Niagara nīăg´rə [key], river, 34 mi (55 km) long, issuing from Lake Erie between Buffalo, N.Y., and Fort Erie, Ont., Canada. It flows north around Grand Island and over Niagara Falls to Lake Ontario; the river forms part of the U.S.-Canadian border. The upper section of the river is navigable for c.20 mi (30 km) to a series of rapids above the falls; in its last 7 mi (11 km) it is again navigable, from Lewiston, N.Y., to Lake Ontario. The Erie Canal (part of the New York State Canal System enters the river at Tonawanda, N.Y.; the Welland Canal, several miles W on the Ontario side, is a lake-freighter route around the falls. Hydroelectric power is generated by diverting water from the river above Niagara Falls to generating plants. Many bridges cross the Niagara River, notably Peace Bridge (1927); bridges linking Grand Island with both shores (1935); Rainbow Bridge (1941) below the falls; and American Rapids Bridge (1960), linking Goat Island with the mainland.
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