Visit to Niagara Helicopters

No Comments

Last week I visited Niagara Helicopters where I enjoyed a great flight and saw a lot of Niagara Falls from a new perspective. The flight began with a group photograph in front of our helicopter prior to boarding. Once on board and buckled in, the pilot lifted us off the ground where the photographer was able to shoot a few more shots, the front and both sides of the helicopter making sure everyone would be visible in the photos.

The flight lasted about 10 minutes. During the flight we saw the Whirlpool Golf Course, the Whirlpool and Whirlpool rapids, Sir Adam Beck power generating station and it’s supporting canal. We also saw Niagara Falls (both the Horseshoe/Canadian falls and the American Falls), both the Rainbow and Lower international bridges, Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino, Marineland, Clifton Hill and the Niagara River.

We recieved headphones which announced a pre-recorded commentary of what we were viewing while in the air. The ride was smooth and very enjoyable. Our ride was complete faster than I would have liked, but when we got back, several very nice photographs were waiting for us to pick from if we wanted to buy one. The photo’s were quite large, about 8×12 inches, and were produced on a high quality true photographic printer to ensure the images would last a lifetime.

Riding the helicopters was something I have a wanted to do for a long time, and the ride was every bit as exciting as I had expected it.

Loading the Helicopter
Loading the HelicopterNiagara Whirlpool
Niagara Whirlpool

Whirlpool Golf Course
Whirlpool Golf Course

Niagara's Horseshoe Falls
Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls

Arctic Cove - Marineland
Arctic Cove – Marineland

Jay Cochrane Postpones Walk Once Again

No Comments

Jay Cochrane has once again postponed his walk from the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort Hotel Tower to the Skylon Tower. Jay was ready to walk having previously given his okay on all of the equipment and one the platform when it was announced today walk was cancelled due to high winds.

As can be seen in the following images, the flag behind Jay was standing right up, an indication of what he would be up against. Visible in the first image are many of the guide wires that Jay was unhappy about last week when he first postponed this Canadian record attempt.

Jay Cochrane on his platform between the Niagara Fallsview Casino and Resort and the Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls
3:36 PMJay Cochrane making his decision to cancel today's walk between the Niagara Fallsview Casino and Resort and the Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls
3:37 PM

A look through the trees to Jay Cochrane's  empty starting platform.
3:39 PM

John Daly to conquer Niagara Falls


The City of Niagara Falls website has a press release for professional golfer John Daly. Daly plans on making an attempt at being the first person to hit a golf ball across the mighty Niagara. On August 3, 2005, as part of the opening of his Thundering Waters Golf Course, Daly will attempt to prove why he has won the driving distance title on the pro tour 11 times by driving a ball from the Canadian side of the Horseshoe Falls landing on American Soil.

Thundering Waters Golf Course is a 7,322 yard course designed by John Daly in collaboration with Canadian golf architect Bo Danoff.

John Daly’s Thundering Waters GC
Presents a Grand Opening
For the Ages in Niagara Falls

For Immediate Release
March 11, 2005

NIAGARA FALLS, ON – John Daly will face the roar of Niagara Falls head on in August as he attempts to become the first person to drive a golf ball across the world famous Horseshoe Falls.

Over the decades numerous people have attempted the “ultimate stunt” plunging over the falls in a barrel. Some have lived and many have died. Annie Taylor was the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel and she survived back on October 24, 1901.

A little more than a century later Daly will tee it up on August 3, 2005 as part of Grand Opening celebrations for Niagara’s Falls newest world-class golf property Thundering Waters Golf Club – A John Daly Signature Course. The British Open and PGA champion will attempt to connect on a drive that would make history as it crosses from the Canadian side of the Horseshoe Falls and lands in the United States of America.

“I have hit some towering drives in my time but to try and clear Niagara Falls would be an awesome feat. I can’t wait to return to Canada for the Grand Opening of Thundering Waters. It’s going to be a historic day for many reasons,” Daly says. “Niagara Fall is one of the true Wonders of the World and one of the reasons I decided to design my first signature course in the area.”

While Daly won’t be risking life and limb like those who have taken the plunge over the falls, it’s estimated that he’ll need to carry a drive of at least 350 yards in the air to cross the watery falls. Big John can grip it and rip it like no one else, but can he land it? “We’re hoping his drive will be heard around the world” says Frank Racioppo, Thundering Waters Golf Club Vice-President of Operations, who developed the concept after Daly first suggested the idea. “We were driving by the Falls last fall and John asked how far it was to the other side. We started talking about the concept of a long drive over the Falls and John thought it was a fabulous opportunity to create some excitement. He’s not someone who will back down from a challenge, so this should be a lot of fun and a memorable day for Niagara Falls.”

Daly is one of the most recognized and popular members of the PGA Tour. “The Lion” as his friends on Tour know him is known primarily for his power on the course. Daly led the PGA Tour in driving distance for eight consecutive years and has won the title a record-setting 11 times. Heading into action this week on the PGA Tour, Daly’s longest recorded drive of the season stands at 382 yards, which has him in the top 20. In 2004 he recorded his longest drive ever on tour at 399 yards, but there’s a lot of fairway roll in those drives.

Thundering Waters GC is located in the heart of the Niagara Falls tourist district some 1,500 yards from the brink of the thundering Canadian Horseshoe Falls and only three blocks from the new Niagara Fallsview Casino. It’s the second facility planned by Daly’s firm and his first in Canada. Some holes will be lengthy even by the standards of the world’s longest hitters. The par 72 course measures 7,322 yards, including a 661-yard par 5 hole from the back tees. Thundering Waters GC is also a member of the popular Niagara Golf Trail.

Canadian golf course architect Bo Danoff has been the driving force working in tandem with John Daly throughout the design and construction process. Daly’s strategic input as a PGA Tour player consultant has added exciting risk/reward opportunities that should make the course the talk of the country. “I’ve seen a lot of architects and Bo is probably one of the greatest I’ve known,” Daly said of Danoff. “He’s a great talent and will be doing a lot of courses in the future.” The 18 hole design combines the parkland tranquility of Augusta National and the wind swept dunes of traditional British Open Championship courses. Sweeping fairways, undulated greens, sculpted bunkers and meandering creeks, all nestled between towering trees and mighty dunes that combine to create a true masterpiece.

Fallsview Golf Inc., a Niagara Falls, ON-based company with extensive real estate and hospitality holdings in Canada and the United States, including the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel & Conference Centre, is developing the project.

High-resolution images of Thundering Waters GC and John Daly are available upon request.

For PDF Poster for the Grand Opening, click here

For more information contact:
Frank Racioppo
Vice-President of Operations
Thundering Waters GC – A John Daly Signature Course
6000 Marineland Parkway
Niagara Falls, ON, Canada
905.357.6000 ext. 427
(c) 905.380.6007
(tf) 1.877.833.DALY (3259)

Bo Danoff
Danoff Golf Design Inc.
Golf Course Architects

Party Time on Clifton Hill


The Niagara Falls Review ran an article on the proposed developments on Clifton Hill today. The article mentions two waterparks (one indoor, one outdoor), roller coasters, a ferris wheel and a 28 storey hotel.

The proposal goes before city council this Monday, May 30 as we had mentioned in a previous post.

Party time on Clifton Hill
HOCO seeks city approval for rides, parks, new hotel

By COREY LAROCQUE Review Staff Writer
Local News – Saturday, May 28, 2005 @ 02:00

NIAGARA FALLS – Roller coasters, a ferris wheel and two water parks would take Clifton Hill’s “festive atmosphere” to a new level if HOCO Entertainment and Resorts gets city council’s approval to build up to 20 amusement park rides, says Harry Oakes, the company’s president.

“We’ve looked at the whole market in Niagara Falls. We’ve picked our niche,” Oakes said Friday. His company already concentrates on attracting families and fun-seeking couples.

“We just want to improve on what we do.”

HOCO has asked city hall for a zoning bylaw amendment to build up to 20 amusements park rides and a 28-storey hotel along the top of the escarpment between Clifton Hill and Robinson Street. That parcel of land is 12.5 hectares (31 acres) and represents what one report calls “Niagara Falls’ most important underdeveloped site.”

The site isn’t big enough for a full-size amusement park like Marineland or Canada’s Wonderland. Oakes describes his proposal as a family entertainment centre, a “right-sized version for Clifton Hill.”

It’s modelled after Tivoli Gardens, a 160-year-old downtown amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Rides would be installed on the site’s north end, toward Clifton Hill. The 28-storey hotel and two water parks (one indoor, one outdoor) would be built closer to Robinson Street.

Ferris wheels have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity since the London Eye was built as a millennium project in England. Roller coasters are “timeless” attractions, said Oakes.

Both appeal to families who have visited the falls in the day and are looking for at night entertainment, Oakes said.

Only the proposed 294-room Comfort Suites hotel and the 54-metre Ferris wheel would be visible above the treeline.

“You really only see the top 25 per cent of it when you’re in the park, due to the trees,” Oakes said.

HOCO already owns most of the property on the south side of Clifton Hill, where numerous attractions already operate, including the Great Canadian Midway and the Boston Pizza restaurant. Oakes opened them in 2002 and sees the family entertainment centre as a chance to expand on their success, he said.

City council is scheduled to debate HOCO’s zoning application at a planning meeting Monday night at City Hall. The city’s planning department recommends council approve the project, with some technical changes to the zoning bylaw. The city’s architectural peer review panel is largely satisfied with the project, but wants proof that the hotel won’t affect wind patterns, a report states. But the Niagara Parks Commission has concerns about proposed changes to the Jolley Cut area and doesn’t support it without discussing some changes.

The entire project would require an investment of $100 million and would see the companies total number of employees increase to about 1,250 from 750 now, Oakes said.

If council approves the project Monday, HOCO would gear up immediately and be ready to start construction of the first phase in October with the goal of opening it next April, Oakes said.

Jay Cochrane to Return


Jay Cochrane, famous for his tight rope walking, will once again be performing in Niagara Falls this summer. He will be performing his act between the Niagara Fallsview Casino and the Hilton Hotel and on Saturdays will perform the longest and highest skywalk performed outside of China, from the Niagara Fallsview Casino to the top of the Skylon Tower, beginning June 17. The Saturday walk of 1800 feet and a height of 400 – 600 feet above ground is expected to take between 40 and 50 minutes to complete.

Jay Cochrane performed at Casino Niagara in 2002.

Zoning amendment application deferred

No Comments

On May 10 we mentioned an public meeting announcement had been posted between The House of Frankenstein and Ripley’s Moving Theater on Clifton Hill. Monday night the meeting was held and the request had been deferred while the city looks into how the applicant was able operate the proposed rides in an area for the past three years though that area was not zoned for them (the reason for the application), but was given a vendor’s license to do so.

We will update the status on this application when we find out.

Update on city meetings


As we mentioned in a previous post, there was a town meeting held last night to discuss amendments to the zoning bylaw that would allow a 59 storey hotel and observation tower along with a 74,000 sqft water park on Falls Avenue.

The amendment to allow the hotel tower passed with a 5-1 vote while the amendment to allow the water park passed in council unanimously.

The local cable company airs City Council meetings live on Monday nights. I was able to capture a few images from the television of the hotel and water park. As these are only screen captures recorded from a low quality source, the images are not superb, but they convey the look of the new developments.

Hotel from front looking up
Hotel from front looking up

Hotel and waterpark visible from back
Hotel and waterpark visible from back

Hotel view from the Unites States near the Rainbow Bridge
Hotel view from the United States near the Rainbow Bridge

The is the write up from the Niagara Falls Review about the hotel:

New hotel to tower above city

Local News – Tuesday, May 17, 2005 @ 02:00

NIAGARA FALLS – The 59-storey Rainbow Tower Hotel proposed for Falls Avenue would have a view of both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and be visible from Buffalo and Toronto, says architect Michael Kirkland.

“We glory in the size of it,” said Kirkland who designed the building for Canadian Niagara Hotels, saying it will take on “iconic” status.

“This is a building that will affect the skyline of Niagara Falls for a very long time,” Kirkland said during a planning meeting at city hall Monday night.

Council voted 5-1 in favour of the application from Canadian Niagara Hotels to build the $130-million hotel tower between the Sheraton-on-the-Falls and Brock Plaza hotels.

The proposed tower was designed as two buildings in one – a 48-storey, 550-room hotel attached to an observation tower that stands 751 feet tall, Kirkland said. It would have one storey more than the Hilton Niagara hotel expansion the city approved last year, but would be 57 metres taller than that hotel planned for Fallsview Boulevard.

It’s designed so the higher up it goes, its orientation rotates toward the Horseshoe Falls, said Kirkland.

“This building goes up and expresses the sheer gravitational pull of Niagara Falls,” he said.

Because of its design, it will also take different appearances – what Kirkland described as a lantern, torch or silhouette – depending on weather conditions, time of day and the light it reflects.

At 229 metres tall, the Rainbow Tower Hotel will be the city’s tallest building. But because of its placement, it will only cast shadows on property owned by Canadian Niagara Hotels, Kirkland said.

In a recorded vote, aldermen Wayne Campbell, Jim Diodati, Joyce Morocco, Victor Pietrangelo and Selina Volpatti approved the project.

Ald. Carolynn Ioannoni was the sole vote against. She said she wanted to support it, but needed more details on a provision that would have the company contribute to city projects in exchange for exceeding the height limit.

“I think this application is premature. I wanted to support it. There are too many questions,” Ioannoni said.

Acting mayor Vince Kerrio and Ald. Janice Wing did not vote because they declared conflicts of interest.

Canadian Niagara Hotels will pay between $1.3 million and $1.5 million to the city under a provision of the Planning Act that permits developers to exceed the city’s 30-storey height limit in exchange for cash contributions. That payment will be used to pay for public projects to be determined later.

Council also approved a request from Canadian Niagara Hotels to build an estimated $70-million waterpark on its property.

Ald. Victor Pietrangelo said Canadian Niagara’s investment in the hotel, tower and waterpark should send a “strong message” to the provincial government about the long-term vaule of Casino Niagara as a catalyst for development.

“We’re sending a message that we want to retain Casino Niagara. The developer is stepping up to the plate, saying, ‘I am willing to invest in this area if the province is willing to invest in the area,'” Pietrangelo said.

Michael DiCienzo whose company owns Canadian Niagara Hotels said he wants to see Casino Niagara in the area, but both projects make sense for his company on their own merits.

“We are doing what we feel is necessary from a business standpoint to redevelop our site regardless of the casino,” said DiCienzo said.

%d bloggers like this: