About Niagara Falls Maid of the Mist Boat Tours
Boat tours are and have been a part of Niagara Falls tourism history for about a century. If you are visiting Niagara Falls – whether it is from the American side or the Canadian side, a boat tour is definitely in order.
While choosing boat tours, put the Maid of the Mist boat tour at the very top of the list. This is the most popular boat tour at Niagara Falls, operating from both the Canadian and American sides, and it is also the oldest attraction at Niagara Falls.
The Maid of the Mist boat tours have been operating since 1846, but it didn’t start out as a tour company. It started as a steam boat ferry designed to carry passengers, mail, and cargo across the river. It continued in this capacity until 1848 when a suspension bridge was built, at which time the Maid of the Mist suffered financial loses due to lack of business. This is when Maid of the Mist became a touring company.
A second boat was required by 1854, but by 1861 the owner, W.O Buchanan not only had financial troubles, but feared the impact on his business by he impending Civil War. The Maid of the Mist was sold to a company in Montreal, and one of the conditions of the sale was that it must be delivered to Lake Ontario. Joel B. Robinson took the Maid of the Mist on a wild ride that to this day is known as the most dangerous ever made on the Niagara River to deliver it, and there were no further Maid of the Mist tours until 1885.
The two Maids of the Mist boats, which were not actually the originals to begin with, were destroyed in a fire in 1955. More modern vessels were built in 1955 and 1956 to replace them, and aptly named Maid of the Mist I and Maid of the Mist II, even though they were actually the fifth and sixth.
The Maid of the Mist was instrumental in saving the life of a young boy, Roger Woodard, in 1960 when he was accidentally swept over the falls with nothing but a life preserver to protect him. In 1971, James V. Glynn fulfilled a lifelong dream by becoming president of the Maid of the Mist Corporation. He had started working for the Maid of the Mist at the age of 16 to pay for college.
Two more boats were added to the fleet, but this time they were named Maid of the Mist III and Maid of the Mist IV, in 1972 and in 1976. These two huge vessels, however, were not constructed on the waters of Niagara as the early boats had been. Instead, they were crafted in Wheatley, Ontario, and transported with trucks and cranes. Maid of the Mist V made its appearance in 1983.
Maid of the Mist celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1996. Maid of the Mist VI was added in 1990, and then, in 1997 Maid of the Mist VII was added; however, for the first time in the Maid’s history, the boat was crafted, and then cut into fourteen different sections, transported, and then welded back together upon its arrival.
While the Maid of the Mist is an integral part of Niagara Falls History, it is also an attraction that must be enjoyed if you are visiting the Niagara Falls area. The prices and hours of operation do vary, depending on the season, and you are advised to call ahead to find out this information.