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Technology & Engineering Social Aspects

Fixing Niagara Falls

Environment, Energy, and Engineers at the World’s Most Famous Waterfall

by (author) Daniel Macfarlane

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2020
Social Aspects, Environmental Policy, General, General
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2021
    List Price

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Since the late nineteenth century, Niagara Falls has been heavily engineered to generate energy behind a flowing façade designed to appeal to tourists. Fixing Niagara Falls reveals the technological feats and cross-border politics that facilitated the transformation of one of the most important natural sites in North America. Daniel Macfarlane shows how this natural wonder is essentially a tap: huge tunnels around the reconfigured Falls channel the waters of the Niagara River, which ebb and flow according to the tourism calendar. This book offers a unique interdisciplinary and transborder perspective on how the Niagara landscape embodies the power of technology and nature.

About the author

Daniel Macfarlane is an Assistant Professor with the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at Western Michigan University. His research examines Canada-US border waters and he is the author of Negotiating a River, Canada, the US and the Creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Daniel Macfarlane's profile page


  • Winner, Honourable Mention - Wilson Book Prize, The Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University 

Editorial Reviews

With this carefully researched study, we find in Niagara Falls a locus of past concerns that reverberate today: the realities of appropriation, the hubristic underbelly of "green" energy, the politics of energy transitions and exports, the power struggles between provincial, state, and federal governments.

Literary Review of Canada

Fixing Niagara Falls is an excellent monograph that cleverly analyzes how engineering interventions and human hubris helped make the Niagara Falls that we are familiar with today.


Macfarlane has crafted an exemplary work of scholarship.

Technology and Culture

Historians and general readers interested in the Falls and in issues connected with the associated technological and political background will appreciate this work.