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22,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
niagara falls is a burgeoning city, so there should be a thread to discuss the developments in the city on the canadian side of the river.

the great wolf lodge has opened, the first of two indoor waterparks for the city.

Water parks flow in
First of two opens on Canadian side amid efforts to promote Falls as 'a year-round destination'

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. - The city skipped right over spring and jumped into summer Thursday with the opening of a $210 million resort and indoor water park, the Great Wolf Lodge.
The year-round destination is one of two multimillion-dollar indoor water parks opening this month on the Canadian side of the falls, a much closer drive for those in the Buffalo Niagara region than a popular spot for indoor splashing in Erie, Pa.

Fallsview Indoor Water Park, the other new water attraction, will be connected to three hotels at the foot of Clifton Hill, near the Rainbow Bridge. It is scheduled to open April 28.

"The water parks are just the beginning of a concerted move toward making Niagara Falls a year-round destination," said Mayor R.T. "Ted" Salci. "We're telling people that you can come here in the middle of winter and be warm."

Both water parks are designed to boost hotel occupancy in the Falls. Stays at the attached hotels are required for use of the water parks.

Salci said the Great Wolf Lodge, along the Niagara Parkway near the Whirlpool Bridge, is part of a brownfield redevelopment in a less-traveled part of the city. Entrance from the United States on the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge is restricted to holders of NEXUS passes, but the lodge is just a short drive north from the Rainbow Bridge.

The Fallsview, next to Casino Niagara, will be connected to the Brock Plaza, Sheraton at the Falls and Skyline Inn hotels in the heart of the Falls tourist district.

Michael DiCienzo is vice president of design and development for the company that owns the three hotels and the new water park. He said hotels with water parks draw twice as many guests as those without. Walking between these hotels and the casino on covered walkways can be done without outerwear year-round.

There are 520 employees at the Great Wolf Lodge, a four-story, log-sided hotel that general manager Keith Simmonds says provides an experience similar to a cruise ship.

"You don't ever have to leave for food and fun," Simmonds said.

The cost for a family to stay in one of the 406 suites runs between roughly $275 and $430 (U.S.). Suites contain refrigerators, stoves, coffee makers and flat-screen televisions. The water park is a "guest amenity," as are buffet meals. The resort also has conference rooms, spa memberships and birthday party packages, Simmonds said.

Each guest is issued a bracelet that can be used for cash and as room key. Parents can load specific amounts on their children's bracelets for use in the arcade.

The Great Wolf Lodge lagoon has 13 water slides, 10 pools and a four-story treehouse in its 103,000-square-foot water park.

Splash Park in Erie, Pa., is 90,000 square feet. Day passes are available at this park for $39.95. Hotel rooms, which include water park passes, cost $209 to $259 a night to stay in an economy room.

Fallsview boasts of a 125,000-square-foot facility.

Ripley Entertainment, which runs a Believe-It-or-Not Museum in Niagara Falls, owns the Great Wolf Lodge. Bob Masterson, president of Ripley Entertainment, said the company chose to build here because the city can weather all economic storms, such as the rising dollar and gas prices.

"We've been here since 1959 and have seen it rebound quicker than other markets," Masterson said.

He said the company plans to build an aquarium next to the new hotel and water park.

"This will be one of the best aquariums in the world," Masterson said. "It will be 120,000 square feet, the biggest aquarium between the Atlantic and Chicago."

The company plans to open the aquarium by the end of 2007 or early 2008, he said, and intends to start heavily marketing the Great Wolf Lodge in the United States next month.

Patricia Halligan gets the pool area shipshape for Thursday's debut of the Great Wolf Lodge, a $210 million resort and water park in Niagara Falls, Ont., to be joined by the Fallsview Indoor Water Park that is opening April 28.

172 Posts
High-rise hotel work to begin next fall
Business First of Buffalo - December 8, 2005
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Niagara Falls, Ont. hotelier Vince DiCosimo has confirmed construction on a 58-story addition to the Hilton Niagara Falls should begin by next fall.

The $100 million (Canadian) project will add 500 suites plus such amenities to the six-year-old hotel including a 40,000-square-foot adventure pool that comes complete with a waterslide and spa, a 1,000-seat theater and 40,000-square-feet of meeting and conference space.

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Brought to you by Cingular The addition is expected to take two years to build.

The hotel is located just across the street from the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort.

Original reports had the construction starting in March, but DiCosimo said that's not likely.

The DiCosimo project is one of two major "towers" in the economic development pipeline for Niagara Falls.

Earlier this year, Canadian Niagara Hotels announced plans for a $200 million (Canadian) project that will see the company replace the former Kodak Tower by the Rainbow Bridge with a 751-foot tall observation tower plus a 48-story hotel and a 90,000-square-foot indoor waterpark - all next to Casino Niagara. Construction on the waterpark is already underway.

The tower and hotel are slated to open in 2008.

7 Posts
I following things pretty closely on the Niagara Falls Blog, and I'm not hearing anything about new hotel developments. I think the new passport law proposal has everyone scared. It is no secret that the big players in Niagara Falls all have plans (CNH, HOCO, Skylon, etc), but I've heard nothing about when they will proceed. I presume that CNH will wait to see how the waterpark does, and HOCO will see how the Ferris wheel does before they commit to something larger.

172 Posts
Well put gawing, I think this all hinges on how business does this summer and into the new passport law, I know the Hilton expansion is old news, but I'm just looking @ the dates proposed for expansion, and it looks like it's still on the table, which is good. Another point is people are less positive about this region and the falls, but if you look @ everything that has come here, and too a lesser degree, things that are still being developed ie.. ferris wheel, cirque niagara, great wolf lodge, fallsview waterpark. That's awesome, because this isn't Vegas, but this is pretty damn good for Ontario.

122 Posts
"The $100 million (Canadian) project will add 500 suites plus such amenities to the six-year-old hotel including a 40,000-square-foot adventure pool that comes complete with a waterslide and spa, a 1,000-seat theater and 40,000-square-feet of meeting and conference space."

I wonder what production will occupy the theatre. Aladdin Jr. opens next month at Greg Frewin theatre. I read an article recently about how those involved feel the community doesn't see this as a 'big thing'. Apparently a lot of the cast have extensive background in theatre including Toronto theatre shows, and many of them are hoping Niagara Falls will create a theatre district (search for niagara falls downtown development) so actors will have a second option to toronto.

Olde Guard
2,234 Posts
NF cant have a theater district with Toronto so close...that would be dumb. They should offer different types of shows that you cant get in Toronto. Leave the blockbuster shows for toronto.

172 Posts
"QUOTE" NF cant have a theater district with Toronto so close...that would be dumb. They should offer different types of shows that you cant get in Toronto. Leave the blockbuster shows for toronto.

They are, it's called Cirque Niagara "AVAIA." This is a unique show done with horses and russian acrobats, and unique because this one of a kind show is coming to North America for the first time.

22,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
here's another article on the opening of the great wolf lodge.

Attraction a heart-stopper
Lodge lights up faces of children

NIAGARA FALLS After a year and a half of construction, Canada’s first Great Wolf Lodge has arrived.

All 406 rooms of the $130 million resort were filled for its official opening Friday, giving the head wolf a sheepish grin.

“The best part is watching the kids’ faces when they walk in the door,” said Great Wolf Lodge general manager Keith Simmonds. “It lets you know you did it right.

“They stop in their tracks, their eyes pop open and then they run to the nearest animal or feature. We had one little girl stand in the lobby she was frozen in her tracks and she said, Mummy, feel my heart.’”

Three years of planning and construction finally paid off for Jim Pattison, the Vancouver billionaire who owns the massive new attraction on the corner of River Road and Victoria Avenue. Reporters and camera crews followed his every step during a media sneak peak of the facility Thursday.

“It exceeded my expectations,” he said.
“It turned out better than I thought it would.”

The lodge is operated by Ripley Entertainment, which Pattison purchased in 1985. The company owns the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum on Clifton Hill and has plans for an $80 million aquarium next to the Great Wolf Lodge.

“We’ve been here a long time we like Niagara Falls a lot,” he said.

But even as he celebrated the lodge’s opening, Pattison had concerns about the next few years.

With talk of the U.S. government planning to require a passport at the border by 2008, tourism is operating under a dark cloud. The law would require everyone, including U.S. citizens, to show a passport as they enter the country. It’s feared the additional cost could deter American tourists from crossing the border.

Because of this, Pattison still hasn’t given the aquarium project the green light.

“We’re certainly concerned about it,” he said. “The decision has not been made to go ahead with the aquarium.

“We’ll have to wait and see. The passport issue is certainly one of the things we’re going to look at.”

But Bob Masterson, president of Ripley Entertainment Inc., doesn’t think the project is swimming with the fishes.

Preliminary work is already being done, and he expects it to open in early 2008.

“Nothing’s ever a one hundred per cent go until you go,” he said.

“We learned that a long time ago. But there’s nothing that will stop us right now that’s foreseen. Unforeseen things could stop us.

“We plan to go. But it’s (Pattison’s) money. It’s all his money. Until you get the foundation in the ground, you haven’t gone yet.”

Tim Parker, Ripley Niagara’s general manager of attractions, believes the aquarium is a “done deal,” and the passport issue is just another bump on the road to which Niagara’s tourism industry will adapt.

“It’s no different than any other catastrophe we’ve had,” he said. “9/11, SARS everybody gets worried for about six months or a year. Then after a while, everybody forgets about it and tourism is back to the numbers we’re used to.

“It’s the constant roller coaster of Niagara Falls tourism.”

As he sized up the city’s largest construction project since the Niagara Fallsview Casino, mayor Ted Salci praised its “year-round” appeal, and its potential to rejuvenate the Glenview/Silvertown area.

Ripley Entertainment has purchased three homes on Leader Lane, which it plans to renovate and offer to employees.

“We’re going to see a lot of new development in this area,” he said. “I hope to see the Great Wolf Lodge be a catalyst for development in the north spreading across to the centre part of the city.”

Bob Masterson, president of Ripley Entertainment, speaks during opening ceremonies for the $130 million Great Wolf Lodge on Victoria Avenue near River Road Thursday. Aboriginal Canadians also played an important role in the opening ceremonies with a drum and smudging ceremony. News&classif=News - Local

22,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
here's an article on setting the wheels in motion for some renovations downtown.

Downtown revamping window still open
But investors say council must make financial commitment with four weeks

NIAGARA FALLS -- With a four-week window of opportunity left, investors behind a downtown revitalization project say they’re still confident they can keep moving ahead, even though city council hasn’t given the financial commitments investors were seeking.

Meanwhile there’s some division on council about how quickly the city should proceed with the Historic Niagara group, led by New York businessman Aaron Lichtman.

A so-called “comfort letter” council agreed Monday to send to the group was a “step in the right direction,” Lichtman said. It signals Niagara Falls will spend cash on parks, parking and road improvements if a deal can be worked out to bring private investment downtown, he said.

Lichtman and his partners say they will spend $100 million to renovate about 500,000 square feet of retail space in historic buildings downtown they own.
That will make the properties more attractive to a variety of retail stores.

But they have said they need an estimated $35 million to improve public areas for the plan to work. The city should build a parking garage, more parks and better gateways at both ends of Queen Street, Lichtman said.

Lichtman said there was a “sense of urgency” for the city to make that commitment.

“We simply need to know, before spending more money, time and effort on this project, that the city is going to make a significant financial commitment to funding infrastructure,” he said.

The Historic Niagara partners say they need to present the Niagara idea to retailers at a convention in Las Vegas May 21. If they can’t pitch it at the convention “we will not be able to participate in the revitalization in the way we had hoped,” Lichtman said.

“We feel a lot of time pressure because the project is only viable if we’re able to open the retail in 2008,” Lichtman said.

It means there’s less than a month for council and Lichtman’s group to come to terms.

But Ald. Vince Kerrio said council shouldn’t force itself into a deal just because there are time pressures.

“That sounds like a used car salesman’s pitch to me,” Kerrio said.

On the other hand, Ald. Jim Diodati represents the views of some politicians who are ready to commit public money if it will spur the revitalization plan.

“We need to send a clear signal to this group we’re open for business and welcome the partnership,” said Diodati.

Once the city indicates its willingness to spend on infrastructure improvements, it will be easier to ask the region, province and federal governments to contribute to the public area improvements, he said.

City politicians shouldn’t worry about being pushed in a direction the city should be going in anyhow, he said.

“Historic Niagara has come to the point where they’re either going to fish or cut bait,” said Ald. Jim Diodati.

Kerrio said Lichtman’s partners must understand the city’s pace is slower than theirs because council has to be responsible for public money.

Lichtman said his group is understands “there’s a process that needs to unravel.”

“We have a lot of work in a short period of time if the project is going to move forward,” Lichtman said. News&classif=News - Local

3,702 Posts
I'm looking forward to seeing Cirque Niagara. Sounds cool. I know the man who brought Cirque Niagara is a big Hamilton investor, Michael Burgess, he owns Carmen's in Hamilton. Loaded rich.

There are TV commercials for Cirque Niagara on CH.

For years I've said Las Vegas has Wayne Newton NF should have Paul Anka lol

I drove by Niagara Falls recently and saw the big ass ferries wheel. Looks great and modern. Though I hope the ferries wheel lights up at night.
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