Although over the past 20 years I noticed that at the same time normal postcards are dying out, so-called postcards for promotional have become increasingly popular (it’s more than just motels offering them now). The term “postcard” is used for any print item of approximately 4×6 inches.
But most of these things are not formatted (or ever intended) to be mailed or have an individual’s message added. Their backs are often either blank or completely filled with marketing copy.
Case in point, we were celebrating my daughter birthday last week in Niagara Falls’ Rainforest Cafe. A photographer came to our table and asked if we’d like our picture on a free postcard.
I was super excited of course. I knew this was a ploy to get me to buy something at overpriced rates (I did). But I didn’t care as the prospect of a postcard was too attractive to pass up.
What we got was this:
It is a nice family picture with a fun border – but it is a “souvenir photo” and not a postcard!
It is printed on photo paper – horrible (if not impossible) to put through the mail and the blank is back. Really, it is just a photo, dammit!
Luckily, as with most places in the Falls they sold actual postcards:
And it has a proper back:
We were in Niagara Falls a few days ago and it was pouring rain. What to do on a rainy day?
Well, the wax museums, haunted houses, midways, and oddity collections on and near Clifton Hill always offer a lot of (overpriced) fun.
But I was looking for something more edifying to balance the delightful kitsch overload we’d already experienced.
So I suggested Bird Kingdom. I’m not a big fan of birds, but it was close and we had a coupon so we went.
It was an amazing surprise for all of us. It turns out it is one of the largest indoor aviaries in the world. It’s also in a historic building that once housed a corset factory and the old, famous Niagara Falls Museum (they have an interesting exhibit on the history of the building).
There are a lot of beautiful birds to encounter in free-flying enclosures. They also have a fun bat and reptile exhibits. They have done an excellent job in renovating the old building into incredible garden aviary complete with a 3-story waterfall and a 19th century teak Javanese house.
But of course, the best part is there amazing postcards:
This illustrates their lorikeets. For a small fee, you can feed the lorikeets (which are the most colourful birds I’ve ever seen). My daughter enjoyed feeding them and as I was watching her several lorikeets perched on me and started inspecting me (the first time I’ve ever had a bird on me).
The back side also has one of the nicest back-designs:
I love Niagara Falls, Ontario. The falls are spectacular, the surrounding spectacle of tourist traps are beyond compare, and the shops never disappoint with their awesome postcards.
During a trip there last week, I found so much to choose from that I was overwhelmed (which hasn’t happened in years and mostly while in Europe or the U.S., definite meccas of delightful postcards).
To focus this round of acquisitions, I decided to collect items with an element lacking in my Niagara postcards – GLITTER!
The falls are beautiful – but glitter makes them (and everything else) just that much more wonderful and shiny!
I also love kitsch postcards so I was deliriously happy to find such choice specimens:
It’s the falls in summer, with superimposed flowers and GLITTER.
Here it is in winter with snow and GLITTER:
There are just so many wonderful Niagara Falls postcards in my collection (and even more in the World) that I have only had time to blog about a small sample of the gems I have collected during my visits there, but I promise more will come.
Earlier this week, I returned from a family trip to Niagara Falls. I’ve been going to the Falls about once a year my entire life and it has never disappointed for its never-ending and diverse supply of tacky postcards.
Here are my latest, glorious finds from this trip:
Even though Niagara Falls is among the most southerly locations in Canada, it’s great to see such a stereotype of Canada as an Arctic nation so predominant. (In case you are wondering, our polar bears have to wear sunglasses obviously not due to our sunny clime, but because of the 24-hours of sunshine we experience during the summer as we all live so close to the pole).
Here’s another along the same line:
It’s hard to call this a stereotype as although it is well known that Canada is a land of permafrost where we live in igloos (I did have an American ask me once if I lived in an igloo), the other images are clearly inaccurate. Anyone who has had a polar bear as a pet (as most Canadians have) are well aware that you cannot keep them on a leash when you take them for a walk – they are definitely off-leash kinda pets!
Here’s another Niagara Falls gem that I’m also not quite sure how to peg:
I’m not sure if the point of this postcard is to appeal to Americans – as we are notorious for our multi-coloured “funny money” – or to suggest that Canada is a land of great wealth. Either way, and as odd as it is, it is refreshing to see alternative imagery of Canada than provided by the prior two specimens.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more similarly bizarre and tacky postcards from the endless well that is Niagara Falls!
I just got back from a mini-family vacation to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Ontario. It was our first time there. We loved it! The waterslides are amazing – as are the other entertainment (MagiQuest – an interactive game, arcade, story time, decor, etc.), food, and the staff.
But as I’m an avid collector, I was naturally seeking out some choice specimens from this locale to add to my collection. The pickings were slim and expensive (they blew this quarter’s acquisitions budget). These are the only two they had:
A front entrance to a hotel is rather ho-hum, even if said hotel is cool looking.
The specimen below particularly appealed to my daughter:
The later is clearly the superior of the two as it’s cute, odd-shaped, and all. But neither of these postcards are particularly compelling or indicative of the fun to be had at Great Wolf Lodge.
Postcards are essentially advertising that people pay for. Think of it this way, people pay for the costs to produce the ad, with a decent profit margin added. Then they pay to market a company’s ad and key message(s) to their contacts (and possible future customers). So making decent postcards is important! And, I would argue, they should still be free (or at least not damn expensive) as they were in the old days – when a postcard could be found in every hotel’s desk drawer!
But hotels didn’t have roller-coaster waterslides or animatronic critters in the lobby – so I’ll concede that hotels have improved in some ways.
Winter has finally relinquished its hold over us and we have had a couple days of lovely Spring weather here in Ontario. Today, I saw the first tulip of the season, which means Spring is officially here.
In honour of this, I have a fine specimen to display today. I think someone had just installed Photoshop when they made this postcard:
These giant tulips tower over Niagara Falls, Ontario. They look like triffids about to commence their heinous take-over of Earth – and what a better place than the spectacle that is Niagara Falls!
Niagara Falls has more than its fair share of tacky postcards (more to come, I promise), but this one just screams Spring! Or perhaps, it screams: “The Tulips – They’re Attacking!!!! Will nothing quench their blood lust!”