The Expat Woman

10 Interesting Facts about Niagara’s Rainbow Bridge

If you are planning to make a trip to the Niagara Falls, either in the USA or Canada, you should check out the Rainbow bridge, one of the 119 legal land border crossings between the United States and Canada.  

I didn’t know about the existence of this hidden gem until I visited Niagara Falls in Canada for the first time in the summer of 2019.  I visited in early July between Canada Day and the 4th of July, US Independence Day, so the bridge had extra significance as it traverses both continents.

You hear people talk and rave about Niagara Falls but rarely about this bridge.

I entered the bridge from the Canada side, walked acroos to the US side and then back. It was a beautiful day, not too crowded and the views from the bridge of the falls and the surrounding areas were breathtaking.

Here are 10 interesting facts about this bridge

1. The Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge, commonly known as the Rainbow Bridge, is an arch bridge across the Niagara River gorge. 

2. The Rainbow Bridge was built at the site of the former Honeymoon Bridge which collapsed on January 27, 1938, due to an ice jam in the river.

3. The bridge officially opened on November 1, 1941 and was a collaborative effort between Canadian and American authorities.

4. The views from the bridge are breathtaking with panoramic views of all three falls – the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and the Horseshoe Falls. I think this is the best place to view all the fall.s

Photo of the Niagara Falls, Maid of the Mist Boat and the US side of the falls, from the Rainbow Bridge
View of Niagara Falls and a Maid of the Mist boat from the Rainbow Bridge

5. It  spans the Niagara River, connecting Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, with Niagara Falls, New York, USA.

6. You can cross the bridge by car, on foot or bicycle. It  took us around 15 minutes to walk across and we stopped a couple of times to take photos and enjoy the views. 

Image at the turnstile at the Canadian customs that reads Change for Turnstiles. It'a also in French, German and Chinese and also has images of the US and Canadian flags and dollar bills.
Image at the turnstile at the Canadian customs

7. There is a $1.00 crossing fee for pedestrians that is collected when departing Canada. We had to use coins in the turnstile to get out. So make sure you carry cash.

8. The deck of the Rainbow Bridge is 202 feet above the Niagara River and the total length measures 1,450 feet long.

9. The origin of the bridge’s name is unknown but it is believed that it is called “Rainbow” due to the frequent rainbows visible in the mist of the falls from the bridge. 

Image of the sign International Boundary Limit and view of the Niagara Falls
International Boundary Plaque on the Rainbow Bridge

10. Halfway through the pedestrian bridge, there is a bronze plate attached to the railing which designates the actual border point between the USA and Canada. This is the International Boundary Line.

Crossing the International Rainbow Bridge was quite the experience.  I spent a little time at the International Boundary Line with one foot in each country while soaking in the beauty.

We visited the bridge on a weekday, so it was relatively empty and  the wait time at customs  on the Canadian side was less then 10 minutes. We did not exit on the US side but walked back to the Canadian side. 

Image of the Canadian and American flags
International Border Crossing Rainbow Bridge

Tips for visiting and walking across the bridge

  1. Customs checks are carried out on both the American and Canadian sides; you must have your passport and relevant visa or travel documents to cross the bridge.
  2. Use border wait time websites or apps to check the current wait times at the Rainbow Bridge before you travel. Niagara Falls Border Crossing Information
  3. You cannot obtain a tourist visa at the border crossings.
  4. The bridge is open twenty four hours a day seven days a week every day of the year.
  5. The bridge is about a 1/4 mile long.
  6. If you make purchases and travel between Niagara Falls Ontario and Niagara Falls New York be sure to save your receipts as you most likely will be required to declare all purchases.
  7. There are duty free shops at both Niagara Falls Ontario and Niagara Falls New York.

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Nyna is the Founder and CEO of The Expat Woman, a global platform focused on connecting, supporting and empowering women who have moved abroad or plan to relocate. She is also a LinkedIn coach, consultant, trainer and speaker. LinkedIn played a huge role in my professional journey abroad, helping me build a network of powerful expat women and allies.

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