Photo: Children play on the Canada 150 sign at Niagara Falls in July 2017. Allison Smith
2017 has been a banner year for tourism in Niagara!
We rung in the new year with our traditional New Year’s Eve party at Queen Victoria Park and kicked off 365 days of Canada 150 celebrations to commemorate the country’s sesquicentennial anniversary. The Niagara Falls Review reported that 80,000 people packed Niagara Falls on Canada Day - the largest gathering in the city since an estimated 100,000 watched Nik Wallenda’s wirewalk over the Falls in 2012.
Destination Niagara Falls and infotainment website Niagara Buzz celebrated a year of helping tourism businesses successfully engage their online audiences through video marketing. The project has garnered thousands of views for the five participating companies, including Watermark Fallsview Restaurant, Greater Toronto Airways, George’s Greek Restaurant, Pranzo Ristorante Italiano, and Spyce Lounge. Along with sesquicentennial events, perennial favourite summer festivals, concerts, markets and other activities meant the region was bustling all summer long, from fireworks on the Parkway to Pelham SummerFest, Welland FloatFest, the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta.
In August, the $1.2 million renovation of L8 at Lundy’s Lane and Thorold Townline into a destination entertainment venue was complete, and the Waterfront Night Market on Labour Day weekend drew thousands from Niagara, Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga and beyond.
Other noteworthy events of the summer included a visit from the long-running American daytime TV show Kelly & Ryan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the region (once in June for his TV appearance and again in August when he visited Niagara College’s teaching winery.
Later in the summer, we took the national spotlight with news that construction on the massive, 12-metre tall spiralling Niagara Speedway go-kart race track - the only one of its kind in Canada - is almost complete and slated to open this coming spring. Heading into winter, the popular Deck the Falls walking tour was back for a second year as part of the Winter Festival of Lights, and even expanded for the 35th season in 2017.
We capped off the year by celebrating the best in Ontario tourism in early November at the annual Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence Gala, honouring organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to tourism in the province. More congratulations were in order for George’s Greek Village, as owner George Kountourogiannis and his staff celebrated their one year anniversary serving traditional, authentic Greek cuisine in their St. Catharines family style restaurant with a view of the ships passing through the Homer Bridge on the Welland Canal.
In December, more good news was announced as Niagara Parks Commission chairwoman Janice Thomson visited Niagara falls city council to reveal impressive tourism numbers - 8.2 million tourists visited attractions, golf courses, retail facilities, restaurants and transportation services operated by the commission. The Review reported the organization’s new 10-year strategic plan includes the redevelopment of the Table Rock complex, a master-plan development for Queen Victoria Park, a transportation plan, and a new cycling strategy.
All these factors coming together meant that Niagara Falls had a great year for tourism, and is attracting visitors from farther away who are staying longer. 2018 is sure to bring even more exciting tourism news, events, and developments across Niagara, and we’re excited to keep you in the loop! Stay tuned to Destination Niagara Falls News for updates!
See these and more photos of this month's events on our Facebook page, and be sure to 'Like' us! Get out and enjoy all Niagara has to offer!
ICEtravaganza! - Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Photos: Allison Smith
Photos from our Media Partner
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