Mrs. Taylor is being assisted out of her “craft” on the Canadian side of the lower Niagara river. Her watery trip was accomplished by going over the Horseshoe or Canadian Falls. Attempting the same feat over the American Falls, seen in background, would only have resulted in certain death because of the tons of jagged and deadly boulders awaiting the daredevil at the base of the falls.
Annie Edson Taylor, not only was the first woman to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and live, she was the first person to do so, in 1901, and at the age of 63. But the first documented living thing to make the same trip was a cat (sitting atop the barrel) Mrs. Taylor used to test the integrity of her barrel.
Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman
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Next came the question everyone was always asked. He looked at each of us and repeated three times, “Where were you born?” Dutifully, each of us answered, “Niagara Falls, New York.” Apparently satisfied with our responses, the officer quietly scanned the three of us slowly and then waved us on. “Make sure you watch for traffic. I don’t want any accidents”, he commanded. “Yes, sir,” we sung out. “We’ll be careful” We pedaling slowly but deliberately away from the imposing giant. Within seconds we were moving across the Rainbow bridge, high above the lower Niagara River. To our left in the distance was the American Falls and beyond that the green, roaring Canadian Horseshoe Falls with a cloud of white mist rising up from the gorge below. Our ears were filled with the constant roar of these two great wonders of the world. Soon we were across the bridge and only one obstacle away from our day of fun. This one was always tougher - Canadian customs. Again we slowly approached a uniformed officer standing next to a guard booth. He had to be eight feet tall! “Hello boys. Plan on spending some time in Canada, today?” he asked. “Yes, sir,” our trio rang out. “How long do you plan to spend in my beautiful country?” he asked. “Only a few hours, sir” John replied. “We’re going to ride the park and get some lunch.” Then came the repeated universal question, “Where were you born.” As the customs officer asked each of us, we in turn responded, “Niagara Falls, New York, sir.” “Alright, boys. Have a good time, stay out of traffic, and don’t litter my beautiful park,” he quietly commanded. Yes, sir. Thank you, sir” we all sung out. And away we pedaled. We had made it across one more time. Now for the real deal. Lunch wasn’t the only thing we were going to buy. Canada had the best fireworks, and we were intending to replenish our dwindling stock. Joey had one of his dresser drawers completely filled with everything from lady fingers to “three-inchers”. He even had a cache of M-80s, the ultimate bang for your buck. Stoney and I had very few firecrackers left and we were planning on correcting that situation. The day was beautiful and we had no intention of hurrying our visit. The park on the Canadian side of the river was always impressive. Visitors, and natives as well, agreed that the Canadians had a more beautiful park than we Americans. The trees, bushes and grass were always manicured perfectly. As we biked past tourists with their cameras and maps we could not help but get caught up in the majesty and grandeur of the American and Canadian falls. We skirted the edge of the upper Niagara River marveling at the boiling, emerald green waters. The scene was made perfect with the appearance of a bright rainbow born in the mist of the Horseshoe Falls. The morning went by quickly and by noon we were browsing the souvenir shops and restaurants of Niagara Falls, Ontario. We stopped for a hamburger and fries (served with vinegar), and finished up with ice cream cones. Finally, we stopped at our favorite shop to buy our cache of fireworks. The shelves were filled with Chinese red, tissue paper-wrapped packages of every size pyrotechnic imaginable. We started with the tiny, one-inch lady-fingers and continued with the 1 1/2 inch, 2-inch, and 3- inch cannon crackers. Merchandise in hand, we pedaled off to the park to find a secluded spot to complete our “operation.” We had to be very careful because of a well- known enforcer of the law, unique to Canada - the Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman. In his red blouse and black trousers with a gold stripe, he was a formidable figure mounted on his trusty steed as he stared out from under his Smokey Bear hat. He was someone we did not want to encounter.