Tag: qew

    Boom time for Niagara’s crucial tourism industry

    No Comments

    From Niagara This Week:

    The region’s crucial tourism industry is salivating at what officials are confident will be a massive year after years of struggles.

    At the kickoff of Tourism Week at the Ontario Travel Information Centre next to the QEW in St. Catharines on Tuesday, optimism for a boon year for tourism practically oozed from the crowded centre.

    The terrorist attacks of 9-11 that rocked tourism way back in 2001, the deadly SARS outbreak in Toronto in 2003 that kept visitors away, the Canadian dollar soaring to be at par with the U.S. greenback and a new policy in the U.S. requiring Americans to obtain passports to get back across the border hit Niagara’s tourism industry with a series of devastating blows.

    “There were so many challenges at the border at one time that we were saying the only thing that hasn’t happened is the (plague of) locusts,” said Niagara Falls Jim Diodati.

    Jeff Gordon’s car makes a pit stop in Fort Erie

    No Comments

    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Jeff Gordon’s final career winning stock car made a pit stop in Fort Erie this week.

    Following the Motorama Custom Car and Motorsport Expo held from March 11 to 14 in Toronto, the Hendrick Motorsports transporter, carrying Gordon’s 2015 #24 AARP Member Advantages Chevy SS NASCAR Sprint Cup stock car was transported via the QEW to Fort Erie and across the Peace Bridge for the long trip back home to Charlotte, NC.

    But before the vehicle was transported across the border, transporter driver Kenny Babbert stopped on Sunset Drive at the Canadian Motor Speedway site to meet CMS executive Claire MacSweyn to view the site of the speedway and to ensure the first ever race car on site was driven by Gordon, a four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion and CMS track designer.

    Infrastructure funding needed for speedway

    No Comments

    From Bullet News Niagara:

    The Canadian Motor Speedway is moving ahead even though an approximate $60-million commitment from the provincial government that would cover costs of needed infrastructure improvements in the area of the 823-acre project in Fort Erie has not been provided.

    The widening of thoroughfares in the area of the proposed project and the reconstruction of the Bowen Road QEW interchange all need to be completed for the $400-million development to continue moving ahead at full speed.

    The $60 million figure is subject to change as the process unfolds.

    Uncorking the economic potential of St. Catharines–Niagara Falls

    3 Comments

    Here is an interesting article from Reed Construction Data about developments in the Niagara region:

    For anyone who hasn’t visited Niagara Falls in a decade or so, the most astonishing initial sight is skyscrapers rising into the clouds to the east of the Queen Elizabeth Way.

    The city has changed dramatically, with luxury high-rise hotels juxtaposed against the ground-hugging carnival attractions on Clifton Hill.
    A trip to the region remains a delight for every age bracket.

    Fort Erie speedway hits another bump in the road

    No Comments

    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Two Fort Erie landowners whose property is needed to develop the Canadian Motor Speedway are waving the red flag, but speedway director Azhar Mohammed says plans for the track are proceeding full throttle.

    Mike Racey and Richard Jukosky own two pieces of land near the QEW and Bowen Rd., that play a pivotal role in the speedway’s development and both men say they’re “giving up” on real-estate contracts they say have been broken multiple times by project officials, Racey said.

    “We’ve tried to work with (speedway representatives) as much as possible because we aren’t against the speedway by any means,” Racey said. “We keep getting dragged around. That’s it. We’re done.”

    Highway 420 ‘a mess’: Falls mayor

    No Comments

    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Council is petitioning the province to properly maintain Highway 420, one of the main tourist arteries into Niagara Falls.

    The appearance of the highway, which connects the QEW to the city, has been a thorn in city council’s side since Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation did some highway work in 2003.

    The province rebuilt the median dividing the east and westbound traffic. At first, the MTO put in a variety of flora filling the median. But councillors complained the plants were ugly and weeds were taking over. The province then put gravel fill into the planter, but council complained weeds were still growing in the gravel.

    On Tuesday, Coun. Wayne Thomson said there’s a reluctance on the province’s part to keep Highway 420 from looking like “hell.”

    “They should properly manicure the site and come up with a solution to the unsightly entrance into the city,” he said.

    Whale of a police escort for U.S.-bound killer whale

    No Comments

    From the Toronto Star:

    Ikaika the killer whale was escorted out of the country in a procession worthy of a head of state.

    A witness said he counted at least 14 Niagara Regional Police cruisers, with lights flashing, two transport trucks and a crane slowly escorting the 9-year-old male orca from Marineland toward Hamilton airport on the QEW on Saturday evening.

    John (Ringo) Beam, manager of Rempel Maximum Ice Services in Niagara Falls, said he joked to some of the orca’s escorts that the procession from the amusement park around 9 p.m. seemed a tad excessive.

    “I said, ‘It’s a whale, not a head of state,’” Beam said Sunday. “It was overkill.”

    The departure of Ikaika, also called “Ike,” comes at the end of a nasty custody dispute between the Marineland amusement park in Niagara Falls and SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla.

    Niagara Go-Karts in Summer 2011

    No Comments

    If you travel into or out of Niagara Falls in the direction of Fort Erie/Buffalo, then you have driven by Niagara Go-Karts. Since it isn’t in the main tourist districts of Falls Avenue, Clifton Hill, or Fallsview Blvd, you may not have considered it, but you should. A week or so ago I went there with my family, and we spent a couple of hours mini-putting and driving the go-karts. It was a lot of fun, and the prices are surprisingly reasonable.

    We started off with the mini-putt. It is a “classic” course with solid wood edges so you can bank the shots. Nice! The course looks like it was recently cleaned up, but there is still some work to do with the shrubery. Some of them are overgrown and make it difficult to position yourself to hit the ball. The holes are mostly par 2, with a few par 3. None of us are “pros”, but we do mini-putt quite a bit, and none of us got a hole in one. That shows that it is fun, but not too easy. There are several large animals around the course including giraffes, elephants, a zebra and a gorilla. My three kids insisted on getting their pictures taken with each one. Other than the bushes I mentioned earlier, the only other complain I would have would be about the sound. Since the course is located right beside the highway, and it is part of the go-kart complex, you hear nothing but engines. Obviously there is nothing that can be done about this, as it goes with the territory. There is music playing in the background which tries to drown out the engines, but you can still hear them. I suppose if you go there, you should expect it.

    Perhaps one of the most appealing things about the mini-putt is the price. You can purchase an all-day pass on the Niagara Go-Karts web site for only $4 plus tax.

    I’ve only been in a go-kart once before (it felt like I was sitting on a lawnmower), so I don’t have much to compare it with. When we were down in Orlando in March, I went around the Kissimmee Go-Karts track once for free. Niagara Go-Karts was definitely better. The karts run better, and I definitely felt safer in the Niagara Go-Karts go-kart than down in Florida. In fact, while were there a man was regularly checking the karts. If it matters to you, Niagara Go-Karts also tries to be hygienic. You have to wear a helmet, and they provide hairnets for you to wear.

    There are two different types of go-karts. There is a two seater “family” kart where you can take kids with you. You only pay for one person, as the passenger rides for free. I drove with my 7-year-old son, my wife drove with my 3-year-old daughter, and my sister drove with my 9-year-old son. We all had a blast. The track is 1 KM long, and weaves a lot. This can be a lot of fun as you go fast around the bends. You can go as slow as you want, or go as fast as the karts will go. My sister and I drove as fast as we could, while my wife drive as slow as she could. We joked with her afterwards that the carts might not have ever gone slower! There is obviously a one seater that you can drive as well. I did a couple of laps with my son and then did a few laps on my own in one of the faster one seater karts.

    The standard price this summer for laps is 6 laps for $22. However, if you buy online you get 4 more laps free. There is also a package with those 10 laps as well as mini-putt for only $25.

    They used to sell hot food in the building where you pay for your tickets, but they don’t any more. They just sell simple snack foods and drinks. There is a small arcade there, as well as washrooms. My wife was pleased that the washrooms were very clean. The customer services was very good. No one was rude, and the young man who got us our putters and tickets was very nice. The only general complaint about the complex is that since it open air, they allow people to smoke on the properly. If I am breathing in the fumes from the karts, maybe I shouldn’t be concerned about second-hand smoke at that point, but I still didn’t like the smell.

    Overall, we had a great time. In fact, a few days later we drove past the complex, and my daughter was already asking when we could go again. Also, my sister has already planned another trip. We had a great time!

    I took some pictures of both the miniature golf course and the go-kart racetrack. As always, you can see some of the thumbnails below, and you can see all of them along with the larger versions in the Niagara Go-karts in Summer 2011 gallery.

    As a side note, there are now 3,284 images in 257 galleries in the Niagara Falls Image Gallery.

    I also made a video of some of the miniature golf course and the go-kart track. I filmed it in HD, so be sure to look for that when you watch in on YouTube. You can also see the video embedded below.

    My video doesn’t show the carts very well, but there is a promo video that you can see at http://www.gokartsniagara.com/video/

    Parks Commission faces uphill task to educate visitors about Niagara

    2 Comments

    From Bullet Media:

    Niagara Falls may be one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions, but many visitors, even those from this country, just want to take a fast look at the water, buy some icewine, and head down the QEW to Toronto.

    And that’s a serious problem, says Niagara Parks Commission Chairwoman Fay Booker.

    “We have to do a much better job of educating people in our prospective markets,” she said during a Parks Commission meeting Wednesday morning. “We have to tell people there is so much more to do here. We have to keep them here longer.”

    Niagara not just a day trip: Booker

    No Comments

    From Niagara This Week:

    Niagara Falls may be one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions, but many visitors, even those from this country, just want to take a fast look at the water, buy some icewine, and head down the QEW to Toronto.

    And that’s a serious problem, says Niagara Parks Commission Chairwoman Fay Booker.

    “We have to do a much better job of educating people in our prospective markets,” she said during a Parks Commission meeting Wednesday morning. “We have to tell people there is so much more to do here. We have to keep them here longer.”

    %d bloggers like this: