The famous rainbow-shaped bridge is one of the most recognizable icons of Niagara Falls. It’s also one of its most photogenic sites. The views from the 104-foot-high Rainbow Bridge are especially spectacular during the falls’ peak tourist season, when abundant daylight and blue skies help make those rainbows pop! From this vantage point on Falls View Avenue, you can see the full breadth of both Horseshoe Falls and American Falls. Both are among the largest waterfalls in the world, with American Falls being a bit shorter but a bit wider than its Canadian counterpart. The Rainbow Bridge stands as perhaps the best photo opportunity for viewing these two falls side by side. It’s also an excellent place to capture a colorful double rainbow that often appears after heavy rains. The colors in these rainbows are produced by sunlight refracting through water droplets and appear red, orange, yellow, green and blue.
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Interesting Facts about Niagara’s Rainbow Bridge
Here are 10 fun facts about the bridge
- The Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge is a bridge over the Niagara River gorge, commonly known as the Rainbow Bridge.
- The Rainbow Bridge was built on the site of the former Honeymoon Bridge, which collapsed on January 27, 1938, due to an ice jam in the river.
- The bridge was officially opened on November 1, 1941.
- The view from the bridge is breathtaking with panoramic views of the three falls – the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and the Horseshoe Falls.
- It connects the cities of Niagara Falls, New York, the United States, and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, and is a world-famous tourist resort.
- The bridge can be crossed on foot, by car, or by bike.
- A $1.00 crossing fee is charged for pedestrians when they leave Canada.
- The Rainbow Bridge deck is 202 feet above the Niagara River and has a total length of 1,450 feet.
- The origin of the name of the bridge is unknown.
- Halfway through the pedestrian bridge, there is a bronze plaque attached to the railing that indicates the actual border point between the United States and Canada. This is the International Border Line.
How to Get to the Rainbow Bridge
The Rainbow Bridge is located in the center of the Niagara Falls, on the Canadian side of the border. Getting to this bridge is easy as it is located in a tourist-heavy area and is accessible by car or public transportation. There are two Niagara Falls tour companies that offer the Rainbow Bridge as a stop on their excursions, so you can easily hop off the bus or boat and take a few photos. If you prefer to drive yourself, the Rainbow Bridge is located on Falls View Boulevard, between Hyde Park Road and Victoria Avenue. Parking will be limited, however, so plan to arrive early. If you prefer to travel by foot, the Rainbow Bridge is a short walk from the Rainbow Bridge Whirlpool Tour, Niagara Falls Discovery Center and the Niagara Falls State Park.
Tips for Photographing the Rainbow Bridge
The Rainbow Bridge is an ideal photo subject any time of year, but it’s especially photogenic during the summer when the intensity of the rainbows are at their peak. If you want a good chance of seeing a rainbow, try taking photos after a few days of heavy rain. When photographing the Rainbow Bridge, make sure to walk to the center of the bridge for the best view. If the bridge is crowded, you may have to ask people to move so you can get a clear shot. Keep in mind that you’ll need to get a permit from the Niagara Parks Commission if you want to take photos from the bridge at night.
Rainbow Bridge History
On 12 August 1938, the first meeting of the newly formed Niagara Falls Bridge Commission took place in Niagara Falls, New York. Fred M. Krull, Will A. Cannon and Samuel S. Johnson were appointed New York State Governor Herbert Lehman to represent the State of New York. The Canadian members appointed to the Board were members of the Niagara Parks Commission. It was T. B. McQueen, Archie Hanes, C. Ellison Kaumeyer would represent the Province of Ontario.
With the approval of the Joint Government of Ontario and New York, the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission became responsible for the management and maintenance of all the international bridges that cross the Niagara River.
Shortly thereafter, the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission developed a plan to finance, construct and operate a new bridge over the Niagara Gorge to replace the Honeymoon Bridge. The new bridge was to be named the Rainbow Bridge.
Samuel Johnson, vice-president of the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, announced on 15 November 1938 that Edward P. Lupper Inc., an engineering firm in Buffalo, New York, would design a new bridge. Mr. Shortridge Hardesty of Waddell & Hardesty would be appointed a consulting engineer.
In 1939 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited the Niagara Falls and dedicated the Rainbow Bridge site. A memorial commemorating this occasion was erected on the Canadian shore.
On May 4, 1940, the construction of the Rainbow Bridge began approximately 550 feet (168 m) north of the previous Honeymoon Bridge. At this point, the Rainbow Bridge was 1,000 feet (305 meters) north of the American Falls. The Niagara Gorge is 200 feet (60 m) deep and about 1,000 feet (305 m) wide. The water current below this bridge is 26-30 miles per hour and the water depth is 175 feet (53 m). It is estimated that 6,000,000,000 pounds of water pass under the Rainbow Bridge in one minute.
The span of this bridge is 289.5 m (950 feet). Each of the main archways is located 50 feet (15 m) from the edge of the rivers and 50 feet (15 m) above the surface of the water. The abutments and the approach lay on solid rock on the sides of the gorge and are high enough to avoid a catastrophe similar to the Honeymoon Bridge.
The main span of this hinge consisted of two steel box girder ribs of 56 feet (17 m) apart. Each arch consists of 24 sections, a height of 12 feet (4 m) and a weight of 49 to 75 tonnes. Approximately 3500 tons of steel were used in the two ribs and an additional 2,000 tons of steel were used in the superstructure and deck. The two ribs are mounted together with steel components for stiffness and resistance to wind pressure. Steel spandrel columns, which rest on the arch ribs, support the steel floor beams, the stringers, and the concrete deck of the road above.
With all the sections in place, a steel closing section measuring approximately 11 inches was used to connect the 475 foot (145 m) sections from each shore. This was later replaced by a permanent piece designed for temperature expansion and contraction. It was also machined to a tolerance of less than one-hundredth (1/100th) of an inch. With this piece in place, the arch became self-supporting at its base. The deck of this bridge is 202 feet (61.5 m) above the surface of the water and the approach is 1450 feet (442 m ) long. There are two, 22-foot (7 m) wide roads divided by a four-foot (1.2 m) wide median with a 10-foot (3 m) wide sidewalk along the south side of the bridge.
During the building, the life nets under the bridge caught those workers who inadvertently dropped out of the structure so that there was no loss of life. The official opening of the Rainbow Bridge took place on 1 November 1941.
How long is the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls
In short: 1,450 feet
Detailed info: This bridge’s approaches are 1,450 feet long (442 meters) and its deck is 202 feet (61.5 meters) above the water’s surface. In addition to a ten foot (3 m) wide sidewalk along the south side of the bridge facing the Falls, there are two 22 feet (7 m) wide roadways divided by a four foot (1.2 m) wide median.
How much does it cost to walk across the Rainbow Bridge?
It costs $1 USD or CAD to cross the bridge for each pedestrian or cyclist. When leaving Canada, a pedestrian toll is collected by an automatic turnstile and is payable in quarters in USD or CAD or in $1 CAD “loonies”.
Why is Niagara Falls called the Rainbow Bridge?
the Rainbow Bridge was given its name in honor of the strong bonds that bind both countries, Canada and the United States,