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Halloween storm moves 101-year-old Niagara River wreck

Saturday, November 2nd 2019, 10:25 am - Thursday night's windstorm pushed one iconic Niagara River sight closer to the edge.

A Niagara Falls tourist attraction is about 50 metres closer to toppling over the Horseshoe Falls in the wake of Halloween's howling windstorm.

The wrecked iron scow that's been securely lodged about 700 metres from the edge of the falls for the past 101 years appears to have "flipped on its side and spun around" thanks to Thursday night's winds, according to Jim Hill, the Senior Manager of Heritage for Niagara Parks.

scow after storm niagara parks The scow after Thursday night's storm. Image courtesy Niagara Parks.

The severe windstorm that swept through southern Ontario on Halloween night is being blamed for the sudden shift. Winds in the Niagara region peaked at 94 km/h around midnight Thursday, and the Buffalo Niagara Airport reported about 35 mm of rain associated with the storm.


The wreck celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018. In August 1918, the scow broke away from its towing tug and began to slip toward the edge of the falls. Two unfortunate Niagara Falls Power Company employees were rescued from the scow after it lodged itself on a shoal in the rapids.

Subjected to the constant flow of the Niagara River -- which can reach more than 65 km/h where the scow is, in the Upper Rapids -- much of the ship has rusted and disintegrated in the 101 years since it became stuck in the river.

Old scow wrecked in 1918 just above Niagara Falls The scow's position before the storm, as seen in 2009. Image courtesy Diego Torres Silvestre from Sao Paulo, Brazil - The Old Scow, CC BY 2.0.

Hill says it's "anyone's guess" as to how long the scow will be stuck in its new position. Niagara Parks CEO David Adames told CBC staff are monitoring the situation and constantly watching the wreck via security camera.

Sources: Niagara Parks | CBC | Niagara This Week | Niagara Falls Tourism |

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