Canadian Side of Niagara Falls Finds Tightrope Walking Beneath Them

1876: 23 year old Maria Spelterini crosses the gorge below Niagara Falls on a tightrope, blindfolded and with weights attached to her feet. The only woman to have performed the feat (Blondin did it first in 1859), she also crossed the 1000 ft gorge backwards as an audience watched from the banks and nearby bridge. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images) Photo: Three Lions

Niagara Falls, New York is, in the words of the Times, a depressing "shell of a city." Officials there are excited about the boost to the local economy that would result from a high-profile tightrope walk across the gorge, performed by famed daredevil Nik Wallenda, a normally outlawed act, which received the special blessing of the state legislature in June. But Niagara Falls, Ontario, on the other side of the gorge, is "booming as a casino-enriched tourist metropolis." Wallenda is lobbying officials there, but they don't seem to need this tightrope walk, and more than that, they have kind of an attitude about it.

“Our vision is to have people come and be inspired by the falls, by the beauty of the natural environment,” the interim chairwoman of the Niagara Parks Commission, Janice Thomson, said in an interview. “We don’t believe that stunting has any place in front of that natural splendor.”

Oh heavens, stunting? What a horrid little distraction. The only proper activity at Niagara Falls is sitting silently while observing the view through your monocle.

Before a Walk Across Niagara Falls, a Balancing Act [NYT]