Vehicle barriers put up at Niagara Falls following Toronto van attack

Plastic barriers capable of withstanding speeding vehicles have been installed along Niagara Falls in an attempt to protect guests from van attacks like the one that killed 10 in Toronto last month.

Water-filled barricades are capable of stopping a speeding vehicle

Plastic barriers to stop vehicles that are being used as weapons will line Queen Victoria Park in Niagara Falls this season. (Niagara Parks Commission)

Plastic barriers capable of withstanding speeding vehicles being used as weapons have been installed at Niagara Falls in an attempt to protect guests from van attacks like the one that killed 10 in Toronto last month.

The white, water-filled barricades went up along a widened pedestrian walkway at Queen Victoria Park on April 27, just days after the deadly attack in Toronto that also injured 16 people.

"It gave us pause for reflection, no question," said David Adames, chief operation officer for the Niagara Parks Commission.

"Vehicles were the key consideration, not just with the more recent incident in Toronto, obviously, but there have been incidents in other global destinations," he added. "We're conscious of the fact that at Niagara Falls we do welcome millions of visitors each year so we always want to be reviewing our safety and security measures."

Visitors worried about safety

Following the attack in Toronto, Adames said the commission received calls and emails from worried guests.

"They were wondering about the safety and security measures we had in place if they were visiting the falls … they wanted to be assured we are considering their safety and security," he explained.

The van used in an attack that killed 10 and injured 16 sits on a sidewalk near Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue in Toronto. (Warren Toda/EFE/EPA)

The barriers stretch for roughly a half-kilometre from the Table Rock Welcome Centre at the horseshoe falls to Murray Street.

"They are interconnected so that gives them strength based off both the weight and the fact they are connected," said Adames. "They can withstand the impact of a vehicle"

Planters and park furniture have also been added to fill in any gaps and add another level of "beautification" and visitor safety, he added.

Barriers will be back in 2019

The barriers were first erected as part of a pilot project in 2016, and were used during some summer weekends in 2017, but Adames said this year they'll be in place for the falls' entire peak season, which ends around the Thanksgiving weekend.

The barricades are filled with water and connected to stop speeding vehicles. (Niagara Parks Commission )

They are also being considered as part of the park's master plan moving forward.

"I think it's safe to say the pedestrian promenade will be in place for 2019," said Adames.

As an additional safety feature for the coming season, the commission has also initiated a bag-check program for the Journey Behind the Falls attraction for the first time.


Dan Taekema


Dan Taekema is CBC’s reporter covering Kingston, Ont. and the surrounding area. He’s worked in newsrooms in Chatham, Windsor, Hamilton, Toronto and Ottawa. You can reach him by emailing daniel.taekema@cbc.ca.