Maid of the Mist out as NPC picks Hornblower

The Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) has awarded the land lease related to boat tour operations at the Niagara Falls Gorge to Hornblower Canada Company, while rejecting a bid for Maid of the Mist Steamboat Company Ltd. to renew its lease. According to officials, 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 (pictured), president, Maid of the Mist Steamboat Company Ltd., said the implications of the government’s decision not renew Maid of the Mist’s bid are very complex and “impact many parties and create many uncertainties, including whether or not a boat tour service will be offered in Niagara Falls, Ont. in 2012.”He said, “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… 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.”