Niagara Gazette

Local News

December 29, 2012

TOP 10: Change of course for the Maid of the Mist (No. 4)


Niagara Gazette — “Our $32 million investment at the site of the former Schoellkopf plant will allow the Maid of the Mist to continue to provide visitors with an exceptional, unforgettable experience, for generations to come,” Glynn said.

So why is a boat dock needed on the American side now, after Mist tours have been operating continuously since 1846? The early part of 2012 wasn’t quite as nice for the Maid, which left the future of the tour boats in jeopardy.

It was Feb. 22 when the Niagara Parks Commission in Ontario announced Hornblower Canada Co. would replace the Maid as the sole ferrying service in Canada. The company, which was awarded a 30-year lease for more than $500 million, will take over operation in Spring 2014.

Hornblower, whose parent company operates Statue of Liberty tours in New York City and Alcatraz ferries in San Francisco, said it would provide two, 599-passenger boats, one rescue boat and $16 million in investments to the passenger loading and dock areas as part of the contract.

“This marks the beginning of a new era for all of us and it continues to build on what Niagara, and Niagara Parks, is all about,” Parks Commission Chairwoman Janice Thomson said at the lease signing.

The Gazette is counting down its top 10 stories of the year through New Year's Day. The list: n 10: Tumultuous year for Falls air base n 9: Airport takes hit with Direct Air shutdown n 8: Lewiston Road's rough ride to repair n 7: Culinary institute opens in downtown Niagara Falls • 6: Gruesome mystery stuns Falls n 5: Child murder shocks the community n 4: Change afloat on the Niagara River n COMING TOMORROW: Chips don't fall as expected

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