Maid of the Mist

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Maid of the Mist

The Maid of the Mist is a boat tour of Niagara Falls, starting and ending on the American side, crossing briefly into Ontario during a portion of the trip. (The actual boats used are also named Maid of the Mist, followed by a different Roman numeral in each case.)


The original Maid of the Mist was built at a landing near Niagara Falls on the American side of the border.[1] The boat was christened in 1846 as a border-crossing ferry;[2] its first trip was on September 18, 1846.[3] The two-stage barge-like steamer was designed primarily as a link for a proposed ferry service between New York City and Toronto. It was a 72-foot-long side-wheeler with an 18-foot beam which was powered by steam produced from a wood- and coal-fired boiler. It could carry up to 100 passengers.[4]

The ferry did well until 1848, when the opening of a suspension bridge between the United States and Canada cut into the ferry traffic. It was then that the owners decided to make the journey a sightseeing trip, plotting a journey closer to the Falls.

The present day Maid of the Mist Corporation was formed in 1884 by Captain R. F. Carter and Frank LaBlond,[5] who invested in a new Maid that would launch in 1885.[6][7] Captain Carter and Mr. LaBlond hired Alfred H. White from Port Robinson, Ontario to build the new ship.[citation needed] A letter in the archives of the Buffalo Historical Society from Mr. LaBlond to Alfred White says that they are well pleased with the vessel and asks Alfred to add a wale onto the boat.[citation needed]

Russel Brothers of Owen Sound, Ont. made two all steel Maids for the Niagara Falls gorge, in 1955 and 1956.[8] The first one is now based in Parry Sound, Ont. and runs dinner cruises and day excursions. The second Maid was sold in 1983 to the United Pentecostal Church of Ontario and destined for missionary service in the Amazon. Maid of the Mist II took part in the 9 July 1960, rescue of Roger Woodward, a seven-year-old boy who became the first person to survive a plunge over the Horseshoe Falls with nothing but a life jacket. Maid of the Mist II served as a Maid of the Mist until 1983. Subsequently she was relocated to the Amazon River, where she served as a missionary ship for some years.[9]

Access to the river-level attraction on the Canadian side was provided by the Maid of the Mist Incline Railway, a funicular railway, between 1894 and 1990, to travel between street level and the boat dock.[10] As this service proved increasingly inadequate in transporting the growing passenger base of the 1990s, four high-speed elevators replaced the railway in 1991. On the American side, the dock is reached by four elevators enclosed in the observation tower.[11]

The service is run by Maid of the Mist Corp. of Niagara Falls, New York. Maid of the Mist has been owned by the Glynn family since 1971.[12]

James V. Glynn is chairman and chief executive officer of Maid of the Mist Corp. Glynn joined Maid of the Mist in 1950 as a ticket seller, and purchased the company in 1971. During his tenure, Maid of the Mist expanded operations, achieving ten-fold growth.[citation needed]

A partial history of Maid of the Mist is featured in the IMAX film Niagara: Miracles, Myths and Magic.[13]

Electric Maids[edit]

On May 4, 2019, Maid of the Mist President Christopher M. Glynn announced the construction of two all-electric, emission-free vessels, the first of their kind built in the United States. The boats were originally scheduled to launch in September 2019[14] but, as of October 2019, are now expected to launch sometime in 2020.[15] The boats are trucked in sections to a harbor near the falls and assembled there. The catamaran hull is welded 5086 H116 aluminum, and is 27.5 m (90 ft) long and 10.4 m (34 ft) wide, with a 1.7 m (5 ft 7 in) draft, and can carry 500 people. Each boat has 316 kWh batteries powering 400 kW motors. A ride is 20 minutes, and the batteries are then charged to 80% in seven minutes.[16]

The steel and diesel boats Maid of the Mist VI (1990) and Maid of the Mist VII (1997) will be decommissioned once the electric boats enter service.[17]

Name source[edit]

The name, Maid of the Mist, is a reference to the Native American legend of Lelawala.[citation needed]

Notable passengers[edit]

While on his 1860 tour of Canada, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), rode on Maid of the Mist.[18]

In June 1952, Marilyn Monroe rode the Maid of the Mist while in Niagara Falls to film the movie Niagara.[19]

In 1991 The Prince and Princess of Wales, and their two young sons, Princes William and Harry, rode on Maid of the Mist.[20]

Mikhail Gorbachev was a passenger in 1983.[12]


Maid of the Mist I[21]

  • Years of service: 1846–54
  • Type: double-stack steamboat ferry
  • Engine: one sidewheel steam

A second Maid of the Mist I was built in 1854[citation needed]

  • Years of service: 1854–60
  • Length: 72 feet (22 m)
  • Type: single-stack steamer
  • Engine: paddle boat
Maid of the Mist I, published c. 1901
Stereoscopic view of Maid of the Mist II, c. 1896–1906

Maid of the Mist I, this one sailed closer to Horseshoe Falls than any had previously.[citation needed]

  • Years of service: 1885–1955
  • Type: steam boat
  • Engine: N/A

Maid of the Mist II

  • Years of service: 1892–1955
  • Type: white oak steam boat
  • Length: 89 feet (27 m)
  • Engine: two-engine steam

These boats sailed the lower river until April 22, 1955, when they burned in a pre-season accident. Later that year, they were replaced by two new ships. The type and style of the boats is still seen today; they were made of steel and powered by diesel engines.

Maid of the Mist I[citation needed]

  • Years of service: 1955–90
  • Length: 66 feet (20 m)
  • Engine: 200-horsepower (150 kW) diesel engines
  • Passengers: 101

Maid of the Mist II[citation needed]

  • Years of service: 1956–83
  • Type: all-steel boat, twin of I
  • Engine: 200-horsepower (150 kW) diesel engines
  • Passengers: 101
Maid of the Mist boarding dock, 1976
View of Niagara Falls from Maid of the Mist
Tourists on Maid of the Mist wear blue raincoats to protect themselves from the spray.
Maid of Mist IV and Maid of Mist VII

More ships have been added to the fleet.

Maid of the Mist III

  • Years of service: 1972–97
  • Length: 65 feet (20 m)
  • Gross tonnage: 75[22]
  • Engine: single 250-horsepower (190 kW) diesel
  • Passengers: 210
  • Vessel sold and renamed Chippewa III as tour boat in Parry Sound, Ontario 1992 and retired early 2017

Maid of the Mist IV

  • Years of service: 1976–2013
  • Length: 72 feet (22 m)
  • Gross tonnage: 75[23]
  • Engine: two 250-horsepower (190 kW) diesel
  • Passengers: 300

Maid of the Mist V

  • Years of service: 1983–2013
  • Length: 72 feet (22 m)
  • Gross tonnage: 74[24]
  • Engine: two 355-horsepower (265 kW) diesel
  • Passengers: 300

Maid of the Mist VI

  • Years of service: 1990–present
  • Length: 74 feet (23 m)
  • Breadth: 30 feet (9.1 m)
  • Depth: 10 feet (3.0 m)
  • Gross tonnage: 155[25]
  • Engine: two 355-horsepower (265 kW) diesel
  • Passengers: 600

Maid of the Mist VII

  • Years of service: 1997–present;
  • Length: 80 feet (24 m)
  • Breadth: 30 feet (9.1 m)
  • Depth: 10 feet (3.0 m)
  • Gross tonnage: 155[26]
  • Engine: two 350-horsepower (260 kW) diesel
  • Passengers: 600

Little Maid

  • A small tug-like vessel found at the docks on the American side

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John Brandt Mansfield (1899). History of the Great Lakes ... J.H. Beers & Company. pp. 652–.
  2. ^ Barbara Hopkinson; Lorraine Johnson (1 May 2013). Top 10 Toronto. DK Publishing. pp. 57–. ISBN 978-1-4654-1230-0.
  3. ^ John Disturnell (1857). A trip through the lakes of North America: embracing a full description of the St. Lawrence River, together with all the principal places on its banks, from its source to its mouth ; commerce of the lakes, etc. ; forming altogether a complete guide for the pleasure traveler and emigrant ; with maps and embellishments. Published by J. Disturnell. pp. 213–.
  4. ^ Willard V. Anderson (1954). Ships and the Sea. Kalmbach Publishing Company.
  5. ^ Niagara Parks Commission (Ont.) (1896). Annual Report of the Niagara Parks Commission. Niagara Parks Commission. pp. 137–.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Gene Buel; Scott Buel (2012). Marine City. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 118–. ISBN 978-0-7385-9180-3.
  8. ^ Steve Briggs (2018). "Russel Brothers Boats Archive". Steve Briggs.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  11. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  12. ^ a b "Unclear Future for Mainstay of Niagara Mist". The New York Times. 24 May 2012.
  13. ^ "The Niagara Falls Movie: "Legends and Daredevils"". Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada: IMAX Theater. Archived from the original on June 2, 2008.
  14. ^ "Maid of the Mist leads the way with first all-electric vessels built in the United States". Maid of The Mist. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  15. ^ "All aboard! New eco-friendly Maid of the Mist boats eye 2020 opening". WKBW Buffalo. Retrieved 3 Nov 2019.
  16. ^ Stensvold, Tore (16 May 2019). "America's first battery boat gets Norwegian technology" [Amerikas første batteriferge får norsk teknologi]. (in Norwegian). Teknisk Ukeblad.
  17. ^ "Maid of the Mist tour boats to be battery-powered". CBC News. Associated Press. 6 May 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  18. ^ Ian Walter Radforth (2004). Royal Spectacle: The 1860 Visit of the Prince of Wales to Canada and the United States. University of Toronto Press. pp. 300–. ISBN 978-0-8020-8665-5.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Famous Visitors". Niagara Parks. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  21. ^ Edwin C. Guillet (15 December 1933). Early Life in Upper Canada. University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division. pp. 78–. ISBN 978-1-4875-9803-7.
  22. ^ Results for Vessel: Maid of the Mist III, United States Coast Guard Maritime Information eXchange (CGMIX)
  23. ^ Results for Vessel: Maid of the Mist IV, United States Coast Guard Maritime Information eXchange (CGMIX)
  24. ^ Results for Vessel: Maid of the Mist V, United States Coast Guard Maritime Information eXchange (CGMIX)
  25. ^ Results for Vessel: Maid of the Mist VI, United States Coast Guard Maritime Information eXchange (CGMIX)
  26. ^ Results for Vessel: Maid of the Mist VII, United States Coast Guard Maritime Information eXchange (CGMIX)

External links[edit]