Setting sail under cloud of uncertainty

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    From the Buffalo News:

    Maid of the Mist workers Tuesday hurriedly prepared for the start of the upcoming tourist season — hoping it won’t be the last on the Canadian side for an iconic tour boat company that traces its roots back 126 years.

    The Maid of the Mist Steamboat Corp. has owned exclusive rights from its Canadian docks below the falls since the company began, but Ontario’s tourism minister has ordered the lease on the Canadian side be opened to competitive bidding, in effect putting the long-term future of the company into question.

    Charter boats will keep ferrying visitors between the docks at Table Rock and the American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe falls, but they may belong to a different company and not be part of the small fleet called the Maid of the Mist.

    “Everything is up in the air,” said John H. Percy Jr., president and chief executive of the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. on the U.S. side of the border. “Right now, I’m just looking forward to 2011 season and continuing to work with them.”

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