Niagara Falls is a Canadian city of 83,184 (as of 2008) residents on the Niagara River in the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario. It lies across the river from Niagara Falls, New York, and was incorporated on June 12, 1903.
The city is dominated by Niagara Falls, a world famous set of two large waterfalls on the Niagara River and benefits from the fact that both falls, the American and Horseshoe, can be best seen from the Canadian side of the river, thus presenting the city one of the major tourist attractions of the world. The natural spectacle brings in millions of tourists yearly. The city permitted the development of a tourist area along the falls and the gorge. This area which stretches along the Niagara River parkway and tourist promenade is particularly concentrated at the brink of the falls and, apart from the natural attractions along the river, includes huge parking lots, souvenir shops, observation towers, high-rise-hotels, casinos and theatres, mostly with colourful neon billboards and advertisements. Further to the north or south there are golf courses alongside historic sites from the War of 1812.
The Niagara Falls area has seen continuous settlement since the 17th century, first by the Iroquois and then by Europeans who were drawn to the immense falls. Louis Hennepin, a French priest, is regarded as the first European to visit the area in the 1670s.
Tourism started in the early 19th century and has been a vital part of the local economy since that time. As well as the obvious attractions of the falls, Niagara Falls markets itself as a honeymoon destination and is self-proclaimed as the honeymoon capital of the world. In 1953, Marilyn Monroe filmed Niagara (1953 film), a major event for the city.
In 1963, the city absorbed the surrounding Stamford Township, resulting in a doubling of population.
With the creation of a Niagara regional government in 1970, the city amalgamated with the village of Chippawa, Willoughby Township and part of Crowland Township, creating the present-day municipal boundaries.
The City's Official Historian is Sherman Zavitz, who gives regular radio broadcasts on many aspects of Niagara's history