CLOSEUP: Casino Niagara turns 20

From the Niagara Falls Review:

Some were fearful and skeptical.

Others excited and optimistic.

Wayne Thomson, mayor at the time, was caught in the middle, trying to convince the former group to join the latter.

“I was a little nervous about running again for mayor,” says the current Niagara Falls city councillor.

“But I came out extremely strong (reelected mayor by acclamation). In fact, I still remember one ad. I was full length, standing along the one side of the Review, talking about getting a casino and voting for the referendum.”

In November 1994, 64 per cent of Niagara Falls residents who voted in a referendum said yes to casino gaming.

A year later, Ontario Casino Corporation announced a commercial casino would be built in the Honeymoon Capital.

Casino Niagara opened Dec. 9, 1996 — 20 years ago, Friday, on the site of the former Maple Leaf Village near Clifton Hill.

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