Maid of the Mist
A visit to Niagara Falls is not complete without a voyage on the Maid of the Mist. Originally the tiny boats were built to ferry passengers from one side of the river to the other. When the first bridge was built over the gorge, the ferry services were no longer in high demand. It was around this time that the Maid of the Mist transformed itself from being a ferry service to an iconic Niagara Falls attraction.
The first Maid of the Mist was built in 1846 and was replaced in 1854 with a second more powerful boat. In the spring of 1861 Joel Robinson made his perilous journey down the Niagara River in his attempt to navigate a decommissioned Maid of the Mist through the rapids to Queenston. His trip would be the only recorded time in history when a boat sailed from Niagara Falls, to Queenston.
The third Maid of the Mist crossed the river from the Canadian to the American shore, then ran up-stream past the American Falls and as close to the Canadian as was safe. Any visitor, disappointed with the height of the falls from the shore will get over that feeling as they look upwards from the deck of the Maid of the Mist.
By 1885 demand for the ride was so great that an additional boat, the Maid of the Mist II was put into operation. In 1955 the Maid of the Mist was redesigned and built entirely of steel with double 200 horsepower engines. As the years progressed so too did the capacity for carrying guests as well as the horsepower of the boat. Today the present Maid of the Mist can accommodate 600 passengers.