Niagara Falls’ nearly 175-year-old Maid of the Mist boat service just got a green makeover.
The iconic experience is now being powered by two fully electric passenger boats, making for both a quieter and more environmentally friendly ride from the base of the American Falls into the basin of Canada’s Horseshoe Falls — the largest of the three falls that make up Niagara Falls.
The two vessels were built in the U.S. and have been named the James V. Glynn and the Nikola Tesla. Tesla’s work helped spur the adoption of hydroelectricity in Niagara Falls in the late 1800s. Glynn joined Maid of the Mist as a ticket seller in 1950 and bought it in 1971.
“I am proud to continue the legacy of my father,” Maid of the Mist chairman and CEO Christopher M. Glynn said in a statement.
Maid of the Mist began operations in 1846 but was almost forced to close in 2012 because it couldn’t find a place to store its boats on the American side of Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls straddles the border of Canada and the U.S. at the southern end of Niagara Gorge. It includes three separate waterfalls — the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls on the U.S. side and Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side — and has the highest flow rate of any waterfall in North America. More than 6 million cubic feet of water flows across the crest of the falls each minute during peak tourist times.
With its new electric boats, Maid of the Mist operators promise an environment of “near silence” from which guests can better hear the sounds of the falls’ crashing water.
Each boat also sports a new icon with waves to represent Niagara Falls, a lightning bolt to symbolize electricity, and a turbine to represent hydroelectric power.
Maid of the Mist operates from late spring until early November each year.
Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets, and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
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