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When Does “Daring” Become “Foolish”?

15 Sep

English: Blondin carrying his manager, Harry C...

This is not the most important thing that has happened in Canada on September 15 over the years, but it is perhaps one of the most colourful.  Edward Prince of Wales came to Canada in 1860 representing Queen Victoria.  He opened Victoria Bridge in Montreal, laid the cornerstone of the original Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, and presided at several important functions.  When Queen Victoria died, he became King Edward VII.

Edward was only a young man when he came to Canada in 1860, and efforts were made to see that he had a good time, despite his dour guardian, the Duke of Newcastle.  One of the entertainments was a visit to Niagara Falls on September 15, where he saw an astonishing performance by the great French tightrope walker Blondin, whose real name was Jean François Gravelet.

A tight-rope was stretched across the river, over the roaring cauldron of the falls, and Blondin crossed to the other side carrying a man on his back!  When he returned, he amazed everyone by getting on stilts and walking across on them!  The Prince was so delighted that he gave Blondin a purse of $400.  They became great friends and Blondin eventually went to live in London, where he died in 1897 at the age of eighty.

Blondin. (Tightrope walker dangling from a wir...

Blondin. (Tightrope walker dangling from a wire over the Niagara.), from Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blondin walked the tightrope over Niagara Falls a number of times.  It was 1, 100 feet long, and 160 feet above the water.  The first time, in 1859, he went across blindfolded.  Then he crossed in a sack.  On another occasion he pushed a wheelbarrow.  Perhaps his greatest achievement was that of carrying a small stove to the half way mark, and balancing there while he cooked and ate an omelette.

Blondin kept stunting in other parts of the world until he was seventy-nine, and he never had a serious accident.  His last performance was in Belfast, Ireland.

To read more about Niagara Falls “artists”, I suggest going to Niagara Parks Canada.

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22 responses to “When Does “Daring” Become “Foolish”?

  1. David Stewart

    September 16, 2013 at 7:10 am

    That is amazing. I’m still laughing about him carrying a stove out there to cook an omelette. Did he carry the stove back or just let it drop after that?

     
    • tkmorin

      September 16, 2013 at 10:17 am

      I believe he carried it on further, but I’m not sure. I think that if he’d let it drop, we would have known. Crazy, though, eh? LOL 🙂

       
  2. seeker

    September 15, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    It’s a miracle that he made it through. Do they still allow this at the Falls?

     
    • tkmorin

      September 16, 2013 at 10:11 am

      I sort of remember hearing that it’s illegal now, except by special permission by the Powers that Be … Like when the guy crossed it last year. I certainly wouldn’t try it, even if they built a bridge! LOL 🙂

       
  3. pishnguyen

    September 15, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Amazing!!

     
    • tkmorin

      September 15, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

       
  4. Elephant

    September 15, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Go to the link – more great stories – a lady and her cat – first over the falls!
    Hi Ho,
    Elephant

     
    • tkmorin

      September 15, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      The link I gave, or another one?

       
      • Elephant

        September 15, 2013 at 11:02 pm

        Oh my, I thought this was going elsewhere! Do you have that problem with WP – you write an email here and it goes there?

        Elephant

         
        • tkmorin

          September 16, 2013 at 10:12 am

          I’ve noticed a few glitches here and there, yes. LOL 🙂

           
  5. Maurice A. Barry

    September 15, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    The most amazing part if that he never had a serious accident!

     
    • tkmorin

      September 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      Question is: lucky or skilled? 🙂

       
  6. Elephant

    September 15, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I think this was something important, because it is fun and entertaining and still can amaze us all. I would not cross on the rope, on his back, in a sack . . .

    History can’t all be serious!
    Elephant

     
    • tkmorin

      September 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

       
      • Elephant

        September 15, 2013 at 11:07 pm

        I really like your blog – I always learn something! Love Canada – what a country!

        Elephant

         
        • tkmorin

          September 16, 2013 at 10:13 am

          Thanks, Elephant! I always appreciate ego-stroking words like that! 🙂

           
  7. Diana Staresinic-Deane

    September 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    My family was visiting Niagara Falls the day someone decided to go over the Falls in a kayak. Things did not go well for this man.

     
    • tkmorin

      September 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      I can imagine!

       
  8. L. Marie

    September 15, 2013 at 8:54 am

    Incredible! But there is no way I would have crossed the Falls on his back!

     
    • tkmorin

      September 15, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      You just have to wonder which one was more foolish, eh? As I was writing this, I was remembering that guy who crossed it just last year … It looked difficult just on his own .. I had to check many sources before to make sure this was accurate. 🙂

       

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