Marilyn MonroeJuly 13, 2017
Numerous well-known movies have been filmed at or near Niagara Falls (think Canadian Bacon, or Superman, played by Christopher Reeve, rescuing Margot Kidder`s Lois Lane from going over the falls) but no film is more closely tied to the city than the one that bears its name.
Legendary screen sex symbol Marilyn Monroe was just 26 when she came to town in June 1952 to film what would be her first major movie role, the aptly named thriller Niagara, co-starring Joseph Cotten.
You can still walk in her footsteps, so to speak, at several sites around Niagara Falls. Start with the Crowne Plaza hotel that overlooks the Niagara River on Falls Avenue.
In the 1950s this historic place was called the General Brock Hotel and was THE place to stay for the rich and famous, including Marilyn when she was filming Niagara. She stayed in room 801, at the end of the hall on the eighth floor where pictures from her days there still adorn the walls.
At the foot of the Rainbow Bridge, you`ll see the equally historic Carillon Tower, whose music still resonates throughout the tourism district daily. You might remember that`s where the character played by Cotten strangles his wife (played by Marilyn) at the end of the movie.
You could also check out the Welland River banks on Bridgewater Street in Chippawa, a few kilometres south of the Horseshoe Falls, where several boating scenes were filmed prior to the actors` hair-raising trip through the rapids above the falls.
And in downtown Niagara Falls, speckled with numerous century-old buildings, stands the old, seemingly abandoned but still stately former post office and police station. It`s at Zimmerman Avenue and Park Street, not far from city hall.
In the movie Niagara, it stood in for the morgue. It`s boarded up and obviously damaged by age and nature, but you can still stand on the front steps where Marilyn stood in the movie.
Niagara Falls historian Sherman Zavitz, who has written numerous times about the filming of Niagara, said Monroe made an impact in her two weeks in the city.
"She was certainly noticed by people around the falls," he said in a 2012 newspaper interview. "She was a well-known name at that point. She was a great-looking girl, very photogenic."
The campground where the young couple Monroe and Cotten were supposed to be staying in the movie never actually existed, though. Called the Rainbow Cabins in the film, they were really phony prop buildings constructed in Queen Victoria Park, overlooking the river directly across from the American Falls. They were demolished after the crew left town.