Click above photo for slideshow (20 photographs)

Niagara’s Forgotten Dream:
On other side of the falls
Canada’s sister city faces economic decline

Niagara Falls is a tale of two cities. The thriving tourism of the Canadian Niagara Falls lies in stark contrast to the withering American Niagara Falls across the river. On the American side, the median income is $30,000 — 40 percent below national average and one fifth live below the poverty line. The Canadian side sees 12-million visitors each year, almost twice as many tourists as the American side.

The American side features boarded-up neighbourhoods, including the once world-renowned Falls Street. It is now half as large as it once was, having shrunk from 100,000 residents to 50,000. By pairing the faces of those who live here with their surroundings, Niagara Falls, New York tells the narrative of both a city’s broken promises and its enduring beauty. It is my hope that these visages and landscapes give voice to not only a forgotten, abandoned former tourist spot but also to all the divided places and communities in an American riven by economic gap.

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Written By
Michelle Siu

Michelle Siu

Michelle Siu is a documentary photographer and freelance photojournalist based in Toronto. As a daughter of Chinese immigrants to Canada, she is drawn to human rights stories which affect vulnerable people and disenfranchised cultures. Her work has been published in The New York Times,, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Discovery Channel and Der Spiegel among others. She has won numerous awards including the Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award, the Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Emerging Photographer Competition and several National Picture of The Year Awards.