Believe it or Not: Ripley’s expanding empire of the bizarre

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The first thing you’ll probably notice is the shark. At more than five metres long, it’s the biggest ever caught on rod and reel. What’s left of its two terrifying tonnes now hangs preserved above a dull warehouse floor.

There are also medieval torture devices, human skull drinking glasses, a Coke bottle-shaped coffin and curious mix of embalmed livestock born with too many heads or limbs. These items and many more are stored in a central Florida warehouse – all without an audience.

But their owner, Ripley Entertainment Inc., is doing its best change that. The Orlando-based company of “Believe it or Not!” fame has announced rapid expansion plans over the next year and a half, including at least four new locations from Spain to New York City – where those lonely curiosities might soon find homes.

Niagara TV bid rejected

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From the St. Catharines Standard:

Wendell Wilks says he spent the hours immediately after his Television Niagara bid was turned down drumming up more financing for another try at a commercial TV licence.

But it sounds like he was working on his sports analogies.

“It’s like a hockey game,” Wilks said. “The referee has given us a penalty, but in our opinion, the game is not over. You never win a game by beating up the referee.

“It’s a fight,” the TVN president continued. “I’m bruised. I’m battered. But I’m going to take another swing at them.

“It’s kind of like poker,” Wilks also offered. “And we’re going to call.”

Great Big Sea to headline bash

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From Niagara This Week:

East Coast band Great Big Sea will be coming to Niagara Falls to headline an all-Canadian lineup for Canada’s largest New Year’s Eve celebration.
The Niagara Parks Commission (NPC), joined by its partners for what it is calling “Party in Niagara,” announced Wednesday at Table Rock Restaurant Newfoundland’s Great Big Sea would headline the annual free New Year’s Eve concert in Queen Victoria Park with Vancouver’s Spirit of the West and Niagara’s own Jonesy.

Falling for Niagara at holiday time

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From Newsday:

Each year, millions of visitors flock to the famed Niagara Falls, where 20 percent of the world’s fresh water plunges over a cliff created during the last ice age.

Although tourist season at Niagara is May to October, in winter the falls continue to flow and glow – literally. As temperatures drop, spectacular mounds of ice form from the mist, but the tremendous volume of water never stops flowing and the American and Horseshoe Falls remain illuminated in shades of the rainbow as darkness descends.

More dazzle arrives in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in the middle of November with the Winter Festival of Lights. This year marks the 23rd anniversary of the event, which will run through Jan. 2. Fireworks, light parades and 2 million lights brighten an already glistening landscape.

Santa magically arrives at the Pen Centre (courtesy of Greg Frewin)

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From Niagara This Week:

Santa will attempt to break all known speed records on Saturday when he appears at the Pen Centre an instant after leaving the North Pole.

The appearance in Sears Court is being made possible courtesy of Niagara Falls-based magician Greg Frewin, also known as the “International Grand Champion of Magic”

The festivities begin Saturday, November 19 at 11 a.m. with the parade beginning at Zehrs.

There is also an ad that has been in the paper:

Greg Frewin Santa ad

Santa magically arrives at the Pen Centre

Saturday, November 19 at 11 a.m.

Santa arrives at the Pen Centre with all the enchantment of the season. The spellbinding sleight of hand of “The International Grand Champion of Magic,” Greg Frewin, will make Santa miraculously appear in Sears Court direct from the North Poll. Complete with a ballot to win a family pass to The Greg Frewin Dinner Theatre plus two nights deluxe accommodation with breakfasts at the Clarion President Hotel and Suites by the Falls… plus many more prices.
The parade to Santaland begins at Zehrs.

Niagara Square Rebirth

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From Niagara This Week:

Niagara Square mall is about to undergo a rebirth, reversing a slow decline that saw the shopping centre gradually eclipsed by major retail centres in other areas of the city.

The mall’s new owner, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, has lured four major big box stores in what will be a multimillion-dollar project that could return the shopping centre to its former role as a major regional player in the retail sector.

The coup should also end rumours the mall might eventually be slated for closure.

A Line or Two

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From the Niagara Gazette:

It was five years ago that A Festival of Lights went dark here.

After a 20-year run, the event was shutdown in 2000 for a number of reasons.

Basically it lacked a hefty infusion of capital to create new attractions, upgrade the displays and expand its marketing and promotional efforts. In the evening of its life, a common complaint from visitors was ‘same-old, same-old.’

In retrospect, a major sponsor (e.g. Kodak or Southwest Airlines) would have saved the day.

The Dreadful, Dreary, Boring World of Commie Casinos


From the Ludvig von Mises Institute:

In Canada, government-owned and run casinos made a mess of the true entertainment value created by casinos in a competitive free market. The government-owned casinos of Ontario claim to be the “peoples'” factors of production. But anyone with experience in real casinos can only see this as a pathetic joke.

I realized this on a recent visit to Niagara Falls, Canada. The town had two government-owned casinos, five minutes apart. The design of the casinos was the same with no theme and no real difference in games and services provided. The first casino is called the Niagara Casino, and the second is called the Niagara Fallsview Casino.

Many anti-capitalists argue that capitalism is only concerned about money and ignores things such as beauty and creativity. The truth of socialism is on display with these two casinos.

Gift gives city site for new twin-pad arena

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From Niagara This Week:

The city now has a site for its new twin-pad arena big enough to make it a four-pad down the road, thanks to a gift from a family of prominent hoteliers in the Falls.

The city will have six hectares, or 15 acres, to build its new twin-pad arena complex, which includes a 2,001-seat arena and a 250-seat “bare bones” ice surface, within the old Cytec industrial property at 4001 Fourth Ave. The DiCienzo family, which runs Canadian Niagara Hotels, will acquire about 93 acres of the property and donate the 15 acres valued at about $3 million. Council accepted the gift at Monday’s meeting.

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