Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother, Jerome, did it. Laurel and Hardy wrote an entire short movie about doing it. And on film, Marilyn Monroe did it too (though her character didn’t survive to tell the tale).
They all travelled to Niagara Falls to celebrate their honeymoons.
Among the nicknames the city has earned over the centuries, this one might be the best known – the Honeymoon Capital of the World. With Valentine’s Day approaching, it seems fitting to look into the reasons behind this.
Psychologists say the sight of the flow of water pouring over the falls stirs something deep and erotic within us, and that’s the reason for the monicker. Or maybe it’s the romantic image of the beautiful rainbow that arches overtop the falls most days.
Writing in 2012 in the Niagara Falls Review, city historian Sherman Zavitz recalled a contest the newspaper had co-sponsored in the early 1990s asking people to recall their honeymoon trips to the city.
He quoted from a letter sent by one couple, who shortly after marrying had scraped together the money to drive to Niagara Falls and who later moved to Florida. The letter closed with: “We often talk about that trip as we think it was the most memorable trip we have ever taken.
“We saw so much of the beauty of the falls and after 65 years of marriage we are still together and very much in love. We are 86 and 85 years old. Just hope we will be lucky enough to see Niagara Falls again.”
The fact is, the entire city has embraced its role in celebrating love, if you will, not just for honeymoons but other occasions like Valentine’s Day (and when you think of it, Feb. 14 is a perfect day to start the marital ball rolling by proposing to your loved one, in a scenic place like Niagara Falls).
The city’s identity as a destination for romance for newlyweds is generally traced to the early 1800s but most likely really caught on in the middle 19th century when railway travel made previously inaccessible destinations possible to reach.
Suddenly, couples could travel here from across North America at reasonable prices. It didn’t take long for the local business community to embrace the new identity and run with it, building hotels, wedding chapels and attractions to interest the honeymoon travellers who ventured out of their hotel rooms.
Hotel rooms with heart-shaped tubs and Jacuzzis. Little wedding chapels. Mass public weddings – you name it, it was and is all available in Niagara Falls.
This year the Skylon Tower will be cast in a pink hue for Valentine’s Day. A room with a view of the falls will certainly add to the romantic atmosphere, as would a dinner-for-two! Check out our Romance package for more details.