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Posted May 31, 2012

Museum Fame


Waterloo Region - The people of the world will hold their collective breath on June 15 when Nik Wallenda - King of the High Wire - attempts to cross Niagara Falls.

Daredevils' fascination with Niagara Falls is not new. And that fascination is celebrated everyday at the Waterloo Region Museum in Kitchener, Ontario.

In the summer of 1859, Andrew Jenkins - a resident of Waterloo Region - visited Niagara Falls to watch The Great Blondin walk across a rope stretched over the gorge. Jenkins was spellbound and began training for his own career as a high-wire artist.

Jenkins, known as Professor Jenkins, gained world-wide fame - and some mockery - for his exploits on August 24, 1869 when he rode a bicycle-like contraption on a rope stretched across the gorge at Niagara Falls. His 11-minute feat was reported in newspapers around the world. He went on to give similar performances throughout Canada and the United States.

Jenkins' bicycle - and a figure of the daredevil himself - is suspended over visitors at the new Waterloo Region Museum in Kitchener, Ontario. Opened in November 2011, the Waterloo Region Museum is the largest municipal museum in Ontario - and is located 137 km (85 miles) from the Falls.

Assignment editors and travel writers: To arrange a tour of the museum to see Professor Jenkins, and for more information and photos go to

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