's the US side that will check your ID coming back into the US, not the Canadian side.

If you can only view from the American side there is a great (inexpensive) tour of Goat Island where you can take a shuttle bus that makes stops along all the scenic points on the American side. So you can get off wherever you want, take your time walking around the promenade for the views, then take the next bus to the next scenic point and so on. A pass is good for all day if you want it.

There are some nice restaurants, souvenir shops on the American side. And of course Maid of the Mist as well as Cave of the Winds, if your wife is up to either of those.

Lots of hotels in and around Niagara Falls. One of the more popular is the Niagara Fallsview Casino, with its live entertainment and four star hotel. That whole downtown area has been revitalized these past few years, and is now on par with the Canadian side (there was a time you could not make such a comparison, not all that long ago.)



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/15/2017 04:02AM by Amyjo.

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Posted by: anybody ( )
Date: July 15, 2017 07:47AM

I also remember when the US side of Niagra Falls was very run down. Been a while since I've been back there though. I miss Ted's Hot Dogs and concerts at Kleinhans Music Hall.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/15/2017 07:49AM by anybody.

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Posted by: CateS ( )
Date: July 15, 2017 10:10AM

Call the US Department of State and tell them your situation. I know they have expedited passport renewals.

Ask them specifically how you can get to see as much of the falls as possible with as little prep work as possible. I would certainly ask about this "enhanced" driver's license. I've never heard of it and it sounds a lot easier.

Have a great trip!

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Posted by: Never Mo but raised Fundie ( )
Date: July 15, 2017 11:56AM

I agree with this advice - if you want to get your passport quickly, call the government/Senator/Representative. Also, this web site says they have a way to get them in 8 days if that's fast enough to match your travel arrangements:

https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html

If you have expired passports, that should make the process go as quickly as possible (rather than getting brand new passports).

I was there in 2009. Both sides are wonderful - you should definitely go even if you can't get into Canada and back. From the perspective of looking at the falls - I prefer the Canadian side.

But

From the perspective of *feeling* the power of the falls - I highly recommend the Maid of the Mist. You don't need a passport for that.

I have no idea if/what they could offer but you might want to contact the visitor center for advice as a tourist - I assume that she will have limited mobility, etc and they might be able to offer suggestions on how to best spend her energy enjoying things.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: July 15, 2017 12:33PM

I seem to recall that there are also businesses in Washington, D.C. that will do expediting of passports.

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: July 15, 2017 10:18AM

Best to you & Mrs...

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Posted by: Bang ( )
Date: July 15, 2017 10:31AM

I would suggest contacting the Canadian Consulate nearest you.

It is my understanding that you need proof of US citizenship and proof of identification. A passport works for this, but, my understanding, so would a birth certificate (or naturalization papers) and valid US drivers license.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: July 15, 2017 10:53AM

Not anymore. That changed since 9/11. You must present either passport or enhanced driver's license at the border crossing.

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Posted by: Bang ( )
Date: July 15, 2017 11:22AM

Interesting, a passport is not needed to get into Canada for US citizens, but a passport (or another approved travel document) to return to the USA.

http://www.us-passport-service-guide.com/canada-travel-requirements.html

Which makes me wonder what happens if someone gets into Canada using drivers license and birth certificate tries to get back to the USA.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: July 15, 2017 02:36PM

Canada has gotten more stringent as well these past few years. They didn't used to ID US drivers crossing over, but in recent years they have at their discretion.

Before the law went into effect to have the DL only or passport, there was one time my children and I were stopped going into Canada by Canadian police because we didn't bring my children's birth certificates. We'd never needed them before.

They let us through, but future visits were with a warning. (My children nor I have traveled there in recent past.)

Once returning home from an excursion into Canada the US border guards wanted to know if they were MY children? This was right after 9/11. I'm darker complected, and my children have somewhat lighter complexions from me. I was aghast that they wouldn't know these were my children. But then it reminded me when I was a child and my parents were crossing back into the US from Alberta from a camping vacation. The border guards wanted to know if I was their child?

I was wearing braids, and an Indian headband given to me by a man in an antique store in Lethbridge. I looked like a little Indian girl next to my fair haired brothers.

My parents had to convince them I was their daughter and not some Indian child they were smuggling from a reservation on their way out of Canada. What goes around comes around?

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Posted by: looking in ( )
Date: July 16, 2017 07:55PM

My husband and I were once asked the same thing by a Canada Border Officer about our children when we were returning home to Alberta from Montana. It's probably not that unusual a question, as others I know have experienced it as well.

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: July 15, 2017 10:59AM

From my memory box, you can enjoy from either side.
Travel to / from Canada is more relaxed-easy than other countries!

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: July 15, 2017 11:10AM

I was able to see it well from the US side.
It depends on what exactly you would want to see or do.

Sending best wishes to nomonomo and his family. I wish her comfort. What a nice guy to help with some of her wishes which I'm sure will create wonderful memories!

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Posted by: anybody ( )
Date: July 15, 2017 11:38AM

but coming back is always a hassle. I've never had problems with the Canadian border guards. The American border people are a pain to deal with.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/15/2017 11:39AM by anybody.

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Posted by: kentish ( )
Date: July 15, 2017 04:37PM

Went to the American Falls once but it was closed for repairs...literally.

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Posted by: Lethbridge Reprobate ( )
Date: July 16, 2017 08:54PM

Saw the falls from the Canadian side in December of 1963. Spectacular....and yes crossing the border can be a real pain in the ass. I've had grief from the US guards and also coming back into Canada and I've had good experiences both ways too. No consistency on either side.

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