Horseshoe Falls

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Coordinates: 43°04′38″N 79°04′32″W / 43.077305°N 79.07562°W / 43.077305; -79.07562

The Horseshoe Falls, also known as the Canadian Falls, is part of Niagara Falls, on the Niagara River. Approximately 90% Niagara River, after diversions for hydropower generation, flows over Horseshoe Falls, while the other 10% flows over the American Falls. The Horseshoe Falls is today entirely in Ontario, Canada.[1]



Before the late 20th century the northeastern end of the Horseshoe Falls was in New York, United States, flowing around the Terrapin Rocks, which was once connected to Goat Island by a series of bridges. In 1955 the area between the rocks and Goat Island was filled in, creating Terrapin Point.[2] In the early 1980s the United States Army Corps of Engineers filled in more land and built diversion dams and retaining walls to force the water away from Terrapin Point. Altogether 400 feet (120 m) of the Horseshoe Falls was eliminated, including 100 feet (30 m) on the Canadian side. As a result, the Horseshoe Falls is now entirely in Canada.[1]


The name is derived from its curving, horseshoe-shaped crest that is 671 metres (2,201 ft) in width. At the center of the Horseshoe Falls the water is about 3 metres (9.8 ft) deep. It passes over the crest at a speed of about 32 kilometres per hour (20 mph). The fall is 53 metres (174 ft) high, has an average crest elevation of 152 metres (499 ft) and faces northwards. The depth of the river at the base of the falls, estimated at 56 metres (184 ft), is actually higher than the fall itself.

The falls produce a large amount of mist, which occasionally renders viewing them difficult. The amount of natural mist has been reduced since the early 20th century by the diversion of most of the water from the Niagara River for hydroelectricity. The Horseshoe Falls is observable at a direct angle from the Canadian side, and at a steep angle on the U.S. side on Goat Island. The Maid of the Mist boat offers tours which approach the base of the falls.

The Niagara Scow has rested approximately 700 meters from the edge of the falls since it was caught against a rock shoal in 1918, and a plaque today informs tourists of the history of the small shipwreck that has sat perched just above the falls for nearly a century without being dislodged.

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