Maid of the Mist

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Sun 15 May 2011 13:35
The Maid of the Mist






The Maid of the Mist, after the Falls themselves is the most famous tourist attraction here at the Niagara Falls. The actual boats used are each named Maid of the Mist, followed by a different Roman numeral. 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 US side of the river, returning to the starting point in each case.

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.

Maid of the Mist: 1846–1854. Type: double-stack steamboat ferry. Engine: 1 sidewheel steam

Maid of the Mist I: Built in 1854. Years of service: 1854–1860. Length: 72 ft. Type: single-stack steamer. Engine: paddle boat.

While on his 1860 tour of Canada, Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), rode on the Maid of the Mist. 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.





Stereoscopic view of Maid of the Mist I, published c. 1901



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

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


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 the 22nd of April 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: 1955–1990
  • Length: 66 ft
  • Engine: 200 hp diesel engines
  • Passengers: 101

Maid of the Mist II

  • Years of service: 1956–1983
  • 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 9th of July 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. As this service proved increasingly inadequate in transporting the growing passenger base of the 1990's, four high-speed elevators replaced the railway by the start of the 1991 tourist season. The same year, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Diana, Princess of Wales, and their two sons, Princes William and Henry, rode on the Maid of the Mist. On the American side, the dock is reached by four elevators enclosed in the observation tower. 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: 1972–1997
  • 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 Maid we went on

The Little Maid

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

Distinguished passengers:

I can honestly say I have never been so cold so fast. I had tightened the cuffs of my anorak as tight as they could go. The force of the wind took the wet, biting air up as far as my elbows. Rain, sleet and snow hit us as we were as near as the tough little Maid could take us. AWESOME. Even Bear got off frozen after this truly unique experience.