Will the new theater being constructed across from Niagara Falls Casino really create the “entertainment capital of Canada”?
Last week, construction crews broke ground on a new 5,000-seat theater in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The developers of the new entertainment venue are extolling the benefits of the property. They’re calling it the catalyst that will turn the city into “the entertainment capital of Canada”. Is this a bit of an overstatement, in a city already teeming with tourist prospects?
According to a slew of popular tourism guides, there are places all over Canada worthy of that title. PlanetWare is of the mind that Niagara Falls is already the #1 hot spot for visitors to the country. US News Travel disagrees wholeheartedly, believing the 17th and 18th century architecture of their #1 choice, Quebec, is much more appealing. They dropped Niagara Falls all the way down to #7.
Joe Dicosimo, President of Hospitality Resorts Inc., a partner of Niagara Falls Entertainment Partners, the consortium that won the bid to build the new theater, obviously doesn’t consider the cataracts of Niagara to be worthy of a number one spot at this time. However, he does think the entertainment venue has the power to drive Niagara Falls into that position.
At the groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, Dicosimo lauded the present and future of the cities tourism industry.
“With the world-famous falls behind us, known all over the world, the convention centre, all the great attractions that we built up over the years, this is the missing link,” said Dicosimo. “We’re positioned now, working together, to become the entertainment capital of Canada.”
New Theater At Niagara Falls Casino Means $$$ for OLG
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG), which finally approved the consortium’s bid in July (after year’s of debate), didn’t weigh in on that particular topic. The regulator has one goal in mind, and one goal only – raising more money for the province of Ontario. If this new theater can help attract more visitors to the adjacent Fallsview Casino, that’s a win in their book.
OLG President Stephen Rigby was among the high-profile dignitaries who attended last week’s ceremony. He was joined by Minister of Finance Charles Sousa and Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati.
The entertainment venue, due for completion mid-2019, is an example of OLG’s commitment to “enhancing the entertainment experience for our customers,” said Rigby.
“Providing access to concerts, shows and attractions will help promote greater economic development and tourism activity while generating revenues for both the province of Ontario and the Niagara region,” he said. Generating revenue for the province is his job after all. Predominantly, it’s done through the promotion of gambling facilities like Ontario’s pair of Niagara Falls casinos.
Sousa chimed in his approval of the 5,000-seat tourist destination. He commended its ability to “drive economic development” while creating 800 jobs. “The new entertainment centre will go a long way toward building ongoing prosperity for … Niagara Falls and the province,” he said.
“More tourists will come to your city to see your shows, to shop at your stores, to visit your casinos, to rent your hotel rooms, eat at your restaurants, and they’ll have a great time,” lauded Sousa.
But as far as creating the entertainment capital of Canada? That’s a question only economic data statistics can answer. The $132 million theater will not open until June of 2019. So it’s going to be quite some time before those figures can churn through the system.
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