Is it peaceful to live in a tourist destination?
Article written by Olivier Peyre – Posted by Darren Platakis
This question may seem rhetorical, as “peaceful” can be the last word to come to mind while walking through the tumult of an entertainment district. The crowds of tourists, the noise of traffic, and the ostentatious attractions rather suggest “chaotic.” It may puzzle visitors to Niagara Falls that the city is more than a busy tourist destination, and that there are quiet neighborhoods beloved by locals just beyond the hubbub of the Rainbow Bridge.
Clifton Hill may be the most famous and frequented area of Niagara Falls, but any resident of the city knows better than to assume that Niagara Falls is nothing more than a waterfall and a smattering of hotels. The real Niagara Falls lies just a fifteen-minute walk north of Clifton Hill, centered around a road named Queen Street. Despite its closeness to the border with Niagara-on-the-Lake, this particular area was the old downtown of Niagara Falls, and its popularity had waned in recent decades since the regional recession of the 1970s. But Queen Street provides a whole different atmosphere, closer to that of a typical small town’s main street, surrounded by serene, twentieth-century neighborhoods.
Queen Street has been revitalized in recent years, as the Niagara Falls municipal government has invested in updating the area’s infrastructure. Brand-new façades and sidewalks alike dot the street, and small stereos at each intersection play pleasant music for pedestrians. Despite the money spent refurbishing the street, it has not yet attracted nearly as many visitors as Clifton Hill, making Queen Street the perfect environment for young entrepreneurs to find affordable commercial spaces.
With vibrant casinos in the south and peaceful residences in the north, the so-called “honeymoon capital of the world” is far more diverse than it would appear. This contrast shows the city’s unique character as well as the evolution among the different chapters of its history.