The Canadian flag on Niagara Falls: was it real or photoshop trickery?


Published July 8, 2022 at 11:06 am

This image of Niagara Falls from Canada Day in 2019 had many people puzzled. Was it real or photoshop trickery?

The issue of whether or not the image of the Canadian flag – complete with maple leaf – appeared on Niagara Falls for Canada Day 2019 was widely discussed, affirmed and disputed.

Eventually fact-finding website,, was brought into action to provide the truth.

Their eventual finding? “This is not a genuine photograph of Niagara Falls on Canada Day. While the Falls sometimes are illuminated in a variety of colors at night, these displays typically consist of solid bands of colors, not shapes such as the maple leaf shown above.”

Every Canada Day, the lights illuminate Niagara Falls in red and white, the colors of the Canadian flag – minus any maple leaf.

Snopes uncovered that the false flag was created by digitally editing a photograph of the Niagara Falls’ Canada Day display that was posted to Reddit in 2018. Here’s a look at the edited image (left) and the original image (right):

Chris Giles, travel media relations and content coordinator for the Niagara Parks Commission at that time confirmed to Snopes that the image to the left “has been photoshopped.”

Angela Berti, a spokesperson with New York State Parks, also told the website: “There was NO projection of the Canadian flag on the Falls. That is not a practice that is allowed. The Falls are lit each night, however, by the Niagara Falls Illumination Board, a binational organization that oversees the lighting of the Falls. We work hard to keep the Falls as natural as possible.”

However, this wasn’t the only digitally altered picture of the Canadian flag on Niagara Falls to circulate on Canada Day 2019. Here’s another from 2005 that’s somewhat similar.

However, that time, this picture was originally submitted to (now for a very deliberate digitally-altered competition called “Nationalism 2” Photoshop contest.

The rules of that particular contest laid out this rule “Just look in the crowd at any international sporting event. National pride is bursting at the seams. Body paint galore. Now we want you to take this idea a little farther. Place national symbols/flags on any random object. Don’t just place a flag marking on someone’s face. How boring, how unoriginal. You can do better than that.”

So long story short, the Niagara Parks Commission, while able to backlight the falls in various shades, do not have the capability of inserting an image, such as a maple leaf.

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