Niagara Falls


Niagara Falls
Dave Mitchell, via Flickr

Liz Waid and Adam Navis look at the natural wonder of Niagara Falls. This huge waterfall is on the border of the United States and Canada. More than 12 million people visit it every year.

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Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I’m Adam Navis. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 3 

“It was a terrible day, cold and wet. Within a few minutes, I saw two great white clouds rising up slowly from deep in the earth. For the first time, I heard the mighty rush of water. I felt the ground shake under my feet.”

Voice 1

These are the words of the great English writer Charles Dickens. He wrote them in 1842. He was visiting Niagara Falls. This waterfall is on the border of the United States and Canada. It is one of the largest in the world. Each year, more than 12 million people visit it. Today’s Spotlight is on Niagara Falls. Dickens wrote,

Voice 3 

“I could see a huge flow of water, coming down fast from very high. I had no idea of shape, or situation, or anything. It was just so big.”

Voice 2 

This is what many people experience at Niagara Falls. People describe the waterfall as “great”, “mighty”, and “huge”! The sound is incredible. The Falls are on the Niagara River. The river divides just before the waterfall, and then each part drops over a rocky edge. Because of this split, there are actually two waterfalls, separated by a small island. On the American side is ‘American Falls’. It is over 300 metres across. On the Canadian side is ‘Horseshoe Falls’. The name comes from its shape - like a horseshoe, in a half circle. Horseshoe Falls is nearly 700 metres across!

Voice 1 

Niagara Falls is not the tallest waterfall in the world. However, the Falls are one of the widest in the world. Over 2 million litres of water fall over Niagara every second!

Voice 2 

People have been visiting Niagara Falls for thousands of years. Native people knew the waterfall well. More than 300 years ago, European explorers told the rest of the world about them. One of these explorers was Louis Hennepin. Hennepin was from Belgium. He was both amazed and afraid of what he saw there. He wrote a book about his adventures. In the book, he described his first time seeing the great waterfall. He wrote that it was one of the most wonderful things he had seen. He described the water hurrying over the edge, like a group of wild animals. He said that the noise was louder, and more terrible, than thunder in a storm.

Voice 1

For many years, Hennepin was the only person to write about the waterfall. Many people in Europe read what he wrote. The waterfall was one of the many amazing things about America. But it was a long time before many other people could see the waterfall. It was a long, difficult trip to visit it.

Voice 2 

As more people moved to the Americas, some people did make the trip. But it was not until the 1840s that Niagara Falls became a popular place. Trains made travel much easier. It also cost less money. At the same time, people in North America were also starting to take holiday trips. Many people lived in cities. So natural places, like Niagara Falls, were very popular. The area became a tourist attraction - a place that many people visited.

Voice 1 

As a result, businesses around the waterfall grew. There were hotels, and restaurants. Most people just wanted to see the natural beauty of the waterfalls. But some people also used the waterfalls to perform stunts - dangerous acts. Over the next hundred years, people did many insane things at the falls. One of the first was a woman named Annie Edison Taylor.

Voice 2 

Annie Edison Taylor was a poor woman. But at the age of 63, she had an idea to make money. She hoped to survive a fall over Niagara Falls. If she did, she believed that she would become famous - and that would make her rich!

Voice 1 

Taylor got a very strong container - a round, wood barrel. Barrels usually hold liquid, so they do not let anything in or out. Taylor added a soft mattress inside it, to make the trip easier. On October 24 1901, friends closed her inside the barrel, and she began her trip down the river. The trip only took 20 minutes. The water shook the barrel very hard, but Taylor survived!

Voice 2 

Taylor succeeded in her trip, but she did not get rich. Instead, her act inspired many other people. A man named Sam Patch jumped off the waterfalls into the river below. A man named Jean Francois Gravelet walked over the falls on a high tight-rope. Some people also tried to copy Taylor - but they did not all survive. Now, it is not legal to perform these kinds of acts at Niagara Falls. It is too dangerous.

Voice 1

People mainly know about Niagara Falls because of its natural beauty. However, the Niagara River is also an important source of electricity. The Niagara River flows very fast, with a large amount of water.

Voice 2 

In the 1890s, the Westinghouse Electric company built the world’s first large power system on the river. Many other companies also hoped to use the land for factories and power systems. However, around the same time, many people began to work to protect the natural area. Soon, the governments of the United States and Canada got involved. They protected the land around Niagara Falls. They made parks – green, natural areas. No one could buy this land for factories or other industrial development.

Voice 1 

The governments also made agreements to protect the water going over Niagara Falls. Power systems move water out of the river to create electricity. So these agreements limit the amount of water power companies can take. This means that there is always enough water to flow over Niagara Falls.

Voice 2 

For hundreds of years, Niagara Falls has inspired people through its size and beauty. In the years to come, it will continue to inspire. To see it for yourself, visit our website. We have links there to images and video.

Voice 1 

The writers of this program were Sara DeKoster and Christy Van Arragon. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Niagara Falls’.

Voice 2 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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Question:

What is the most amazing thing you have seen in nature?

Comments


Luis Piedra's avatar
Luis Piedra
said on February 27, 2013

Hi all
The Niagara Falls have a beauty impressing that atract a much people of different countries.
Thanks spotlight

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infinity
said on March 24, 2013

Liz Waid and Adam Navis - you my favourite voices!

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Dela
said on May 04, 2014

The governments’ decision to protect the land around Niagara Falls was really right, this amazing natural miracle certainly deserves to be protected and kept for the future generations. I have watched many interesting beautiful television programs about Niagara Falls, however, I would like to see it with my own eyes someday.
Thanks for the great program!

Pablo Vinicio's avatar
Pablo Vinicio
said on May 11, 2014

Nice natural place, i dont know of Niagara Falls,,,,it is good for generate energy.

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nguyenthuy
said on December 30, 2014

wow so many place to go and see . I dream someday i can go there and enjoy . Its so excited to go anywhere and learn about anything . i may dream about niagara falls tonight . Thank spotlight !

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God is Love
said on November 19, 2015

I like the nature and I wanna be a biology the government did right. If we do not take care of this beauty it could extinguish like other animals, as we know by cutting trees
we are destroying the nature.

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improve_english
said on November 27, 2015

Niagara is one of the largest border fall in the world. It is between America and Canada, it’s also huge, mighty and wild. I’ve loved Niagara fall since I saw it on the discovery channel. It inspired me a lot and encourage me to go there to see it someday. The information about Niagara in this program is so useful for me and the others who love travelling and adventures. In my country, there is a border fall which is between Vietnam and China called Bản Giốc. It’s also the fourth largest border fall in the world. It’s so beautiful and inspire you too. Hope to see traveller around the world will to my country to visit it. Finally, thanks this program a lot for many useful information about Niagara.

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Ping
said on December 18, 2015

Hello I am Ping.
I don’t know where is the link to images and video .
Can you tell me ?
Thank you!

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Hugo_e1
said on January 08, 2016

After hear and read this article i can to imagine the greatest thing about the waterfall and I hope to visit soon that amazing place.

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ester
said on October 26, 2017

This is an amazing program. I’ve listened it many times. Thanks, Spothlight! I would love to go to Niagara Falls someday… who knows? In Brazil , where I live, there is a beautiful, huge, mighty, large sistem of 275 waterfalls called “Cataratas do Iguaçu”, which divides Brazil to Argentina. It is a wonderful place!