WHEN I visit one of the wonders of my childhood world, I always steel myself for disappointment. Surely Niagara Falls could not be as dramatic as it looked in Superman II, nor as striking as the postcards that wowed me.

I’m delighted to report that the Canadian side of Niagara in Ontario exceeded expectations. And in some surprising ways.

My childhood visions of Niagara are instantly rekindled when my Niagara bus driver James Derbyshire tells me, “I was born and bred here and had a role as an extra in the Superman film. It was a huge deal here.”

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He is also a big fan of the new BBC Rebus TV series and of Scotland.

“We get a lot of Scottish people at Niagara and we feel an instant connection with them given our shared history. And no one is disappointed by Niagara Falls – they look different and equally special in every season.”

My room at the perfectly located Hilton Niagara Falls offers my first view of the Falls. And it is Falls plural, I’m surprised to learn – three of them. Dead ahead lies the rocky waterfall on the American side. To my right the Canadian Horseshoe Falls tumble with such force I can easily hear the roar through my windows on the 38th floor. Bridal Veils Falls rumble nearby.

Breakfast at the hotel is a joy. Make sure to get there early and ask for a bird’s eye window seat gazing over at the cascades from the 33rd floor. You really cannot take your eyes off them.

You can take a peek through the binoculars at Niagara FallsYou can take a peek through the binoculars at Niagara Falls (Image: Robin McKelvie)

I hadn’t appreciated that you can enjoy Niagara Falls for free. Myriad viewpoints compete to rank up the wow factor to the max. A boulevard sweeps right along the Niagara River, which separates the two countries. There is no such thing as a dull walk here as the Falls confront the senses continually.

That roar. The mesmerising volume of water. The rising mists that at times feel like a Scottish summer rain shower.

The traditional way to really get a feel for Niagara Falls is on a boat trip. I hop on Niagara City Cruises. The free “waterproof” ponchos we’re given are ominous. Sure enough, we start to get wet at the American Falls. As passengers scream and whoop, cormorants and gulls saunter by wondering what all the fuss is about. Niagara Falls, despite the built-up tourism, is still very much an oasis for nature too.

Deeper now we push on towards the Horseshoe Falls. The mist turns to rain. And then the power of the water engenders what feels like a gale that does for my flimsy poncho just in time for the full onslaught of the Falls. I’m instantly and completely drenched and have to turn away. I can see nothing.

And then somehow ,we are through the tumult and right next to the waterfall, a sublime moment where the wall of tumbling waters clears to allow patches of blue sky. Wow. My inner child is ecstatic.

They could just be done with that, but Ontario does not do things by halves. Next up. I join a Journey Behind The Falls tour. This popular option kits you out in another poncho to head down into the bowels of the Falls.

 catch the Clifton Hill complex for a wee bit of Blackpool in Canadacatch the Clifton Hill complex for a wee bit of Blackpool in Canada (Image: Robin McKelvie)

Narrow, damp tunnels eke out to peepholes where you are within touching distance. The highlight comes when you spill out onto a split-level viewing gallery. You’re by now wet again, but it doesn’t matter as the views and memories keep flowing.

I also join the Wild Water Walk, a boardwalk that sweeps you along the Niagara River further upstream. I could have opted for a zip line over the water that races down 2200 feet to the base of the Horseshoe Falls, or the Whirlpool Aero Car, which hovers 3500ft above the Niagara River. By night there is the Blackpool-esque amusement complex around Clifton Hill that is lots of fun with its cheap eats, amusement arcades, rollercoasters and rides. My younger self would have been in heaven.

The experiences keep coming. And multiplying. A new one is the night option at the old hydroelectric power station.

I feel intrepid vaulting down what feels like a mine shaft in a chunky lift. A huge tunnel ahead beckons me further with lounge dance music and a funky multi-coloured light show. Information boards set the scene to explain how it was built – “some of the engineers were Scottish” the lift attendant tells me – and then it is out on to another viewing platform for yet another unique view of Niagara Falls. I wonder for a second if I’ve had enough, but no, the view is different again.

My last view is from the Table Rock House Restaurant. I enjoy a pint of local ale – Niagara has great wines too – and, of course, peer over Niagara Falls.

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I tuck into Ontario pork belly, sausages and fillet spiced with Ontario cider and maple syrup. Delicious, surprising and definitely not disappointing. Just like the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

I’m having as much fun as my childhood self.

For further information see Destination Ontario (www.destinationontario.com). Robin flew with Canadian airline Transat (www.airtransat.com), which flies to Toronto from Glasgow with a flight time of just six to seven hours. Niagara is an easy train ride south.