Maid of the Mist

Maid of the Mist
Maid of the Mist

The Maid of the Mist is a boat tour of Niagara Falls. (The actual boats used are each named Maid of the Mist, followed by a different Roman numeral in each case.) The boat starts off at a calm part of the Niagara River, near the Rainbow Bridge, and takes its passengers past the American and Bridal Veil Falls, then into the dense mist of spray inside the curve of the Horseshoe Falls, also known as the Canadian Falls. The tour is available starting from either the Canadian or American side of the river, returning to the starting point in each case.

Contents

History

The first Maid of the Mist was launched in 1846 as a ferry service between the Canadian and American sides, pre-dating by two years the construction of the first Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge at the site. However, with the opening of the suspension bridge, the ferry service lost business, and by 1854, became a tourist attraction instead with the launch of a more luxurious boat. The current captain of the Maid of the Mist is Captain Mark Keith of St. Catharines, Ontario.

Maid of the Mist I

  • Years of service: 1846–54
  • Type: double-stack steamboat ferry
  • Engine: 1 sidewheel steam

A second Maid of the Mist I was built in 1854

  • Years of service: 1854–60
  • Length: 72 ft
  • Type: single-stack steamer
  • Engine: paddle boat

While on his 1860 tour of Canada, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), rode on the Maid of the Mist.[1] However, with business dwindling and the resulting financial pressures the ships were sold. The impending American Civil War contributed to the issue and the final boat was sold to a Montreal firm in 1860. Formal service was not restored until 1895, when two new boats were constructed and launched under a new partnership, Maid of the Mist Steamboat Company.

Maid of the Mist I, published c. 1901
Stereoscopic view of Maid of the Mist II, c. 1896-1906

Maid of the Mist I, this one sailed closer to Horseshoe Falls than any had previously.

  • Years of service: 1885–1955
  • Type: steam boat
  • Engine: N/A

Maid of the Mist II

  • Years of service: 1892–1955
  • Type: white oak steam boat
  • Length: 89 ft
  • Engine: 2 engine steam

These boats sailed the lower river until April 22, 1955, when they burned in a pre-season accident. Later that year, they would be replaced by two new ships. The type and style of boat still seen today, were made of steel and powered by diesel engines.

Maid of the Mist I

  • Years of service: 1955–90
  • Length: 66 ft
  • Engine: 200 hp diesel engines
  • Passengers: 101

Maid of the Mist II

  • Years of service: 1956–83
  • Type: all-steel boat, twin of I
  • Engine: 200 hp diesel engines
  • Passengers: 101

The Maid of the Mist is well known for its role in the July 9, 1960, rescue of Roger Woodward, a seven-year old boy who became the first person to survive a plunge over the Horseshoe Falls with nothing but a life jacket. The boat involved in the rescue (known as Maid II) was retired from service in 1983 and relocated to the Amazon River, where it served as a missionary ship for years after.

Access to the river-level attraction on the Canadian side was provided by the Maid of the Mist Incline Railway, a funicular railway, between 1894 and 1990 to travel between street level and the boat dock.[2] As this service proved increasingly inadequate in transporting the growing passenger base of the 1990s, four high-speed elevators replaced the railway by the start of the 1991 tourist season. The same year, The Prince and Princess of Wales, and their two young sons, Princes William and Harry, rode on the Maid of the Mist.[3] On the American side, the dock is reached by four elevators enclosed in the observation tower.[4]

View of Niagara Falls from the Maid of the Mist.
Tourists wear blue raincoats on the Maid of the Mist to protect themselves from the misty waters.

More ships have been added to the fleet.

Maid of the Mist III

  • Years of service: 1972–97
  • Length: 65 ft
  • Weight: 65 tons
  • Engine: single 250 hp diesel
  • Passengers: 210

Maid of the Mist IV

  • Years of service: 1976–present
  • Length: 72 ft
  • Weight: 74 tons
  • Engine: two 250 hp diesel
  • Passengers: 300

Maid of the Mist V

  • Years of service: 1983–present
  • Length: 72 ft
  • Weight: 74 tons
  • Engine: two 355 hp diesel
  • Passengers: 300

Maid of the Mist VI

  • Years of service: 1990–present
  • Length: 80 ft
  • Weight: 145 tons
  • Engine: two 350 hp diesel
  • Passengers: 600

Maid of the Mist VII

  • Years of service: 1997–present; twin of VI
  • Length: 80 ft
  • Weight: 145 tons
  • Engine: two 350 hp diesel
  • Passengers: 600

The Little Maid

  • A small tug-like vessel found at the docks on the Canadian side

A partial history of the Maid of the Mist is featured in the IMAX film Niagara: Miracles, Myths and Magic.[5]

Distinguished passengers

See also

References

External links


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