Located in the heart of the Niagara River, between the American and Canadian sides of the iconic Niagara Falls, Goat Island has long been a major hub for events, attractions and scenic viewpoints that draw millions of tourists from around the world. But of all the many happenings that have taken place on this small island, one event truly stands out due to its scale and impact: the Illumination of Niagara Falls.
The inaugural Illumination of the Falls took place on the night of July 26, 1860, when British royal guest of honor, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), flipped a switch to light up both the American and Horseshoe Falls for the first time. It is estimated that about 100,000 people attended this historic event.
While the initial event used the relatively new technology of the day, which consisted of burning colored flares, the illuminations over the years have evolved, harnessing the advances in technology to enhance the beauty of the Falls at night. Currently, 21 Xenon lights, which are located on Goat Island, light up the Falls nightly. Each Xenon spotlight has a brightness of 250 million candlepower, and the lights project a variety of beautiful colors across the waterfalls, turning the mighty Niagara into a brilliant and stunning night time spectacle.
Since the inaugural Illumination of the Falls this has been a major attraction for visitors, offering a unique and breathtaking perspective of the already magnificent natural wonder. As such, the Illumination of the Falls has become a staple event, cementing Goat Island's reputation as a central point in Niagara Falls' thriving tourism industry.
In addition to the annual illumination, Goat Island also hosts several other popular events, including the Niagara Falls International Marathon, music concerts, arts and cultural festivals, and environmental awareness activities. The Island's open spaces, scenic walkways, and prime views of the Falls make it an ideal location for these events, ensuring a continuous influx of visitors throughout the year.