Will Canada let Nik Wallenda cross Niagra Falls?

Posted on Aug 5, 2011 in News | 0 comments

Nik Wallenda after a news conference in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011 (AP Photo/David Duprey)

World famous high wire artist, Nik Wallenda, is on a mission to set yet another world record by crossing the border between the U.S. and Canada on a high wire through the Niagara Falls. The only problem is… Canada won’t play ball! Nik has set 6 world records and now he’s set his sights on a new death-defying stunt; walking the 1,800 feet across the gorge of Niagara Falls but before he can attempt this feat he must persuade officials in Canada to abandon their century-old stunt ban.

In the U.S. a long list of local politicians are eager to help the economically depressed city of Niagara Falls, N.Y. and have championed his proposal. Lawmakers in Albany voted to give Nik permission to cross the falls but in Canada parks officials are frowning on the idea of it. In June, New York State lawmakers approved a bill written specifically to allow the stunt, which the bill’s sponsors promised would give Niagara Falls “a much-needed shot in the arm in terms of economic development.” The legislation would require state parks officials to grant Nik permission to walk across the falls and would also require him to pick up all safety costs, barring him from suing New York State should he be injured or die.

"The Great Blondin" crosses Niagara Falls on June 30, 1859.

Niagara Falls has a long history of attracting stuntmen and stuntwomen eager to taste the thrill and the fame of plunging over the falls packed into wine barrels, rubber inner tubes or hot water tanks. Annie Taylor, a 63-year-old schoolteacher, pioneered the barrel plunge in 1901 and lived. Jean François Gravelet, known as the Great Blondin, crossed the gorge on a high wire in 1859 and repeated his feat as a regular attraction at the falls. Sometimes he’d wear a sack over his head or push a wheelbarrow or even carry his business manager. Once he even wore a chef’s hat and stopped above the gorge to cook an omelet for the passengers on the Maid of the Mist sightseeing boat, bobbing in the waters beneath him.

“My dream is to walk into the mist… disappear and walk through the other side”

- Nik Wallenda stated at the press conference.