Major waterfalls

The status of the major waterfalls of the world is based on the height of the fall and on the volume of water flow.

Besides, the height of a waterfall is often subject to various interpretations. In most cases a waterfall starts with a series of rapids, then goes over a vertical or nearly vertical drop, and ends with a cataract over the debris at the bottom of the vertical drop.

For this reason, Della Falls, the highest falls in Canada, in British Colombia, is not regarded as a major waterfall. Niagara Falls, on the other hand, is acknowledged as one of the world's greatest cataracts because of the estimated mean annual flow of at least 6000 cubic metres per second.

The heights in metres given below are those of the highest vertical or nearly vertical drop.

  • Della Falls. Della Lake, British Columbia: 440
  • Takakkaw Falls. Daly Glacier, British Columbia: 254
  • Hunlen Falls. Atnarko River, B British Columbia:253
  • Panther Falls. Nigel Creek, Alberta: 183
  • Helmcken Falls. Murtle River, British Columbia: 137
  • Bridal Veil Falls. Bridal Creek, British Columbia: 122
  • Virginia Falls. South Nahanni River, Northwest Territories: 90
  • Chute Montmorency. Rivière Montmorency, Quebec: 84
  • Twin Falls. Yoho National Park, British Columbia: 80
  • Chute Ouiatchouan. Rivière Ouiatchouan, Quebec: 79
  • Brandywine Falls. Brandywine Creek, British Columbia: 61
  • Niagara Falls (American Falls). Niagara River, US: 59
  • Niagara Falls (Horseshoe Falls). Niagara River, Ontario: 57
  • Wilberforce Falls. Hood River, Nunavut Territory: 49
  • Dog Falls. Kaministiquia River, Ontario: 47
  • Kakabeka Falls. Kaministiquia River, Ontario : 47
  • Chute de Shawinigan. Rivière Saint-Maurice, Quqebec: 46
  • Grand Falls. Exploits River, Newfoundland and Labrador: 43
Photo: Sainte-Anne Falls in Quebec. Copyright © Lucie Smith

Reversing Falls

Reversing Falls are phenomena resulting from tidal action of the sea. At low tide, the inland waters empty into the sea over a rocky shelf. As the tide rises, the seawater forces its way against the river flow. The resulting turbulence, in the form of whirlpools, eddies and rapids, makes the falls appear to have reversed.Canada's three reversing falls are as follows:

  • Saint John River. Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick
  • Wager Bay. Ford Lake, Nunavut Territory
  • Barrier Inlet. Hudson Strait, Nunavut
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