Niagara Parks Commission Announces New Boat Tour Service Operator

February 22, 2012 Updated Feb 22, 2012 at 9:51 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Niagara Parks Commission Announces New Boat Tour Service Operator

February 22, 2012 Updated Feb 22, 2012 at 9:51 PM EDT

NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO ( release from Niagara Parks Commission) The Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) has awarded the land lease related to boat tour operations at the Niagara Falls Gorge to Hornblower Canada Company (Hornblower). The agreement provides better value-for-money for Ontarians and will bring new investment to the Niagara region.

The new agreement is estimated to generate in excess of $500 million in revenue to the NPC over the 30-year span of the contract – representing an increase of more than $300 million in revenue compared to previous agreements. This includes guaranteed minimum revenue of $67 million in the first five years. In order to realize their vision of operations in the Niagara Falls Gorge, investments will be made to upgrade passenger facilities and construct new tour boats. The new service is expected to commence in Spring 2014.

“This is a great day for The Niagara Parks Commission and a great day for the tourism industry in Niagara and across Ontario,” stated NPC Chair Janice Thomson. “It not only marks the beginning of a new era for all of us, but it continues to build on what Niagara and Niagara Parks is all about, building memories and creating experiences that will last a lifetime.”

Christopher Glynn, President of the Maid of The Mist corporation issued a statement obtained by Eyewitness News:

February 22, 2012, Niagara Falls, ON — Today we learned that the Maid of the Mist’s bid for the renewal of its lease with the Niagara Parks Commission was rejected by the Ontario government. As a result of this decision, our business, with a 165 year history of service to tourists from around the world, may soon come to an end. The Maid of the Mist has provided world famous, safe, reliable and affordable boat tour service, and its trademarked brand name has become synonymous with the Niagara Falls experience, drawing millions of tourists to the region annually. The implications of this decision are very complex, and impact on many parties and create many uncertainties, including whether or not a boat tour service will be offered in Niagara Falls, Ontario in 2012. We are carefully assessing our position and will be consulting with other affected parties as we attempt to address the many serious issues resulting from this decision. No further comments will be made at this time.

Christopher M. Glynn
President
Maid of the Mist Corporation

To assist NPC through the procurement process, the Ontario Government engaged external expertise, including a naval architect and a procurement advisor. An independent and impartial Fairness Commissioner also observed, monitored and oversaw the competitive process. The Fairness Commissioner’s reports on the fairness of the process are available on the NPC website.

NPC is committed to a vision of Ontario’s Niagara Parks as one that Preserves a rich heritage, Conserves natural wonders, and Inspires people world-wide. Founded in 1885, The Niagara Parks Commission is an Operational Enterprise Agency of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Its mission is to protect the natural and cultural heritage along the Niagara River for the enjoyment of visitors while maintaining financial self-sufficiency.