Niagara Falls, Ontario

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Niagara Falls
City (lower-tier)
City of Niagara Falls
Skyline of Niagara Falls, Ontario
Skyline of Niagara Falls, Ontario
Nickname(s): The Honeymoon Capital of the World, the Falls
Location of Niagara Falls in the Niagara Region
Location of Niagara Falls in the Niagara Region
Niagara Falls is located in Southern Ontario
Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls
Location in southern Ontario
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Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
Regional Municipality Niagara
Incorporated 12 June 1903
 • Mayor Jim Diodati
 • Governing body Niagara Falls City Council
 • MP Rob Nicholson
 • MPP Wayne Gates
Area[1] [2]
 • Land 209.71 km2 (80.97 sq mi)
 • Urban 382.68 km2 (147.75 sq mi)
 • Metro 1,397.50 km2 (539.58 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1][2]
 • City (lower-tier) 82,997 (Ranked 65th)
 • Density 395.8/km2 (1,025/sq mi)
 • Urban 308,596 (Ranked 12th)
 • Urban density 545.02/km2 (1,411.6/sq mi)
 • Metro 390,317 (Ranked 12th)
 • Metro density 279.3/km2 (723/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Postal Code L2E,L2G,L2H,L2J
Area code(s) 905, 289, 365
Skyline of Niagara Falls, Canada, as seen from Niagara Falls State Park across the river in the United States

Niagara Falls (/nˈæɡrə/ ny-AG-ra) is a Canadian city on the western bank of the Niagara River in the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario, with a population of 82,997 at the 2011 census.[1] The municipality was incorporated on 12 June 1903. Across the Niagara River is Niagara Falls, New York.

The city is dominated by the Niagara Falls, a world-famous set of three large waterfalls on the Niagara River. Both the American and Horseshoe falls can be best seen from the Canadian side of the river, so the city has one of the major tourist attractions of the world. The natural spectacle attracts millions of tourists yearly.

This area, which stretches along the Niagara Parkway and tourist promenade, is particularly concentrated at the brink of the falls. Apart from the natural attractions along the river, it includes observation towers, high-rise hotels, souvenir shops, casinos and theatres, mostly with colourful neon billboards and advertisements, and sufficient parking to accommodate visitors. Further to the north or south, golf courses are operated alongside historic sites from the War of 1812.


This area was long part of the Iroquois Confederacy territory: five powerful First Nations mostly along the southern edge of the Great Lakes. The Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca were based largely in present-day New York, ranging from east near the Hudson River, to western areas of Seneca Lake and along Ontario and other Great Lakes.

The Niagara Falls area has had some European settlement since the 17th century. Louis Hennepin, a French priest and missionary, is regarded as the first European to visit the area in the 1670s. French colonists settled mostly in Lower Canada, beginning near the Atlantic, and in Quebec and Montreal. Increased settlement in this area took place during and after the American Revolutionary War, when the British Crown made land grants to Loyalists to help them resettle in Upper Canada and provide some compensation for their losses after the United States became independent. Loyalist Robert Land received 200 acres (81 ha) and was one of the first people of European descent to settle in the Niagara Region. He moved to nearby Hamilton three years later due to the relentless noise of falls.[3]

Tourism started in the early 19th century and has been a vital part of the local economy since that time. The falls became known as a natural wonder, in part to their being featured in paintings by prominent American artists of the 19th century such as Albert Bierstadt. Such works were reproduced as lithographs, becoming widely distributed. In addition, Niagara Falls markets itself as a honeymoon destination; it is the self-proclaimed "honeymoon capital of the world."

In 1856, the Town of Clifton was incorporated. The name of the town was changed to Niagara Falls in 1881. In 1882, the community of Drummondville (located near the present-day corner of Lundy's Lane and Main Street) was incorporated as the village of Niagara Falls. The village was referred to as Niagara Falls South to differentiate it from the town. In 1904, the town and village amalgamated to form the City of Niagara Falls.

In 1882, Irish author Oscar Wilde visited Niagara Falls after lecturing in Buffalo, New York, during a lecture tour of North America. He stayed at the Prospect House.

An Internment camp was set up at The Armoury in Niagara Falls from December 1914 to August 1918. [4]

In 1953, the American actress Marilyn Monroe filmed Niagara here. This was a major event for the city.

In 1962, the city amalgamated with the surrounding Stamford Township, resulting in a doubling of population.

With the creation of a Niagara regional government in 1970, the city absorbed the village of Chippawa, Willoughby Township and part of Crowland Township, creating the present-day municipal boundaries.

The city's official historian is Sherman Zavitz, who gives regular radio broadcasts on many aspects of Niagara's history.[5]


Looking north on the Niagara River towards Niagara Falls, Ontario

Niagara Falls is approximately 130 km (81 mi) by road from Ontario's capital of Toronto, which is located across Lake Ontario to the north. The area of the Niagara Region is approximately 1,800 km2 (690 sq mi).


The city is built along the Niagara Falls waterfalls and the Niagara Gorge on the Niagara River, which flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.


The city of Niagara Falls has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa/Dfb) which is moderated to an extent in all seasons by proximity to water bodies. Winters are cold, with a January high of −0.4 °C (31.3 °F) and a low of −7.8 °C (18.0 °F).[6] However, temperatures above 0 °C (32.0 °F) are common during winter.[6] The average annual snowfall is 154 centimetres (61 in), in which it can receive lake effect snow from both lakes Erie and Ontario. Summers are warm to hot, with a July high of 27.4 °C (81.3 °F) and a low of 17 °C (62.6 °F).[6] The average annual precipitation is 970.2 millimetres (38 in), which is relatively evenly distributed throughout the year.

Climate data for Niagara Falls
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 22.2
Average high °C (°F) −0.4
Daily mean °C (°F) −4.1
Average low °C (°F) −7.8
Record low °C (°F) −26
Average precipitation mm (inches) 75.6
Average rainfall mm (inches) 27.8
Average snowfall cm (inches) 47.7
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 14.4 11.4 11.3 12.6 13.5 11.3 10.9 10.8 11.2 13.0 13.0 13.4 146.6
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 5.0 4.5 7.2 11.6 13.4 11.3 10.9 10.8 11.2 13.0 11.1 7.7 117.9
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 9.8 7.7 5.0 1.6 0.08 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.4 6.6 33.2
Source #1: Environment Canada (normals 1981–2010, extremes 1981–2006)[7]
Source #2: Environment Canada (extremes for Niagara Falls 1943−1995)[6]

Communities and neighbourhoods

Although more historical and cultural diversity exists, Niagara Falls has 11 communities and 67 neighbourhoods defined by Planning Neighbourhoods and Communities for the City of Niagara Falls.[8]

  • Beaverdams
    • Hyott
    • N.E.C. West
    • Nichols
    • Shriners
    • Warner
  • Chippawa
    • Bridgewater
    • Cummings
    • Hunter
    • Kingsbridge
    • Ussher
    • Weinbrenner
  • Crowland
    • Crowland
  • Drummond
    • Brookfield
    • Caledonia
    • Coronation
    • Corwin
    • Drummond Industrial Basin
    • Hennepin
    • Leeming
    • Merrit
    • Miller
    • Orchard
    • Trillium
  • Elgin
    • Balmoral
    • Central Business District
    • Glenview
    • Hamilton
    • Maple
    • Oakes
    • Ryerson
    • Valleyway
  • Grassybrook
    • Grassybrook Industrial Basin
    • Oakland
    • Rexinger
  • Northwest
    • Carmel
    • Kent
    • Mulhearn
  • Queen Victoria
  • Stamford
    • Burdette
    • Calaguiro
    • Church
    • Cullimore
    • Gauld
    • Ker
    • Mitchellson
    • Mountain
    • N.E.C. East
    • Olden
    • Pettit
    • Portage
    • Queensway
    • Rolling Acres
    • Thompson
    • Wallice
  • Westlane
    • Garner
    • Hodgson
    • Lundy
    • Munro
    • Oakwood
    • Royal Manor
    • Westlane Industrial Basin
  • Willoughby
    • Niagara River Parkway
    • Willoughby


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1881 2,347 —    
1891 3,349 +42.7%
1901 4,244 +26.7%
1911 9,248 +117.9%
1921 14,764 +59.6%
1931 19,046 +29.0%
1941 20,371 +7.0%
1951 22,874 +12.3%
1961 22,351 −2.3%
1971 67,163 +200.5%
1981 70,960 +5.7%
1991 75,399 +6.3%
2001 78,815 +4.5%
2006 82,184 +4.3%
2011 82,997 +1.0%
Ethnic Origin Population
English 22,880
Italian 15,425
Scottish 13,910
Irish 11,200
French 8,710
Source: 2001 Census of Canada[9]

In 2011, the population of Niagara Falls was 81,300 persons, while the metropolitan area enumerated 422,805 people. The population of Niagara Falls is older than Canada in general in terms of age structure. Youths under 18 years of age number 19.3%. Some 7,715 (9.5%) inhabitants described themselves as visible minorities (non-white/non-European), with the majority of those being Black, Chinese, Filipino and South Asian people.[10][11]

83.97% of Niagara Falls city residents self-identified with Christian denominations. The largest denominations consist of Catholic (41.99%), Protestant (36.80%), and 5.18% other Christian mostly Eastern Orthodox, 14.10% claimed no religious affiliation, while other religions (1.93%) including Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim accounted for the rest.[12]


Niagara Falls, Ontario. The Fallsview area is in the background.

With a plentiful and inexpensive source of hydroelectric power via the waterfalls, many electro-chemical and electro-metallurgical industries located there in the early to mid-20th century.

Industry began moving out of the city in the 1970s and 80s because of economic recession and increasing global competition in the manufacturing sector. Tourism increasingly became the city's most important source of revenue. Generally speaking, Niagara Falls, Ontario is a more popular destination than Niagara Falls, New York, in part due to the better view of the falls from the Canadian side of the river. In the 20th century, there was a favourable exchange rate when comparing Canadian and U.S. currencies, and Ontario had a greater focus on tourism. Also, Ontario's legal drinking age of 19, in comparison to a legal drinking age of 21 in the U.S., attracts 19- and 20-year-old potential alcohol consumers from across the border.

The Ontario government introduced legal gambling to the local economy in the mid-1990s. Casino Niagara precipitated an economic boom in the late 1990s as numerous luxury hotels and tourist attractions were built, and a second casino, Niagara Fallsview, opened in 2004. Both were able to attract American tourists due in part to the comparatively less expensive Canadian dollar, and despite the opening of the Seneca Niagara Casino on the American side. When the Canadian and US currencies had moved closer to parity in the 2000s, Niagara Falls, Ontario continued to be a popular destination for Americans. Its tourist areas had many attractions and a vibrancy, while Niagara Falls, New York languished in a prolonged economic downturn.

In 2004, several tourist establishments in Niagara Falls began adding a three percent marketing fee to bills. The collected money is untraceable, and there are no controls over how each establishment spends it. The Ontario government—concerned that tourists could be misled into believing the fees were endorsed by the government—warned hotels and restaurants in 2008 not to claim the fee if it was not being remitted to a legitimate non-profit agency that promotes tourism. The practise continues, and takes in an estimated $15 million per-year from tourists unaware the fee is voluntary and can be removed from their bill.[13][14]

Recent development has been mostly centred on the Clifton Hill and Fallsview areas. The Niagara Falls downtown (Queen Street) is undergoing a major revitalization; the city is encouraging redevelopment of this area as an arts and culture district. The downtown was a major centre for local commerce and night life up until the 1970s, when the development of the Niagara Square Shopping Centre began to draw away crowds and retailers. Since 2006, Historic Niagara has brought art galleries, boutiques, cafés and bistros to the street. Attractions include renovation of the Seneca Theatre.

On 3 October 2012, the Mayor of Niagara Falls officially opened the new Queen Street Downtown Park featuring a children's playground complete with soft artificial turf, benches, seating, landscaping and the "Water Molecule" sculpture, created by artist Derek Costello.


Some cultural areas of Niagara Falls include Queen Street, Main and Ferry Streets, Stamford Centre and Chippawa Square.[15][16] Community centres that are host to cultural activities include the City of Niagara Falls Museums, Niagara Falls Public Libraries, Coronation 50 Plus Recreation Centre, Club Italia and Scotia Bank Convention Centre.

Visual arts

  • Niagara Falls Art Gallery
  • Peterson's Community Gallery

Performing arts

  • Niagara Falls Centre for the Arts
  • Seneca Queen Theatre


  • Fallsview Casino Resort
  • Casino Niagara
  • Oakes Garden Theatre
  • Firemen's Park Summer Series
  • Chippawa Square Summer Series

Literacy and literary arts

  • Niagara Falls Public Libraries: Victoria Avenue Library, Community Centre Branch, Stamford Centre Branch, Chippawa Branch Library
  • Niagara Literary Arts Festival


  • Niagara History Museum
  • Battle Ground Hotel Museum
  • Willoughby Historical Museum
  • Niagara Military Museum
  • Niagara Falls Wedding and Fashion Museum
  • Niagara Falls Public Library: Historic Niagara Digital Collections
  • Lundy's Lane Historical Society
  • Battle of Lundy's Lane Walking Tour
  • Historic Drummondville
  • Stamford Historic Area

Nature, parks and gardens

  • Trillium Awards
  • Tree Seedling Sale
  • Community Clean Sweep Day

Festivals and events

  • Winter Festival of Lights
  • Springlicious
  • Mount Carmel Fine Art and Music Festival
  • Niagara Icewine Festival
  • Niagara Woodworking Show
  • Family Fun Day at the Museum
  • Heritage Info Day at the Museum
  • Niagara Falls Sports and Hobby Expo
  • Greater Niagara Home and Garden Show
  • Canada Day Celebration
  • Santa Claus Parade
  • Niagara Night of Art
  • Niagara Region Jazz Festival


Niagara Falls observation attractions

Horseshoe Falls
File:Niagra Falls Hard Rock Cafe.jpg
The Niagara Falls Hard Rock Cafe

Niagara River and Parkway attractions

Tourist sector entertainment

Conventions and Conferences

  • Scotiabank Convention Centre

Sports and active living


  • Niagara Falls Sportsplex
  • MacBain Centre
  • Gale Centre
  • Willoughby Memorial Arena
  • Coronation 50 Plus Recreation
  • Oakes Park Running Track


  • Ride of Silence
  • International Marathon

Sports clubs

  • Amici Per La Vita Cycling Club
  • Niagara Falls Soccer Club
  • Niagara Falls Revolver Club Incorporated
  • Niagara Bowmen Archery Club
  • Niagara Storm Football Club
  • Boys and Girls Club of Niagara
  • Niagara Wasp Rugby Club
  • Niagara Falls Minor Hockey

Sports teams and leagues

Club League Sport Venue Established Championships
Niagara United SC Canadian Soccer League Soccer Kalar Sports Park 2010
FC Niagara Falls Srbija Niagara Falls Soccer League Soccer St. George Serbian Orthodox Church 1974
Niagara Falls Canucks Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League Hockey Gale Centre c. 1971

The Niagara Stars of the defunct Canadian Baseball League played in Welland, Ontario and the Niagara IceDogs play in St. Catharines, Ontario.


Niagara Falls City Council consists of eight councillors and a mayor. City elections take place every four years with the last election held on 25 October 2010. Council is responsible for policy and decision making, monitoring the operation and performance of the city, analysing and approving budgets and determining spending priorities. Due to regulations put forward by the Municipal Elections Act 2001, elections are held on the fourth Monday in October except for religious holidays or if a member of council or if the mayor resigns.




The Rainbow Bridge

Niagara Falls and Niagara Falls, New York are linked to major highways in Canada and the United States respectively, with the Queen Elizabeth Way acting as a major artery between Toronto and Fort Erie, Ontario. Highway 420 (along with Niagara Regional Road 420) connect the Rainbow Bridge to the QEW. The Whirlpool Bridge is located at the end of Bridge Street. The Niagara Parkway is a road operated under the Niagara Parks Commission which connects Niagara-on-the-Lake to Fort Erie via Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls formerly had King's Highways passing through the city. These included:

  • The original routing of Highway 3, (which later became Highway 3A,) which ended at the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge via River Road
  • Highway 8, which ended at the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge via Bridge Street
  • Highway 20, which ended at the Honeymoon Bridge and later the Rainbow Bridge via Lundy's Lane and Clifton Hill
  • The Queen Elizabeth Way followed Roberts Street and Newman Hill to the Rainbow Bridge—later renamed Highway 420

Regional airports


Via station in Niagara Falls, Ontario

Via Rail Canada and Amtrak jointly provide one train per day in each direction. This is "The Maple Leaf" which operates between Toronto Union, Niagara, Buffalo, Albany and New York's Penn station), arriving and departing out of the Niagara Falls station. In the summer it offers a bike train service on a limited schedule.

In summer 2009, Go Transit Started a pilot project providing weekend and holiday train service from Toronto to Niagara falls From Mid June to mid October. These GO Trains run seasonally between Toronto Union Station and Niagara Falls at weekends.

At other times, regular hourly GO train services are provided between Toronto Union and Burlington station, where connecting bus services operate to and from the rail station at Niagara.


Cabs and shuttle buses

  • Buffalo Airport Shuttle is a reservation based shuttle that operates from the Buffalo Airport to and from Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Hamilton, and Toronto.
  • Niagara Livery Service is a taxi/limo company in Niagara.
  • 5-0 is a local cab service. A taxi shuttle provides transfers to airports from Buffalo, New York to Niagara Falls, Ontario and Toronto, Ontario.
  • Niagara Falls Taxi is a local taxi service from Buffalo, New York and Toronto, Ontario airports back to Niagara.
  • Elite Taxi is a local taxi service that provides regular and wheelchair accessible taxi service to and from Niagara Falls, ON. Specialists in airport transfers (Buffalo, Hamilton, Toronto, Niagara Falls, NY).

Active transportation

The City of Niagara Falls is working toward Bike Friendly designation and providing more resources to encourage active transportation.


Niagara Falls has one post-secondary institution in the city and another in the Niagara Region. Niagara is served by the District School Board of Niagara and the Niagara Catholic District School Board which operate elementary and secondary schools in the region. There are also numerous private institutions offer alternatives to the traditional education systems.

Post secondary

High schools


Niagara Falls is also served by a growing library system composed of four branches,[19] with the main branch located in the downtown area.[20] It is visited by over 10,000 people weekly. An extensive online database of photographs and artwork is maintained at Historic Niagara Digital Collections.[21]


Niagara Falls is served by two main local newspapers, three radio stations and a community television channel. All other media is regionally based, as well, from Hamilton and Toronto.


Local newspapers are:

Due to its proximity to Hamilton and Toronto, local residents have access to the papers like The Hamilton Spectator, the Toronto Star, and the Toronto Sun.


The area is otherwise served by stations from Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo.


  • Cogeco is the local cable television franchise serving Niagara Falls; the system carries most major channels from Toronto and Buffalo, as well as TVCogeco, a community channel serving Niagara Falls.
  • CHCH-DT (UHF channel 15 - virtual channel 11) from Hamilton, Ontario also serves the Niagara Region.

Television stations from Toronto and Buffalo are also widely available. Officially, Niagara Falls is part of the Toronto television market, even though it is directly across the Niagara River from its American twin city, which is part of the Buffalo market.

Notable people


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Niagara Falls, City Ontario (Census Subdivision)". Census Profile, Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "St. Catharines-Niagara Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) with census subdivision (municipal) population breakdowns, land areas and other data". Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 17 March 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Hunter, Peter (1958). "The Story of the Land Family". Head-of-the-Lake Historical Society.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Internment Camps in Canada during the First and Second World Wars, Library and Archives Canada".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Zavitz, Sherman. "A Short Heritage of Niagara Falls, Canada". City of Niagara Falls, Canada. Retrieved 21 January 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Environment Canada—Canadian Climate Normals 1971-2000, Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  7. "Niagara Falls NPCSH". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada. Retrieved 12 April 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Neighbourhood/Community" (ESRI shapefile). City of Niagara Falls. Retrieved 12 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Selected Ethnic Origins, for Census Subdivisions (Municipalities) With 5,000-plus Population - 20% Sample Data". Statistics Canada, 2001 Census of Population. Retrieved 17 March 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. [1], National Household Survey (NHS) Profile, 2011
  11. "Community Highlights, City of Niagara Falls". Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 17 March 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Community Highlights, City of Niagara Falls". Statistics Canada, 2001 Census of Population. 2 January 2007. Retrieved 17 March 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Nicol, John; Seglins, Dave (14 June 2012). "Niagara Falls' Tourist Fees Collected With Little Oversight". CBC News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Pellegrini, Jennifer (27 August 2008). "Falls Tourism Operators Criticized for Destination Marketing Fee". Welland Tribune.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Thomas Austin, Niagara Falls Travel Guide: Sightseeing, Hotel, Restaurant & Shopping Highlights (2014)
  16. Joel A. Dombrowski, Moon Niagara Falls (2014)excerpt
  17. "The History of White Water Walk". Niagara Parks. Retrieved 9 December 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Niagara College: How to Find Us". Niagara. Retrieved 24 March 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Niagara Falls Public Library. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  20. "Victoria Avenue Library". Niagara Falls Public Library. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  21. Historic Niagara Digital Collections. Niagara Falls Public Library. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  22. Dixon, Guy (9 February 2009). "Grand ol' time at the Grammys". The Globe and Mail. Toronto.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Mah, Alice. Industrial Ruination, Community, and Place: Landscapes and Legacies of Urban Decline (University of Toronto Press; 2012) 240 pages; comparative study of urban and industrial decline in Niagara Falls (Canada and the United States), Newcastle upon Tyne, Britain, and Ivanovo, Russia.

External links

  • City of Niagara Falls
  •  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). [ "Niagara Falls, Ontario" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Niagara Falls, Ontario travel guide from Wikivoyage