Video claims Horseshoe Falls for U.S.
Oct 29, 2007 04:30 AM
WASHINGTON–The Bush administration appears to have annexed a major Canadian landmark as part of a slick new campaign to promote U.S. tourism.
A Disney-produced promotional video released last week by the departments of State and Homeland Security highlights majestic American landscapes, from New England's colourful fall foliage and the Grand Canyon to the Rocky Mountains and Hawaii's pounding surf.
But about four minutes into the seven-minute video, Welcome: Portraits of America, viewers are treated to the impressive sight and sound of water roaring over Niagara Falls.
In showing the natural wonder, Disney's filmmakers, however, chose the Horseshoe Falls, the only one of Niagara's three waterfalls to lie almost entirely on the Canadian side of the border separating New York State from Ontario.
Making matters worse, a visitor to the U.S. would not even be able to get the same view of the falls in the video because the scene was shot from a vantage point in Canada, according to Paul Gromosiak, a Niagara Falls, N.Y., historian and author.
Also, he said the video leaves out the two cascades that actually are on U.S. territory, the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
"This is not the United States, this is 100 per cent Canada, shot from the Canadian side," Gromosiak said. "This is an insult.''
The distinction between the U.S. and Canadian sides is clear to most people who have visited the Falls.
But it seems to have escaped the notice of the producers and U.S. officials, who presumably vetted the video.
In a separate "making of" video, Jay Rasulo, the chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts, speaks over the falls footage about the importance of showing would-be tourists "the great sites, the great vistas that they dream about all their lives when they dream about America.''
Karen Hughes, the U.S. undersecretary of state for diplomacy, said in a posting to the department's blog last week that the production has the administration's blessing.
"We're going to play it in waiting rooms and at embassy events – and we hope it will inspire many who otherwise might not have thought about travelling to America to come and see it for themselves," Hughes wrote.
Or maybe Canada.
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