Tag: janice thomson

    Maid of the Mist future in jeopardy

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    From the Buffalo News:

    Though Maid of the Mist boats have been shuffling tourists to the base of Niagara Falls for 126 consecutive years, their future on the American and Canadian sides of the cataracts remains uncertain.

    In six weeks, the tourism company will find out if it can continue those tours, or whether the Canadian government will award a 25-year lease to another company, possibly with different ideas for the real estate around the cataracts.

    “We’re still in the review process,” interim Niagara Parks Commission Chairwoman Janice Thomson said today.

    The government had hoped to make a decision by the end of 2011, but needs five or six more weeks, Thomson said.

    Some of the comments after the article are worth looking at…

    Parks Commission needs more time for boat tour lease decision


    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    It has had more than 11 months to pick a winner, but the Niagara Parks Commission says its evaluation team needs more time.

    More than a year and a half after a long-term operator for boat tours at the base of the Horseshoe Falls was originally supposed to be found, NPC officials said Thursday the team making the decision needs another “five or six weeks,” before announcing a winning bidder.

    The deal will be worth a minimum of $5.5 million per year, not including the commission’s share of annual revenue from ticket and souvenir sales.

    Chairwoman Janice Thomson had said she expected to announce who would be awarded a 25-year lease to operate boat tours near the falls by the end of 2011, but she told The Niagara Falls Review the complex process to select a winner is still underway.

    Ontario, sanitized for your protection

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    The Toronto Sun newspapers had an opinion piece recently about Ontario, and how the government is trying to “protect us” (they called it a Nanny State). At one point, it uses Niagara Falls as an example:

    These days, the architects of our bubble-wrapped, peanut-free society have their sights set on the daredevil community.

    The nattering nabobs of nannyism at the Niagara Parks Commission won’t give permission to highwire walker Ken Wallenda to walk a tightrope across the Falls. Wallenda wants to start in Niagara Falls, N.Y., enter the mist, and re-emerge on the Canadian side. Fantastic!

    Stateside, politicians who want to help the economically depressed city of Niagara Falls, N.Y. have championed Wallenda’s proposal, and lawmakers in Albany have approved the stunt.

    But a snag has been encountered in — where else? — Nanny State Central. You see, Wallenda’s stunt isn’t being embraced by the testicular-challenged bureaucrats at the Niagara Parks Commission. Officials are frowning on what they deem to be a Falls folly.

    Doubling down

    Apparently, “risky business” in Niagara Falls, Ont. these days is confined to the rubes doubling down at the government-run blackjack tables.

    When Wallenda first proposed the stunt, the Commission’s Janice Thomson remarked: “Doing something for one day doesn’t seem like sustainable tourism. It harkens back to those early days when Niagara Falls was a carnival-like atmosphere. We have come so far away from that.”

    Egad! Has Thomson ever strolled up Clifton Hill, home to House of Frankenstein, Castle Dracula, and numerous other wax museums and freak shows?

    Niagara Falls isn’t exactly Vienna on the Rhine. Actually, it can be cheesier than a bucket of Bulgarian feta.

    Isn’t it disheartening that in our increasingly sissified culture the safety mavens are now turning their sights on daredevils?

    So much for Dalton McGuinty’s oft-repeated boast that Ontario is “open for business” — Wallenda’s stunt stands, or stood, to rake-in millions for the region.

    But that’s sanitized-for-your-protection Ontario — a province that wants bread, not circuses.

    Cullen miniatures sale approved

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The Cullen Miniature Village, which has delighted hundreds of thousands of visitors at its former location in the Durham Region, has found a new home in The Niagara Parks Commission’s (NPC) Botanical Gardens.

    Oshawa City Council approved the sale after endorsing a decision made that city’s corporate services committee last week.

    “Our Botanical Gardens will be the perfect site for the Miniature Village,” NPC Chair Janice Thomson said. “The village was originally developed for a botanical setting and they were intended to be viewed by audiences of all ages; our Botanical Gardens, with the Butterfly Conservatory right next door, will be the perfect home for this collection”.

    NPC buys Cullen miniatures

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    From Niagara This Week:

    The Niagara Parks Commission hopes some little buildings will become a big attraction in Niagara Falls.

    Oshawa City Council gave its nod to an offer by the NPC to purchase a collection of miniature buildings and assorted pieces that were once found at Cullen Gardens in Whitby. The NPC offered $113,000 for the 182-piece collection, which includes buildings, trains and accessories which it will pay off over the next five years.

    “It’s something we hoped we could acquire,” said NPC chairwoman Janice Thomson after receiving word of the successful bid.

    Canada nixes Wallenda’s Niagara rope walk

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    From UPI:

    Canadian officials in Niagara Falls have denied daredevil Nik Wallenda’s application to walk across the Niagara Gorge on a tightrope next summer.

    Wednesday night, the Niagara Parks Commission voted to deny a permit for the stunt, planned for June, the Toronto Star reported.

    The plan was for Wallenda to cross from Goat Island, which separates the U.S. falls and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, 1,800 feet across the gorge, on a 2-inch-wide steel cable to the Canadian side.

    Parks Commissioner Janice Thomson told the Star there are safety concerns as well as a fear it would spur unauthorized copycat stunts. She said the event also didn’t fit with long-term planning for the park region.

    Pressure mounts to OK walk across Niagara Falls

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    From the Toronto Star:

    As an aerialist’s bid to tightrope walk across Niagara Falls next summer hangs in the balance, the commission ruling on his proposal is facing pressure to let the event proceed.

    Nik Wallenda, a seventh-generation member of the famed tightrope-walking Wallenda family, hopes to fulfill his lifelong dream of walking across the falls on a wire.

    The proposal has cleared all legal hurdles on the American side, but authority to approve or reject Wallenda’s idea in Canada rests with the Niagara Parks Commission. Chair Janice Thomson has repeatedly said the walk would be a stunt contrary to the commission’s mandate to preserve the falls’ natural beauty.

    Wallenda maintains his balancing act is an art form, not a stunt. He made his case before the commission two weeks ago in a 12-minute presentation. The commission is reviewing the proposal and Thomson said she expects a ruling early next week.

    NPC appoints new chair

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    From Niagara This Week:

    After almost five months in the interim position, Janice Thomson has been appointed the chair of the Niagara Parks Commission’s Board of Directors.

    While the announcement was made by Tourism and Culture Minister Michael Chan on Wednesday, the appointment was actually effective Nov. 16. Thomson, executive director of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce & Visitor and Convention Bureau, also has experience as a sales and marketing consultant and a former owner and operator of a restaurant in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

    The Niagara Falls Review also had an article called Janice Thomson named permanent chair of NPC

    NPC says it followed the rules for carousel deal

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    They won’t say how much it cost for the six-week rental of a carousel ride, but the Niagara Parks Commission says the proper bidding process was followed.

    The Victorian Candy Lane carousel opened Saturday at Queen Victoria Place and the NPC says more than 700 rides were taken on the weekend — some at $3 each and some (for riders under five years old) were free.

    Allegations about a lack of tenders have dogged the NPC in the past, but interim chairwoman Janice Thomson says things have changed.

    Asked about the tendering process for the carousel, which will be part of the Winter Festival of Lights until Jan. 8, Thomson said, “We have a procurement policy and everything in the park should be procured through the process. We have management in place that is very strictly adhering to policy.”

    Wallenda won’t give up on falls tightrope dream

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Both Nik Wallenda and the Niagara Parks Commission are digging in their heels.

    Wallenda wants to be the first person in more than a century to walk across the Niagara gorge on a tightrope. The Commission seems determined not to let it happen.

    The performer was in Niagara Falls Wednesday morning to make his pitch to the Commission’s public meeting. He’s already received approval for the tightrope walk from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and he has the support of Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati. But without the blessing of the Parks Commission and its chair Janice Thomson, the tightrope walk – as Wallenda wants it – can’t happen.

    With permission already granted from New York State, Wallenda said the option is there to walk across the American falls. But it’s the international crossing over the Horseshoe Falls he really wants.

    However, the Niagara Parks Commission banned stunting over the falls more than a century ago, and hasn’t budged since.

    “We can listen to Mr. Wallenda and listen to his proposal, but (the Niagara Parks Act) is the guiding document for us,” said Thomson.

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