Tag: victoria day weekend

    The tourists are coming! Unofficial start of the tourism season

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The holiday honours Queen Victoria’s birthday, but for the thousands of tourists who come to Niagara Falls for the Victoria Day weekend it’s a time to relax, have fun and kick off the beginning of the summer season.

    No trip to Niagara Falls would be complete without a stop on Clifton Hill, which is often quite busy, regardless of the hour.

    “Getting to see the Falls is just amazing,” said Karisa Burt, a first-time visitor, who is visiting with her family from Newfoundland. “I’m taking a lot of pictures because I want to remember everything.”

    Vikki Ash, also from Newfoundland, has been to Niagara Falls before, but she made Clifton Hill her first stop of the day.

    “We’ve been on the Skywheel and really enjoyed that and later we will be doing some shopping. We are here to enjoy some family time together.”

    Tourist season kicks off

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    From the Niagara Gazette:

    This weekend the prime tourist season started with most visitors likely arriving from the Canadian side of the river.

    Over there, the long Victoria Day weekend celebrates the birthday of Queen Victoria of England. Banks, schools and government offices will be closed in Ontario on Monday.

    Traffic should be backed up at the international bridges as Canadians hop across to shop with their higher-valued currency. On Friday, that dollar was worth $1.03 (U.S.).

    That hurts, if you happened to be stuck in Canada with your American buck. Chances are an Ontario merchant smugly told you that your Yankee dollar was worth 90 cents. (It’s called payback time.)

    Next weekend, many of us will be off Monday to observe our Memorial Day holiday.

    GO to Niagara Falls

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    From GO Transit:

    Our seasonal excursion train service between Niagara Falls and Toronto is starting up again!

    In addition to our year-round bus service, passengers can take the train between Toronto and Niagara Falls starting Victoria Day weekend. The trains will be stopping at Union, Exhibition, Port Credit, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls stations.

    For 2011, this service will run on the following weekends:

    • Victoria Day weekend (May 20–23, 2011)
    • June 24 – September 5, 2011
    • Thanksgiving weekend (October 7–10, 2011)

    TWO NEW PRIMARY INSPECTION LANES ADDED TO THE LEWISTON QUEENSTON BRIDGE TO ALLEVIATE CONGESTION

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    This is a press release I received from the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission:

    Niagara Falls Bridge Commission offers tips on how to avoid peak traffic delays when crossing one of the three international bridges over the Niagara River

    LEWISTON, NEW YORK – The Victoria and Memorial Day weekends mark the beginning of the summer travel season which means more travelers will be using the international bridges along the Niagara River. Motorists are encouraged to utilize the various user friendly travel tools offered by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission (NFBC) and follow some basic travel planning steps before departing.

    This year, prior to the beginning of the Victoria Day weekend, the NFBC and the Canada Border Service Agency (Customs) are opening two new Primary Inspection Lanes on the Queenston Plaza leading into Canada.  These two new lanes will increase the bridge’s processing capacity by 33%. An additional two lanes will be added in early 2011 to further facilitate the efficient movement of traffic across the Lewiston-Queenston international bridge.

    “We are continuing to make every effort to address traffic delays at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and the addition of the two new inspection lanes will certainly assist,” said Dr. Kenneth Loucks, chair, NFBC.  “We are in the final stages of the revitalization of the Queenston Plaza and, once completed in December, the Canadian Border Service Agency will have new state-of-the-art facilities to further reduce wait times.”

    To assist with travel plans, the NFBC provides information on traffic conditions at the Whirlpool, Lewiston-Queenston and Rainbow Bridges which may be easily accessed as follows:

    • Niagarafallsbridges.com provides hourly updates on traffic conditions on the Lewiston-Queenston, Whirlpool and Rainbow Bridges, as well as real time photos of the traffic conditions on the Lewiston-Queenston and Rainbow Bridges.
    • Travelers can call the NFBC’s toll-free number that provides hourly updates of traffic conditions on the three bridges.  The number to call is 1-800-715-6722, press 2 for car traffic info.
    • The NFBC offers traffic updates through Twitter. Followers of Twitter.com/NiagaraBridges are notified of changing traffic conditions.  This free service is designed to inform travelers of delay times enabling them to select which NFBC bridge best fits their travel needs.  Since there is a short driving distance between the Lewiston-Queenston and Rainbow bridges, travelers can choose the bridge that offers the least delay time.

    There is a misconception that the NFBC’s bridges have long delays during the summer season. It is true that there are generally extended delays during peak travel times such as on long holiday weekends.  However, delays can be minimized even on holiday weekends by scheduling travel plans to avoid peak usage of the bridges.

    NEXUS card holders can avoid delays using the Whirlpool Bridge. Since the Whirlpool Bridge is only accessible to NEXUS card holders, travel times over the bridge average less than a minute. NEXUS travelers using the Whirlpool Bridge currently receive a 15% discount on tolls.  For more information visit niagarafallsbridges.com and click on the NEXUS link on the upper right hand corner.

    For travelers using US I-190, electronic overhead message signs provide updates on traffic conditions at the various bridges.  Drivers can also tune into 1610 AM on their car radio, which gives traffic conditions at the bridges.

    The U.S. and Canada have different laws concerning permitted items and exemption limits.  For a complete list of what is allowed into each county, travelers should visit either www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca (Canada) or www.cbp.gov (U.S). Each site provides a comprehensive list of what is allowed in each country and what items need to be declared at the customs booth.

    One of the following forms of identification is required when crossing the border: a passport, passport card, enhanced driving license, Trusted Traveler Cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST), Enhanced Driver’s License, Enhanced Tribal Card, U.S. Military Identification with Military Travel Orders, U.S. Merchant Mariner Document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business, Native American Tribal Photo Identification Card or a Form I-872 American Indian Card.

    Using the available tools and taking advantage of the benefits of the NEXUS program will provide benefits to all travelers.

    -30-

    About the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission

    A Joint Resolution of the 1938 U.S. Congressional Third Session created the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission. The Extra Provincial Corporations Act of the Province of Ontario, Canada licenses the NFBC. Canada and the U.S. are equally represented on the NFBC by an eight-member Board of Commissioners.  Initially established to finance, construct and operate the Rainbow Bridge, the Commission proved sufficiently efficient and effective to assume responsibilities for the Whirlpool Rapids (Lower) and Lewiston-Queenston Bridges.  The NFBC builds and maintains all facilities for Customs and Immigration functions on both sides of the international border. The NFBC is self supportive, largely through user fees (tolls) and private-sector tenant leases. NFBC is federally chartered to conduct international commercial financial transactions and issue federal (U.S.) tax-exempt bonds.

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