Category: Niagara Falls News

    The Seneca is Back


    From the Niagara Falls Review

    Seneca Theater Rendering


    Close to 15 years after the curtain closed, the Seneca Theatre is back in business this week.

    And it took a savvy group of gypsies to pull it off.

    For nearly a year, Gypsy Theatre owners John Dalingwater and Bernadette Feeney have been transforming the abandoned former movie house into the city’s newest live theatre venue.

    The pay-off comes Thursday, when the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic Cats starts a four-week run, and a huge part of Queen Street’s revitalization gets underway.

    “I really feel part of a community on this street,” says Feeney, who started Gypsy Theatre with husband John 20 years ago in Fort Erie.

    “I truly believe (it will thrive). And the reason I believe that with all my heart is that every single business person (here) has passion for what they’re doing.

    “Because you enjoy what you’re doing, you put more into it.”

    The theatre is one of several Queen Street properties owned by Historic Niagara Development Inc., who have put just over $1 million into extensive renovations.

    Falls fireworks return this weekend

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    From the St Catharines Standard:

    The Niagara Parks Commission, host of the longest-running fireworks series in Canada, has announced the season will officially begin Friday with the free Coca-Cola concert series starting at 8 p.m. at Queen Victoria Park’s illumination stage in Niagara Falls.

    This will be followed by the sights and sounds of the Pizza Pizza Falls Fireworks at 10 p.m.

    The parks commission will light up the skies every Friday, Sunday and holiday from Friday to Sept. 6.

    Hilton to tower over Niagara Falls, Ont.

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    From Buffalo Business First:

    The Hilton Niagara Falls will mark the traditional start of the peak summer tourism season in a big way.

    The Niagara Falls, Ont., hotel will be welcoming the first guests to its $200 million, 59-story wing on May 22, the start of the U.S. Memorial Day weekend. The wing will be home to 500 suites, plus restaurants and a top-floor nightclub.

    At 59-stories, the Hilton’s new wing is the tallest hotel in Canada and with 1,000 rooms the Hilton will be one of the largest in Canada.

    “We’ve had a huge response,” said Anthony Annunziata, Hilton vice president of marketing and development. “It reinforces our decision to do this project.”

    $15-million venue to open soon on Hill


    Not a huge surprise here as this Dave & Busters has been discussed on here for several months now. It says it should be completed in about 3 weeks, can’t wait to see the sign go up!

    From the Niagara Falls Review

    A $15-million restaurant complex under construction on Clifton Hill is quickly taking shape.

    The iconic street will soon be the home of a new Dave & Buster’s Restaurant and Amusement Centre, with a second one planned for the Fallsview area next year.

    “It will be truly unique and different from anything in the area,” said Wayne Thomson, spokesman for the Fallsview Group.

    Dave & Buster’s is an American franchise that has proven popular in the U. S. There is only one in Canada, located in Toronto.

    The property, at the corner of Oneida Lane on Clifton Hill, once housed the former Pilgrim Restaurant. It was purchased by Carmen Menechella of the Fallsview Group, representing a $15-million investment.

    The original plan was to renovate the existing structure, but it was in poor condition. Instead, the owners constructed a new three-storey building.

    “It’s a total entertainment destination,” said Thomson, noting it will have something for the entire family.

    He said it’s the kind of place where a family could attend a Christmas or birthday party, and while one parent sat in the sports bar with about 40 large-screen televisions, the children could play billiards, shuffleboard, basketball or all kinds of electronic video games.

    “It will have everything you can think of … It’s totally unique,” said Thomson.

    It’s expected the new facility will open in about three weeks.

    Stevensville animal park changes name

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    I noticed this a month or so ago, but neglected to blog about it. The Niagara Falls Review is just writing about it now:

    Stevensville animal park Zooz has taken on a new identity as Safari Niagara.

    “It’s the same ownership, management and staff. Just a new name,” said owner Tim Tykolis. The park will open on May 16.

    The new web site is

    Grun’s theatre has a royal problem

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    -even if the theatre doesn’t have a name yet.

    The seats aren’t installed yet, and the paint is still drying, but Mordechai Grun needs to come up with a name for the refurbished Seneca theatre on Queen Street, which is scheduled to host live theatre shows within weeks.

    “We’re hearing a lot of nostalgia for ‘the Seneca’ … (But) we’re hearing that all theatres have a royal name to them,” said Grun, the head of Historic Niagara Development Inc., the company that owns about 60 properties on Queen Street and the downtown area.

    Fort Erie’s Gypsy theatre company will take it over for the summer, staging productions of Broadway shows Cats, Oliver!, Narnia, Annie and Nunsense.

    Cats is scheduled to open May 14 -in 10 days.

    During Monday’s downtown committee, Grun said he’s under pressure to pick a name for the theatre because he’s going to start running ads for the summer lineup this week.

    U.S. diplimoat assures regional tourism leaders on border crossings

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    From Hotel Online:

    An American diplomat reassured regional tourism officials Thursday that tighter border-crossing requirements due to take effect June 1 will not impede the flow of travelers and their dollars to and from Canada.

    Not everyone attending the fourth annual Binational Tourism Alliance was convinced. Some fretted that a looming flu pandemic, combined with heightened border security, could spell trouble for the trade.

    Washington “is committed to making the border work … to making sure people are not turned away,” said John R. Nay, U.S. consul general in Toronto.

    Weak Canadian dollar means paying more at border

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The prolonged weakness of the Canadian dollar means people paying more to cross the border.

    Effective May 15, Canadian tolls for passenger vehicles will be increased to $4.00 Cdn from the current $3.75 rate. The U.S. tolls will remain at $3.25 U.S.

    The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, which operates the Rainbow, Queenston-Lewiston and Whirlpool Rapids border crossings, says the move is not a toll increase, but rather an exchange adjustment, which is “entirely based on U.S. currency and its exchange rate with the Canadian dollar.”

    The adjustment will include passenger vehicles using the discounted Canadian Express Pass as well, with the newly adjusted toll being $3.40 Cdn.

    ‘A huge deal’ for the Falls

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The $100-million convention centre dream is finally underway.

    Though work has already begun on the site of the new Niagara Convention and Civic Centre, plenty of dignitaries made it official Friday with a groundbreaking ceremony.

    To kickstart what Mayor Ted Salci calls the “unconventional convention centre,” the first official clients were flown in by helicopter to sign their contracts.

    Both the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Canadian Tire Dealers Association will hold major events here shortly after the centre opens for business, expected to be in the spring of 2011.

    Familiar faces return to iconic Falls tourism hot spot

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The new-look Oh Canada Eh? has an old face running the show.

    Three years after he retired and sold his share of the company he co-founded in 1994, Jim Cooper has returned to the award-winning dinner theatre.

    And he’s bringing some friends along.

    Veteran show member Melissa Penner, who left the musical around the same time Cooper did in 2006, has been brought back in her signature role of Klondike Kitty. As well, original cast member Larry Hurst -who has seen his role diminished in recent years -will enjoy more stage time.

    As Cooper describes it, coming back to Oh Canada Eh? was like slipping on a “comfy woolen sweater.”

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