Will the Maid of the Mist be running in 2012? Yes.
The new tour operator is Hornblower Canada Co., but they won’t take start running until 2014. The current owners, called Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co. are expecting to make an announcement this month about the 2012 season. Stay tuned.
The last day of operation for the 2011 season is October 24, 2011.
When will the Maid of the Mist be back? Because the boat is dependent on weather conditions, we’re never certain when the first launching date will be. As soon as we find out we’ll post the information on Niagara Blog as usual.
The (Sub)urban Tourist is a travel blog enjoying the outdoor lifestyle and exploring good food and dining experiences. This summer Margaret Antkowski, who pens the (Sub)urban tourist, took a Niagara Falls tour with her finacé Frank Bourne. She rated the tour 4.5/5. Read her review here:
Niagara by bus: sit back, relax and enjoy the tour
The Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls – part of the tour with King Tours. Photo by Frank Bourne
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to Niagara Falls, Ontario. It must be at least six or seven times since I was a small kid. With each visit over the years, I’ve noticed that traffic has become increasingly insane in the Niagara region. Driving with stop-and-go traffic and trying to find a parking spot in Niagara Falls or Niagara-on-the-Lake can leave you drained, stressed out and definitely not enjoying the visit.
This past weekend Frank and I had the pleasure of trying out a King Tours bus tour from Toronto to Niagara Falls. And it certainly was a stress-free way to enjoy a day away from Toronto.
The $79 per person ticket included the following:
Transportation in a comfortable, air conditioned tour bus from downtown Toronto to Niagara Falls
Entry into the Maid of the Mist, without having to wait in line for a ticket
About two hours to ourselves to explore Niagara Falls and have lunch
A drive along the Niagara River to stop at spots such as the Whirlpool (10 minute stop); the Sir Adam Beck Power Generation plant (a few minutes to take photos); and the Floral Clock (more photos).
Here are Niagara Blog’s Top 5 Niagara Falls Summer Adventures.
1. Whirlpool Jet Boat
Warning! You will get wet. Since 1992, traversing the rapids of the Niagara River Gorge with Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours has become the world’s single most popular whitewater tour. With safety as our premise, millions of Niagara visitors embark on our specialized jet boats to witness first hand the truly world-class whitewater rapids on the Niagara River. Our team of whitewater professionals thanks you for your patronage and trusts your memories of Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours, the Devil’s Hole Rapids, and the Niagara Whirlpool will be with you forever as they will be with me
2. Maid of the Mist
For a thrilling 30 minutes you’ll experience the magnitude and magnificence of the Falls thundering down from the water below. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that is sure to rock your boat!
Debuting in 1846, the Maid of the Mist is North America’s oldest tourist attraction. Ridden by dignitaries and celebrities such as Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbechev and Brad Pitt, a visit to the base of the falls is a priority for all who visit the region.
All passengers are given a recyclable poncho to keep clothing dry, as they are exposed you to a extraordinary experience that can only be described as awe-inspiring.
3. Winery Tour
See the rows of grapevines, sprouting buds, heavy with fruit or in hibernation, create a tranquil countyside view-and hint at the marvellous wines that await you, crafted with care and passion by our renowned winemakers. Whether you are looking for a day trip or a weekend escape, a summer winery tour will capture your heart for Niagara. Here, the wines, the food, the scenery and the personal stories conspire to engage your senses in every way. You can visit Niagara Winery on your own by following the Wine Route or simply join a tour.
4. Journey Behind the Falls
At Journey Behind the Falls, you’ll experience the awesome spectacle of one-fifth of the world’s fresh water crashing down to the basin below. During summer daylight hours, over 2,800 cubic meters of water thunders over the brink every second, traveling 65 km per hour! Yes, you will get wet.
5. Butterfly Conservatory
Do you have young children? This is an excellent adventure for you. This magical attraction features over 2,000 colourful tropical butterflies floating freely among lush, exotic blossoms and greenery. Paths wind through the rainforest setting, past a pond and waterfall and the Emergence window, where butterflies leave their pupae and prepare to take their first flight!
Want to operate a tour boat from the Canadian shores of the lower Niagara River?
Then, the Niagara Parks Commission wants to hear from you and your company.
The parks commission, Friday afternoon, set a Nov. 24 deadline for any company to bid on tour boat operations. The Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co. has been running tour boats from both the U.S. and Canadian shores of the lower Niagara River for generations and while its U.S. pact runs for more than three decades, it’s Canadian lease has been under fire for the past year.
Last year, a 25-year extension between the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co. and Niagara Parks Commission became a political issue in Southern Ontario as some potential competitors cried foul. The uproar resulted in several commission members resigning and a new regime installed to oversee its operations. more…
Atlanta-based Alcatraz Media and businessman William M. Windsor are jointly attempting to obtain the billion dollar contract for boat rides under Niagara Falls. The boat rides began in 1846, and there has never been an opportunity for anyone to bid to offer the service until Windsor took legal action against the Province of Ontario and the State of New York. This case is currently being handled by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice under case number DC 09-105JR. more…
Niagara Fall’s Maid of the Mist will reopen this year, two weeks earlier than last year. April 10th, thanks to the favorable weather conditions.
The Maid of the Mist is the most well known family attraction in Niagara Falls and most Ontarians agree that it is an important part for our tourism industry.
This is a great way for anyone visiting Niagara Falls to get up close to this popular attraction. Even if you spend the rest of your stay in North America relaxing in your hotel, indulging in delicious meals and playing games of Poker dk, the Maid of the Mist is certainly one excursion which it is worth making the effort to experience. This unique boat tour has been a popular choice with tourists to the area for many years, and looks set to continue for many more. Even if you live locally and have visited Niagara Falls many times before, this is a trip which you are sure to enjoy.
Tours begin 10:00am, departing every 15 minutes, and the tours last about 30 minutes.
Ontario has engaged independent third-party expertise to assist the Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) in its competitive process for the land lease related to tour boat operations at Niagara Falls.
Following a competitive process, the province has selected Knowles Consultancy Services Inc. as a procurement specialist and PPI Consulting Limited as fairness commissioner. The government has also engaged Capilano Maritime Design Ltd. as naval architect consultant to the competitive process. The duties of these third-party experts will be as follows:
The procurement specialist will assist NPC with activities associated with the design, development, management and control of the process.
The fairness commissioner will observe, monitor and oversee the competitive process, and issue a report to the ministry with respect to the fairness of the process.
The naval architect consultant will provide technical advice that will assist NPC in drafting the competitive process documents. more…
OTTAWA, March 10, 2010 – The Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform (FAIR), Canada’s whistleblower charity, is pleased to announce the appointment of Niagara Parks Commission whistleblower Bob Gale to its Advisory Board.
“I’m proud to be a part of what FAIR is trying to accomplish.” said Gale. “Employees are often the first to know about wrongdoing that threatens the public interest, but in Canada, as I found out, there is little to protect them if they speak out. We need to correct this absurd situation and I’m confident that we will.” more…
Protect our Parks, an activist blog dedicated to protecting the Parks of Southern Ontario, has published this letter to the Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty.
March 2, 2010
The Honourable Dalton McGuinty Premier of Ontario
This letter will be emailed and served by Registered Mail
Re: Reasonable Apprehension of Bias in Maid of Mist Lease Negotiations
First, please let me tell you the reason for this whole letter. It is an embarrassment to the people of the Province of Ontario and your Provincial Government to have allowed the present Board of Commissioners and General Manager of the Niagara Parks Commission to still remain in their present positions with what you and the citizens already know.
Second, I fear that if you respond to this letter you will give me a standard explanation that you are forwarding this to Minister Chan, Tourism Minister. To pass the buck again to a new Tourism Minister who has done nothing to improve the credibility of your Government, nor show the people that the process will be fair, is negligence on your behalf. You already know some of the conflicts and dirty inner workings of the Niagara Parks Commission through this ordeal and you choose not to take control and be a leader, but to hope we all go away. That’s not going to happen unless we are assured a fair, unbiased tendering is done that is transparent in its selection.
Here are some of the facts:
1. The Chairman (Jim Williams) and General Manager (John Kernahan) of NPC were involved in a meeting with the CEO of IMAX in fall of 2006 where an option was presented that IMAX will
build a new attraction at Table Rock fully financed by IMAX. This meeting and all information was suppressed from the Niagara Parks Commissioners and never exposed until I was told in May of
2008. In the mean time the NPC borrowed $38 million to renovate Table Rock and build the attraction “Fury” which has been exposed to be a dismal failure.
Code of Conduct
Code of Conduct for the Commissioners and Senior Staff
January 20th, 2010
Memo to: Commissioners & Senior Staff
From: Howard Grant, Fairness Commissioner
PPI Consulting Limited Re: Restrictions on Lobbying Activities related to the Request for Proposals for Tour Boat Services
I have been hired by the Ministry of Tourism to assist the Niagara Parks Commission with the competitive process for tour boat services. In my role as Fairness Commissioner, I will provide oversight and process advice to ensure fairness throughout the competitive process.
The Niagara Parks Commission has established a Project Team comprised of John Kernahan, Nick Murphy and Joel Noden for the planning, design and advancement of this initiative. From time to time, others in the Commission may also be requested to contribute their expertise to the initiative. more…
The Niagara Parks Commission has released details of how they intend to proceed with opening up the Maid of the Mist (Niagara Falls Boat Tour) operations bid process. Bidders will be able to submit their proposals this spring on merx.com. If you are interested in bidding you should preregister for a information session here.
A copy of the official Niagara Parks Commission press release is available following this jump.
NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — Getting competitive bids for one of the world’s oldest and most famous tourist attractions – the Maid of the Mist boats in Niagara Falls – may not be as straight forward a proposal as the Ontario government hopes.
The Niagara Parks Commission came under fire last year for giving the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Company an untendered, 25-year renewal on the contract to operate the boats that ferry tourists from both sides of the international border up to the thundering waterfalls. more…
A follow-up to our previous post, the Tourism Minister Monique Smith and Premier McGuinty have forced the commission to open up bidding for the Maid of the Mist lease. Read the full Globe and Mail article here.
October 25th will be the final day the Maid of the Mist will be running this year, but it will be back for at least 25 more years. Earlier this month the Niagara Parks Commission extended the lease to the America company for another 25 years. There is controversy around this deal because the offer was not offered to the public in a standard bid process. Apparently some investors would have paid $100 million higher for the lease if they were given the chance.