Kakabeka Falls the Niagara Falls of the North
Kakabeka Falls is the Niagara Falls of the North
Kakabeka Falls is a large powerful waterfall that drops some 130 feet in two drops along the Kaministiquia River in the Canadian Province of Ontario that is often called the Niagara Falls of the North.
In addition to dropping 130 feet Kakabeka Falls is well over 200 feet in width and the flow of water here is quite impressive even though a large part of the water flow that used to go over Kakabeka Falls is now diverted for hydroelectric power generation. Compare the two photos directly below to see the difference in water flow. The 2nd photo is after rain and shows what Kakabeka might have been like all time before much of the water being diverted for energy production.
The real Niagara Falls also has a large part of its water flow diverted for power generation. During the peak tourist season at Niagara Falls half the water flow is required to go over the falls and not be diverted to the hydroelectric power plants during daylight hours. But after midnight until dawn 75% of the water flow over Niagara Falls is allowed to be used for power generation.
Image Source (The real Niagara Falls)
Kakabeka comes from an Ojibwa Indian word that means "water over a cliff" or "waterfall over a cliff". There is an interesting and entertaining Ojibwa legend concerning Kakabeka Falls. An Ojibwa princess named Greenmantle was captured alone in the woods by an invading force of Sioux warriors and they tried to force her to lead them to the main Ojibwa camp. Greenmantle lead the warriors down the Kaministiquia River towards the Ojibwa camp and as they approached Kakabeka Falls Greenmantle at the last second diverted her canoe towards shore and jumped out and swam to safety and ran to warn her tribe of the invaders. Many of the Sioux warriors unaware of Kakabeka Falls went right over the waterfall and plunged to their deaths and the remaining Sioux forces were soon defeated at a battle on the Welcome Islands near Thunder Bay. In other versions of the story Greenmantle went over the falls herself and perished while saving her people.
Kabeka Falls is located in the Kabeka Falls Provincial Park which was established to protect the falls in 1955 and is managed by the Ontario Parks Department. The Kaministiquia River was used for centuries beginning back in the late 1600's by fur trappers and hunters known as Voyageurs to reach the interior sections of the northwest parts of North America and Canada but they had to take a 1 mile portage to get around Kakabeka Falls.
Famed Canadian landscape painter Lucius Richard O'Brien and female English painter Frances Anne Hopkins both painted famous pictures of Kakabeka Falls back in the 1800's. O'Brien's painting of Kakabeka Falls is on display at the National Gallery of Canada and you can see Hopkins painting below.
Kakabeka Falls is a spectacular sight to visit the year round even in winter.
Directions to Kakabeka Falls: Kakabeka Falls is easily reached right along Routes 11/17 West about 15 miles west of Thunder Bay, Ontario. There are viewing platforms right along the road which offer fantastic views of Kakabeka Falls the Niagara Falls of the North.